I use plastic place mats from the dollar store for this. They are usually durable, come in fun patterns, and they are easy to cut. They work best in drawers, but I've had success on smaller shelves with them.
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Woven placemats or tapestry pieces are great to use instead of doilies on the arms of stuffed chairs or sofas to keep them from being soiled.
Since recently moving, have misplaced a plastic cutting board. Went to the dollar store and purchased a plastic place mat, (not the kind that has foam on the back side) and I use this place mat for any cutting of vegetables/meats, etc.
I purchased vinyl placemats from the Dollar Store to line my cabinets. Easy to measure and cut to your exact specifications. These liners can be wiped with a damp cloth and will last a lifetime. I have also placed these liners in my bathroom vanity drawers and on my refrigerator shelves and drawers.
I use the vinyl place mats (one in each animal's cage) for a place to lay that is not wire. The wire can be bad for their feet. I had thought to put a couple squares of vinyl floor tiling, but the place mat idea is less expensive and easier to find and replace.
I keep a poly/cotton washable place mat under my dogs bowl to keep the floor clean where she eats and drinks.
They used to put doilies at points of wear on chairs and sofas. For a modern take on that, I use tapestry placemats to put on the edges of an easy chair where the arms have gotten dirty and worn.
This is a page about using placemats to protect a nightstand. Protect your nightstand from accidental spills or scratches by using a placemat. It is an easy and decorative way to avoid damaging your furniture.
An inexpensive way you can create a new backsplash for your kitchen is by using cheap placemats. This page contains the steps for a DIY dollar store placemat backsplash.
This is a page about crafts made with placemats. New or recycled placemats can be used in many craft projects.