More time outside means more dirt trampled inside. Interior Designer Jamie Hempsall looks how the humble mat can save the day.

Well we can relax a bit as we get used to a longer bit of British Summer with the chance to spend more time al fresco. However, the move outdoors brings the chance of a bit more dirt and grime travelling indoors as people nip in and out.

Hardly the biggest problem in the world and one easily overcome with the introduction of a floor mat. This is particularly important in areas such as patio doors that open directly on a carpeted sitting room, as dirt can become ground in.

Here is where those offcuts you have been saving since you had a fitted carpet can be put to good use.   Cut a rectangle as wide as the door-frame and about 50cm deep (to allow for people stepping onto it without difficulty), keep in good condition by shaking out regularly and with the occasion vacuum and you will be able to save your carpet underneath.

Alternatively, if you want to create an impact, now is the time to invest in a doormat. These capture dirt on the way in; avoiding it being trampled too far into the house. Mats also ensure surfaces immediately inside your door do not suffer too much wear and tear.

When it comes to choosing a door mat there are two important considerations, before design: firstly, is it safe? It may sound an odd question, but you need to ensure that the backing is appropriate to avoid your mat slipping against the surface you are placing it on. Slip related injuries in the home are often caused by mats placed on hard floors without any grip and if this is the destination opt for a solution with an anti-slip backing.

The second consideration is how easy it is to clean. There is nothing worse than a grubby mat at a doorway. It is something everyone sees as they enter your home and, if you cannot do anything about it, can be a very depressing site for the homeowner. If you are not going to be able to clean the mat regularly, ensure the colour and pattern will do a good enough job for you to minimise the appearance of dirt.

After those considerations indulge in some design fun. A mat can be a temporary measure replaced with minimal hassle, so you can afford to go a little mad. Consider them your comment on the world!

There is a fair degree of humour to be had in the world of the doormat and one of the most British of these has to be the Moustache Doormat, which does exactly what it says on the tin. These certainly brighten up a tired doorway. At £26 they will also not break the bank (www.thegreatgiftcompany.com).

Moustache Doormat from The Great Gift Company

Similarly appealing to our great British sense of humour has to be the “Nice to see you…to see you nice” mat which cheekily hijacks our veteran entertainer’s catchphrase to good ends (£19.95 – www.hunkydoryhome.co.uk).

Sir Bruce Forsyth’s catchphrase inspired this mat from the hunkydoryhome

If you are a fan of the saucy humour of the great British postcard then why not opt for a little double entendre. The “Touch me I want to feel dirty” Door Mat by Parlane is a hardwearing navy and cream design with a black rubber reverse for non-slip use (£20.00 – www.home-treats.co.uk).

‘Touch Me I Want to Feel Dirty’ Door Mat by Parlane

Should you wish to choose your own words, then opt for a Personalised Door Mat in PVC backed coir. You have up to 3 lines and 12 characters per line – so get creative (£29.99 – www.gettingpersonal.co.uk).

Alternatively, you may not be able to grow roses around your door, but you can certainly have them on a mat without too much bother on the “Home Sweet Home” mat for that Country Cottage feel (£12 www.mandco.com).

Home Sweet Home mat from M&Co

When the summer is over you can relax, safe in the knowledge your floors are still in pristine condition!

Fancy Shelling Out For A Turtle

The Turtle Mat Company has been producing doormats since 1994. Their products are made of absorbent cotton that gives an unusual and appealing finish that is easily washable.   The range of sizes available means their mats are also suitable for use in bigger areas such as conservatories and utility rooms.

The company regularly works with leading artists, such as Richard Bramble, to produce special editions and currently features collections with as diverse a range of partners as Imperial War Museums, Historic Royal Palaces, The National Trust, The RHS and Country Living.

The mat featured is the Hares from the Country Living Collection (£49.95 – www.turtlemat.co.uk).

Hare by Turtle Mat Company £49.95

Jamie Hempsall is a multi-award winning interior designer.

@JamieHempsall