How to Create a Mudroom for the Space That You Have

It’s no secret that utility spaces in a home help the other areas stay clutter free. Let’s talk today about how to create a mudroom for the space that you have. When this area functions properly, so will the rest of the home.

how to create a mudroom with the space that you have

What’s a mudroom?

Growing up in Southern California, we didn’t have a mudroom. I’m sure I never even understood what one was until I moved to the midwest as a newlywed in the 80s.

Having a mudroom in a varied climate, like Michigan, is super important to keep the dirt and clutter away from the main living spaces. But frankly, wherever you live, you can benefit from an organized, utilitarian space known as a mudroom. This freestanding one is a game changer, and at under $300 is a super value!

What is a mudroom for?

A mudroom is a great entrance into the home to control clutter and dirt. It is the place you hang your coat, take off your muddy boots, leaving all the mud in this room and not the rest of the house! That’s why it’s called a “mud” room right?

It is the one place that, when organized efficiently, can help keep the rest of the home from becoming dirty and cluttered with the daily items that we tend to drag home.

how to create a mudroom with the space that you have

What if you don’t have a mudroom at all?

Even if you don’t have a room designated as ‘the mudroom’, it is easy to create an area to serve as one. It is best located near the entrance of your home or the back door. This space can corral all the clutter and be the ‘drop zone’.

These are the storage areas that can help the rest of the spaces stay beautiful and less dirty. We will talk more, in a bit, about where you can set up a mudroom area with a shelf and hooks, even when you don’t have a full room.

Can you have a mudroom in a small space?

We all are not blessed with giant homes with tons of space and storage, that provide a great place for an epic mudroom design. Does that mean we can’t have a mudroom? Absolutely not!

You can set up the makings of a mudroom in just a little space. A simple mudroom bench, a basket for shoes and some hooks can define a small space, yet provide ample storage.

Whether near the front door, if you don’t have a backdoor like in an apartment, or as a part of a laundry room, this extra storage room will make a big difference to the rest of your home. (This is my favorite purse, shown below, and a major bargain for real leather!)

how to create a mudroom with the space that you have

Evaluate the space you have

First things first, determine the space you have. Do you have floor space for freestanding tall cabinets? You’ll need a coat rack, shoe storage, and a storage bench. Is there enough space for mudroom lockers or DIY mudroom cabinets?

Do you only have a small wall area for some open shelving with coat hooks for jackets and purses? Or do you currently have a coat closet space that might be converted? It can become a little perfect mudroom space that is easily accessible.

Determine that living area space that might become mudroom storage and then come up with the best solutions for your needs.

In the case of our current home, the back entrance from the garage brought you into a utility room that was a big fat mess. It wasn’t a functional space and was in dire need of an update.

how to create a mudroom with the space that you have

Although it had built-in storage, it wasn’t efficient. There was a bathroom that was literally about 28″ wide, a cramped closet, more built-in cabinetry, and a giant washer/dryer combo overpowering the space.

It seemed like there were cabinet doors everywhere, but no real space. Something needed to change. So we cleared the space, and started from scratch, fixing the biggest problems along the way.

how to create a mudroom with the space that you have

Items that need to be corralled

To determine your must-have features in a mudroom space, you need to know what you are actually dealing with. Do you have; sports equipment, school bags, dirty shoes, dog leashes, mail, coats and hats? What are your storage needs for your mudroom organization?

The best way to determine what you need in your own space is to assess the problem areas in neighboring rooms. Do you have shoes and socks removed near the stairs where someone sat down and dumped their stuff? Are coats flung onto furniture because they never made it to the coat closet?

When you have a designated space for these items that is easy to access, you have a better chance of them actually ending up there. 

how to create a mudroom with the space that you have coat hooks and storage shoe cubbies

We live in a varied climate so, although we are only two people living in a decent sized home, we have lots of coats and shoes for a variety of activities. Our dogs add more chaos, and frankly, the half bath space in our mudroom area had to be dealt with!

