Finding a Place for Your Mudroom
Depending on where your mudroom is located — near the front door, the back or adjacent to your living quarters — you may have distinctly different needs. As you think about the layout of your house, take a look around and come up with a plan that works for you. Just remember to find a place that's convenient. "It’s going to take a lot more effort if it isn't near the main door," says professional organizer Ruthann Betz-Essinger. "The simpler it is to put things away, the better off you'll be."
Here are some ideas to keep in mind for each location.
Location, Location, Location
"It's practical to consider the mudroom as a transition zone between a garage and the main house," says interior designer Molly Quinn. "And since people frequently use their back entrances as their main entrance/exit, it's helpful to consider what areas guests will walk through before arriving at their destination." For a tailored mudroom with plenty of storage, Quinn included a wool Oushak runner, which she says is naturally durable. Photo courtesy of Molly Quinn Design
No more hunting around for items in the back of a dense shelf. A pretty space for hats, scarves and bags is made even more functional by the cabinet that slides out to reveal an organization system complete with hooks and wire shelving for easy access to cleaning supplies and household tools. Photo courtesy of Houseplans.co; photography by Bob Greenspan
A wall unit by California Closets includes lots of cubbies and even rods for hanging jackets and coats. "Look at the space as a blank palette," advises Ginny Snook Scott of California Closets. "And consider it not only from left to right, but from floor to ceiling. You’ll find a lot of storage space by going up as high as possible."
An easy solution is to park a wall unit near an entry, keeping guesswork to a minimum. If possible, factor in a cubby for each family member and some drawers or baskets to keep some things out of view. Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs
Equipment Drop Zone
As anyone who lives near a beach can attest, transitional zones are a necessity for trapping the residuals of fun in the sun. A sand-room unit includes a spot for the surfboard and plenty of beach towels. Photo courtesy of California Closets
A Mudroom Wall for All
A custom mudroom wall includes a cubby and locker for each family member. "Because I needed to use every inch of the space and I wanted everyone to have their own spot, I had this locker unit custom-made," says interior designer Traci Zeller. "That way I could give each person the largest and deepest locker possible in the limited space we had. Going the custom route was the best option and rather comparable in price to a prefabricated unit." Design by Traci Zeller; photography by Dustin Peck Photography
No need to grab a stepstool. Stairway cubbies can be fitted at the right height for children; the top surface can be used for display or decorative baskets, bins or bags. Photo courtesy of California Closets
Mail Filing System
This mudroom's desk makes the space even more practical, with mail slots, drawers and shelving. The black-painted wall behind the desk makes a subtle distinction between this contemplative space and the rest of the hard-working mudroom. Photo courtesy of Houseplans.co; photography by Bob Greenspan
Double-Duty Craft Room
This mudroom doubles as a craft room, where a dropped counter at desk height accommodates a sewing machine. Though doors and drawers hide wrapping paper, ribbon, tape and scissors, countertops are the perfect place for wrapping gifts. Coordinating materials used in the room differentiate spaces for different tasks: white for tasks and crafts, polished wood for household storage, olive green for personal things. Photo courtesy of Houseplans.co; photography by Bob Greenspan
Room for Seasonal Items
"We advise people to rotate their gear with the season," says Scott. "You can move items from one area to another, placing out-of-season items up high or behind cabinet doors so they’re still really easy to find." A wall unit makes the most of vertical and horizontal space. Photo courtesy of California Closets
Using antique accents and earthy materials, HGTV host Sarah Richardson designed a stylish entryway that maintains the welcoming character of a century-old farmhouse. To add a touch of charm into your mudroom, skip the custom storage systems and incorporate sentimental furnishings.
By the Front Entry
If your mudroom is near the front entry, it will be accessible to many of your houseguests as well.
Think about the style of your house and the surrounding rooms: Are they traditional or sleek and contemporary? You’ll want to outfit a mudroom near the entry in a similar style. Think of it as the spot where you and your guests will drop coats, umbrellas and bags. You'll want it to be an attractive and organized space, one that you don't mind showing off a bit, so you may want to invest in shelving or cabinetry, pretty bins, an upholstered cushion and pieces that wear well.
Near the Kitchen or Back Door
"The best place for a mudroom is near whichever door you usually enter," says interior designer Traci Zeller.
A mudroom off a kitchen or back door often becomes the de facto family entrance. For gardeners and kids, it's likely to be a space that truly gets muddy.
Whether you're changing out of muddy shoes, bringing in a basket of cuttings from the garden, or dropping lunch boxes and backpacks here, an organized family spot in a heavily trafficked area — one that you'll pass through regularly throughout a day — makes a lot of sense.
If you include a small sink and a washer and dryer — maybe even a desk or a spot for bills and family calendars — it can become an efficient planning zone for daily housekeeping.
In the Garage
On rainy days, who doesn't want to park in a garage and unload bags and gear without getting even a tiny bit wet? A mudroom off the garage can be the perfect landing spot for shopping bags, backpacks, hats, sports gear and shoes, and there's less need to match the style of your mudroom to that of your interiors.
For this space you should invest in a top-of-the-line organizing system built to withstand lots of wear and tear, or you should install industrial metal shelving and supplement with eclectic garage sale finds.
Beside the Utility Room
"Ideally I like a mudroom located near a laundry room so that dirty clothes can be dumped directly into the wash, or wet coats, hats and mittens can be thrown into the dryer," says interior designer Molly Quinn. "But even if it isn't adjacent to the laundry, it’s very practical to have a sink in a mudroom or in an adjacent bathroom to wash hands after coming in from outside."
A designated utility room in the back or off to the side of a house may be closed off when not in use and can include an iron and ironing board, a rod for hanging clothes, laundry sorters, and even items like sports and hobby equipment.