A Glorious Mud Room!

Plan this room well and make it the most useful one in the house.

By FamilyTime

 Back in the day, mud rooms were found in most houses, particularly those built in the north where bad weather meant a lot of heavy clothes and wet boots.  And if the house was on a farm, there was generally a porch with a sink or pump, so that the farmer could shed his outer clothing and boots and wash up before entering the house.

In short, mud rooms were barriers between the clean house and the outdoors — and rarely were they referred to as mud rooms! They just “were” and probably weren’t called anything in particular.

The Modern Mud Room

Today, we love our mud rooms. New house design usually includes one, adjacent to either the garage or back door. If you are fortunate enough to design a large mud room, there are numerous ways to make it efficient and attractive. Most of us don’t have this luxury but even a corner of the kitchen or small entry hall can serve as a practical mud room.

When you decide to organize the mud room in your house, take a few things into consideration:

The Floor
: Lay a water- and weatherproof floor that is not slippery. Think about unpolished ceramic or stone, brick, or textured rubber. If you are starting from scratch, consider a central drain in the floor for easy cleanup — and a good place to rinse off the dog! If you have the space, install a floor sink, which is similar to a shower basin with a faucet and obviously useful for rinsing off feet, hands, pets, and boots.

The Walls: Since the walls will be covered with hooks, cabinets, and shelves, keep them simple. Beadboards and wainscotting are attractive and easy to keep up. Paint the walls with tough paint that can withstand dampness and which can be wiped clean with a damp sponge.

The Lighting: Bright lighting is a good idea. Florescent lights are fine, as are high hats, if you can install them. A central ceiling fixture is effective but should shed bright light. This is a room where things get lost and mingled with other items and so you need excellent illumination. A window is a safe bet. Don’t rely on standing lamps, which can fall over.

The Seats: Window seats or benches that open on a storage bin are great in mud rooms. Lacking these, put a bench or a few heavy, utilitarian chairs so that people can sit down when they put on or remove outdoor footwear. Try to keep them clear of stuff, so that they can be used as intended.

Storage: The point of the mud room is storage. It also is a place to dress and undress for the outdoors. Make it as useful for your family as possible. A closet is a great for coats and jackets. If you rely on hooks, kids need lower hooks than adults.

Install a shelf high enough for the adults in the family to leave keys, sunglasses and cell phones (put a basket on the shelf to contain these items).  Hang cabinets on the walls, and if the mud room is near the kitchen, match the cabinets and countertop materials.

Other storage and utility items in the mud room could be:
  • Open cubbies and/or sturdy plastic bins for hats, mittens, boots, and running shoes. These should be big enough for backpacks for the kids.
  • Tough mats at the door, inside and out.
  • A mirror for last-minute checks!
  • An umbrella stand
  • Shoe racks
  • Deep utility sink
  • Second refrigerator and/or freezer
If you have the capability to plan where the mud room will be situated, try to place it near a bathroom with a shower. Don’t put the washer and dryer in the mud room; nor is it a place for storing cleaning supplies. It’s a room where a little dirt and grime is acceptable and as such should be separate from the rest of the house and certainly the parts where you keep clean laundry.

You will find this to be one of the most useful rooms in the house. Keep it organized and you’ll never be sorry you took time to create it.