We needed a bench seat, shoe cubbies, hooks for coats and clutter, and extra utility storage. The laundry room would be relocated. Luckily I had a plan and a designated spot.  And that stupid little bathroom was a huge issue!

Consider needed function and the unexpected

This is where you determine how you live, because you know yourself and your family best. How are you most likely to utilize your space? Will a jacket make it to a hook, but never inside a closet? Hooks and baskets are usually the easiest to use, even without much space.

What other items will you be sharing the space with? Will this be near your main entrance, or can you set a dedicated space in a secondary entrance? Determine function first and storage needs, and then you can determine the pretty and the fun stuff.

For our side door entrance room, it would be the mudroom along with the main bathroom that guests would use when visiting. It was such a small area that you could barely get in there and turn around to sit on the toilet.  

how to create a mudroom with the space that you have

We also wanted a little snack area, which we were missing from our last house with the huge, walk-in pantry. After it was redone, it would become our perfect spot for everything. 

how to create a mudroom

Designing a functional, yet good looking mudroom

In our project, we first removed all the awkward walls and cabinets, leaving only one original set. We designated the area that would become the bathroom, full-sized and pretty.

how to create a mudroom with the space that you have demo

One side of the room would have the built-in bench with all the storage function needed. Another side would be a small extension of the kitchen, providing storage and a snack room.

The room had ample space once the laundry appliances were removed. We made custom built-ins with vintage bins in mind, and chose coat hooks for easy storage. 

how to create a mudroom with the space that you have

When designing any room, don’t forget to look up! In our smaller room, the ceiling received a little design that covered up some problem spots we had after removing a dated fan system.

Define the drop zone and storage space

In whatever space you have, define the spaces where you will hang coats, drop bags, store shoes and hide other necessities. Make choices that provide easy solutions that will control the clutter.

In our space, the coat hooks would hold the coats and bags we were using in the current season. We store the others in a closet down the hall. Pull-out bins hold plastic bags, hats and mittens, dog stuff, and tons of shoes.

The bench is a place to drop my purse, corral all my Amazon packages until I open them, and leave the mail until I want to read it. Then I do so while standing over the trash.

how to create a mudroom

The cabinets we kept received some moulding to help them match the rest of the house. Hooks and doorknobs hold pretties, and our little snack center offers bins and jars for storage.

Under the display are cabinets that hold tablecloths and my Kitchen Aid mixer. This area is still a work in progress, since at some point I will add another shelf to show off collections and art.

how to create a mudroom with the space that you have

As I also discover other needs, I can tweak and make changes to suit how we currently live at that moment.

Design tips for a custom mudroom

A mudroom should be all about function, but can certainly be fun as well. Think of colors that make you happy, and add decor that you love.

We painted the exterior doors a bright blue and found a vintage door for the bathroom. This was not my favorite one, but until I find the amazing “one” this works great (don’t worry, the windows are frosted for privacy). We put it on a sliding track to save space in the half bath, and make the room easy to access.

I added a bit of wallpaper on one wall, framed a vintage cross stitch that speaks of home, and hung my favorite Christmas present I receive each year from my girls — a family calendar reminding me of birthdays with pictures of all the people I love most.

how to create a mudroom

Where can you put it if you don’t have the space?

If you don’t have a designated room, think outside the box. Can you create a garage mudroom before you enter the house? Is there a wall near the main entrance that can become a mudroom with a furniture piece or hooks on the wall? Even a large enclosed porch can become a great drop zone space.

Whatever area you have, determine your needs, find the solutions, and make it happen! Don’t forget to consider moving it to a new spot and creating a focal point to the entrance so people know where to go.

Welcome home, homeowner

Make your space a place that will welcome you home, and become the storage spot you need to keep neighboring rooms uncluttered. Add a bit of your personal style, and make your mudroom area a welcoming spot that offers a proper ‘hello’ to you each day when returning home.

What tips can you share that make your mudroom functional and beautiful? I’d love to have you follow me for inspiration and ideas, where we can share thoughts.

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how to create a mudroom with the space you have


  1. You have some amazing make overs! Your mudroom is beautiful!

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