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Home entrances in winter

Your home entrances in winter are particularly important. Coming in from the cold into a nice, warm cozy house is a great feeling. There are some things you can do to help your home continue to be a comforting place for you and your family.

Mats and rugs at home entrances in winter

At any home entrance, having rubber floor mats or traction mats is crucial in keeping the snow, ice, slush and mucky dirt to a minimum during winter. 

  • Outside:  Recycled rubber tire mats are great for their non-slip qualities and for their long-lasting durability. An open weave will allow snow, salt crystals and other dirt to fall through the openings so less debris gets in your house.
  • Inside: Find a durable mat to cover your foyer space as much as possible. The surface depth of the mat should be shallow i.e. low-pile so it's easy to vacuum or to shake outside. Make sure the mat has a rubber edge and is rubber-backed so it stays solidly in place on the floor. 

The backing is important, the thicker or tougher the material is, the more durable it will be and therefore the longer it will last. For less expensive mats with a thinner backing, keep in mind that over time the rubber side will start to crumble and wear out.

I've found these type of rugs last only three to four seasons at most. However, they are relatively inexpensive to buy and easily found in home decor and retail chain home stores in a variety of neutral tones and stripes.

If you buy a dark-coloured mat, the dirt, sand and salt will show more. If you have an oddly shaped foyer, you may end up with more than one mat so try and place them as tightly as possible to prevent any debris from getting underneath and perhaps scratching or damaging the floor.

Another alternative is to get a mat or piece of carpet made to fit the shape of your entrance from a carpet supply store, particularly if it's an odd shape. Just make sure the edges will be bound with carpet edging so that will prevent any fraying of the carpet fibers.  

Door coverings for entrances

Home entrances in winter range from having solid full-length wood or steel doors to doors that have a large expanse of glass in it. If you do have a lot of glass in your doors, you might want to consider these options to add another protective layer to your home entrances where you can.

  • Doorway curtain to pull across an entrance further insulating you from the cold outside, particularly at night. Otherwise, the curtain can be tied to one side during the day. 
  • Cellular shades which have several different layers per horizontal strip to the blind. Looked at side on, it has an inner layer as well as an outer layer. They are also called "honeycomb shades".


One mandatory thing for all home entrances in winter is to have something to sit on so you can more easily pull on boots and and lace up shoes. Having a bench seat, chest or chair in the entrance for everyone to sit on just makes plain common sense. It's a whole lot better than hopping around on one foot trying to keep your balance and landing in a puddle of melted snow! The chest can do double duty for storing any winter gear too. 

Boot trays

Having several boot trays close to all home entrances in winter is a fact of life in a snowy climate. Leaving wet boots on boot trays at a home's entrance is standard for most people. This happens mostly in winter but quite often in summer too (unless your host tells you otherwise) it's accepted cultural behaviour to leave your boots and shoes at the entrance.

Flexible rubber boot trays are better than the hard molded plastic boot trays. If you accidentally step on the plastic edge, it will crack and break. Make sure there are ridges on the flat part of the tray so the slush, salt crystals and snow can easily drain off your boots and shoes. The other good thing about boot trays is that they can be hosed down outside and stored upright in a closet corner after the winter season is over.

Boot and glove dryer

Natural air-drying on a boot tray and boot dryer is best for winter boots and shoes. However, there are plug-in boot dryers that offer a quicker way to dry boots, shoes, hats and gloves. They come in different sizes; one size that suits shoes and gloves and a larger model that can accommodate boots. There are other items that you might need like a boot brush stand to get any dirt or debris off and a shoe tree to air your boots out. 

Having a boot dryer in or near the entrance to your house is standard. However, it may not always be convenient or safe. Instead, an ideal place is in the laundry area if it's nearby or mudroom off the entrance. This is an area where boots can be left to dry, coats hung up and access to other storage as needed for hats, gloves, umbrellas etc.

Many houses tend to have more of a mud room area but if you don't have a separate area near the entrance, then you'll have to make do with what you have at your entrance - as you've been doing all along. 

Mud rooms or storage cupboards 

As I mentioned above, if you have a mudroom off of the rear entrance to your house, it is the ideal place for storing winter clothing, boots and other accessories during the winter. If you don't have a mudroom, then having a closet or open cupboard nearby is crucial to taming the bulk and space that any winter paraphernalia takes up. This seems to be especially true with kids' winter clothing. The amount seems to increase exponentially!

It's best if you can have open cupboards, shelving and a coat rack or hooks so the air can circulate and dry off wet winter clothing. Another strategy is to have large bins, baskets or plastic containers to contain gloves, hats and other winter gear that you might need, even going so far as to have one dedicated to each of your family. 

Home entrances  in winter summary

Here's a quick recap of items you might need at your home entrances in winter:

  • Recycled tire mats at the outside entrance
  • Low pile mats with rubber backing in the inside entrance
  • Boot tray/s or mud trays 
  • Bench, chair or chest
  • Shelves
  • Large plastic containers, baskets or bins for hats, gloves etc
  • Closet for hanging coats, storing shoes etc
  • Hooks or tree stand for hanging coats, umbrellas etc
  • Boot dryer (natural or plug-in)
  • Draft guards 
  • Basket of rags and old towels for mopping up water.

A smart tip for home entrances in winter 

One thing I've found very useful is to keep a snow shovel inside my home entrance just in case.  

Why? Because, with heavy snowfalls or snowdrifts piling up against an outside door, there may be some occasions where it's just about impossible to get out! 

I've had this happen to me where I couldn't open the door. It was an outward swinging screen door so I had to take the screen door window off the screen door first and then almost take a flying leap out the opening to get the shovel before I could clear the entrance. Not an easy task for young or old! 

What else can you do to make your home more comfortable?

Well, there are some other winter home comforts that you can add to help keep your home comfortable and cosy especially in your bathroom and bedroom.

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