Specialty Features for Mudrooms

From message boards to docking stations, specialty features can save you time as you head out the door.


Photo courtesy of LDa Architecture

Photo courtesy of LDa Architecture

By: Jeannie Matteucci

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.

20 Hard-Working Mudrooms

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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

Hidden Organization

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

Photo By: Bob Greenspan (816-591-3370)

Multipurpose Bench

A leather-topped Plain & Fancy bench includes pullout drawers for storage. Drawers can hold bins or baskets for shoes or other necessities.

Photo By: Scot Gordon

Storage Galore

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."

Entryway Necessities

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

Photo By: Chris Constantine

Cabinets and Drawers

Ample drawers and storage enable this small space to hold a lot of supplies. A simple pad with decorative pillows softens the cubbies for shoes. Photo courtesy of Houseplans.co; photography by Bob Greenspan

Photo By: Bob Greenspan (816-591-3370)

Savvy Stairway

Stairways often get clogged with items that get shed en route. Staggered cubbies make the most of a bank of stairs near the doorway. 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

From: Traci Zeller

Photo By: Dustin Peck

Kid-Friendly Cubbies

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

Photo By: Virginia Macdonald Photographer Inc.

Hard-Working and Rustic

Classic beadboard, warm wood textures and hints of the great outdoors are incorporated in a welcoming walk-through mudroom. Designer Jane Frederick packs a combination of cubbies, drawers and seating into her lodge-inspired drop zone.

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

Photo By: Bob Greenspan (816-591-3370)

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

Photo By: Bob Greenspan (816-591-3370)

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

Photo By: Photographer: Chris Constantine

Fitting Function

A small entryway off the garage can provide enough space for placing a durable but attractive organizing system. HGTV Green Home features a sleek, modern unit with cabinets, hooks and drawers for shoes, coats and potting needs.

Photo By: E.PERRY**Y

Clean and Clutter-Free

A laundry room nestles into the space just off the back door. Baskets above coat hooks are labeled “family” and "friends" to corral all the little things that come into the house. Photo courtesy of Houseplans.co; photography by Bob Greenspan

Photo By: Bob Greenspan (816-591-3370)

Rainy Day, No Problem

Maple cabinetry stores equipment and supplies, a narrow central bench provides a spot to change out of wet shoes, and a row of hooks holds plenty of jackets.

Work Around Your Windows

Use a mudroom window to your advantage. This storage unit from Easy Closets offers all the open and closed storage your family needs, but still allows natural light inside.

Photo By: Photographer:Daniel Van Duinen

Hang It Up

A small mudroom near the doorway includes plenty of hooks for hanging items; the bench serves as a tabletop with the addition of a small lamp.

Photo By: Eric Perry

Cottage Charm

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.

Photo By: Stacey Brandford

Message Boards

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).

Mudroom Design Ideas

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Charging Stations

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."

Family-Friendly Mudroom Makeover

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Welcoming Change

As their sons Carter and Henry became increasingly more active, Atlanta homeowners Hayden and Craig Kelly decided to convert the covered area on the side entry of their home into a convenient outdoor mudroom.

From Blah to Bold

Prior to the update, this area was a neglected space cluttered with bikes and ride-on toys. But a springy new exterior color, updates to an old potting bench and tropical-toned accents have turned it into the homeowners' new favorite spot.

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.

Hanging Around

Hayden hangs her jackets, purse and an umbrella neatly on white-painted pegs above the Parsons bench.

Doggie-Door Business

Though excellent solutions for mobile pets, many dogs are apprehensive about using dog doors in the event of inclement weather. Should the family's cocker spaniel, Lucy, need to let herself out, the covered mudroom offers a place for her to tackle her business.

Bold Household Hub

Whether packing picnic baskets with snacks, cleaning up messy workout gear or arranging cut flowers in vases, the busy mom and dad always find an excuse to use their colorful, storage-packed mudroom command center.

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.

Privacy Curtains

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.

Outdoor Sink

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.

Flower Power

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.

Grab-and-Go Hooks

Soiled sneakers worn by active children require extra room to properly air out. Instead of bundling Carter's and Henry's sneakers in bins, Hayden and Craig hang them out to dry on hooks installed neatly along the side of the command center.

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.

Mail Organizers

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."

Key Hangers

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."

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Determine Your Storage Needs

The items you want to store will help determine the best storage solutions for your mudroom.

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