The Best Mud Room Organization Hacks I Learned from Designers

published Aug 14, 2021
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Is there a harder-working room than the family mudroom? These spaces can run the gamut from a bench in an entry foyer to a full-on room complete with dog bath, but they all have one thing in common: Done well, they can make life easier by providing a place to store all the necessary bits and bobs of everyday life. The key is to design them around how that daily life unfolds in your own family. 

Check out these super-smart hacks from designers and bloggers in some of the most inspiring mudrooms we’ve seen!

Add a charging station

Credit: Carla Bast

What do you do with your phone when you come home and throw your jacket or bag on a hook? Look for the nearest place to charge it, of course. We absolutely love this brilliant move by designer Carla Bast

“When designing your mudroom, consider including a charging station to each family member’s locker,” Carla says. “With the past year’s changes in the way we meet, communicate, and learn, it is even more important to keep electronic devices organized, charged, and ready to go.”

The other smart piece to this is that devices get a dedicated space. Even if you don’t have an outlet per person, designating their slot as the place to stash electronics can prevent the mad dash around the house when we’re trying to get out the door that we all know and dread. 

Get the hook(s)-up

Who needs a coat closet when you can hang things on tons of hooks? We love this design from Allie Mann of Case Architects & Remodelers that features a plethora of hooks in individual cubbies. When you’ve got masks, sports gear, jackets, backpacks, and more, you can never have too many hooks. Even if you don’t have built-ins like this, adding a few Command hooks to an entry wall is a great way to keep clutter off floors and furniture. (That fresh and cheerful blue and white color scheme is also worth stealing!)

Include peg racks that grow with the family

This small mudroom in Michigan from Sarah of Grace in My Space shows that the cubbies and lockers aren’t actually mandatory! In fact she removed the cubbies that were there and opened up the space, allowing plenty of room for taking winter gear (Michigan, remember!?) on and off. Her storage solution? Peg racks for things that hang (and that can be moved higher on the wall as kids grow and reach higher!) and IKEA drawers and cupboards for storage. 

“When most were adding in mudroom lockers, I knew I had to rip mine out. With such a small footprint, lockers took up too much floor space and didn’t allow our family to access it functionally,” Sarah tells us. “Instead, I built peg racks to span the entire room, then hung them at heights that fit both adults and could be within reach for our small kiddos too. It has been a great option for our family to functionally use the space again!”

Mix and match solutions 

What we know is that there are lots of options for mudroom storage and organization. Why choose? This clever design from interior design director Jessica Shaw of The Turett Collaborative took a mix-and-match approach. 

“In terms of storage, it’s really about what works for you and what you store in your mudroom,” Jessica says. “A combination of shelves with pullouts, cubbies, and hooks are good elements for a tidy mudroom. Adding a bench invites people to sit down and take off and on their shoes. Open benches are great too because storage bins can be kept underneath to keep things neat and organized. I also love shelves or hooks above the sitting area; a ledge for keys and mail, a space to charge your cell phone, and even an umbrella holder, so you can have everything you need before you dash out the door.”

Yes, it’s tempting to take inspiration from other families’ mudrooms, but they’re not a one-size-fits-all. Taking the time to sit down and plan out how your family will use the mudroom is time well invested. Take a cue from this one and think through all your needs before nailing down your storage approach. You could even map it out on a piece of paper beforehand, if you’re a visual thinker.

Go custom to make the most of space

Credit: Jenn Verrier

What if you’re lucky enough to have a mudroom, but it’s a bit on the wee side? If you can swing it, consider going custom, like in this gorgeous, streamlined mudroom in Virginia from designer Danielle Steele of Marks-Woods Construction Services. “In order to maximize space in a small mudroom, custom cabinetry is a must, as you can create storage solutions for every member of your household,” she says. 

If you can’t go full custom, follow her lead and try to make full use of the height of the room, whether with, say IKEA cabinets, or even standard shelving from a hardware store. We love how they incorporated lower shelves for shoes in this design. Shoe racks slid under a bench would serve a similar purpose!

Use your mudroom for double-duty

It wouldn’t have been intended as a mudroom when my own house was built in 1887, but the back porch entrance (a.k.a. friend’s entrance, a.k.a. mudroom, a.k.a. pantry) became the most multifunctional room in my Victorian when we tore down the crumbling plaster and added storage. A coat tree holds masks, dog leashes. and other gear; a cabinet snagged at an estate sale houses overflow kitchen gadgets; and a sturdy rack displays skillets and pans. But the star of the space is the wall of open shelving lined with dry goods. When our niece lived with my husband and me we’d “shop” the pantry for dinner. With everything visible on the shelves, answering the question of what to eat became a lot easier. 

If your mudroom lives next to your kitchen, incorporating storage for cookware and ingredients can take some of the pressure off your kitchen, and off dinner planning!

All that and a dog bath, too?!

Credit: Dana Hoff 

When so many families include puppers, it’s smart to consider muddy paws and lean into a mudroom’s versatility with a dog cleaning station, especially in spaces with lots of sand, like this one.

Marnie Oursler of Marnie Custom Homes designed this dream mudroom in a beach house for a busy family with pets. “When designing a dog wash, consider the size of the dog or pet and be sure to make it large enough to access the faucets and products for ease of use,” she says. “Or better yet, keep your swimsuit on and join your pet in the shower! The storage area includes hooks and cubbies for towels and other beach essentials.”

If you’re not building from scratch, considering how to deal with anything the family dog drags in is a wise move. A basket of “dog towels” (you know, the ones too worn out or stained to keep in the bath) by the door, along with paw wipes, can contain a mess before it gets tracked through the house.