Before and After: A Custom DIY Doormat Brings This “Underwhelming” Entryway to Life

published Jul 20, 2021
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Credit: Susan Held

As the saying goes, you only get one chance at a first impression — and when it comes to first impressions at home, curb appeal is king. There are lots of changes you can make that revive the look of your home from the outside, but here’s proof that one small and simple project can make all the difference.

Homeowner Susan Held loved the architecture of her home, but, she says, “my entryway was underwhelming.” The front porch was made up of large gray pavers and smaller pea gravel, and against the natural wood tone of her home it all kind of blended. “Given the neutral woody color palette, I needed color,” Susan says.

She wanted to bring that in with a doormat — or as she called it, a “mini deck” that would help keep pea gravel from sloshing all over.

Susan made this wood doormat with rounded cedar boards she bought from Lowe’s. She cut them all down to size herself, using three pieces of the boards to create her base. Then, she screwed the top boards on with even spacing in between to create a deck-like look.

From there came the fun part.

Credit: Susan Held

After Susan finished constructing her doormat, she used painter’s tape to create a bold geometric design. Then, with spray paint, she worked her way through each of her four colors (deep red, orange, teal blue, and green).

To get the best finish, Susan applied only one color at a time, working her way up to three coats before moving on to the next shade. This meant that it took a few days to finish the mat, since she had to wait for dry time.

Once she finished with the color application, Susan sealed the mat with three coats of an exterior polyurethane to protect the wood from the elements. The sealant also spiffed up the look of the strips of natural wood that shone through the design.

Credit: Susan Held

Now, Susan’s front door pops — especially with the addition of two planters on either side of the door filled with shade-loving ferns and seasonal annuals. The only thing she’d do differently? “Next time, since rain and moisture is a constant issue in the Pacific Northwest, I would add a little sand between spar coats for additional traction,” Susan says — a smart tip if you’re looking to recreate this project in your own space.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.