Design Life: 20+ tips to make your mudroom functional and fabulous! (Ep. 86)
Get 20+ tips to make your mudroom functional and fabulous with hardwearing materials, smart organization solutions, easy decorating ideas and renovation tricks! Whether your mudroom is big or small, country or city, brimming with storage or hard-pressed to fit it all in, this video is jam packed with designer advice to help you make the most of your mudroom!
6 key ingredients for mudrooms that work:
1. Durable Flooring (this is critical and super important!)
2. Durable Walls (your wall material needs to be up to the task)
3. Storage (you can never have too much storage)
4. Hooks (an easy way to help conquer clutter)
5. Open Shelving (keep all the messy stuff contained and organized)
6. Personality (this is where the fun comes in!)
Paisley Acres (Sarah's House 3)
The Sarah's House 3 property was our very first farmhouse project! This is a mudroom that I still really love! In order for this farmhouse to function fabulously, we needed to dedicate some major space to this all important entry area. This space was originally an ugly living room, but it was a pretty big space, so we kit it out to make it work for us.
Here's what we did:
Twin closets: First up we installed a pair of closets flanking a nook which offered dedicated storage on either side, plus a different storage option in the middle - an antique piece of furniture with drawers. When you come in you always need a place to drop your keys, put down the mail, check the mirror and hang your hat. I often like to install closets with two doors instead of one because it takes less circulation space when you open them up, which makes it easier to find what you're looking for.
Red doors: I'm a huge fan of coloured doors! In this case, this mudroom looks through to an orchard and I took inspiration from the views beyond. I was thinking about those juicy apples hanging in the orchard and I wanted to somehow bring the outdoors in. I'm always thinking about how to connect the space to the place and its surroundings. But why is the colour red also a good idea? Because why not have fun? A mudroom is a place of transition. It exudes a warm welcome and you move on. If there's any place to be daring, your mudroom is certainly it! A saturated colour instead of white is also a really good defence against the onslaught of stuff and mess that comes into your mudroom. PAINT COLOUR: Benjamin Moore, Burnt Peanut Red 2081-10.
Durable & dirt-proof floors: Floors are so important in a mudroom... it's not a place for wood flooring in my opinion. I strongly believe you need to invest the money in either tile or natural stone. The flooring in this mudroom is a tumbled cobblestone marble. When dirt dries, it's the same colour as this marble so it's hard to spot the dirt. This marble is honed with softened, rustic edges to hide imperfections and it feels like a surface that transitions well between indoors and outdoors.
Covered windows: This space has a lot of windows, so window coverings were both a practical and a decorative addition.
Flat woven rug: Forget a thick rug with a plush pile... that will only feel soggy underfoot when you track in wet boots. Here, a flat woven wool Kilim takes a lot less time to dry out and provides an extra layer of protection for your floors.
This entryway from the first incarnation of Starlight Farm was originally the laundry station and was short on space to begin with. Because it was the main entrance into the house, it needed to work best for the way we lived. So out went the washer and dryer, and in went a brand new entryway and mudroom design.
Here's what we did:
Built-in bench: A very simple built-in bench made with inexpensive big box store lumber made for just the right spot to sit and take off your shoes.
Tongue & groove: On the wall behind the bench we installed tongue and groove paneling for extra wall durability so that we could hang hooks. If the hooks were simply installed in drywall and the kids put heavy backpacks and layer upon layer of coats on these hooks, they will surely pull out of the wall. Tongue & groove panelling helps ensure the hooks stay sturdy.
Two open shelves: I often like to install two open shelves because the top shelf can be for big bulky things like helmets and hats. The lower shelf can be at a height where you can spot your basket and grab what you need and go.
Carpet-pattern floors: Here, I used cobblestone marble that was installed with a little bit of a carpet pattern detail for personality.
Chair rail: Installing a chair rail profile allows you to paint the lower surface of the wall in a different colour. Perhaps you'd like to try a paint finish with a bit of a sheen that makes it scrubbable, durable, and wipeable, or maybe a darker paint colour so that it's more forgiving.
