Does it matter which doormat you choose? Actually, it does — because a doormat does more than just scrub the bottom of your shoes.

“It really sets the tone when you come to someone’s front door,” said Garrow Kedigian, an interior designer in New York.

So style matters: “It’s a crucial first hint to the personality of the person who lives in the house,” he said.

At Kedigian’s apartment in Manhattan, for instance, the first thing visitors see is a doormat made from coconut-husk fibers with a Greek-key border. “It’s classic,” he said, and it nods to his love of antiques and traditional style.

Inside a home, doormats can be equally useful. Kedigian sometimes tucks them under entryway benches, for shoe storage.

He has also used overscale mats — about the size of a small rug — like the 4-foot-square mat he recessed into the floor of a client’s foyer in Greenwich, Connecticut.


“She wanted the house to be really user-friendly,” Kedigian said, and the large mat discreetly captures dirt as people come and go.

How much personality is too much? A doormat is “an opportunity to be whimsical,” Kedigian said, but “it’s probably best to go with something that’s neutral” in color, to avoid overpowering the rest of the entrance.

Does it need to be waterproof? Some doormats are designed just to brush grit off shoes, but if yours will be used on top of a wood floor or to hold wet boots, the bottom should be impermeable.

How large should it be? It depends on where you plan to put it, but options range from small shoe-scrubbers to room-sized indoor-outdoor rugs.