Make a Mudroom That Works for You
7 versatile drop-spots for coats, bags, and shoes, each packed with space-saving and clutter-busting ideas to help tidy up your entry
Prized for organizing all manner of gear, from backpacks to tennis rackets, mudrooms also double as spaces for chores as diverse as doing laundry and potting plants. What's more, they act as an intermediary between the dirt and germs that reside outside the house and the freshly swept and dusted surfaces inside.
To get the most out of your mudroom—whether you're adding a new one or reworking the one you already have—carefully consider how you'll use it and how much square footage you can realistically allocate for it. If you just need to stow a few coats and a laptop bag, a tidy row of hooks behind the entry door will suffice. For families with kids, more spacious digs decked out with shelves for stashing school supplies and sports equipment off a side or back door may be in order.
The finishing materials you choose and extras you add also play a role in how the mudroom looks and functions over the long haul. Its highly trafficked floors, for instance, should be easy to mop and able to take a beating. And seating, whether built-in or freestanding, should be sized for all members of the house, ensuring comfortable shoe changing for adults and children.
Follow along for mudroom options to suit various floor plans, plus smart ideas and features to help you maximize your drop-spot.
Shoehorned in an 8-foot-wide-by-3½-foot-deep stair landing off a basement-level back door, this space-challenged mudroom cleverly corrals coats in an unexpected place.
An open, 18-inch-deep “closet” is carved out of the stair wall leading to the kitchen/living space. The bottom shelf, which overhangs the built-in by 2 inches, doubles as a seat and pit stop for grocery bags. The upper shelf stows hats, plus items the homeowners wish to keep out of reach of their small children.
Wood sheathing finished with easy-to-clean semigloss enamel safeguards the inside of the built-in and surrounding walls from dents and dings.
TIP: Hide a radiator in a wood cover to create a shelf for sunglasses and keys; stock models from $100.
These natural-fiber baskets with easy-to-grab handles slide out from floor-level cubbies for stashing shoes and pet accessories.
Slate Tile Floor
Rather than continuing with the same wood used for the stairs, the landing's floor is tiled for easier upkeep and protection against mucky boots.
There's no easier—or thriftier—way to add multiple levels of stowaway space than with a wall-mounted unit like this one made from metal standards, adjustable brackets, and shelves fashioned from salvaged school bleachers (you can substitute ready-made shelves). Expect to pay about $175 for a similar DIY setup using stock parts from the home center.
To guard against wear, sheathe drywall in wood paneling painted with a heavy-duty semigloss. Mimic the rustic look of this horizontal treatment by stacking tongue-and-groove floor planks. Paint-grade white pine, $1.16 per square foot; lumberliquidators.com
Make your own shoe-changing bench by pairing two shelves or lengths of reclaimed wood, such as these bleachers, one beside the other on beefy brackets. Two 12-by-48-inch-long laminate shelves that hold up to 200 pounds each, $20 total; homedepot.com
Rubber tubs at floor level are good for grab-and-go items like shoes and toys. Lidded containers on upper shelves can keep art supplies dust free. Tubs, $16 each; tubtrugs.com. Multipacks of clear containers, $8-$10; officedepot.com
Protect wood floors with a rug that'll also warm up bare feet. The busy design of this wool one hides dirt. A 3-by-5-foot rug, similar to shown, $228; garnethill.com. If you plan to add new flooring, consider vinyl. ASI Organic Vinyl Collection tiles are made with recycled materials and go down with a low-VOC adhesive. $5 per square foot uninstalled; archsystems.com
In addition to a tall gooseneck spigot, the sink has a drinking fountain so that kids can rehydrate without tracking outside dirt into the house.
This seamless germ-repelling surface is easy to wipe down after making messy art projects.
An easy-access alternative to closed cabinetry, shelves along the back wall and below the counter hold baskets loaded with snacks and hand towels.
Glue-in-place cork sheeting transforms this sliding door into a family communications center holding phone numbers, grocery lists, and kids' drawings.
TIP: Wall-mount a light that can swing out of the way when not in use. Pulley sconce, about $290.
River Rock Floor
Backed with mesh and grouted in place, tumbled rocks install like ceramic mosaic tile but lend more slip resistance.
Topped with a moisture-resistant fabric cushion, the seat provides a comfy spot to remove shoes and kneel while jotting a quick note at the counter. Storage underneath gets footwear off the floor for sweeping and tidying up.
TIP: Oversize bar pulls, $20 each, make accessing under-sink storage a cinch.
Providing as much storage as a pricey built-in, a vintage furniture piece handily holds towels to grab on the way to the beach or to clean off dirty dog paws.
Towels or wet clothes hang to dry on this vintage wall-mount rack. Find similar ones for about $25 at rubylane.com.
TIP: Make a wall-hung first-aid kit out of a vintage lunch box. Get one on eBay for as little as $3.
A galvanized-steel container resists rust and keeps water from pooling on the floor beneath wet shoes.
Rather than mount a peg rack, the homeowners use casement cranks to hang baseball caps and keys on lanyards.
TIP: Finish wood floors with scuff-resistant porch enamel; about $35 per gallon.
This mudroom off the back door serves as the home's primary entrance for a family of four. A built-in with graceful arches and curves makes the area dressy enough for guests, too.
Tall Coat Cubbies
A 10-foot-long-by-18-inch-deep storage unit is divided into open “lockers.” Hooks inside keep coats out of direct view—and out of the thoroughfare. High-up shelves stow occasional-use items, while ones down low keep everyday stuff within easy reach. A bottom lip creates a seat for shoe changes.
A half wall between the kitchen and back door partitions off this 6-by-12-foot combination laundry room, potting area, and mudroom. The homeowners can peel off soiled garden togs and toss them in the washer on their way into the house.
TIP: Keep clothes hangers handy by installing a $1 dowel between the wall and the washer.
A surface for folding clothes and potting plants, seamless granite is easy to wipe clean, without the soil-catching grout lines associated with tile tops.
The half wall is capped with a polyurethaned wood shelf. Potted blooms on top get plenty of light and help screen views of the utility area from the kitchen.
This indoor/outdoor paver is a good option for wet areas. Unlike polished stone tiles, which can get slick, slate's textured matte surface provides traction.
Rustic Wood Bench
A thrift-store find provides charming seating and a drop-off point for mail, gardening supplies, and laundry detergent.
Located at the rear entrance, this mudroom provides a place for kids to shed drippy coats after dashing from the car to the house, as well as an out-of-the-way feeding spot for the family dog.
Mosaic Tile Floor
A quick pass with a mop removes muddy paw prints from these black and white ceramic hexagons.
Mounted at a child-accessible level, hooks encourage little ones to hang jackets and bags instead of tossing them on the floor.
Turned legs raise this seat high enough to place wicker storage bins underneath for holding balls and frisbees.
TIP: Fake wainscoting by painting with scrubbable semigloss enamel halfway up the wall; $35 per gallon.
Hung between the back door and the entry to a crafts room, this vintage mirrored rack gives adults a chance to primp one last time before heading out for the day.