All welcome doormats in the market aren’t the same.
Some are good at removing dust, mud, and similar solid debris from your shoes while others are designed to absorb moisture and very little or nothing else.
Once you move into your home, a moment comes when you must just not choose the right kind of doormat but where to place it.
So, Should Welcome Mats Be Inside or Outside the Home?
They are placed outside by default (something I’d recommend) but your decision can depend on a few factors. Firstly, what’s the purpose of your welcome mat? For instance, if it’s intended for eliminating dirt, then it would be prudent you leave it outside. Those designed for moisture removal are often placed ‘indoors’ (by indoors here we mean the verandah and similar outdoor extensions like patios but can extend to inside your home).
Here are the factors to consider when deciding between outdoor and indoor mat placement:
1. Does Your Entrance Go Right into Your Room or You Have a Verandah/Porch/Mud Room?
There are two groups of welcome mats.
The first group consists of those often installed on the very outside of your home at the outermost doorstep leading into your verandah (if your home has one, that is).
They operate under a bare sky with no roof above them. These are the real outdoor welcome mats (more on these later).
The second group consists of welcome mats perfect for the verandah. They are normally placed at the door leading from a porch/patio/verandah, into the room (oftentimes the living room).
Let’s dig a little deeper into each group:
Outdoor Welcome Mats
When your outdoor is rainy or dusty, you have to choices when getting into the house – leave your shoes outside or wife them on a mat leave them in the verandah or any extension.
However, not just any kind of doormat would be great for wiping your shoes.
You need a product designed for the worst of any debris that could stick on your soles: snow debris, sticky mud, wet sand, fine dust, etc.
Outdoor doormats – or ‘outdoor welcome mats’ – typically come with a distinctive turf-like construction with fine bristles meant to ‘scrub’ debris from your soles.
Most of them are woven from sisal and similarly tough fibers.
Designs can vary but their two distinctive features are the tough fibers and “outside” placement i.e. they are left outside the verandah where they will be open to rain and direct sun.
Furthermore, they are slip-resistant, meaning you don’t need to worry about falling over while wiping your shoes on a rainy day.
You don’t need to wash them as often as indoor mats (more on these later) – a moderately frequent scrub is enough to keep it going.
Better yet, instead of washing, you can simply hose them vigorously enough for less than a minute, dry them, and return to the doorstep for the next pair of soiled shoes.
Indoor Welcome Mats
Indoor doormats, by contrast, are less hardy.
There are two kinds of them – those you’d install inside the verandah at the entrance leading into the home (often family room) and inter-room indoor doormats you’d install inside the home such as those often placed at the bathroom door.
The former qualifies as a welcome mat as well, so we’ll focus our scopes on them.
Since they are designed for indoor use (as absorbent entrance doormats, basically), they are good at absorbing moisture on soles but moderate or poor at dust and mud removal.
These welcome mats, therefore, are used to complement outdoor welcome as they help dry your feet and keep your indoor spaces moisture-free.
Most indoor welcome mats come with a sticky rubber back, meaning they won’t slide on the floor even in presence of moisture.
All you need is to brush your wet soles or bare feet on them and they’ll soak all the moisture with their fluffy surfaces.
2. Climate and State of Your Outdoor Terrain
Whether you should place your mat inside or outside the home can depend on the climate of your area.
If the climate is wet or snowy, the doormat should be outside the house or verandah. You don’t want all that dirt to get past the door line.
Still, you will need an extra mat, preferably an indoor mat, to remove the moisture that may leak through the soles to your feet.
If the climate is dry and your outdoor space doesn’t produce a lot of bothersome dust, you can place your welcome mat inside the house.
3. Will It Interfere with How Your Door Swings?
Another factor that may influence your decision is whether your choice will interfere with the way you close and open the main door.
One of the reasons why most homeowners prefer to put their welcome mats outside the house is the obstruction they’d put up against the closing/opening door if placed inside.
If it won’t get into the way of how you open and close your door, go ahead and place it inside the home.
Maybe You Should Install in Both Areas – Outside and Inside
Doormats, whether indoor or outdoor mats, seem to work best when installed beside each other as a system.
In other words, you need to install both the two main types – an outside scraper doormat and an interior wiper doormat.
This way, you can keep all the stubborn dirt and moisture out of your home during virtually all seasons.
How Do You Choose the Right Doormat?
Doormats are probably the easiest household items to shop for partly because their purpose is straightforward – to remove dust and dirt from soles.
Here’s the mini-guide to choosing the best doormat for your home:
Some of your friends and relatives might advise for a small mat but I’d advise the opposite – go for the biggest mat perfect for your doorstep.
A landscape cut-to-size coir product can be a great start. You don’t want the dirt to fall over on the floor because the mat is tiny.
Thick doormats are always the best until you factor in the firmness of the brushes. The firmer the brushes the better they are at removing dirt from your soles.
The real headache of choosing the right doormat becomes apparent when deciding the material.
Almost anything rough that can form bristles can be used to make a doormat. It can be rubber, jute, cotton, plastic, and pretty any other hard recycled material.
The best materials for welcome doormats are rubber, fine steel, and jute but sisal is starting to win the hearts of many homeowners.
So should welcome mats be inside or outside the home?
Most homeowners place them outside. It makes sense because you don’t want the dirt to fall off and end up on your indoor floor.
However, a few other factors may come to play. In a wet climate (or season), it only makes sense you keep your welcome mat outside the home.
Also, if you are certain it will interfere with the way you swing your door, leave it outside.