Feel at home in your mudroom.
Mudrooms first became popular in rural homes and served as a place to remove muddy shoes, clothes and coats to keep the rest of the house from getting dirty. Today mudrooms appear in suburban homes as well and are used much the same way, with shoes, snow boots, raincoats and umbrellas residing in this entrance space to contain dirt and debris. However, many homeowners have expanded the use of their mudrooms to include laundry, storage and decor that echos themes in the rest of the house. If you’re looking to create or remodel your mudroom, make it easier to clean or to add a personal touch, here are 15 ideas to transform the space.
Created from scratch
If you like the idea of a mudroom but don’t have a space that could naturally become one (and you’re willing to pay a hefty sum), consider having a mudroom addition built onto your house. Home improvement information company Fixr reports that the national average cost to build a 50-square-foot mudroom for a family of four is $12,000, including built-in cubbies, insulation and a baseboard heater. As you interview contractors and design the space with an architect, be sure to keep the exterior look of the house in mind. Any addition should look cohesive with the rest of the house and not like it was tacked on as an afterthought.
If a new addition to your home is not in the cards, consider transforming the area near your most-used door into a “mud space,” complete with seating, hooks, cubbies and additional storage options. If your back or side door opens into the kitchen, consider adding the seating, hooks and bins to create a mini mudroom in a corner of the room. Alternatively, if you typically enter and exit through the front door, create the storage necessary for a mudroom in the foyer, or even along the blank wall space under the stairs. For spaces that can’t accommodate built-in cabinets or benches, look into hall trees and freestanding coat racks that can establish the transitional space.
“Mud” is in the name for a reason — and you want your mudroom to be able to withstand the elements that get tracked in from outside, including dirt, mud, rain, snow, leaves, gravel and even road salt. This is not the place for carpeting, or even necessarily hardwood floors that could suffer damage if they stay wet too long. Tile and vinyl floors tend to be more durable and easier to clean, but be sure you choose a color or pattern that will mask dirt well in between cleanings. For durable flooring options, Fixr recommends tile materials like slate and ceramic, as well as vinyl, which can range in cost from $3 to $10 per square foot.
Especially if you have kids’ belongings to keep organized, cubbyholes make it easy for family members of any age to keep everything in their designated cubby space. Cubbies can hold shoes, hats and scarves, backpacks and sports equipment that make it easy to grab on the way back out the door. If you want to keep a clean overall look, put baskets in each cubby space to contain loose items. While freestanding cubbies or open lockers are available through marketplaces like Wayfair and Amazon, you can also hire a contractor to design and build custom cubbies for the room, or even take on a do-it-yourself project if you’re comfortable with woodworking.
Like in your kitchen or bathroom, expect custom cabinetry to be the most expensive option, but with the sleekest finished look. For this, you’ll want to bring in a professional to measure, offer design recommendations and oversee the installation. Standard cabinets can provide a polished look as well. “There’s all types of levels you can buy at,” says Barbara Kavovit, founder and CEO of Evergreen Construction in New York City. Kavovit points to Ikea and Home Depot as offering easily accessible places to find standard cabinets, with options to have them installed by professionals or do it yourself.
Bench or built-in seating
Make it easier to put on and take off shoes as you come and go by incorporating seating in your mudroom. A built-in bench makes it easy for more than one person to sit down at the same time, and will keep a cohesive look with any built-in cabinets or cubbies you have in the room. If custom built-ins are outside your budget or the space in your mudroom is too limited, a standard bench that you purchase (or even build yourself) works just as well. Look for one with shoe racks or shelves underneath for additional storage, or purchase bins to fit under the seat to create storage.
As you shop for seating options for your mudroom, look for hidden storage options that will make it easier to keep more items from taking up space elsewhere in your house. But don’t use it as a catch-all for items that will be forgotten and sit there for years. Keep your mudroom storage effective by going through each nook and cranny a couple times a year. Tracy McCubbin, founder of organizing company dClutterfly and author of “Making Space, Clutter Free” says spring and fall are the best times to declutter because “you can use (seasonal change) as markers to know what you need and don’t need.”
