There’s no getting around it. From the early days of starting solids to the toddler mealtimes that follow, things can be messy. And while a bath can easily take care of the puree they manage to smear all the way up to their hairline, the same cannot be said for your floors. The answer? A splat mat.
Designed to keep all kinds of surfaces from suffering the wrath of a hungry kiddo who wears half of what they’re fed, splat mats are generally made from water-resistant material that can be wiped down or tossed into the washing machine.
Related: Everything you need for starting solids with your baby
And highchair mats don’t just come in handy for mealtime! They’re a great tool to keep on hand for sensory play and arts and crafts or even as a picnic blanket.
The problem is, a lot of times they’re just…kind of ugly. Sure, you can fold it up and stash it out of view between meals, but why make more work for yourself? Instead, snag yourself an option that complements your style instead of competing with it.
To help you out, we’ve rounded up some of the most functional and stylish splat mats out there. From super cheap fabric mats that always come in handy to versatile faux leather versions that last forever, here are our top picks!
Our favorite splat mats
Can we ever say enough good things about Lalo? Probably not. Their 3-in-1 Lalo Chair is one of our top high chair picks given its stylish form and unparalleled function–and the same can be said of their splat mats. The vegan leather design features a solid soft color on one side and a subtle crosshatch pattern on the other, each of which coordinates with the rest of their stylish line. Best of all, it only takes a wipe with a damp cloth to look good as new.
We love the earthy tones of Toddlekind’s gorgeous mats! Founded in 2018, the German brand makes a range of children’s interior design products that blend with any aesthetic, from splat mats to storage. The wipeable design is made with the highest quality PVC which is safe for littles and free from Formaldehyde, phthalates and BPAs.
House of Noa
We’re longtime fans of the gorgeous playmats from House of Noa, so we needed no convincing when they extended into highchair mat territory. Similar to the styles we fell in love with, the highchair mats are muted and minimal, and at first glance, you’ll think you’re looking at a beautiful heirloom carpet or stylish tile floor. They wipe clean and are available in both round and square options.
And while they’re definitely on the pricey side, if you want a splat mat that enhances your space rather than cramp your style, they’re our top pick.
There’s no better bang for the buck than the splat mats from the mess masters at Bumkins. The super affordable fabric mats are not only Amazon’s choice for splat mats, they’ve also racked up nearly 4K 5-star ratings from parents who call it a “savior” and a “must-have.” And while these aren’t as large as the others on this list, they’re durable, easy to clean and machine washable as well.
Similarly, the mats from Gathre are a pricey pick–but one we think is worth the splurge. For one thing, their high-quality faux leather mats are just beautiful. They come in tons of muted colors and patterns that go with literally any decor. But more importantly they’re just so. darn. versatile. Need to protect the dining room floor? No problem. Headed on a picnic? She’s ready. Hosting a birthday party or spreading out the finger paints for an afternoon art session? Throw it on the table. When it’s time to clean up, just give it a wipe. It’s seriously the world’s prettiest drop cloth and you may wonder how you ever kept things tidy without it.
Given the fact the IKEA Antilop High Chair is a budget-friendly bestseller, it’s no surprise there’s an entire brand dedicated to tricking it out. Cove Baby makes a variety of cushion covers, leg wraps and placemats specifically designed for the chair, but luckily their handmade splash mats work anywhere. They’re made of coated cotton fabric which can also be used as a tablecloth or picnic blanket and come in a waterproof zip pouch for easy transport.
Wander & Roam
Wander & Roam also offers a gorgeous collection of faux leather play mats. Their limited edition prints are always designed with an overall home aesthetic in mind, blending in just perfectly instead of screaming “a baby lives here!!” They’re easy to clean and generously sized so they’re bound to come in handy long after your little one is done hurling food from their high chair.
If your babe is regularly dining at grandma’s, the travel-friendly splat mat from Wildcubz is a great option. The three-ply fabric mat repels spills and is machine-washable when a simple wipe just isn’t enough. It’s got a silicone dot backing to keep it from slipping and easily packs up into an included wet bag when you’re done.
Come for the earthy motif, stay for the reasonable price tag. Similar to the Wildcubz option, this fabric mat from Blissful Diary is made to be wiped down easily and tossed into the washer when necessary. It also features anti-slip silicone dots on the underside and can be used on the floor or as a table cloth.
If you’re more of a vibrant pattern kinda fam, this one from Little Wallaby checks all the same boxes. And if you love it so much you want your bestie to have one too, it comes perfectly packaged for gifting!
Like the Gathre mats, this faux leather splat mat is durable, stylish and equally versatile. The price is awesome, but the main trade off is that it’s only available in one color and two square sizes. It features a small grommet in the corner to hang it up after using or washing.
A muted pattern and affordable price make this Prince Lionheart mat a great option. The circle shape provides plenty of coverage at mealtime but also makes a great floor mat for messy play.
Looking for just the basics? This simple waterproof cloth splat mat is easy to toss in the washing machine and can double as a table cloth as well.
Wipeable mats are great, but sometimes there’s no greater glory than balling up a mess and throwing it all away. That’s where the disposable splat mats from Minimono come in handy. The 40″ x 47″ mats are made from waterproof recycled paper and are ideal for travel, grandma’s house or even at home. Just tear one off the roll and stick it in your diaper bag to have handy whenever things get messy!
Whether you’re expecting in months or mere days, let Motherly guide you with our registry featuring curated collections of essentials for you and baby. Click here to check out Motherly’s essential registry guide.
A version of this story was published May 27, 2022. It has been updated.