Specialty Features for Mudrooms
Specialty features can make your mudroom more user-friendly and save you time as you head out the door. Here are some ideas for adding more convenience to your life.
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.
Great for family reminders and school schedules, a central message board can help keep everyone up to date on the latest news. Message boards with chalkboard or magnetic paint, cork boards with pushpins and electronic message boards are some of the options.
"I think chalkboards are great for people who like the schoolhouse feel but they're not the most practical," says designer Stephanie Marsh Fillbrandt of Marsh & Clark Design.
The mess of chalk can be a deal breaker for some, while others don't like the loose pins required with a cork board. No matter the message board you choose, Fillbrandt says make sure to consider your audience and place the board at an appropriate height (for example, not high if the message board is used mostly by the kids).
If your family has electronic devices, you can add a charging station inside a mudroom cabinet or drawer, have one that slides in and out on a shelf, or include one in a cubby hole or built into the wall. But if your mudroom is not heated or far away from your main living space, you might be better off choosing another spot.
"I don't think a mudroom is the right location for a charging station," says Fillbrandt. "Our clients are bringing their mobile devices into the house and we're putting them in bedrooms or a study space."
Room for a Bench
Mudrooms are the perfect places for benches that allow you to stop and remove your shoes before entering the home. With no true interior entryway, Hayden and Craig were lacking the space to accommodate such a perch. But thanks to an 8-foot exterior wall in their new outdoor mudroom, the couple gained ample space for a new Parsons version, where everyone can take off their Georgia clay-clad footwear before traipsing inside.
A Place for Vases
An outdoor mudroom can be an excellent solution for a home that's lacking in storage. Hayden has a large collection of vases that previously took up two entire kitchen cabinets but could be used more efficiently to stow bowls, plates and serving pieces. Now simple, white-painted wooden crates provide open storage along an exterior wall, keeping fragile vases out of the boys’ reach while freeing up valuable kitchen real estate.
Whether grooming cocker spaniel Lucy, cleaning up the kids after a day of roughhousing or arranging flowers in vases, Hayden is likely to spend lengthy periods of time in the outdoor mudroom. To add a layer of privacy and soften the hard edges of the home's exterior, indoor-outdoor drapery panels made of machine-washable acrylic fabric were installed.
Clever Pegboard Storage
Pegboards keep mudroom essentials stored neatly and within reach. As the Kelly family grows and their activities evolve, an adjustable pegboard backsplash, installed above the command center, offers a convenient spot to hang baskets and hooks. The utilitarian material was dressed up with a coat of celery-green paint.
A ready-made potting bench or console table can easily become a hard-working mudroom command center, complete with working water. But it's important to keep in mind various sink options and what their installations entail. Hayden and Craig chose an under-mount stainless steel sink for its sleek appearance and easy maintenance.
Similar to laundry rooms, mudrooms are rugged, hardy spaces best utilized for messy yet necessary daily routines. Rather than splashing water all over her kitchen and clogging her disposal drain with cut stems, Hayden utilizes her new potting bench command center as a flower-arranging station.
The Perks of Pea Gravel
Pea gravel was the material of choice for Hayden and Craig's outdoor mudroom. Sold by the truckload, pea gravel sits loosely on the ground and helps with drainage; thus, it's often used in gardens and planting beds. It's great for evening out a less-than-level surface and kicking dirt and clay off boots before heading inside.
Piles of daily mail often take up counter space in the kitchen, so designating storage for mail in your mudroom makes sense. You can use slots built into a cabinet or wall-mounted files.
"You want something that contains the mail," says designer Denna McLaughlin of City Studios. "For one client, we had a basket for the junk mail and another for bills, so she knew what mail was most urgent. It's also a good idea to have a basket just for catalogs and magazines and include a recyclable container where you store your mail, so you can eliminate older mail or unwanted catalogs."
To avoid lost keys, create a designated spot to store them. The mudroom is the perfect place for family members to deposit keys when they return home and grab them as they head out the door. You can choose a wall-mounted key storage box, key rack or simple hooks to keep your keys stored properly and within easy reach.
"I love hanging key storage," says Fillbrandt. "We do both open and closed cabinets for keys and hooks with labels. Having a labeled master set of keys is a great idea. Just avoid having a key drawer. Key rings open up and you end up with random unlabeled keys."
You can even use a belt rack with labels above each hook to store keys. "Hang it under your message board," says McLaughlin. "They’re all related and should be close together."