Can Placemats Affect The Taste Of Your Food?


You might be surprised to read that quite a lot has been written about the relationship between the colour of the humble placemat and the plate and food that rests upon it. But science has proven a link time and time again between our perception of food and the colours that surround us while enjoying food.

The Delboeuf illusion

Going back as far as 1865 when a Belgian scientist came across what he called the Delboeuf illusion. This is the illusion whereby two equal circles are placed against two different sized circular backgrounds. The circle with the larger background will appear smaller. If we apply this to placemats, your plate will appear small if you have a giant placemat.

The same applies to plates and food. Most people assume that smaller bowls contain more food than larger bowls when the amount of food is in fact the same in both bowls. The result is that people with large bowls tend to serve themselves more food than they otherwise need just to fill the space.

Read more on ‘Plate Size and Colour Suggestibility‘.

Food and Coloured Placemats

Red – A very intense and energetic colour, red increases blood pressure and stimulates appetite. Ever notice why many restaurants paint their walls a dark red?

Placemats - Abstract painting by monikahowarth

Abstract painting by monikahowarth

Blue – The colour blue is associated with the mind and body and can produce a calming effect while slowing the metabolism. Blue is often used as an appetite suppressant so if you run a restaurant, consider painting it red! If you’re dieting, put lots of blue in your kitchen and dining room from blue plates, blue candles, and blue placemats.

surface design 3 by michaelsheen

surface design 3 by

Green – Nature is great, and it’s green, it is a calming and relaxing colour. The colour green is associated with being healthy and in touch with nature, a green plate with a green bean will help make you lean.

Green Watercolour Check by fayemaguire

Green Watercolour Check by


Orange – Not only does orange increase oxygen supply to the brain, it stimulates us mentally and is invigorating. It’s a warm, soothing colour that also stimulates appetite.

Spanish sunset by johndyhouse

Spanish sunset by

Yellow – Cheery and uplifting, yellow can help with focus and concentration. Ever wonder why Post-It notes are yellow? Coincidence? Yellow is related to happiness and it can also stimulate your appetite.

Honey Yellow Marigolds by jayanderson

Honey Yellow Marigolds by

If you are conscious of how colours make you feel when faced with food, it can help you enjoy the taste more and even manage your weight. If you want the ultimate method to loose weight using art: Colour your vegetables blue, eat them out of a small blue bowl which sits on a small blue mat. For those more interested in taste and enjoying your food, check out our awesome range of Zippi art and find inspiration from colour.



About Author

Chris is a creative writer, a traveller of the world, a photographer of many things and a reviewer of great places to visit. In his spare time he writes to his heart's content.

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