Who hasn’t seen a welcome mat at a front door? They used to be rubber and personalized bearing the name of the home’s residing family or generic brown and stiff to help wipe dirt off guests’ shoes. Little could be said about beauty or appeal. These door mats were practical, but that was about it. Just as cars have evolved from Model T’s, mats for entryways have also found their way into the bigger picture of home design and aesthetics.

While a stranger gathers a first impression even before you open your mouth, so a welcome mat sets a feel for what the visitor will find beyond the door of your home. This is a minor addition to the big picture of exterior decorating but gives you a chance to direct that impression and express yourself.

Entry mats can be personalized with initials, sir names, and logos for your favorite college or sports team. Welcome mats can share your love of cats, dogs, the beach – you name it. They give you a chance to show subtle humor or friskiness like the mat that reads “You’re too sexy for this house” Expressing yourself may only be limited by your imagination or the length of time you desire to spend shopping for the perfect welcome mat.

Mat materials have also improved over the years. One of the most popular items currently used is coir. Coir has found its way into the home and industrial market as a tough and renewable resource. Produced from recycled coconut husks, coir holds up well to water, salt and dirt.

Rubber is also a popular for outdoor mats. It is durable, skid resistant and usually contains recycled material. From the tire-link door mats (which are still available), today rubber is often paired with coir to create unusually handsome mats with high durability.  

Other lesser used materials are aluminum, sisal (a natural fiber), polypropylene (think ski rope) and Olefin – a polypropylene/polyethylene fiber blends to form a softer fiber than either of its parents while still retaining good durability.

Shop for welcome mats at local home and garden retailers, hardware or import stores. First impressions stay with a person. Make your silent welcome one to remember.

LeeAnn Barton has worked with nurseries for more than 20 years. She digs in the dirt in Stillwater. Direct any questions to her, especially about tree selections, by emailing leeannbarton@sbcglobal.net.

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