Mudrooms: Built-Ins vs. Freestanding
Having the right storage makes the difference between a mudroom that takes up space in your home or gives you that go-to zone for efficiency and organization. One of the big decisions you have to make when you plan a mudroom is the choice between custom built-ins or freestanding benches, cabinets and wall units.
A mudroom doesn't have to be located at the back or front of a home. An old side entry was converted into this welcoming mudroom with both open and closed storage solutions by TerraCotta Properties. Photography by Jeff Herr
Hooks and Benches
This accessible, family-friendly mudroom by Pierce Lamb Architects features plenty of hooks for caps and a handy built-in bench. Upper storage cabinets and beadboard paneling add character to the space. Photography by Kathy Tarantola
Athletes in the family can quickly grab gear or change uniforms in this streamlined mudroom by LDa Architecture & Interiors. Large drawers under the built-in bench store items away and help the space maintain a clean look. Photography by Kathy Tarantola
This smart mudroom by Ron Brenner Architects is located in a hall between the kitchen and garage. The mudroom cabinetry was crafted into a divider wall that disguises the laundry room on the other side. Photography by Phillip Mueller
Consider the needs of your pets. This pet-friendly mudroom by TerraCotta Properties includes a pullout lower drawer that offers customized space for food and water bowls. Photography by Jeff Herr
Pantry + Mudroom Combo
If you love to cook, try including pantry storage with your mudroom. This handy storage system from EasyClosets offers storage for mudroom essentials along with open shelves for dry pastas, extra mugs and cookbooks.
This user-friendly unit combines all the essentials of good mudroom storage: open shelves, closed cabinets, hooks for hanging coats or pet leashes, and a storage bench. An open niche under the lower cabinets can be used for shoes or pet bowls. Photo courtesy of ClosetMaid
Warm and Inviting
Small details can add style to a mudroom. A roomy mudroom in this Cape Cod-style home designed by Ron Brenner Architects features rich walnut storage solutions and serves as the family entry, ideally located off the kitchen and adjacent powder room. Photography by Phillip Mueller
Location, Location, Location
The right location makes all the difference for a mudroom. This user-friendly space for an active family of four is located between a side entry carport and an open-plan kitchen. Design by TerraCotta Properties; photography by Jeff Herr
A Place for Everything
Created to be an integrated feature of a full kitchen remodel, this smart mudroom/laundry room combination offers a series of hidden storage solutions for an active family. Storage for pet food and accessories was also included. Design by TerraCotta Properties; photography by Jeff Herr
When your mudroom is open to an adjacent space, take design cues from existing decor. Hanging, open and closed storage for this mudroom are all located inside a single stylish unit. Photo courtesy of EasyClosets
Formal to Functional
A sleek new mudroom and storage area is a key component of the more-welcoming formal entry in this renovated Boston townhouse designed by LDa Architecture & Interiors. The mudroom details complement the home's rich finishes.Photography by Peter Vanderwarker
Sometimes a simple niche creates just the storage you need. Architect Ron Brenner added a window to this upgraded mudroom that sits between the garage and main living area of this Arts & Crafts home. Photography by Phillip Mueller
What's Great About Built-Ins
Many homeowners like the sturdy nature of built-in cabinets and storage units. Built-ins allow you to create storage just where you need it.
"I think when you use built-ins in a mudroom you maximize your space," says designer Ili Nilsson, founding partner of TerraCotta Properties. "If you're into photography and have equipment or you're a soccer coach with lots of gear, built-ins help you address those needs."
On the downside, says Nilsson, built-ins are not the best solution for someone who wants instant gratification or needs a quick fix. Custom cabinets take time to design, build and install, so you have to be willing to invest the time. Built-in storage units are also often more costly than the store-bought variety.
"It also stays there when you move," says professional organizer Martha Clouse of Organized for Life. "You need to think about your future plans and how long you plan to stay in that house before you make the investment."
Why We Love Freestanding
Usually less expensive than the built-in variety, freestanding storage solutions are readily available online and at many home stores. But keep in mind freestanding units are often limited in color, finish and durability.
"They come in the size they come in," says Nilsson. "You don't get to maximize the height and depth of your room."
You can add personality to freestanding units by semi-customizing the pieces, says Nilsson. Add a custom wood top to a simple store-bought tower or personalize a cabinet by adding nice hardware or painting the inside. But make sure to take your time.
"Don't rush the assembly," says Nilsson. "If not assembled properly, your mudroom storage units won't last and you wasted your money."