The mudroom is perhaps one of the areas of the home most overlooked when it comes to cabinetry and design, despite its incredible value in keeping your home and family organized and in good shape. But not by us! We see your mudroom as a fabulous way to keep the rest of your home tidy and clean, but also a great space for teaching structure and responsibility to the younger members of your family. Whether you’re building a new home and debating how to layout your space, or looking to renovate and redecorate your existing mudroom, Dan’s advice in today’s post will offer you some valuable insights as you make plans. Dan is one of our Sales & Design team members and he would love to sit down with you and discuss your own unique space – scroll down to contact him and set up an appointment!

Maximizing Your Mudroom - Modern Mudroom

What is the primary purpose of a mudroom?

  • It’s about organization – today’s families are busy with lots of extracurriculars, whether they be sports, family outings, music lessons, church events, or anything else; families need a place to sort out and keep handy all the extra layers, tools, and toys that are associated with each.
  • Mudrooms often play host to boots, shoes, hats, mittens, backpacks, towels, sports equipment, and pet paraphernalia, among other things that may be accompanied by mud, snow, sand, or dirt.

Where is the best place for the mudroom in my home?

  • Maximizing Your Mudroom - Mudroom & Laundry room combinedYour mudroom should be positioned right by the most regular family entrance (ideally a different entrance from the one guests use, like the garage door or side entrance).
  • Make sure the space is highly utilitarian and easily accessible; try to keep it as close to the door to the outside as possible, so you don’t wind up traipsing mud, snow, or grass down a hallway before reaching the actual mudroom.

How big of a space do I need to do a mudroom justice?

  • It all depends on the size of the family (both due to required storage space, and because of how much traffic is likely to be making use of the room at the same time). For a family of 4, I would suggest a space about 6 feet long, while for a family of 6, a length of 8 feet is probably best.
  • No matter the size of your family, I would always recommend every home to have a mudroom.

What is your favourite layout for a mudroom?

  • Most mudrooms are not particularly spacious, so a single wall of cabinetry tends to be the most effective – it keeps things spread out for easier access, where L-shaped and galley-style mudrooms can become congested unless there is a substantial amount of floor space between cabinets.

What style of cabinetry would be valuable in this type of space?

  • Maximizing Your Mudroom - Canadian MudroomKeep it fairly basic in layout and look – this adds more flexibility, both in terms of function and decor. In terms of style, transitional or rustic tends to be most popular. Using tongue and groove at the back of an open cabinet can add a lovely, but informal, level of detail to the room.
  • I recommend having an open space on the bottom (right to the floor, so the damp shoes don’t damage wood, but instead sit on a more forgiving floor) for shoes and boots, with a benchtop above it (for ease of taking shoes on and off).
  • Above the benchtop, I recommend large, open cabinet boxes with hooks for hanging backpacks and coats, topped by closed-in storage space for seasonal or bulky items.
  • Some people may use open storage compartments at the top instead of closed, and insert storage baskets for versatility and ease of access – either is fine, it is just a matter of personal preference and whether you want to prioritize accessibility or a lack of visibility for those items.
  • The same goes for whether you want an open cabinet for boots and shoes on the bottom level, or drawers for additional seasonal storage.
  • To access higher cabinets, another option is to install a rolling ladder along the mudroom wall.

Maximizing Your Mudroom - Canadian Mudroom

Are there any particular materials you would recommend using?

  • Mudrooms tend to get a lot of hard use, so you need to think about durability. Hardwood is always best for the cabinets (stained holds up better than painted – buffs and chips from daily use will amount to character, not damage).
  • If you love the look of painted, though, I often design spaces with painted cabinetry but a stained benchtop – this allows for a bright, pretty space, but with durability in the areas that are used the roughest.
  • I would always recommend laying a tile floor in your mudroom – it is the easiest surface to maintain through all seasons, and will serve you well.

Maximizing Your Mudroom - U-shaped Mudroom with Island

What tips do you have for making a mudroom accessible to kids?

  • Hooks (for backpacks, coats, hats, etc) are easy for kids to use – 2 rows is best because it offers different heights for different ages and stages.
  • Baskets can be easily labeled and are usually easier for kids to look through and find what they need, without making as much of a mess.
  • Handles (as opposed to knobs or pulls), also tend to be easiest for all ages to use, and since mudroom cabinets don’t usually need to lock or seal, a standard handle is usually a simple, practical choice.
  • Some people like to divide the space above the benchtop into cubbies (tall boxes) that they will then install hooks in; this allows for each child or member of the family to have their own dedicated space, meaning that things can stay organized, and you can easily expect each member to own their own area (and keep it tidy!). 🙂

What elements or styles have you really appreciated in past mudroom projects?

  • Last year I worked on a home with a large, L-shaped mudroom; although I said before single wall mudrooms are best, if you do have a very large space to work with, L-shaped can be excellent and very welcoming. This room featured reclaimed wood bench tops, painted cabinetry, and a small island in the centre of the space (a great landing space for purses and grocery bags, as well as offering additional drawers for concealed storage).
  • Another client had a large window in their mudroom that faced the front of the property; we installed a window seat in that space and it created a really welcoming environment in a practical way.
  • Some pet owners will incorporate a pet crate into their cabinetry (or central island, if there is space).
  • Whether your mudroom is by your garage or a separate entrance, if space allows (approx. 3 feet in width), installing a single cabinet just inside your garage door is a worthwhile investment – a base cabinet (closed-in) with a small countertop and upper cabinets above that is a really useful space for storing keys, small items, and tools that you need handy.

Maximizing Your Mudroom - U-shaped Mudroom with Dog Crate

bonus: What kind of cabinetry would you put in the main (guest) entryway of your home?

  • Upholstered Bench Seat in EntrywayI’m actually currently working on a condo where we have decided that instead of having a standard closet built into the entryway, we are designing 2 large cabinets with doors to stand in its place. Each cabinet has a clothes rod and shelving inside, meaning the cabinets have the same versatility as a closet, but bring more character and a personal touch to the space.
  • I definitely recommend always using cabinets with doors (as opposed to open storage), because this is a more formal part of the home, where keeping things streamlined and organized is likely of a higher priority.
  • If you have room, a storage bench is also a great addition to any entryway – it can serve many functions at once, including being a spot for guests to sit as they put on boots and shoes, a place to store seasonal but frequently used items, and a place for guests to leave purses or extra coats, if the cabinets fill up.


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