Ever run through the rain on a muddy path heading for the entrance of a building and sighed with relief on getting to the veranda without getting drenched only to look down and find no doormat on which to wipe your shoes, not even a rug? The guilt experienced for every step taken that leaves a messy foot print on the floor is awful.

A doormat is a flat object placed on one side of the door either outfront or on the inside. It is usually rectangular shaped but it also comes in circular or oval shapes.

The doormat is a multi-purpose item that allows people the opportunity to wipe the bottom of their shoes before entering a building and also acts as a decorative piece.

It matters what type of doormat you choose. With all the options out there, it may be a bit of a challenge choosing between functional and trendy.

Doormats are good for protecting one’s flooring be it wood, tiles or carpet. For those places where one does not have to leave their shoes at the entrance, once shoes have been wiped over the doormat, it retains the moisture, dust and pieces of dirt or stone that would scratch the floor in the process of walking. Also, they help with the maintenance of the flooring.

The number of times one has to mop, sweep or vacuum comes down to a minimum if you have a good doormat.

The qualities of a good doormat
Size; it cannot be too small that it is easy to miss or too big that it becomes an eyesore. A good doormat should be proportionate to the entrance space where it is going to be laid.

Material; it should be made from material that is capable of holding back or retaining moisture, stone particles and dirt and also handle the traffic. The bristles (sisal) should be long and tough and if you prefer the smooth carpet-like type then it should be thick enough to hold dampness without it quickly forming into a little stream of water running across your veranda.

So when you are out there shopping for one, remember that a doormat says a lot about an individual and also has a cost-effective role to play in how warm and welcome your guests feel.

Where to buy
Doormats are available in various materials, size and colour. One can buy doormats from craft shops or supermarkets. At the supermarket, rubber mats range in price from Shs10,000 to Shs40,000 depending on the size and make. Sisal mats are also available from craft shops and shops selling domestic ware.

-Gloria Kawuma is an interior designer