Designing the Perfect Mudroom

Mary Cook contributed to this story. Cook is the founder and president of Mary Cook Associates. Her new book, “The Art of Space: Seven Fundamentals That Guarantee
Great Interior Design” demystifies interior design and makes it accessible to everyone.
It’s available on Amazon.com.

It’s defined as “a vestibule or other area in a house in which wet and muddy clothes or footwear are removed and stored.”

As lifestyle trends usually do, the busy American family is helping to drive a new era for American home design to better fit the way people really live today. As a result, the mudroom has evolved. As with most other spaces in the home, busy, time-crunched families need their mudrooms to do a whole lot more than they ever have before. They’ve become the place where busy families drop, store, change, keep, hide, charge, and hold all the stuff they need for their daily lives.

And it acts as a barrier or transition area between outdoors and indoors. It’s even more important in regions with wet, muddy winters. Furthermore, the mudroom defines a clear boundary and encourages people to remove wet, dirty layers before coming into the house. This goes miles in helping to keep the house clean.

As always, great design starts with an objective and the development of a plan. Obviously, you need a multi-functional space designed with ample storage options that fit your family’s lifestyle.

Not so obvious, however, is the depth of the list of your needs. So, drill down. Think of every detail. Here are a few key things to think about.

Flooring & Finishes

Generally, the flooring materials and wall finishes should be durable and easily cleaned. For floors, consider ceramic or porcelain tile, or natural stone. For walls, a wainscot of bead and board paneling or other protective material below chair rail height helps to protect walls. Or, a heavy gauge vinyl wallcovering that is scrubbable will also work well to protect walls from bumps and dirty hand prints.

Cubbies

Have your design include cubbies or lockers, so each person has their own space. This makes finding hats, gloves, shoes, etc. easy. And it keeps everyone more organized.

Storage

“You can’t have too much storage.” Especially when you look at everything you want to store. Things to consider:

  • Footlockers for shoes and boots
  • Hooks for caps, coats, jackets, back packs, and the dogs leash
  • Shelves for books, helmets, lunchboxes
  • Drawers for hats, gloves, scarves
  • Trunk for toys
  • A bench or seat for sitting when you take off your boots (which ideally can do double duty with storage beneath)
  • A mirror so you can take a look without going back in the house.
  • Bulletin board
  • A cupboard for pet supplies
  • Room on the floor for the dog or cat bowls
  • Rugs, mats, and boot trays for wet and muddy shoes and boots
  • Electrical outlets for chargers

Lighting

Good lighting will go a long way to keep nooks, crannies, and cubbies well lit and easy to access.

Flexibility

Remember to keep flexible. The mudroom has evolved, and it will continue to evolve. Make sure yours can change as your life changes.

Hide It
Depending on the location of your mudroom, you may (and probably do) want the option of closing it off from view at certain times. Closing off the room or cubby with a door or curtain is a nice option if possible.

For more mudroom design and organization tips, check out Toll Brothers’ Mudroom/Laundry Room board on Pinterest.

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