In a home where the space is available, designing a mudroom will prove to be a very worthwhile investment, especially when said home is located in an area surrounded by nature. If you’re no stranger to muddy boots and paws, bikes, trainers and jackets all seeming to constantly accumulate in piles, then a well-equipped, well-functioning mudroom will change your domestic life forever.
Now imagine being able to stop all that clutter and mess from the outdoors leaving its trail inside your beautifully styled interior. A mudroom is a great transition area where all the daily use items you want out of sight find a home. Designing a mudroom is an exercise in nailing functionality down to the finest detail. It’s all about thoroughly analysing your habits, activities, how your family is using the space as they walk in and out of the home, and what is needed in practical terms. A mudroom that ticks all boxes requires a meticulous process, but once done, it will make life so much easier.
I spoke to interior designers who have got down the art of designing the perfect mudroom that is not only functional, but beautiful too, and they shared their 5 must-haves you should consider to make the most of this super useful, transitional space between the outdoors and indoors.
1. Variety of storage for your daily activities items
It goes without saying that you’ll want as much storage as possible, but it needs to be fit for purpose. Designers all agree that the best thing to do is look carefully at your daily activities and assess what type of storage you need, not just how much. ‘Think about how you will use the space and customize your mudroom to accommodate needs,’ advises interior designer Laura Britt. ‘Plan to accommodate for unusual items as well. For example, if there are hockey players, skiers, golfers in the house - large storage areas for bags and equipment are a must,’ she explains.
Think of the items you’re using regularly, and ensure everything has a home, so that the space looks tidy. ‘Having cabinets and drawers to keep items together and out of sight will help keep your mudroom from looking consistently cluttered,’ explains interior designer Erin Myers. ‘Brooms, mops, vacuums and cleaning supplies can be in a taller cabinet, while drawers are great for mittens, hats, pet accessories, etc.,’ she adds.
Try to keep all this variety of storage as discreet and hidden as possible, and make use of all the space, from floor to ceiling. Follow interior designer Ami McKay’s advice and ‘include shelves with baskets, a stack of drawers for keys and such (shoes!) and a built-in bench (more storage!) to sit on and hooks on the wall. Having s small laundry room incorporated or nearby is very convenient too,’ she says.
2. Hooks for your ‘grab and go’ items
The plain and humble hook might not sound like a big deal, but when it comes to a well-designed mudroom and vertical storage it’s an absolute must. ‘Hooks for quick 'grab and go' items like jackets and bags are essential,’ Laura tells me, and Erin agrees: ‘Mudrooms are often where a family stores their bags, totes, and everyday coats. A hook is simple and efficient, and even kids can be persuaded to hang up their backpacks if it's at an accessible height. Make sure they are mounted securely to a stud to withstand the weight of schoolbooks’.
Think about placing some hooks in a very accessible spot, for the items you need to have to hand, or drop as soon as you walk in or out the door, and mix that with hooks fitted inside closed storage, for items that you don’t use all the time.
3. A sink and prep space
If space allows it, fitting a sink will be the one thing you didn’t realise you needed, but will be wondering how you managed without. ‘A large sink with prep space is great for creating floral arrangements, cleaning arts and crafts projects or dirty shoes,’ says Laura, and adds that a sink is not the only water source people realise they need.
‘Many people want a dog washing station - some are elevated for ease of use while bathing smaller dogs,’ she adds, and designer Ami McKay agrees. ‘I love a good mudroom, and my favorite ones are beautiful and multi-functional. I have designed a few fabulous mud rooms with dog tubs!’ she tells me.
4. Throw-in spaces for miscelaneous items
Often what makes a room look really cluttered are the small or miscelaneous items that we accumulate daily: post, keys, scarves, bags…. The bigger the family, the more of these items will get scattered everywhere. When designing your mudroom you might not be able to foresee all the different type of storage you’ll need, so it’s often a great idea to just have a space allocated simply for throwing in the small stuff and hide it all away. It just needs to look pretty on the outside, while the rest, well… it’s behind closed doors.
‘Ensuring that your mudroom is clear and tidy might seem like a simple thing, but this is much easier said than done. My trick is to make it as easy as possible by creating throw-in storage – think tall cupboards and pull-out drawers under benches - for coats, bags, kids’ sports equipment, and everything in between,’ says interior designer Naomi Astley Clarke.
Erin swears by incorporating ‘drop zones’. ‘If this is the primary entry you'll use for your home, incorporating a drop zone to corral mail, keys, and chargeable devices is a necessity. Think about a charging station and making sure you have an outlet handy,’ she advises.
5. Durable and task orientated decor
Storage aside, the mudroom is the space that will probably get the most kicking, especially if it's an entryway mudroom. Sports accessories, bikes, pets, mud, it’s all bound to leave an impact on your surfaces, that’s why it’s good to think of durable flooring and wall treatments as a priority. ‘As one of the hardest working rooms in the home, make sure your flooring can stand up to dirt and moisture being tracked in by kids or dogs,’ advises Erin. Not only that, but think of your wall and trim paint too, and make sure it’s easy to clean, and less prone to scratching easily.
As the mudroom is effectively a task area of our home, good lighting is key. ‘Ensuring the area is well lit will ensure you're able to find what you need. Don't overlook the opportunity to have fun and give the space some personality with interesting fixtures,’ adds Erin.
How can you make such a functional space look beautiful?
With all this talk about function, function, and more function, one would be forgiven for wondering how to add style to the mix too. The experts tell us it’s not only possible, but a must too. ‘Allow for a little personality and style,’ encourages Laura. ‘Whether it's modern, transitional, or traditional detailing, make it functional, interesting and comfortable for your personal needs. Add a great punch of color or art - nothing like a beautiful piece of art to welcome you back home,’ she says, adding that a mudroom creates a welcoming transition from the daily stressors of the outside world, so of course you’ll want the added benefit of a pleasant look.
Naomi shares one of her favorite details to give character to the space: ‘I like to put initials onto the cupboards for a beautifully personal element that makes sure people can always find what’s theirs. If nothing else, it makes the last-minute clear up before guests arrive a bit quicker and easier to manage,’ she says.
Price: $19.99 (set of four)
The humble hook is one of the most valuable forms of vertical storage and ideal for 'grab and go' items.
Price: $33.99 (set of three)
Baskets are great 'throw in' storage solutions for small items like mail, gloves or scarves.
Be The First To Know
The Livingetc newsletter is your shortcut to the now and the next in home design. Subscribe today to receive a stunning free 200-page book of the best homes from around the world.
Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.
This is How You do Open-Concept in 2024 — A Modern "Barn" That Perfects the Art of Zoning Spaces
A beautiful home with a lofty sense of space doesn't sound like a problem, until you want to make sure everything's to scale, explains this designer
By Hugh Metcalf Published
What Kind of Vanity Makes a Bathroom Look Bigger? 4 Ideas That'll Flatter a Small Space's Size
If you're designing for a small bathroom, choose one of these vanities that will help emphasize your room's dimensions
By Luke Arthur Wells Published