What You Need For The Perfect Mudroom

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What You Need For The Perfect Mudroom

Dripping umbrellas, muddy dog paws and wet tennis shoes – if these are all frequent visitors to your home, you need a mudroom to contain the mess. A mudroom, despite the name, doesn't have to be a room and doesn't have to serve just for containing mud.

What Is A Mudroom?

A mudroom is any area near your home’s entrance that is set up for convenience in putting on or removing wet shoes and holding or drying wet or dirty items. It’s also for setting things like keys, briefcases, cell phones and other items that need to be remembered as you head out the door. A mudroom might be as large as a service porch, or might be as small as a bench in the foyer.

Where Should Your Mudroom Be?

Obviously, a mudroom needs to be near the door that is used most frequently by the family, or at least by the kids. If you have a side or back entrance, or a covered service porch, those are natural locations. If your family often enters through the garage, a garage makes for a good spot as well.

The mudroom is also a good area for feeding pets, keeping pet beds or crates and installing a doggy door for Fido to let himself outside as needed. If you want a contained area for your mudroom, but don’t have a separate porch or laundry area near the door, consider converting an unused coat closet or space under the stairs.

What Should Be On The Floor?

The floor in your mudroom is going to take a beating, so flooring should be chosen with maximum durability in mind. This isn’t the spot for carpet or slippery marble. Good flooring choices include concrete, vinyl, unpolished tile and linoleum.

You will also need the following:

  • Mat: You also want a large mat for wiping wet feet. Choose a neutral color that hides stains and dirt. Tan, gray, rust and olive green all work well. Your mat should be a durable fabric that absorbs water, wipes dirt from shoes and has a nonskid back for safety.
  • Boot Tray: A boot tray is designed to hold wet shoes and boots, with a lip to contain water. If you have a large family, you might need more than one tray to hold everyone’s footgear. You can jazz up your mudroom with a decorative tray or go with something utilitarian and inexpensive.
  • Shoe Rack: Keep the room free of tripping hazards, let shoes dry and maintain organization with a sturdy shoe rack for holding tennis shoes and other non-boot footwear.

How Should You Furnish a Mudroom?

  • Wooden Cubby: Rain and snow boots usually mean heavy coats, scarves and gloves, which are also likely to be wet. Your mudroom should have plenty of hooks for hanging coats, and also bins, cubbies or shelves for holding gloves, dry umbrellas, hats and other inclement weather gear. An attractive wooden cubby not only keeps things tidy, it adds to the décor of your home.
  • Mitten Drying Rack And Umbrella Stand: A handy mitten drying rack is both cute and useful, keeping those elusive mittens handy and ready to slip on before heading out into the cold. An umbrella stand collects drips, and keeps umbrellas off the floor and out from underfoot.
  • Bench With Storage: You also need a bench in the mudroom that’s comfortable and sturdy enough to sit on while tugging off snow boots or skates. A bench with built-in cubbies, baskets or drawers provides convenient storage for sporting gear or umbrellas, as does a monk’s bench with a hinged seat.
  • Decorative And Organizational Items: Write notes, shopping lists and reminders on a bulletin board or dry erase board near the door, and add wall art to cheer up the room. Hang a doorknob organizer to hold keys, mail, cellphones, sunglasses, water bottles or various small items that are so easy to forget in your hurry to get out the door.

What Are Some Other Tips For Designing A Mudroom?

  • Your mudroom should be well lit, preferably with hanging or ceiling fixtures.
  • If you have more than one child, assign individual cubbies and provide a hook for each child’s coat. Make it easy by hanging a sign with each child’s name over their designated area. 
  • Hang hooks low enough for younger children to reach.
  • You want at least one for every member of the family to hang their winter coat, plus extras for guests, jackets, backpacks and other gear that inevitably accumulates in the mudroom.
  • The mudroom is a great place to hang a collage of family photos, artwork or vacation memorabilia. 
  • A small mirror near the door lets you take a quick check of your appearance before heading out.

A mudroom is a practical area of your home, but that doesn’t mean it has to be ugly or an afterthought. Design your mudroom with convenience and storage in mind, but also take time to make it attractive and comfortable. After all, this is the first glimpse of your home many visitors will have, besides the area that welcomes you and your family to home sweet home each day.

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