A welcome mat is sort of like underwear for your house.
Now just hear us out.
It sets a tone. (Perky? All business?) It conveys a message, sometimes literally (“Hello!”), sometimes implied by its sorry state (Go ahead, track mud inside! I don’t give a flipping flip!).
And when it’s missing, it’s just … weird. Uncomfortable. Unwelcoming, if you will.
Which brings us back to our central point: Bag Lady’s welcome mat did not survive the winter. After too much snow and ice, it sits now beside the steps crumbled like a defeated groundhog.
Shopping Siren’s mat did survive — thrive even! — but it’s Santa-themed from Christmas. So.
This week, we shop for under, er, welcome mats.
Because there’s no going commando in these quarters.
* Recycled flip-flop welcome mat, Bed, Bath & Beyond, $16.99
Woven from flip-flop soles (you can even see their various tread patterns), this mat is thick, durable and strikingly brightly colored. It’ll be an instant conversation starter the second someone sets foot in your doorway. Or pulls in to your driveway. It’s really that bright.
* Kikkerland Anchor welcome mat, BBB, $24.99
Navy blue with a large white anchor decorating the center and good, scratchy bristles underfoot. There’s clearly a nautical theme going this season because this was Mat One of the approximately eleventy billion we saw bedecked with anchors, boats or buoys. So buy now to put your house on the cutting edge of mat decor, or wait until the nautical theme becomes passe and you can get this for 90 percent off. Your call.
* Nourison topiary home welcome mat, BBB, $16.99
Made from coconut fiber, this mat features the word “Home” spelled out with topiary. So pretty without being ostentatious. Our only concern is that the “O” is a slightly raised, 3-D kind of decoration and we wonder about its long-term durability. We see foresee welcoming people HME by July.
* Super Sponge entryway mat, BBB, $29.99
Soft rug-like mat that’s supposed to absorb all the mud and puddle water you, your kids, dog, neighbors, pizza delivery person and cable guy track in. (Up to 10 times its weight, according to the package.) We don’t know what you’re then supposed to do with the heavy, soaked mat sitting in your doorway, but the rest of your floors will be dry. Huzzah!
* Mohawk House pinwheels or polka dots mat, Kohl’s, $24.99 (buy one get one 50 percent off this week)
Either choice is pure whimsy: An array of colorful pinwheels against a bright green backdrop or white, orange and red polka dots on a soft blue mat. Like Hello Kitty underwear, if we’re still going with that analogy. Just scratchier.
* Sonoma Ultimate Performance doormat, Kohl’s, $49.99
Indoor/outdoor ribbed mat in neutral oatmeal or charcoal. No whimsy here! Just a safe, steady mat that’s mildew resistant and environmentally conscious. (It’s made from recycled plastic bottles.) Like white cotton granny panties, sometimes you just need something that’ll do the job.
* Lobster rope mat, The Rope Co., $65-$129
Made in Tenants Harbor, these handwoven, all-weather mats come in a variety of sizes, from small to double door, and include a lifetime guarantee. We were partial to the teal and blue mat, but you might prefer something in sand. You know, for the sand.
* Waterhog Doormat, L.L.Bean, $55
Also made from recycled bottles, and this one you can personalize by adding your initial to the middle. What made us do a double-take: It holds up to 1.5 gallons of water per square yard! So when your would-be guests appear at your door absolutely soaked head to toe, just have them hover there a sec.
Best find: This is My Happy Place doormat, BBB, $14.99
Another coir (coconut fiber!) welcome mat with a skid-resistant backing. This sweet mat invites people in with the playful phrase, “This is my happy place.” As opposed to “Here there be dragons.” Though we’d probably buy that one, too.
Think twice: About going without.
Sure, it sounds like a good idea at the time, but it’s never pretty.
Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who scoff at wiping their feet) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
This is My Happy Place doormat from Bed, Bath and Beyond, $14.99. It’s spring! C’mon, get happy.