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Mudroom: The workhorse room

As summer approaches, I began my own yard maintenance and planting and am realizing how much my mudroom gets used. It has become, over the years, an indespensible room for preventing dirt and debris from entering the rest of my home.

Perhaps considered an unexciting room, for utilitarian purposes only, when really it’s the silent workhorse of any active home. If it is well-designed, can be invaluable. If not, a waste of good space.

The mudroom’s main purpose is to tackle dirt coming from outside as well as manage the overflow of sporting equipment, gym bags, shoes, and coats coming through the door in an ever-steady stream. Usually it is located between a well-used entrance and the kitchen. If you have one in your home that is underutilized, here are some tips to make it more functional. If you currently don’t have a traditional mudroom, look for ways to carve out space to create your own.

Things to consider when designing your mudroom:

  1. Size. At least 40 square feet of space, preferably adjacent to the garage with a door to close off from the rest of your living space.
  2. Choose a durable flooring material. Non-slip tile is a good choice. Paired with a darker grout makes for easier cleaning.
  3. A comfortable bench to sit on while putting on shoes. All the better if this bench has hidden storage.
  4. Hooks and bins provide excellent storage and are more convenient than a closet with hangers.
  5. Good lighting and ventilation should be considered. If you can, sneak a window into the space.
  6. While not necessary, a sink can be a wonderful addition to the space. Consider if you have the room for one.

Assess how your mudroom will be used and the items that you need stored. What things do you reach for often and can never quite find quickly? A mudroom can be invaluable for corralling miscellaneous gear and backpacks, but if your needs are more garden utensils and pots, center your design around this. Finally, add touches that blend with the rest of your home, creating a cohesive design throughout. Paint walls a color that will make you happy, add a colorful rug that is easy to clean, and decorative touches on the walls. This may be the workhorse of your home, but it doesn’t have to look like it.