Dear Annie, Several years ago, I found a bright and colorful wool rug that I really liked for our front hallway. The first day that we had it, a friend stopped by with her young twins. They wanted to tell us that there had been a fire down the street, and as the young twins excitedly entered the house, they wiped (politely in their minds) their soot-covered feet all over the rug. Devastated is too strong a word, but I felt like the decorating gods were punishing me for an impractical purchase. Suggestions about what kinds of rugs work best in a front hallway would be great. – Amy B. D., Providence, RI
Oh, Amy! *Devastated* might be too strong a word for YOU, but it isn’t for me! I’m heartbroken! (I assume you tried having the rug professionally cleaned, to no avail?)
Please do NOT assume that this cautionary tale means that you cannot have a rug in your foyer.
My four favorite kinds of rugs for front halls are:
If you like a natural look, seagrass is the most durable of the plant-based fibers. (Sisal and jute stain easily and aren’t good choices for trafficky areas.)
If you dump an entire glass of water on a Chilewich floor mat, it WILL trickle down and harm the floor eventually, but the latex backing makes them pretty water-resistant. They’re great for muddy paws and wet umbrellas, and as a bonus, they’re low to the ground if you have little clearance between the floor and bottom of the door.
I often lay a Chilewich runner right up against the front door wall (long side parallel to the door) and then have a larger, prettier (but still durable) rug in the center of the space, out of range of the door swing.
Genius! There are SO many fun colors and patterns, and you literally can throw these into the washing machine. I haven’t tried that part yet, but a friend promises me it’s true.
Polypropylene can literally be taken outside and hosed down; it’s plastic, essentially. Woven polypropylene rugs, are great but can look outdoorsy, probably because they’re designed for porches. “Indoor-outdoor,” they’re called. Annie Selke’s are gorgeous.
HONORABLE MENTION: TUFTED/FUZZY POLYPROPYLENE
I have mixed feelings, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. Tufted polypropylene rugs (or tufted-equivalent – soft and fuzzy) are more suitable for indoors but…how can I say this?…they can look cheap. You just have to choose a pattern that appeals to you and hope it’s not sparkly when it arrives. My daughter Georgie has one in her room and LOVES it because it’s so soft. This is a lovely fuzzy polypropylene rug:
I hope this helps, Amy! And I hope that there’s another spot in your house for your current rug…ideally with a potted plant placed strategically over the offending area.
For additional thoughts about entryways, please see my post, How To Tackle Shoe Clutter At The Front Door.