The mud room plan

July 19, 2013

I’m busy working on our bedroom right now, but my mind easily wanders when it comes to projects and decorating around here. If you haven’t noticed I’ll start one thing and get an idea and then move on to something else because I have a great idea I just have to do. It’s very much “Oh look, a butterfly!” Or in this case…a mudroom.

That’s what I’ve been thinking about a ton lately. Ours has been sitting half way done for years. It started when I replaced the floor, and then last year we moved the the laundry down to the basement (best decision ever). It used to be a combined mud/laundry room and it drove. me. nuts. The picture tells it all:

It looks much better now (well, it’s still bright yellow, which is making me itch) – but the clutter (shoes!!) is creeping back in. I have an idea to address some of that till we finish the room but otherwise it’s just going to be slightly messy until we get some storage up in here.

I know I’ve said it a million times, but it takes me a while before I know exactly what I want to do with a room. I’ve sat on this one long enough that the plan and ideas are finally coming together in my head. Like other spaces though, the updates need to be made in a certain order, which slows me down a bit.

The big decision I’m struggling with now is whether or not to keep the flooring as is or do hardwoods. I don’t want tile in here because it flows into our family room and I want a nice transition that you don’t really notice. The vinyl tile that’s in there looks great because it’s a similar color to our floors. A few years ago I would NEVER have considered hardwoods, but now that I’ve lived with them for awhile I love them and how they hold up – even to the occasional water.

These vinyl tiles are holding up great, it’s the grouted spots between them that’s not looking the best. So I need to make that decision quick, because I want to move on this space. Here’s my plan, told through inspiration pics, of course. :)

First up, the lighting – you can’t tell in that picture above, but our lighting in here is a long fluorescent light. GREAT light, but I’d love something prettier. We got the fluorescent for a reason – we wanted good light because we knew the laundry would be in there. We wanted to see the stains well I guess? :)

But now that’s not needed, and I’d like to do some regular lighting, maybe two of something? It’s a decent sized room so I think we’ll need more than one. This mud room is one of my all time favorites:

white mud room with beadboard

For MANY reasons, but I do love LOVE that light fixture. I think the round shape is fun.

I love the idea of adding color in the lights too, like this room:

rustic mud room

Speaking of the ceiling – I know I want to do something fun. I’ve always loved the look of a planked ceiling – I just can’t decide if I want to go with color, like this one:

blue planked ceiling


Or natural wood, like this one I’ve loved forevah:

wood planked ceiling


I am leaning towards the natural wood, but it will depend on the lighting situation. We don’t get any natural light in that room, so I don’t want the ceiling to feel too heavy. Isn’t that beautiful though?

Next up – storage. This is what has taken me the longest to figure out. We have about five feet of space where the washer and dryer used to be – plenty of space but not a ton, so I want to use it well.

I know I want to go all the way to the ceiling with the built ins:

mud room built ins to ceiling

But I’m not sure if it will be closed like that one or open shelves like this:

bright mud room and laundry

Isn’t that room ADORABLE??

We have a shelf in there now that just ends up full of clutter (stuff I mean to take out to the garage/my car and hardly do) so I don’t know if I want it open. I know I need closed storage in there somewhere. And if we go all the way to the ceiling (nine feet), that area won’t be accessed regularly anyway since it will be so high. So it will probably be closed. Thanks for helping me decide. ;)

The biggie for me is the shoe storage. ARGH. The shoes!! (Shakes fists in air!) At first I thought I’d be OK with open storage for them underneath:

mud room with bench

I figured I could use baskets and such. But the more I’ve thought over it, the more I know I want them put AWAY. Will they stay put away? That’s yet to be determined. We have a million shoes and wear the same ones over and over, so I think most of them will stay out of sight.

We have them in baskets now and it’s not working great. One, we have too many shoes. Working on that. Two, you have to dig through to find the ones you need and it makes a mess. Not great.

I love the idea of the bench opening up and hiding them all, like at my girl Traci’s old house: 

mud room with storage bench


I think that would be the easiest solution.

But I’ve been crushing on this secret door idea since I saw it years ago:

hidden storage for shoes in mud room

Like hard core…CRUSH. I know I can’t do this on my own though, so we’ll see. I heard from a friend after I posted this pic the first time years back that this is actually nearby in central Indiana – I need to do some investigating! :)

So there’s the biggies – the beadboard has already been up in most of the room but I need to wait on built in dimensions of the built ins before I finish that up. Paint will be easy – in my head I’ve been planning something a little different though. I may go with a color on the beadboard and white (or light) on the walls. I think it would look awesome!

Do you have a mud room? I consider myself lucky that we even have a space like this! It’s going to be SO fun to work on, I can’t wait! I’ll try to anyway. :) What would your dream mud room look like?

