Maximize Your Mudroom

Story by Kelsey Sinclair

Most of us in Alaska meet those wet and wintry days and our infamous slushy seasons with dripping clothes and boots full of mud. If you’ve lost your patience with piles of jackets and puddles of water in the house, you’re not alone. You need a mudroom.

Right up there with the kitchen, the mudroom is one of the hardest-working rooms of the house. When performing well, it tackles dirt, snow, mud and water in a clean sweep so that the rest of the home can remain untouched. It will also corral gloves, shoes and jackets as well as sports gear, backpacks and – often – homeowners' sanity.

Frequently a less formal entrance, this high-traffic area needs plenty of storage, accessories for organization, and durable materials that can withstand the elements that get tracked in by guests, kids and pets.

Mudroom must-haves

Every great mudroom brings organization to chaos. Hooks for coats, backpacks and keys, bins for shoes and boots, and laundry baskets for soggy snowpants will eliminate messy piles on the floor. Bringing these options into the open rather than hidden behind doors or inside closets means they are far more likely to be used. Deep cubbies allow items to be kept separate and slightly out of view, allowing homeowners to relish the uncluttered floor space.

The best design for a mudroom is a locker-style system in which every individual member of the family has their own designated space, advises Luis Suarez, owner of Inspired Closets in Anchorage. This gets everyone out the door in the morning quickly instead of spending time searching for a lost jacket or glove.

Adding a slat wall is a simple and affordable way to get more floor space. A slat wall can be attached to any wall and a number of accessories can be added to it such as baskets for hats and gloves, hooks for hanging coats, and low profile shelving. The accessories easily attach to the slat wall and provide a space saving storage solution for small spaces.

Luis suggests homeowners also add benches to their mudrooms for both storage and functionality.

“Incorporating a bench into one of our systems is great for extra storage and also serves as a place to take off or put on shoes and boots. The bench can be designed with a top that flips up so you can have storage in the bench, or drawers or baskets can be incorporated underneath the bench for additional storage. Underneath the bench is also a great place for shoe storage, which will keep shoes out of the entrance from the garage into the home,” Luis says.

Start by making a list of what you want from your mudroom before beginning the design process to ensure that you get everything you need out of the space you have without adding unnecessary features.

Flooring choices

Mudrooms are nothing if not a high-impact space in the home. Whether mud, snow, gravel or water, these floors are going to have to stand the test of the elements, so it is essential to choose quality materials.
According to Evan Hall at Florcraft Carpet One in Anchorage, the best materials to use for mudroom flooring are luxury tiles and planking. These have completely waterproof options which are essential in areas of the home where water might collect. Throw down a rubber boot mat on top of this material and you can live carefree!

Evan suggests avoiding carpet in this area. Although there are waterproof carpets available, you would still need to deal with any mud or grit and subfloor rot.

“If you get water down to your subfloor you can have issues there including the possibility of mold,” he notes.

Thinking outside the entryway

Entryways are often the area most used as mudrooms, but this isn’t the only space that can be revamped into a mudroom. In some homes, a basement or laundry room could be remodeled to include space for a mudroom. Space could also be borrowed from other rooms (such as an unused extra bedroom) or even an attached garage. If square footage is tight, consider other, less functional areas in the home to create a mudroom, with efficient use of space being the name of the game. A hall closet, for example, can be reconfigured with low cubbies for shoe racks, hooks for coats and an upper shelf for hats and gloves.

A stylish space

Sure, mudrooms should be space efficient and functional, but don’t let the utilitarian purpose fool you into the thinking a mudroom should be boring. Consider sprucing up this drop zone with decorative details that reflect your personality and set the tone and style for your home.

Once a coherent color scheme is established, pull together the space with decorative hardware pieces, colorful cushions, throw pillows, plants, an indoor/outdoor rug, art, or other decor to accent the room. Add some fun to the room by adding colorful or patterned wallpaper. With these simple and inexpensive decorating ideas, you can help keep the mudroom looking less like a mudroom and more like a stylish extension of your home.