Mudroom Decorating Ideas & Tips

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Mudrooms aren't your typical room. They're an odd size-small, but not quite small enough to be just a laundry room. They're an entrance, but not one you want people to see. They serve a purpose, but what exactly is it? Truthfully, a mudroom is a multipurpose room that gives you extra storage, a place to stash cumbersome winter gear, and an area to track in mud, ice and dirt before it finds a way onto your white carpet. Follow these tips to make the most of your mudroom.

Storage, Storage, and More Storage

Storage is the cardinal rule of mudroom design. Since it's usually a small space that is packed with many items, it is important to keep it organized and neat. Invest in a large shelving unit that affords lots of places for pullout baskets and cubbies of all sizes. Make sure your storage keeps clutter hidden. It's essential that the space looks clean, so it's not overwhelming. If you have a smaller mudroom, make sure the unit also has a cabinet for coats, or a space that's big enough to install hooks for coat storage. If your mudroom has plenty of square footage, mount multi-purpose hooks along the wall, and lots of them. If this seems like too much to do by yourself, buy a pre-made mudroom locker at an organizational store. It may cost a bit more, but be worth it in the end.

Keep it Easy to Clean

It's called a mudroom for a reason. Chances are it will get muddy. Real muddy. Make sure the floor and surrounding area is ready to withstand anything. Floors should be linoleum, tile or waterproofed wood. Avoid carpet at all costs. Choose a color or color combination that won't easily show grime. Alternate large black and white tiles for a fun retro effect that's easy to wipe clean.

Make it a Place for Pets

If you have pets, especially dogs, a mudroom is a great place to make their own. Install a pet door to give them easy access to the yard, and place their food and water inside on a placemat. That way, any mess they make will be brought through the mudroom, which is easy to wipe clean, instead of your home. Put your cat's litter box in the mudroom to keep smells away from gathering areas, and make litter easy to clean from the floor.

Give it Warmth

One of the best feelings is stepping into a toasty room after braving the elements. Since mudrooms are small, they are easy to heat, and they easily become an inviting space after a trip outdoors. Buy a small, energy efficient space heater to warm up your mudroom quickly. Place soggy boots and other wet items near the space heater to dry them out. However, be careful to not cover the space heater for safety reasons.

Make it Kid-Friendly

Kids are often the messiest members of the family, so what better place to store their toys than the mudroom? Utilize low storage for children's toys, sports equipment, and other items that are likely to get messy outside. Designate areas for them to throw their dirty clothes and shoes so that you don't have to follow the muddy tracks to their hiding place.

Seating is a Must

A mudroom is the perfect place to put on and take off your shoes, coats and other winter accessories, so it's essential to have ample seating. As a rule of thumb, provide enough seating for two full-grown adults. The easiest way to accomplish this is with a simple, water-sealed, wooden bench. If you don't have room for a bench, two stools or chairs placed in separate areas of the room are fine, as long as they are not upholstered.

Make it Rustic

A mudroom doesn't have to be fancy or plush. In fact, it's downright impractical because a mudroom must be easy to clean. As a result, your best decorating idea is to keep it rustic. Use bare woods and dark colors for a mountain cabin theme. Make your mudroom echo Provence with white wainscoting, bright colors and lots of light.

Install a Sink

If there's one big project that absolutely must be done in a mudroom, it's installing a large potting sink. This is an easy place to rinse off dirty items and messy kids. It also provides a cleaning "epicenter" for your mudroom, which will most likely need to be wiped down quite often. If you have a green thumb, a potting sink will also come in handy to contain your gardening mess.

Keep it Light

Make sure your mudroom has lots of light-natural or otherwise. Chances are it's pretty small, and pretty chock-full of stuff. This can lend itself to a claustrophobic feeling. One way to avoid feeling cramped is to fill it with light. Install at least one large overhead light, and several wall-mounted secondary lights. Wall mounting will add to the décor, as well as save floor space.

Don't have a mudroom? Make one. While mudrooms are typically found in homes where the climate is chilly, they're useful just about anywhere. Mudrooms are a good idea in beach houses, mountain getaways, or homes with large backyards where the outside is prone to making it's way in. If your house did not come with a mudroom, apply these tips to a laundry room, entryway, or little-used hallway to achieve the same effect.

Last Updated: January 18, 2012
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About Chanti Burnette Chanti was a freelance writer for

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