**I can’t find original sources for some of these pics – if you know of them let me know!

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  1. I don't have a mudroom, but I used a space in my entryway to create a landing space and it has been awesome!! Here is the after post if you want to check it out :)
    The top cubbies below the bench hold baskets for gloves, and hats, and such, and the bottom cubbies are open for shoe storage. Have fun planning!! Love your blog :)

  2. I'm trying to plan our new mudroom too. I think that hidden storage for shoes is great, but I 100% guarantee my kids and husband won't take the time to open anything to put their shoes away in. So the one with the open storage under the bench would probably be our best bet with baskets for shoes that aren't worn everyday. My hubby can make things but he hates it so it's up to me to construct any shelving. Yikes.

  3. Thank you for the beautiful inspiration. I desperately need a makeover in my laundry/mudroom. The shoes, clutter, tight space, etc etc is driving me crazy!! You have highlighted some beautiful designs that may work for me too-

  4. I'm excited to see what you do!

    With the washer/dryer in there, we don't really have enough space to call ours a "mudroom," but for shoe storage we use the Hemnes shoe cabinet from IKEA, and it has helped a ton! I like it because it's cute, but the storage is just simple drawers that are deep enough for shoes, but not so deep that you end up with 20 pairs in there and have to dig for what you're looking for.

    The drawers are easy enough that the hubs and the kids actually use them - I tried more of a shoe "cubby"-style (similar to the ones that are behind the hidden door in your pic) but nobody ever made the effort to use it and it drove me crazy. The drawers are a perfect solution (for us). Since you're going to do a built-in you won't need something from IKEA, but the pull-put drawer might be a feature to consider when you are designing.

    Looking forward to seeing your progress!

    Have a great weekend,

    1. I like this idea! A wood ceiling and a wood floor might be overkill. I think a white backdrop for a lovely sea glass orb light would be lovely!

  5. The shoe storage hidden behind the doors is GENIUS!! I would love something like that. You are very blessed to have a mudroom. Our shoes are all shoved in a basket just inside the front door. Drives me nuts! We have a two pair rule, but no one but me seems to follow it! :) Good luck with your project. Your inspiration pics are fabulous, so I'm sure the room will be just beautiful!

  6. Drooling...such inspiring pictures. I would LOVE to figure out a way to "add" a mudroom.

  7. We don't have a mudroom, our back door opens directly into the kitchen area.

    What I've done is take the closet (regular size), and put shelves down one side (that hold some shoes, especially those that I don't want scuffed. The shelves also hold buckets--one for each family member, for seasonal items.

    Then we have a big plastic bin beside it that hold the everyday shoes--for myself, my husband and the kids. In the (very long, cold, snowy) winter, I put a towel at the bottom of the bin, to soak up melting snow.

    Above the bucket, on the side of the closet are two rows of hooks, some at kiddie height, for the kids' jackets and snow stuff, and there is also a regular rod for hanging jackets. Because of the small space, only jackets used regularly (and in season) stay in the space.

    We have hardwood throughout the house, but we put tile at that entrace, with a big rug, because of our winter weather. If you track a lot of water in the house, I would hestitate to put hardwoods right in your most used entrance. If, however, your mudroom is off the garage, and you can stomp/wipe your footwear before coming in, or if your winters are not that wintery, this could be less of an issue. If you do decide to put hardwood in the mudroom, you could protect it well with a rubber backed indoor/outdoor rug.

    As for the hidden storage, I wonder if it would be annoying if you will have lots of stuff hanging on the hooks--would it be difficult or annoying to open? I'm not sure...

    And as for the open/closed shoe storage, if you get lots of snow, you might not want fully closed storage, because of the water. I love the idea of cubbies on the floor--one for each family member (my dream), and then having big, plastic (nice plastic? or wood or something) bins with little castors (or felt bottomed to protect the floor) for shoes.

    I've thought lots about mudrooms--I'd love to have one! I'm sure your's will turn out great!

  8. I'm so with you on frustration with the shoe sitch! I have 4 kiddos and I feel like I'm drowning in shoes sometime! Just finished the mudroom of my dreams and posted today. I'd love for you to check it out:

  9. LOVE LOVE the lights in that second one and LOVE the third to the last photo also. I've had both hardwood floors in a mudroom and tile and I vote for tile. My husband and the pups as well seem to bring in a lot of dirt, and our pups feeding bowls are also in the mudroom as well as the laundry. It's a good sized room with washer, dryer, refrigerator, dog feeding bowls, counter space and cabinets, sink, etc. If I lived alone I suppose I would have it decorated nicer but it's a room meant for laundry and keeping the vacuum cleaner, etc. In general these types of rooms are just not 'pretty' since we use them so often. I wouldn't consider moving my laundry out of the room because it's near the master bedroom and master bathroom where our dirty laundry is generated. It's just so convenient where it is. Can't wait to see what you do with yours! xox

  10. I would do hardwoods in there. That particular floor does not hold up well after many years (a friend had it in a section of her house).

  11. I haven't figured out how to do my mud room yet (excited to see how yours turns out!) but I have nixed the lift-up bench because I know that there will inevitably be stuff on the bench that then I'll have to take off to open it up. Also, would the hidden shoe storage take away from coat hanging room? My other thought that it isn't intuitive to store shoes that high (if I have to pick shoes up to put them away, they probably won't get put away)...but if you are storing infrequently used shoes there it might work! Love your ideas and can't wait to see how it turns out!

