Here are some tips for designing a functional, durable — and even stylish — mudroom.

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Mudrooms have been a staple of large houses. But, increasingly, a mudroom has become a design essential even for apartment dwellers and those with small homes.

“Just like the kitchen has become so central to how everybody uses their home and lives their lives, a mudroom has become an expectation,” says designer Vern Yip, an HGTV host and author of the new book “Vern Yip’s Design Wise.”

Here are some tips for designing a functional, durable and even stylish mudroom.

ANALYZE YOUR NEEDS

“Think about how your family uses the space,” says Yip.

Will everyone take their shoes off there each day, for instance, or only when they’re wet or muddy?

“We run an Asian household,” Yip says. “Take off your shoes when you come in the door.”

So his mudroom includes ample shoe storage, plus a spot to sit while putting shoes on.

Schoolhouse Electric Mollie Hook, $88 at schoolhouseelectric.com
Schoolhouse Electric Mollie Hook, $88 at schoolhouseelectric.com

Lots of sports equipment means more large storage. And those who’ll want to charge the whole family’s digital devices for easy grabbing when everyone leaves the house in the morning should put in counter space or shelves with plenty of power strips or electrical outlets nearby.

CREATE A DROP ZONE

The mudroom is your daily “drop zone,” says designer Sarah Fishburne, director of trend and design for The Home Depot. So choose the mix of closed storage, hooks, shelves and countertops that serves your needs.

Custom, built-in storage is popular in mudrooms, but there are also many units available in a range of styles and prices.

Open lockers and cubbies are popular, mimicking the style of an athletic locker room, but Yip reminds clients that closed storage and hooks tucked away behind doors will help keep your mudroom from looking cluttered.

OTHER PARTICULARS

Will this be a family communication center? If so, include cork boards or magnetic boards, and perhaps a countertop or small desk where you can fill out school forms.

Clockwise from top left: Three By Three Seattle Hob Knob Wall Pegs, $25, at threebythree.com; Ikea PS Cabinet, $99; Three By Three Seattle Square Dot Magnetic Bulletin Board, $24–$30 at threebythree.com; and West Elm Mid-Century Entryway Bench, $499
Clockwise from top left: Three By Three Seattle Hob Knob Wall Pegs, $25, at threebythree.com; Ikea PS Cabinet, $99; Three By Three Seattle Square Dot Magnetic Bulletin Board, $24–$30 at threebythree.com; and West Elm Mid-Century Entryway Bench, $499

Many pet owners include a pet bed or dog crate in the mudroom, and a spot for hanging leashes.

ONE WALL CAN BE ENOUGH

If you don’t have a mudroom or foyer space, these ideas can be pared down into an area just a few feet wide along one wall.

Start by delineating that section of wall visually with paint, wallpaper or tile. Or add board-and-batten paneling halfway up the wall, Fishburne says.

Once the area is marked, assign a narrow space within it for each family member. Add hooks, and a bench with cubbies or baskets underneath.

Above, add a shelving unit with additional cubbies. Then hang a magnet board for each person to tack up items, plus a bit of chalkboard or white-board paint around it for jotting down notes or appointments.