A new trend in table linens is vertical table runners or place mats for two. Instead of running the width of a dining table, the linens run across the table depth-wise, acting as a shared place mat for parties seated across from each other. I've seen the style in a few different homes, but I think it looks best in a modern interior like this luxury, contemporary apartment on the right bank of Geneva. Never say never, but I would also reserve the look for solids or large-scale patterns; I don't think tiny country florals would work here.
If you want to pick some up for yourself, CB2's Duo Linen Placemat For Two ($15) is a simple, affordable option. Or, the Amenity Hand Woven Runner ($100) is a higher-priced option. My suggestion is to have a seamstress divide an existing runner you own into several smaller ones. Or sew some yourself with affordable fabric.
Are you a fan of this style, or is too modern for you?