Wouldn’t it be cool to have a repository for all that’s messy and outdoorsy? Don’t overlook the benefits of building a mudroom! Originally designed as a small area for keeping wet coats, the mudroom has evolved into a truly functional space – a place to keep temporary items in easy reach. When it’s chic and efficient, this modest space can brighten your mood when you return from shopping.

Tips for Building the Perfect Mudroom

Need help? We’re going to share a few steps you can take to create an efficient mudroom that not only eradicates clutter but also serves as a staging area or secondary entrance (separating your house and garage).

1. Assess the Needs of Your Household

It’s crucial to carefully pick storage and design elements that meet the requirements of your household. Make sure to account for:

  • Everyday family activities
  • The number of individuals in your home
  • Space for pets

Once you’ve taken these factors into consideration, it will be easier to come up with a functional space that suits everyone. For example, if your kids do after school activities, make sure to designate the right configuration so that they can get home, hang up their backpack, then quickly grab their nearby duffle full of gear for dance lessons, sports games, etc.

2. Install a Closet

Custom closets are an excellent way of keeping things organized, especially if you have a lot of little items. As you build your mudroom, consider adding a closet with the appropriate size and design. Closets are normally installed against a wall, so you may want to place a new dividing wall if the mudroom appears to be more open-ended than what you’d like. Use closets with hooks and cubbies for purses, shoes, briefcases, and grocery bags, as well as sports gear, accessories, and miscellaneous things.

3. Build or Invest in a Bench

This is a must-have. Make the bench work double for you by using it both as a place to rest and take off shoes and a place beneath which you can store idle footwear. There are several types of mudroom benches you can buy at home goods stores, but if you’re into DIY, you can always build a custom one using reclaimed wood. Shoe benches can also be nailed to a wall for additional stability. Yet another option for a bench is to buy a model that features cabinets and drawers under it (the more storage space, the better).

Pro tip: Keep pillows on the bench to make it cozier to sit on while adding a splash of color and pattern. Choose durable and stylish fabrics instead of delicate options like silk.

4. Leave Space for Floor Mats

Your main entrance will probably attract a lot of foot traffic from outside, with mud, debris and other messes as a by-product. Floor mats can help keep the mudroom’s floor safe and clean. When it comes to buying a floor mat, weatherproofed models offer much better protection and can be rinsed off by a garden hose or in a simple tub. For less harsh environments, go for a coir fiber mat featuring coconut shells. The fibers in this mat are capable of handling debris while also absorbing water without attracting mildew or mold.

5. Select the Right Building Materials

Your choice of materials will depend on whether you intend the room to accommodate light or heavy traffic. For example, if you’re planning to use it for low foot traffic and want an aesthetic that complements the rest of your home, you might opt for a hardwood that matches the floors in other spaces. Tile or stone flooring, on the other hand, are better choices for high-traffic areas. If you plan to install countertops, you might also want to use quartz, granite or another durable material.

6. Get Creative With Lighting

You’ll require both task and overhead lighting in your mudroom. The good news is that you can get a little creative with lighting by adding an elegant pendant above the entryway. Chandeliers and even fashionable scones can be used to lighten a mudroom. Another option is to use accent sources to illuminate and spotlight important elements such as a bench, key hooks or a piece of artwork. A layered approach that incorporates task and accent lights, including fixtures and lamps that can cast light from every angle, might be the best option.

7. Include a Water Source

Having a water source in the mudroom will allow everyone to wash their hands quickly as soon as they enter, as well as quickly rinse messy items. A concrete, ceramic or steel sink is a brilliant element to include if there’s enough room. However, including a water source means ventilation is necessary. Poor airflow could cause mold to grow, so keep a door or window open whenever it is possible. If there are no windows in your mudroom, get an exhaust fan to keep the space dry and fresh.

8. Be Mindful of Your Pets

If there are pets in your house, the mudroom is an ideal space for a built-in kennel, a small shower tub, or even an interior cat or dog gate. Designate an area for pet food in advance. Integrate a water and food bowl drawer or consider using a cabinet as a rolling food station. You could also go for a canine cupboard that includes storage for pet brushes, leashes, etc.

9. Don’t Forget the Mail and Keys

Mail and keys are two things that come through the entryway and can be easily lost without designated spaces. Use your mudroom as an area to discard and sort mail before the inevitable piles begin. Designate two areas for mail (one for important bills and documents, and one for pieces of mail headed for the recycling bin). This will maintain order and help ensure that no important communications—such as tax notices–are sitting buried among paper for months.

For keys, you could go with a standard holder or explore some of the stylish versions out there. Whatever you use, make sure to hang it so that it is in reach as soon as you come in the door.

Putting a bit of effort and money into creating a functional and elegant mudroom can help create order in your home. Keep the “mud” at bay with smart benches, spaces, and hooks, and track important paperwork with dedicated mail spaces. With the right approach to mudroom design, it’s not difficult to transform any entryway into a functional drop spot.