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Get Organized: Mudroom Must-Haves

Set the standard for an organized home by pulling together a clutter-free mudroom or entryway. Use the 11 stylish storage spaces that follow for inspiration. 

Written and produced by Debra Steilen
  • James Yochum

    Mudrooms do more than store coats and backpacks. Whether a full-fledged room or a designated spot just inside the back door, a well-planned mudroom creates a smooth transition between the outside and the inside. With its myriad hooks, lockers, cubbies, drawers, baskets, bins, boxes, shelves, and labels, a mudroom has the power to keep kitchen counters and other surfaces free from chaos. Keep clicking to learn more about the must-have ingredients for such a space.

    Don’t be deceived by this cottage-style mudroom’s pretty face. This shallow entry is all storage, all the time—with hooks for outerwear, cubbies for towels and beach gear, and wire baskets for controlling tennis balls. Recessed lighting makes it easy to find what’s needed. 

    Design: John Cannarsa

  • Erik Johnson

    Cubby Love

    Borrow this technique from your local high school: Assign a locker to every person in the family and count on him or her to keep it organized. Install hooks to secure outerwear, backpacks, purses, and more. You may even want to mount hooks at two levels: one up high for longer coats, and one or more hooks down below to hold jackets, hoodies, and sweaters. Knobs, by the way, are perfect for holding umbrellas. Along with storage lockers, this mudroom’s storage unit includes cubbies with large baskets to hold athletic equipment. An antique settee provides a pretty spot to don or doff clothing.

    Design: Kelli Reed

  • Nancy Nolan

    Going Vertical

    Mudrooms are usually small—compared to other rooms—so maximize your storage potential by climbing the wall. In this room, cabinetry runs almost all the way to the ceiling—providing accessible storage for items needed every day, and visible (albeit hard-to-reach) storage space for items needed now and again.

    Tip: Don’t let your wall of storage keep younger kids or grandkids from putting stuff away. Make sure there are hooks and cubbies they can reach on their own. 

    Design: Suzanne Lantz

  • Werner Straube

    Bins, Baskets, and Belongings

    Lockers and hooks can’t do it all—so complement your mudroom design with cubbies and/or shelves filled with baskets, boxes, buckets, or bins to corral small items. If you’re lucky, this action will result in fewer frantic calls for help finding lost mittens, sunglasses, and keys. Labels make it clear who is responsible for which basket in this compact mudroom tucked behind a stairwell. 

    Design: Tom Stringer

  • Jim Franco

    Great Idea: Labeled Drawers

    Installed beneath the stairs as part of a back entry, these big, deep drawers are great for putting useful storage right at kid level. What makes these storage units even more effective is the way the center panels were handled. Coating them with chalk paint turned the panels into temporary signage; they’re now able to designate the drawer’s “owner” or the contents inside using chalk. Bin pulls make the drawers easy to open. 

    Design: Morgante Wilson Architects

  • Werner Straube

    Seating Plan

    Don’t forget those creature comforts. Every mudroom needs a bench for kids and adults to sit on while they take off their shoes. This 24x8-foot combined laundry and mudroom includes a built-in bench with cubbies, hooks, and storage drawers near the door. A durable wood-look tile floor—set in a herringbone pattern—stands up to daily traffic in both zones. 

    Tip: If you choose to combine your mudroom with a laundry, make sure you include a rod for hanging clothes and a small countertop or island for folding laundry.

    Design: Kim Zimmer

    See the rest of this Victorian-style showhouse.

  • Jeff McNamara

    Boot Camp

    Leave dirt at the door—or at least some place safe where it won’t attack the carpeting. How?  By stationing a boot tray to hold footwear that has been dragged through the mud. Use an old baking sheet or galvanized tray if you’re frugal, or buy a new commercial boot tray with raised ridges to keep footwear high and dry. (Using a baking sheet? Fill it with pebbles or marbles to achieve the same result.) Simply hose either type of boot tray clean when needed and it’s ready to go back to work.

    Tip: Encourage guests to remove their shoes by offering them slippers to wear in the house.

  • Kim Cornelison

    Pet Project

    If you’ve got a large enough mudroom, designate a cabinet to hold pet supplies. That way you can keep bags and cans of food in a space where pets can eat without getting chow on the kitchen floor. Store treats in clear containers so you can find what you need in the event that Miss Kitty performs a trick. Keep the litter box in the mudroom, instead of the bathroom. (Your nostrils will thank you.) Install a wall hook for Tramp’s leash; that way you’ll be able to find it immediately when he decides it’s time for walksies. This mudroom includes an easy-to-clean terrazzo-look floor made by mixing ½-inch river rock into the cement poured for the flooring. A coat of sealer guarantees ultra-low maintenance.

    Tip: Rubber tubs are great for holding dog food, pet toys, or towels to clean off dirty paws. 

    Design: Med and Susan Blankenship

  • Jamie Salomon

    Zone Defense

    If your mudroom is open to the kitchen—or any other gathering space—you may want to choose cabinetry and surfaces based on the overall design of the home. But if you want to hide your mudroom from visitors, take steps to close it off from adjoining rooms. Consider a pocket door that slides into the wall, a stylized barn door that slides into place over the opening, or a swinging door if you have the square footage. This mudroom uses a freestanding piece with its own bench to divide the entry from the kitchen, as well as hide clutter. Small striped cushions pay big dividends in comfort and style in this busy space. Including shoe cubbies beneath the bench top makes it super-easy to put away footwear.

    Tip: Hang a small mirror near the door so you can primp one last time before heading outside.

  • Ron Blunt

    Wipe-Clean Surfaces

    Remember who will be using your mudroom to get in and out of the house. Not just family members, who may, at times, remember to wipe their feet before coming inside. But pets, too—with four paw prints per animal—that don’t care if they track in dirt. So choose an indestructible floor of stone or ceramic tile to stand up to the mud and grit that are sure to come in on little cat (or dog) feet. BTW: You’ve seen Fido shake his fur after getting wet. Clad the walls in tile or wainscoting (sealed or coated with semi-gloss enamel paint), either of which handles moisture better than regular drywall. 

    Design: Shoshana Datlow

    Get more ideas for making your home pet-friendly.

  • Edmund Barr

    Last Look

    This mudroom boasts lovely white cabinetry and all the hooks, cubbies, and baskets it needs to stay organized. But from Maddie’s point of view, it’s the cushy pillow tucked beneath the shoe cubbies that makes the space a storage star. 

    Nab some savvy storage ideas for your home.