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Decorating with Entryway Rugs

A powerful statement, one of the first things guests see as they enter your home is the entryway rug. While an entryway rug may not be the first accessory that comes to mind when decorating or redecorating, it’s a very important piece to consider. An entryway rug needs to be able to set the tone for your overall decorating, it must be strong and durable to withstand traffic and it must also work well with the rest of your furniture and decor. For the best in modern and midcentury styles, we at west elm can help you select from a variety of entryway and other area rugs.

Sizing Things Up

Depending on the size of your entryway, it may also contain furniture, such as shelving, a side table , a bench or a buffet. Like any other space in the home, it’s important to measure. You’ll want to try to avoid putting the furniture partially on top of the rug, which gives your pieces an uneven surface to stand on. Measure and have a good 4 to 6" between the edge of the rug and the furniture.


Size does matter. It’s a good rule of thumb to choose an entryway rug that’s as large as your doorway. A rug larger than the front door can seem a bit overpowering, while a rug significantly smaller than the front door can be a safety issue along the edges. Guests may try to wipe their feet on a smaller, less durable rug, allowing the rug to slip and slide, even with a rug pad. The length depends more on your personal preference, but the width should match the door. This rule mainly applies for rugs that also double as doormats. If your rug is situated beyond your front door, you have a little more liberty with sizing.

Getting the Look

There are several different textiles and fabrics to choose from when deciding on a rug. As long as the rug is durable and you are using a rug pad, the choice is completely yours. Popular choices include wool, flax and textured wool. If you’re using a fabric that is more delicate, or you’re looking to incorporate a special rug, such as an antique or family heirloom, you may want to place the rug farther from your doorway, offering guests a dedicated doormat on which to wipe their feet. Your more delicate rug will still be exposed to some traffic; however, doing this can eliminate some of the wear. If your entryway has a large staircase facing guests as they enter, having a rug to the side of staircase, for example, is a great choice.


Common sizes for entryway rugs range from 8' x 10' to 3' x 5', offering a wide array of sizes to polish and complete the look. A good rule of thumb is to buy two separate rugs of the same pattern, perhaps adding one as the main entryway rug, and another as the hallway rug that accompanies the entryway. When choosing colors and patterns, keep in mind that a light-colored rug can make a space look larger, and a darker rug can compress the look of the space, making it look cozier. Also, think about the overall look you’re going for. A bright rug with a punchy color pop will be the first thing guests see as they enter, so if the rest of your decor is bright and cheerful, it’s an easy fit. If the remainder of your decor is a bit muted with beiges and neutrals, opt for a light-colored rug with a delicate pattern.


Care for entryway rugs is fairly simple. Have a spot remover for carpets on hand for bigger stains, and use a mild carpet cleaner to clean your rug every few months or so. To elongate the life of your rug, it’s a must to remove shoes as you enter the home – have guests do so as well. For weekly, more regular cleaning, the vacuum cleaner is an ideal choice, so long as the rug does not have fringe. You can clean your hallway runner in a similar fashion.