You’ll likely want a rug to wipe your feet and reduce the chances of slipping as you move around, but make sure the rug is able to withstand the outdoor elements it will come in contact with. An outdoor rug will be less likely to sustain damage from dirt and mud or grow mold when it’s wet for long. Home decor marketplaces like Wayfair, Ikea and Cost Plus World Market allow you to filter your search for outdoor rugs. If your mudroom is long and narrow, a long, thin rug known as a runner may be the best fit for the space.
If your mudroom design is focused on getting your growing family more organized as you head out the door, keep those smaller family members in mind as you plan for benches, hooks and cubby spaces. Coat hooks and racks need to be lower so children can hang jackets and hats without help, and be sure to designate the lowest cubby spaces for the shortest kids. If you have enough space in the mudroom, consider a standard bench height next to a bench designed for kids so it’s easier for toddlers to sit as well. For these, shop in kids’ furniture sections for benches or chairs that have a similar look as the adult-sized seating in the mudroom.
Consider combining your laundry room and mudroom into one space. This most often works if the laundry room is directly off the attached garage, and you can add the bench, cubbies and additional storage next to or across from the washer and dryer. Of course, if your washer and dryer hookups are located in the basement or a part of your house far from an entryway, creating a laundry room-mudroom hybrid would require plumbing work that could get expensive. Home improvement professionals network Thumbtack estimates that installing new washer and dryer hookups close to existing water, electricity and gas lines in your house will cost between $350 and $600, while a more labor-intensive installation could be as much as $2,000.
Hooks on the wall
While a freestanding coat rack might be an easy addition, take up less space in a mudroom with limited square footage by screwing hooks onto the wall for coats, hats, scarves and bags. There’s no need to be stingy with the number of hooks if you find it’s easiest to hang more from the wall than put items away in bins or cabinets. Hanging hooks should be a fairly easy DIY project regardless of your skill level. A larger coat rack with multiple hooks will naturally be heavier and is best installed by finding a stud in the wall to put a screw into for extra support. For hooks likely to only hold a light jacket or two, plastic screw-in drywall anchors don’t require a stud.
You’re always looking for a better place to charge your handheld electronics. By creating a charging station in the mudroom, you’re far less likely to forget your phone as you head out the door. Tim Bakke, publishing director for The Plan Collection, an online home and design plan source, says a permanent charging station will fit better in a mudroom than in the kitchen or living room. “These days, the mudroom or the ‘drop-zone’ is the ideal location to allow everyone in the family easy access to chargers, iPads and keys. As technology has evolved, home plans have followed to address the changing lifestyle needs of homeowners,” Bakke said in an August press release about expectations for home design in 2020.
Room for shoes
No matter how neat you try to keep your mudroom, expect piles of shoes and boots to build up throughout the week. You can ease the disorder by designing space in your mudroom for a rack, bins or cubbyholes just for shoes. You should still expect shoes to be discarded on the floor, but you’ll at least find it easier and faster to organize if you’re not trying to create new storage spots for them. Go simple with an open shoe rack that could just as easily be found in a bedroom closet, or try to keep shoes hidden with a shoe cabinet. Both styles are easy to find anywhere that sells closet storage solutions.
Space for the dog
It’s not uncommon for the furry members of the family to reside in the mudroom while the humans are out, especially if your pet is working on house training or tends to be destructive. While a baby gate or standard dog kennel works fine in the space, some homeowners are incorporating dog kennels and beds into their custom cabinetry design. It could be a simple nook for the dog bed beneath a bench or cabinet, or it could be a custom-designed kennel that fits beneath shelves or a tabletop. Especially if guests walk through your mudroom often, the built-in dog space offers an organized and intentional look.
Make it easy for all members of your family to spot notes, mail and memos by including a message board in your mudroom. By placing it at the spot where everyone regularly enters and exits, important notes won’t be missed. The Container Store’s Entryway Starter Kit, for example, includes a dry-erase calendar, chalkboard for messages, tray with hooks for mail, keys and other small items, and wall hooks for jackets for a little less than $100. It’s also easy to find dry erase boards that fit the size and design aesthetic that works for you. Some homeowners transform an entire wall into a message board with chalkboard paint.
Design and organization ideas for your mudroom:
— Created from scratch.
— Entry transition.
— Low-maintenance flooring.
— Bench or built-in seating.
— Hidden storage.
— Heavy-duty rug.
— Kid-centric design.
— Laundry room.
— Hooks on the wall.
— Charging station.
— Room for shoes.
— Space for the dog.
— Message board.
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