When it comes to packing in lots of function, very few spaces beat a mudroom. But many homeowners don’t have a dedicated space for a mudroom. Or they may think they don’t have enough square footage to create a useful go-to spot for their families. But a few clever design ideas and some maxed-out storage can help you carve out a super-functional small mudroom. Here’s what to consider.
What to consider in a small mudroom for convenience and efficiency
No matter their size, all mudrooms require several things. They include:
A place to hang items: Think coats, backpacks, dog leashes and scarves.
A hiding spot: Lots of the detritus of daily life doesn’t need a place in the spotlight. Gloves, hats, even small sporting items benefit from an out-of-the-way spot to store them.
Seating: What’s the last thing you do before you leave? For most of us — especially little kids — it’s put on our shoes. Having a spot to sit that isn’t the floor increases the comfort and usefulness of a small mudroom.
Create solutions for a small mudroom
Designing and outfitting a small mudroom means thinking outside generally accepted uses for entry nooks and crannies. Once you start to evaluate what you have, you’ll find much more usable space than you might have once considered. Implement these ideas, or use them as inspiration for your own solutions.
The fronts and backs of doors: Solid doors offer plenty of vertical space for hooks, while doors with windows up top can be outfitted with hanging items on the bottom.
Very narrow widths of walls: The inch-deep space of a wall isn’t room enough for a shelf, but it is a perfect spot for a narrow magnetic board or calendar.
Window trim: Wide window surrounds are also perfect for hooks. Bonus: These lower-to-the-ground spaces are accessible for little ones to reach on their own.
Above and around doors and windows: Narrow shelves can be good spots for long-term storage of seasonal items such as winter gloves and summertime hats.
Multiuse items: Accessories that move or adapt are perfect partners for small mudrooms. Think: a small bench on wheels with shelves underneath.
Narrow cubbies and drawers: If you can, divide small mudroom storage into smaller cubbies and drawers, and assign them to different people in your family. Take storage all the way down to the floor, too, to capture the usually ignored space under traditional cabinets.
Tips for designing a small mudroom
Personalize it: Just because a space is small doesn’t mean that it should be boring. Inject color and pattern for a quick entryway pick-me-up that will boost the overall appeal of your home.
Keep it durable: Choose materials that withstand daily traffic and dirt, and are easily cleaned — tile floors, for example, or outdoor fabric for a cushion.
Pay attention to the details: Small space doesn’t equal throwaway space. Pretty hardware, inventive paint, focal-point wallpaper and interesting light fixtures are all ways to decorate your small mudroom and tie the space into the rest of the home.
(Better Homes and Gardens is a magazine and website devoted to ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden, plus recipes and entertaining ideas. Online at www.bhg.com.)