Don’t let your mudroom become a chaotic catchall for shoes and winter gear. Check out designers’ top tips for keeping your entry room organized, efficient and, most of all, well decorated.
Design With Kids in Mind
When designing a mudroom, think of how your children will use the space. Jeffrey S. Brown, president of J.S. Brown & Co., says, “Most parents tell us their children do better with open areas because they are more likely to hang their coat on a hook than to open a closet door and pull down a hanger.” In this situation, low-hanging hooks are the best option. Kids can easily hang their bags and coats on rows of hooks and kick off their shoes below. Designer Sarah Richardson’s walk-through mudroom is the perfect example of a low-maintenance entry with kids in mind.
A Mudroom Must-Have
Most mudrooms are considered narrow walk-through hallways off the kitchen or laundry room. But, if space permits, there is one design element almost every mudroom should have: a bench. Jeffrey S. Brownsays, “I almost always include a shallow bench area, which is helpful for taking off boots or setting down a briefcase or shopping bag. Bench seating should be open to the floor, allowing for someone to sit down and put their shoes underneath when they come inside.” DIY Network’s Blog Cabin 2012 features an open entryway mudroom with foyer benches suited to house shoes and accessories underneath, and even offers a standalone closet with a storage shelf and hanging rack.
Just As Stylish As the Rest
Designer Jane Frederick was sure not to leave “style” out of the equation when creating this traditional walk-through mudroom. Rather than designing a sterile space with a utility room feel, Jane incorporates rustic, lodge-inspired elements from the rest of the home into the mudroom. She uses wooden case goods, artwork and accessories to style the space and make it feel just as warm as the rest of the home, even though it serves as a functional mudroom.
Some homes simply require a small entryway with a quick place to tuck shoes and coats away without the use of a formal storage unit. Designer Sarah Richardson stores winter gear in a brick-red closet with an antique bench nearby and a full-length mirror right by the door for last-minute outfit checks.
Create a Room That Flows
This rustic, cottage-style mudroom is a true indoor/outdoor breezeway that flows from one room to the next. In room-to-room mudroom pathways, be sure to incorporate elements from both indoor and outdoor surroundings to create a successful movement. Architect Don Giambastiani of Solomon+Bauer+Giambastiani Architects says, “Mudrooms are usually the transition between the interior and exterior, so choose materials, both functionally and visually, based on the overall design of the home and landscape.” Here, stone floors and walls pull in outdoor elements that also coordinate with the rest of the interior.
Multipurpose at Its Best
Busy, active families with children often need more than just a few shelves in a mudroom when it comes to storing coats, shoes, backpacks and sporting equipment. Architect Emily Fisher of Rock Paper Hammerturns an 8-by-20-foot space into a multifunctional laundry room/mudroom located just outside the kitchen. When designing this mudroom, Emily keeps the needs of this busy family in mind and creates a transitional storage unit. “This area usually takes the form of built-in cubbies — open lockers for each family member with plenty of hooks, spaces above for bins to hold smaller items and shoe storage below with a small bench above,” she says.
Determine Your Mudroom’s Functionality
Much like choosing the function of a spare room, a mudroom should be well thought out and have an ultimate purpose in the home. According to Susan Howell of Howell Custom Building Group, the homeowner should first make a list of everything they plan on storing in the mudroom and how they want it to look and flow with the rest of the home. “Do they want this to be just a ‘utility’ entrance for family members and pets, or will this be the primary entry/exit to the home? If so, it needs to maintain a neater, more elegant appearance,” she says. “Will the room serve different uses in different seasons — for example, if they have a pool, will they be storing towels and pool toys here in the summer? Will they want to store boots and hockey attire here in the winter?” In HGTV Dream Home 2011, the mudroom features floor-to-ceiling, locker-style cabinetry that stores ski equipment and other winter gear. When the family steps off the slopes, they can clean up in a mudroom built to stand up to harsh wear and tear.
Efficient, Family-Friendly Storage
To ensure a mudroom stays organized and clutter-free, make the space functional and efficient for everyone. Designer JoLynn Johnson of Crystal Kitchen Center says, “Coat hooks are much easier than hangers for storing outerwear, plus you can hang backpacks and purses from them, too. Double up and have two rows of hooks for longer coats on the top and shorter on the bottom, even.” Like in this mudroom, JoLynn suggests using cubbies if you have the space. “Everyone in the family can have their own cubby to organize their things. Add outlets for charging phones, iPods or computers instead of letting these items clutter up the kitchen countertop.”
Closed Off and Clutter-Free
A closed-off mudroom is the best option for those that don’t care to have a guest-ready space at all times. In this traditional home, designers Jeffrey S. Brown, Monica Miller and Stefanie Ciak of J.S. Brown & Co.create a separate mudroom located just off the kitchen and entryway. It features all the elements of a traditional mudroom — like shelves, hooks and drawers — but uses a sliding, reclaimed-wood barn door to keep everything stylishly concealed.
Three Rooms in One
Upon entering HGTV’s Green Home 2012, one would never guess that this tiny space houses an entryway, mudroom and a laundry room. That’s right — designer Linda Woodrum is sure to keep clutter at bay with stylish storage systems that cleverly deceive the eye. On the right, a handcrafted peg rail provides a quick and easy spot to hang coats, hats and handbags on the way in. On the left, locker-style cabinetry with industrial-chic charm hides a front-loading washer/dryer unit, cleaning supplies and other accessories.