Mudrooms are having a moment. And you don’t need to be a farmer to have one. In this hardworking entry point to your sanctuary, you can offload both your bags and baggage from the outside world. “When we design a home, we almost always include a mudroom because it’s just requested so often,” says interior designer Janette Stritt of Sydney firm, Stritt Design & Construction.
So what is the purpose of a mudroom? “Mudrooms are an ideal drop-off zone for shoes, bags and sporting gear, ideally making the rest of the house – and your mind – clutter-free.”
The following multitasking spaces are filled with clever mudroom ideas including: storage solutions, bench seating, combined laundry and mudrooms and a list of all the features you’ll need to make a good mudroom.
Mudroom storage ideas
Do you require lockers or cubbyholes for schoolbags? What about a drying cupboard? Drawers, hooks or hanging space? Dedicating spots for all the things you schlep to and from the car will keep your mudroom tidy and save your sanity.
With three teenagers and two dogs, a generous mudroom was a must for the owners of this Federation home, reimagined by interior designer Anna Spiro. Double height cabinetry with mesh-fronted drawers at the base provide ample storage for everyone’s needs. “We always strive to use a combination of cupboards and drawers, as the latter allows for easier access and better organisation,” says Anna.
Wall-mounted hooks add even more storage plus double as display space for the owner’s hat collection.
Everyone gets their own ‘gym locker’ in this mudroom on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, created by interior designer Janette Stritt and architect Andrew Barnyak.
Because the residents generally access the house directly from the garage or garden, often straight from the beach, sandy wet towels and flip-flops don’t make it past the mudroom. The chequerboard tiles from Amber were selected by the homeowner, who saw them in a magazine.
“They’re porcelain and a bit more robust than marble,” says Janette. Just what you need in a mudroom.
Mudrooms are transitional areas by nature, so they needn’t be palatial if you don’t have much room to play with. All you really need is a bench to sit on when de-booting, storage for bags and sporting gear and hooks for coats/umbrellas/keys, which shouldn’t take up too much real estate.
“It’s about spatial planning and having the right type of storage for your needs,” says Janette.
Combined laundry and mudroom ideas
Since it’s likely to be a dumping ground for smelly socks and mud-soaked football jerseys anyway, the mudroom is the optimal spot for laundry appliances too. If you can, extend plumbing into your mudroom when planning a renovation or new build.
To save on floor space, stack your washer and dryer, and consider a pull-out clothes hamper. A hanging rail is a must and if you live in a cold, rainy or even snowy climate, a drying cupboard can be a godsend. And make it nice! After all, someone will be spending a lot of time in there.
Because combined mudrooms and laundries house wet brollies, muddy boots and all the damp things you don’t want passing the threshold, it’s important to ensure yours is well ventilated. A louvre window or Dutch door will invite fresh air to flow while keeping kids and pets in (or out).
An exhaust fan or dehumidifier will also help. “Drawers with mesh panels will allow shoes and sports gear to breathe,” adds interior designer Anna Spiro.
Mudroom design ideas
Ultimately, your mudroom should embrace you when you enter. It’s a utility room, sure, but adding texture and detail will give you warm fuzzies when you get home.
Since the mudroom was conceived on farms, back when humans and animals lived in close quarters, it makes sense to channel your inner pastoralist when designing your ‘boot room’, as they say in the UK.
“Mudrooms are a link between the home and the land. Simple materials with a ‘natural language’ – think timber, recycled bricks and wrought iron – will inject classic country charm into a mudroom,” says Darren Mills, director of Cadence & Co. “You can then layer up with detail to create more character.”
Go for bold
It may be a utilitarian space, but mudrooms are a great place to have fun with finishes, says Kristin Peake, who designed a lavish mudroom featuring swathes
of rich blue Benjamin Moore Stonecutter paint. “The owners have three young, very active children and needed a well-organised and functional space,” she explains. There’s a place for everything, as well as a gift-wrapping station and mail slots.
“They weren’t afraid of colour, which encouraged me to design a classic and timeless space while embracing colour,” says Kristin.
Your white bouclé sofa might be a no-go zone for the furry members of your household, but mudrooms can be transformed into the Shangri-la for your favourite quadrupeds. Consider a cubby for your pampered pet in the mudroom or a dedicated dog bath.
There are so many ways to make a mudroom function according to your own family’s needs and requirements, but here’s a cheat sheet of all the basic features every functional mudroom should contain:
What should be in a mudroom?
- Storage space – Open and closed cabinetry, shelving, storage baskets and wall hooks.
- Seating – Bench seating (with built-in storage or enough room to pop storage baskets underneath) is ideal.
- Durable flooring – Easy-to-clean flooring is a must, particularly if muddy boots, sandy beach gear or pets are expected to make an appearance.
- Sink – For washing hands, rinsing muddy shoes and soaking soiled clothing.
- Ventilation – Don’t let damp and bad odours destroy a perfectly good mudroom. Install an exhaust fan, a dehumidifier to circulate the air.
- Lighting – A mudroom is an entry to your home, so make it inviting with a considered mix of task and feature lighting.