The one room most coveted, the most desired, and the most necessary is often the room that is missing from modern home designs: the mudroom. A mudroom is traditionally located off the kitchen or laundry room. It is the place where muddy boots and shoes come off, where damp coats are hung, where pet dishes and the cat’s litter box are kept, and where kids can hang their backpacks and sports gear. A terrifically handy sink in the mudroom is perfect for washing up when coming in from playing and gardening, and it is a great area to bathe pets. If your home is missing a mudroom, it isn’t difficult or expensive to create one.
First, decide where you want your mudroom. You’ll need to decide where you have the space – if that isn’t near the kitchen door, that’s okay – you can use a hallway or the entryway near the front door, the basement, or even a room off the garage. Don’t think you need tons of square footage to create a mudroom – even a small corner cabinet with some cubbies and hooks will help tidy up your space and keep the clutter under control.
If you want a full mudroom complete with a sink, you may have to do a little renovating. Decide on a location and a budget, and be sure to get several estimates. Consider what you want in the space – a pet-washing station, a place for sports equipment, shelving and hooks for pool supplies and towels, a potting bench and sink, etc.
Must-haves in a mudroom include a bench for sitting and removing boots, hooks for hanging coats and damp clothing, and shelving. You may want to add baskets for catching small items, cubbies or even lockers organized for each child, a message center (chalkboard or cork board), a laundry sink, a pet door, or even a dog-washing station or a hose-down area (with a ground-level basin and a wall-mounted sprayer). If this is the main entry/exit of your home, you may also want to add a phone-charging station, key hooks, and a small basket for loose change, etc.
Keep in mind that your mudroom is a place where dirt and dampness is sure to collect – especially during snowy winters or if you live near the beach or have a pool. Your flooring will have to be rugged – such as a sturdy tile or stone. If you add a rug, be sure it is easy to clean and lightweight enough that it will dry quickly. If your mudroom is off an entry, windows that can be opened or a screen door will help ventilate the area and dry out damp items.
If you want a “green” mudroom, consider adding recycling bins and an odor-free compost container. You may also want to add a mail center, complete with slots for outgoing and important mail. Junk mail can go right into the recycle bin, keeping clutter to a minimum.
Don’t have the space to add a full mudroom? That’s okay – a small niche, a seldom-used closet, or even a corner can function as a mudroom – just add a small bench that fits the space, shoe storage under the bench, a row of hooks, and a shelf with baskets. You can even modify hall tree to work as your mud “room” – just add extra shelves and hooks.
A simple, functional mudroom will keep everyone in your home organized and tidy. You’ll no longer be tripping over shoes and sports equipment. Your kids won’t be running around in the morning, searching for lost backpacks and sweaters. And all of your pet supplies will be located in one convenient area. Your new mudroom will quickly become your favorite space in the house.