Okay, so maybe you aren’t exactly herding cattle all day, but that doesn’t mean your boots don’t get a little dusty from every once in a while! And if you’re anything like us, you can think of better things to do with your time than cleaning up a trail’s worth of muddy footprints. That’s where a great mud room comes into play. These spaces are designed to take a beating and come out no worse for the wear.
Your mud room may be the first thing everyone—including guests—sees when entering your home, particularly if you live in an area that sees a lot of rain and dampness. So you want to make it easy on the eyes, as well. If you want to corral both your shoes and your visitors, you’ll need to plan your design carefully.
Setting Up Your Mud Room
A great mud room should be the perfect marriage of aesthetic and functionality. This means thinking about storage, how the room flows, and even seating (you don’t want to have to be hopping around on one foot to take off those muddy rain boots!). You should also choose materials for their durability and non-slip qualities, particularly when it comes to flooring.
No one wants their wet coats and scarfs piling up to molder. Good storage is the soul of a helpful mud room. Most people opt for sturdy cubbies and cabinets, with nooks for boots and shoes at ground-level, and space for coats and backpacks at eye-level. Above that, we recommend putting in a little extra storage space for those frisbees, beach towels, and other outdoor items that don’t get used every day. We’ve also seen mud rooms featuring practical cupboards installed with drawers to stash keys and dog leashes and other smaller items—which is incredibly helpful for those of us who are always on the run.
Your storage design is going to vary depending on your individual needs, but regardless of how you arrange the cabinetry, we highly recommend using surfaces that will make it easy to clean up at the end of the day. Wood painted with a semi-gloss is great choice, as is melamine, but we also love the idea of using reclaimed materials, like upcycled crates. Bright white cupboards will really capture that country entryway feel, but if you’re not big on cleaning, we recommend choosing a darker paint to conceal dust and dirt until you’re ready to bring out the scrub brush. Or you can even go with a distressed finish.
Space in a mud room is often limited, but fortunately, seating there can play a double role: a place to attend to your laces, and a second storage area. We’ve seen some downright adorable storage benches that deftly hide nooks for boots, or even pet beds! The space above the bench is also a great place to install hooks for purses and jackets. Because it’s a pretty simple design, a storage bench is the kind of thing you can DIY if you’re handy with a saw—and there are plenty of plans online to choose from.
Just like every surface in the mud room, flooring materials should be selected with special attention to their cleanability. But when choosing mud room flooring, you also want to make sure you won’t be slipping around when you come in from a particularly wet romp. Absorbent, natural surfaces like slate or terracotta tiles or even brick are wonderful options if you’re looking to capture an antique look, but you can also go with linoleum or vinyl tile for a more modern design—they’re both waterproof and fairly easy to clean.
Your standard drywall can be pretty difficult to wipe down after a heavy mud spattering. Beadboard paneling or wainscoting is the wall material of choice for many designers when it comes to the mud room because it’s fairly easy to clean, and its textured surface makes nicks and scuffs less visible. Plus, when painted in a bright white or neutral, it can take on a cute, country vibe. But if downhome isn’t to your taste, you can also hide wear and tear using a paint with a flat finish—we recommend trying an olive or gray tone.
One clever house hack we’ve seen in the mud room is doubling up the space for a pet playroom. Those built-in bottom nooks in cabinetry make a great place for doggie beds, especially since puppies love a cozy little cranny to sleep in. Plus, this way you won’t have to worry when you can’t get to Rover’s bath right away.
Incorporating Laundry Rooms
Don’t feel like carrying your muddy clothes all over the house to get to the laundry room? If you have enough space, putting your washer and dryer in the mud room just makes sense. We like the idea of installing the washer below a counter or stacked in a separate cabinet area, in order to make sure clean clothes aren’t mingling with your dirt-bespattered shoes. And if you want to go the extra mile, a unique free-standing sink adds a quaint note and a useful washing station to any laundry room.