Q: Why is it that doormats are so small? They slide around, fall apart or look too industrial. I want a rug that looks great and is the right size for my entry. Is it OK if I just get a nice area rug that fits the space?

A: Truth be told, you can use any area rug you want for a doormat. I'm assuming you mean indoors — because a beautiful indoor rug outside your front door will not last very long with all the dirt, direct sun, weather exposure, and moisture. That's why outdoor rugs are made of such durable materials or are inexpensive. Because you will replace them often.

Indoors, the biggest concerns you'll have include your budget and how long the rug will last. The best way to protect your floor and reduce allergens is to remove your shoes at the front door. That said, you still want to consider something durable and easy to clean. Rugs designed for indoor or outdoor use are often surprisingly beautiful, and they come in a variety of sizes. And, depending on the size of your front porch, an indoor/outdoor rug might work there, too.

A scratchy outdoor mat can scrape off the loose dirt and snow; for that function, it doesn't need to be large. A softer rug outdoors or inside will help absorb more water if a person can take two steps on the rug. The key is balancing these functions with a rug you like looking at and won't get so dirty. Medium tones hide dirt and stains better than light or, surprisingly, very dark colors. And, no matter what your finances are, it doesn't makes sense to spend a fortune on any doormat or area rug for your entry, because it will get stained at some point. Prioritize utility, the right size for your entry, and a look that will work for you. It's a great way to welcome yourself home.

Have a design dilemma? Jennifer Adams is an award-winning designer, TV personality and author of the forthcoming book "Love Coming Home: Transform Your Environment. Transform Your Life." Send your questions to AskJennifer@JenniferAdams.com or for more design ideas, visit Jennifer's blog on her website at www.jenniferadams.com.