How to Create a Great Mudroom

Jon Fesmire | May 10, 2017 @ 9:00 AM

Have you ever hear the term “mudroom?” It was new to me, though I’m familiar with the type of room it refers to. Previously, I would have used the word “foyer,” though there is a difference. Both refer to the first room you see when you enter some homes.

A foyer is a welcome room which usually has a couple of chairs or a small couch. It’s a place where the homeowner can chat with guests before going into the main part of the house.

For most, a mudroom is more practical. This is where you store your shoes and coats when you return home.

Just because it’s called a “mudroom,” however, doesn’t mean it can’t make a good, welcoming, first impression to guests. Here’s one way to go about setting up your mudroom.

Decide What You Need

If you have an empty entrance room you want to transform into a mudroom, then you can make sure that it serves the exact needs of you and your family. To do that, decide what you need it to contain and provide. The two things every mudroom should have are a place to put your shoes, and a place to put your coats. Need somewhere to sit down while you take your shoes off? Include a surface to sit on. Want to see how you look before you head out the door? Include a mirror.

Form should follow function, in other words. Let’s look at some options.

For Shoes

Ground-level box shelves are a great place to store your shoes when you enter the house. This can be a wide shelf about two and a half feet tall, separated into square compartments, each for one pair of shoes. One nice thing about such an arrangement is that you can also sit on the shelf when you take off your shoes. This mudroom bench is a great example of a place to sit and to store your shoes.

Of course, there are many types of shoe racks, from wooden to metal, wide to tall. Consider some possibilities you like, and jot them down.

For Coats, Purses, and Hats

Do you prefer putting your coats on triangular hangers, or are hooks enough? If you prefer the former, you may want to invest in a tall cabinet with a bar for the hangers. One possibility is to have a shoe rack, as described above, that goes from wall to wall, with the coat cabinet attached to it, above and to one side. That will still leave a place for you to sit. You can even put in a cushion to make it a proper seat.

You could also install a doorless cabinet with a bar, making it easy to hang up your coats, but keeping them visible, if that’s an aesthetic you like.

Alternately, you can use coat hooks. You’ll probably need some of these, anyway, if you plan to keep hats and purses or day bags in the mudroom. These attach directly to the wall, and come in a variety of styles.


A mirror isn’t necessary in a mudroom, but it’s nice to be able to have a look at yourself after you slip on your coat and shoes. A good place for a mirror is above the shoe rack/seat, though you may have a spot elsewhere. Make sure it’s large enough that guests from short to very tall can see themselves without having to bend down or stand on something.

For Everything Else

What else might you want to keep in the mudroom?

How about sports equipment? Do you like to play touch football, practice your pitching and batting, or play a few hoops of basketball at a nearby park? Then make sure you have space for sports equipment. A wooden or wire basket for balls can sit unobtrusively in one corner. For a baseball bat, make room for a wall mounted bat rack.This is safer than propping a bat against the wall, and it looks attractive.

If you like to bring a book with you when you head out, consider reserving one shelf for books, and fill it with those books you want to read but haven’t gotten to yet. As you leave your house and realize you might have to do some waiting while at the doctor or elsewhere, pick one and slip it into your purse or bag. When going out on a sunny day, whether in the summer or snowy winter, it’s easy to forget to put on sunscreen. A small area with sunscreen and lotion in the mudroom may remind you to protect your skin as you get ready to leave.

Make it Match

The above should get you thinking, and give you an idea of how you want to arrange your mudroom for practical use. The next step, before you put it all together, is deciding how to make it all fit thematically.

You might want to go for a simple, modern look, where everything is boxy and straight-edged. Or, you may want a more country look, with curves and a distressed-wood look. Look for the sort of style you want when shopping for shelves and such. Or, you can do your own carpentry, if you have the skills, or hire a carpenter, and get precise about what you want.

This is the time to decide not only on style, but on colors. Consult with a hardware or paint store on types of polish or paint to use. If you need to match a specific color, paint stores are fantastic at that. Just bring in a sample of the color and they can do the rest.

Finishing Touches

Once you have your mudroom set up with the storage, mirror, and so on it needs, and you love how it looks, consider some finishing touches. To you, what makes a room complete? What makes it feel like a part of the house?

Attractive additions may include plants, plaques, art, and family pictures. Plants are especially nice if your front door has windows, letting in light to help the plant grow. Plaques with favorite quotes, artwork, or family photos will make the room look especially homey.

When it comes to setting up your mudroom, use your creativity. Though you probably won’t spend a lot of time in it, your mudroom is there to make your life easier, so enjoy it.

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