Mudrooms: Built-Ins vs. Freestanding

Consider the pros and cons of each type of mudroom storage option


Photo courtesy of Closet Maid

Photo courtesy of Closet Maid
By: Jeannie Matteucci

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.

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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."

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