Mudroom Lighting Tips
Anyone who's ever rifled through a deep drawer in the dark can attest that lighting can make or break a space. Because the mudroom is such a hard-working part of the house, a careful lighting plan can go a long way toward making this space work for you.
"Mudroom lighting needs to be functional first," says interior designer Molly Quinn. "Just make sure you have an adequate number of lights and wattage for the space." Because mudrooms are transitional areas, the light from doors, windows and overhead fixtures, also known as ambient lighting, will generally fulfill a lot of the requirements for this space. You will, however, still need to think about layering in differing types of lighting, including task lighting and accent lighting.
Lighting for mudrooms will depend primarily on where the mudroom is located, what sort of general illumination is present, and how functional or decorative the space is intended to be. A mudroom that serves as a utility room and is home to tasks like laundry and bill paying will have a different set of needs than a small nook in an apartment that's primarily decorative. But no matter the location, the lighting of the space does create a mood, and because the mudroom is integral to our functioning both inside and outside, it's important to set the right tone and make the space as inviting as possible.
"It's nice to have pendants or flush-mount fixtures as opposed to recessed lighting," says Quinn, who notes that a lot of a room's defining personality comes from the light fixtures. "Since a mudroom consists mainly of hard surfaces, you have to make the most of opportunities to introduce a bit of personality and patina, and that's why choosing light fixtures and hardware should be considered along with the cabinets, flooring and finishes, not as an afterthought." Light fixtures set the mood, whether that’s one of efficiency or welcome.
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.
"Lighting should be cheerful and bright but functional," says architect Mandy Brown, who adds that you’ll probably want a mix of both ambient and task lighting. Natural light from a nearby window, a door's glass panes or fanlights, or a skylight is a valued bonus — but a bright ceiling fixture of some sort is a minimum. And keep in mind that overhead lighting casts shadows on equipment or surfaces tucked under cabinetry, so you'll need to factor in under-cabinet lighting or a nice lamp for any tabletops, countertops or appliances that could be rendered useless in the dark.
Consider your view both entering and exiting the mudroom. What do you wish to spotlight? This can be as simple as a hook with a set of keys or as sentimental as a piece of artwork or an inspirational quote to arm you for your day. This is where accent lighting can direct your eye to the important things that matter to you.