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What Is a Mudroom?


May 24, 2020 by Barbara Zito

It’s a rainy day. Your coat is dripping wet and your shoes are caked with mud. You’re glad to have finally made it home, but you’re not looking forward to making a mess of the floor once you step inside the front door.

Of course, if your home has a mudroom, you wouldn’t have to worry about a thing. If you’re not already acquainted with this lifesaver of a room, here’s your introduction: A mudroom is an informal entry area in a home where you can remove wet or dirty articles of clothing and footwear before entering the rest of the living space.

Ideally, the mudroom is accessed from a secondary entry, like a back or side door, leaving the front door as the formal entry to the home. As its name suggests, it's okay to get this room dirty -- in fact, it's encouraged in order to keep the rest of the house clean.

The mudroom: Your home’s dirty little secret

A mudroom can range from a small, nondescript entryway to a large, luxe-looking room worthy of its own magazine spread. But in its basic form, here’s what a mudroom can offer:

  • A back/side entry to the home
  • A place to take off shoes/put on slippers
  • An umbrella stand
  • Hooks to hang outerwear
  • A hamper to catch messy clothing

Now here’s where it gets interesting: Custom homes that include separate mudrooms in the floorplans can go high-end with features -- think built-in shelving and seating. In fact, some mudrooms can be so welcoming that you might be tempted to spend some time there rather than rush through it when you return home at the end of a long day.

What does a posh mudroom look like? Here are some ideas of what you can include:

  • A bench to sit down and take off shoes
  • Cubbies or shelves for each family member to keep their shoes, bags, and outerwear separate
  • A sink to wash hands/clean mud off clothing

No matter how attractive your mudroom is, it’s still a space that welcomes a mess. So if there happens to be a window that peeps into the mudroom from the front of your home, invest in some curtains or blinds so that you can keep your family’s dirty business, so to speak, out of view.

Mudroom alternatives

Now, if you have a home that doesn't include a mudroom, don’t despair about keeping the rest of your house clean. Here are some suggestions on how to DIY a space as a mudroom:

  • If you can enter your home from your garage, reserve a space by the door to swap out shoes before entering the house.
  • If you’ve got a back or side entrance, place an umbrella stand and leave a wicker basket to catch muddy or wet shoes.
  • If the only way to enter the home is through the front door, place an attractive storage table close to the door with compartments for shoes to be tucked away underneath.

Of course, if all else fails, you can always go with the old standby: Put out a welcome mat with heavy-duty bristles that will show those dirty shoe soles who’s boss.

Whether you’ve got a separate room or a DIY space that allows for messy entrances, a mudroom can be the magic touch for keeping the rest of your home cleaner and tidier.

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