  12. Mud rooms are so fun! On the shoe storage ideas...what if you did pull-out shelves on the bottom? I only say this because if you were to do the bench lifting for storage, that would have to be somewhat cleaned off, and I know for me it would probably not be cleaned off most of the time! Same idea with the secret door idea. I would want coats/bags/etc hanging on the hooks and things sitting on the bench to get in the way. Just some thoughts for you! Can't wait to see how this turns out!!


  13. Nope, no mudroom here -- well, we seldom get mud here in AZ! I had kind of a combo-thing in Oregon when our children were young. It was a laundry, 1/2 bath room with a big storage closet to hold coats and backpacks. Here and now, with just the hubby and I, there really is no need for a mudroom but I still like the idea. We do have a regular laundry room with built-in sink and a lot of storage, but it's also one of those "walk-through" from the main house to the garage. Not my dream laundry, but nothing to complain about either!

    1. Ha ha Carol! I'm an arizonan too. I joke that my mudroom is actually a dust room. ;)

  14. I have kind of a weird mudroom space, a transition room and one of these days, floor to ceiling lockers are going to enter my world :) I say the floor to ceiling lockers are my favorite. That blue and white laundy area is ridiculously awesome!

  15. I could look at mud rooms all. day. long. I just love them and think they need to come standard with any house these days. ;-) I love the hidden shoe storage idea - genius! I have a friend that moved her laundry to the basement and turned her laundry room (right off the garage) into a mud room, and it is FANTASTIC! I know you will put something beautiful together.

    I don't know what it is about these spaces, but they are clutter magnets! I need to get my laundry/mud room/drop zone organized before the kiddos go back to school!

  16. How fun to be able to plan a mudroom! A couple of years ago we bought a front loader washer/dryer and built drawer stands to raise them up (instead of paying $200 each). I use one of the giant drawers for shoes and it works AWESOME! If I had the room for lockers and/or a bench, I would definitely consider BIG drawers for shoes. They can still be messy, but concealed! Good luck!

  17. I have the same Target baskets and the same problem with overflowing shoes! I make an effort to empty it out every couple of days and that does seem to help, but who has time for that?! I don't really have the space for a mudroom, but as soon as my husband finds the time to clean out the garage it's going to function as a quasi-mudroom. That just means a place for the kids shoes and sports equipment. It takes up more space than you can imagine.

  18. I have a "stand-alone" closet in my entry way. And I plan to take it down and create a mudroom.
    I would like a bench with basket storage underneath, coat hooks, and basket storage on top.
    But I do love that hidden shoe storage a lot. I don't think I have enough space behind the wall (bathroom sink is there) to actually do that. Sigh.

  19. We built a mudroom from scratch in our back sunroom (we took out a big coat closet) and I love it! We live in Carmel and I started a blog this year. It was the first post I did! I am an organizational freak so I designed it to hold lots of kid coats in small locker looking side cabinets but it still has the look of the hooks and baskets like the ones you showed. I also built a homework storage and backpack area! Check it out and let me know what you think!!

    1. Do you still have your blogspot on the mudroom? I would love to look at it if you can send me the link.

  20. Our new home (less than a month:) has a pass thru laundry room and its feakin killing me already! Excited to see your plans for your laundry room turned mudroom!!! Come winter I'll be singing your praises for your transformation.

  21. I am so envious of this space I can't even leave a comment. Really. I'll live vicariously through your mud room until I come up with a stroke of genius.

  22. I agree with your comments about the shoes. I was just thinking today that our closets would look so much neater if my husband would just buy smaller shoes! ha,ha!

  23. Wow, I have a serious crush on those rooms too! I just post photos of my laundry room on my blog today and now I'm seriously wanting to change that room up! I find the hardest part is the dirty clothes storage. I just have some hampers but really need a new solution. I love following your blog. I don't usually comment but I'm a subscriber. Love your home ;)
    Jamie @

  24. I wouldn't do the shoe storage in the bench personally. I am also a pilier and can see piling stuff on that bench and then cursing myself when I needed to get a pair of shoes or my husband cursing me, eyerolls and all, when he needs shoes. The kids would just dump it on the floor and then not pick it up. Just a thought...

  25. I have the same problem my boys seem to miss the shoe rack all the time. I am considering shoe drawers.
    For the ceiling, if you dont have much light coming in you might want to go light or make sure your walls are a light color. You can also start with the natural wood and if it doesnt work paint it.
    For the floors, take a look at the porcelain tiles that look like wood, you might like that.
    I agree open shelves can look messy or clutter but it can also bring light to your space, and make it look bigger. You might want to consider using both open and closed storage.

  26. What gorgeous inspiration!! We have sooo many baskets/piles/mountains of shoes to organize too. You have put together so many good ideas, your mud room is going to turn out so pretty :)

    xo, Tanya

  27. Love your ideas. I love the mud room cabinet with the hidden doors. Do you have the dimensions to build this cabinet. Thanks Don H


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