A doormat is necessary for keeping outside dirt and debris from being tracked inside. With a doormat, you can wipe dirty shoes and boots and enter your home secure in the knowledge that you're not soiling any floors or carpets. Choosing a doormat shouldn't be a major undertaking, but there are a few considerations.
Will you be using your doormat inside the house or outside? If you're looking for one for outside your home, you'll want to be sure it's weather resistant. There are plenty of heavy rubber mats that handle the elements pretty well. You might find a straw or wood doormat that seems sturdy enough, but how will it hold up to the sun, rain, wind and snow?
If you are choosing an outside doormat, your best bet is to find what's called a "scraper" mat. This type of doormat has an abrasive surface that effectively scrapes dirt, snow and mud from the inside of shoe treads. Its thick rubber bottom is weather resistant and should hold up to years of wear and weather. These are especially useful for businesses or areas with a lot of foot traffic.
If you're choosing a doormat for inside the home, you can still choose a scraper mat or one that's not so heavy duty. An "interior" mat is used for wiping feet inside the home, but it's meant to trap only household dust and dirt, not necessarily the heavy debris from outside.
Since a doormat is used to clean dirt from feet, it stands to reason that the doormat itself is going to get filthy. This is a very important detail to keep in mind when choosing a doormat, especially if you're choosing one because it's esthetically pleasing. The fancy design on an outside doormat will only be apparent for a season or two. After that, it will either be worn away or so dirty no one will be able to see what was originally there.
Whether you're inside or outside, it will be next to impossible to keep a light colored doormat clean. Even if you clean it on a regular basis, a light colored doormat will just look dirty or dingy in the long run. Your best bet is to choose a dark colored doormat that will hide dirt.
Choose a doormat that will hold up to traffic and remove dirt from the bottom of your shoes. A doormat should have one main purpose, and that's to remove as much dirt and grime from the bottom of your shoes as possible.