Flooring Because it will be taking a beating on a daily basis, the floor should be a durable material and, for safety's sake, it should also be slip-resistant. Concrete, laminates and vinyl withstand wear and tear but tend to be slick when wet. Wood requires a lot of upkeep, especially in damp conditions. Look at what's available in textured rubber ($5 per square foot and up, installed) or ceramic or (unpolished) stone tile ($5 to $25 per square foot). Choosing a dark color for the floor will help camouflage dirt. Whatever the material, a couple of doormats — a bristle or rubber one to brush off dirt stationed outside and a water-absorbing one inside — can minimize the amount of dirt that gets tracked into the house. In a new-construction home where heavy use is anticipated, consider installing a central drain, which allows you to hose down the floor. A practical compromise for existing spaces breaks the cleaning process into two steps: Use a garden hose near the door to rinse off equipment and your pet(s), then towel dry inside the mudroom. Walls When it comes to wallcoverings, the pros have different opinions. Some swear by vinyl wallpaper ($10 per roll and up). It's easy to sponge clean, provides some protection for the wallboard and can add color or a pattern to a room. Others opt for a high-gloss paint, accepting the fact that walls will get dinged up and will need regular repainting. Wainscoting offers effective, good-looking protection. For baseboards, vinyl cove is the low-maintenance, economical choice for a room that gets mopped frequently, but traditional wood molding is nicer.
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