A placemat or table mat is a covering or pad designating an individual place setting, unlike the larger table cloth that covers the entire surface. Placemats are made from many different materials depending on their purpose: to protect, decorate, entertain or advertise. Materials and production methods range from mass-produced and commercial, to local and traditional.
Their primary function is to protect the dinner table from water marks, food stains or heat damage. They also serve as decoration, especially placemats made from lace or silk. In restaurants they can be used to advertise menu items, specials, local businesses or games for children.
A platemat is an example of incorrect spelling. Spelled plate mat it means a kind of a plank-type conveyor.