No one wants to come home and have a messy hallway or foyer be the first thing they see. If you want to cut down on clutter and chaos around the main entrance of your home, a mudroom can be a great asset.
Generally defined as the first room you encounter when entering your home, your mudroom can set the tone for the rest of your house. Whether you’re setting up a DIY mudroom from scratch or you’re looking to revamp an existing entryway with some fresh storage ideas, it pays to know what your options are.
Consider the Possibilities for Your DIY Mudroom
A mudroom can be as simple as a floor mat and coat rack near the most-used entrance of your home, but it can also be so much more. A wide variety of storage options can be implemented in this entryway, from shoe racks to mudroom cabinets and personal cubbies.
It’s important to carefully choose design and storage elements that fit the needs of your household. Consider factors such as:
- The number of people in your home
- Common family activities
- The amount of space available
- Accommodations for pets
Once you’re clear on your needs, it’s time to get started.
“A mudroom is the ideal place to store high use ‘coming and going’ items. Shoes, jackets, and backpacks, of course, but also sunscreen, sidewalk chalk, umbrellas, sunglasses, reusable tote bags, etc. Anything you would need to grab as you are heading out the door. It is also a great place to keep a ‘fun on the run’ kit, which is a small collection of activities like crayons, coloring books, matchbox cars, and other small toys that you can use to keep your young children entertained while they are at a restaurant or waiting at the doctor’s office.”
Sara Nelson | Owner, Less is More Organizing Services
Choose and Prepare a Space
Mudrooms are flexible spaces and can fit into most entrances, but location is still a crucial factor to consider during the planning phase. Several existing spaces can be converted into a mudrooms, including your:
- Laundry room
- Front hallway
- Backdoor area
- Garage entryway
Ideally, you’ll want to have at least five feet of width to work with, allowing space for a storage bench, a row of cubbies or other storage options. Alternatively, four square feet of width can still allow for a small mudroom area with a shallow cabinet or wall-mounted storage such as coat racks.
Build a Shoe Bench
No matter where in the house your mudroom is situated or what shape it takes, a shoe bench is a practical and versatile mudroom storage solution that provides both a place to rest and remove footwear as well as a place to store shoes and other outerwear not being used.
There are many types of storage benches you can purchase at home goods stores, but if you’re an enterprising DIYer, you can always build your own. A shoe bench can consist of little more than a wooden box that is painted or covered in padded lining. Also, using recycled or reclaimed wood can keep the costs of the project low. A shoe bench can be nailed or glued to a wall for added stability.
Install Personal Cubbies
Personalized storage cubbies are a great way of keeping belongings organized separately, especially if you have little ones. As you build your mudroom, consider adding cubbies, shelves and hooks that are the right height for each person so you can keep coats, hats, gloves, boots and other outerwear within easy reach.
As cubbies are usually mounted onto or against a wall, you may want to put up a new dividing wall if your planned mudroom is more open-ended than you’d prefer.
“Tie the contents of your mudroom to the present season. With the seasons changing every few months, expect that the items kept in the mudroom will always be in flux. Since this area is prime real estate, be very selective with what you store there. If space is limited, only keep items in this area that are seasonally appropriate and that you use daily or a few times a week. If you have ample storage, rotate seasonal items so that winter gear is easily accessible during the cooler months, and summer gear is stored in higher cabinets or shelves. Switch places when warmer weather begins.”
Sarah Nelson | Owner, Less is More Organizing Services
When to Remove a Wall
For certain projects, like installing a sliding door closet or recessed wall cabinet, you may find yourself needing to tear down a wall or a section of a wall. This type of renovation often requires a substantial investment of time and effort if you intend to tackle it yourself. Before diving into this project, it’s vital to first make sure the wall in question is not load-bearing.
Leave Room for Floor Mats
When you set out to build a mudroom, keep the word “mud” in mind. Main entrances tend to attract foot traffic from outside the house, with dirt, mud and other messes often being tracked in as a result. Simple rugs can help keep dirt off the mudroom’s floor, but rubberized and weatherproofed floor mats offer more comprehensive protection and can be rinsed off in a wash tub or by a garden hose.
Mudroom Ideas for Small Spaces
Not all homes have ample room to fit all of your favorite mudroom storage ideas. If you’re working in a smaller area, you’ll have to get creative with your organization efforts to create a space-saving entryway. To start, think about what you need your mudroom to accomplish – do you just need a place to hang up a jacket and umbrella? Or somewhere to keep the kids’ sporting equipment and the dog’s walking gear? Knowing what you need from your mudroom will help you be strategic about your plans.
Use wall-mounted racks to provide an easy storage solution while saving floor space. A set of mudroom cabinets built into a closet can give everyone in the house space of their own without intruding into the hallway. Especially in smaller mudrooms, it’s helpful to designate space for each member of a household. That way belongings will stay in place and clutter can be kept to a minimum.
“Think vertically. Place shelves or hooks as high as can be comfortably reached. Keep items in labeled bins. Put items away once you come home.”
Sarah Nelson | Owner, Less is More Organizing Services
Get Creative with Your Mudroom Projects
Mudroom design goes beyond storage and utility – your mudroom is a reflection of your personality and the way you make your home. If you’ve set out to design a mudroom for yourself, keep an open mind and explore all the projects at your disposal. Be sure to take a look at our home project guides for more ideas and inspiration.
Have you set up your dream mudroom? Are you thinking of expanding your organization efforts to the rest of the house? Keep reading our blog for thorough decluttering guides and creative home storage ideas.