For a busy family, even a small mudroom can change the whole flow of a home. Just ask Emily Allison, whose entryway off the garage of her Houston home caught a lot of clutter but lacked a real system for corralling the family of three's outerwear and bags.
To devise a fix, Emily cleared out the space so she could create a mini drop zone. First, she used paint she had on hand to make bold navy and white stripes on the wall of the entry—a feature she'd wanted to include in her home elsewhere but lacked a logical spot for.
Then, she worked with her cousin's husband, Ben Landers, to design a custom storage seat, which he built for her out of cabinet-grade birch plywood. Emily painted it with the same leftover white paint used on the walls to give it a bright, clean look. Storage baskets borrowed from other parts of the house provide places to hide shoes.
A charming coatrack—a $10 garage-sale steal—holds outerwear, keys, and her 3-year-old's school gear, no longer strewn around the house; a new chevron rug stops dirt at the door. "Sometimes you do a room and get tired of it," says Emily, who blogs at decorchick.com.
"I still really love that room. I haven't changed a thing about it!"
The Project Tally
• Created large graphic stripes on the wall with paint she had on hand $0
• Constructed a bench from birch plywood and pine 1x2s and 1x4s, then trimmed it out with stop molding before coating it with leftover paint $65
• Scored a chalkboard coatrack at a yard sale $10
• Finished off the space with a bright cotton area rug $20