Q: Where do I start when it comes to selecting floor materials?
My family and I spend a good part of our time up in the country at Starlight Farm, and mud is a huge part of our daily lives. If it's not mud, it's rain or snow. Having a mudroom designed with durable floor materials was never a question - it was a must!
Guide to durable floor types: When you're thinking about buying stone, make sure you ask your supplier how durable the stone is. On the spectrum of porosity and durability, limestone is at the button as it's the softest most porous, so it's not the best choice for your mudroom. Next up you have marble, beyond marble you have quartz, beyond quartz you have granite.
Colour variation & veining: Truth be told, I'm not really a fan of granite, so we installed a quartz floor at Starlight Farm that is widely durable with a good amount of veining throughout. If you choose a tile that has some colour variation, it always looks good despite some dirt, or whether it's wet or dry.
Avoid a polished finish: Choose something with the least slippery surface. I would always advise against a polished finish in a mudroom. Instead, go with a honed material. I'm also not a fan of flamed tile surfaces because the uneven top layer can attract and lock in dirt.
Q: What if I want the look of custom millwork but don't want to pay the price?
Use leftover lumber: For the ski closet at Starlight Farm, the entire room was made using scraps of leftover plywood and trim pieces. You don't need to have custom made millwork done. You can have your carpenter help you create smart, cost effective storage solutions that are also stylish. We had four cubbies installed (one for each family member). Everybody has boot storage underneath, a bench that holds bags, a hanging rod for coats and jackets, hooks on either side and a series of shelves above. A fun country-style fixture illuminates the room and the final finishing touch is doors. If it gets really junky in there, you can simply close the doors!
Q: What if my entryway has too many closets and lacks style?
Paint it grey: What do you do when a historic home comes with a whole series of closets in the entryway? You inject personality by painting them dark grey! The trim and stair railings were also painted grey to match. The charcoal grey paint also acts as a cooling agent against the original terracotta floor. PAINT COLOUR: Farrow & Ball, Railings No. 31.
Repurpose furniture: At one point, this Art Deco cabinet was the client's dining room buffet. When they moved into this home, we suggested they move the cabinet to the entryway to create a warm welcome. Sometimes, that great piece of furniture you're looking for is in another room and can double as a convenient and stylish surface for dropping the mail on your way in.
Q: What if I really want a mudroom but my house is not designed to have one?
Repurpose a room: At the Contemporary Chalet, we took what was once a work room, and turned it into a mudroom. We bought some reclaimed barn board online and stained it grey to match the weathered barn board on the walls. We stained a shelf and hung it above the bench and installed rustic iron hooks. I like hooks with two prongs so you can hang something lighter underneath and something heavier on top. Staggering hooks up and down provides more room for the bulky bits to hang and allows more airflow for wet items to dry.
Install a narrow console: Just outside of the mudroom we created a super skinny console using leftover barn beams and added small piece of quartz on top. Now this area has both a nice entry moment and a super hardworking area that holds all the junk.
Q: What if I have a small mudroom but want to give it more personality?
Install barn board: We installed barn board on just one wall. Instead of a feature wall done in a feature paint colour, we did an accent wall of barn board. Then we cut down some extra barn board into little strips and installed them on the side walls and hung hooks all across that can hold lots of stuff for a busy family.
Retro Ranch Reno
Q: What if I prefer the look of tile in a mudroom instead of stone?
Creative tile: For the Retro Ranch Reno renovation, we got playful and used three different colours of tile and set them in a diagonal pattern to riff off of the angled ceiling.
Q: What if I want to give my mudroom walls a little extra pizzazz?
Textured wallpaper: We installed wallpaper on the walls to add a dramatic effect of texture and pattern. This helps to reduce the look of any bumps, scuffs and scrapes on the wall. WALLPAPER: Sarah Richardson for A-Street Prints, Palm Weave Graphite 2785-24850.
Fireside Rustic Chalet
Q: What if I want to inject character and warmth into my oversized entryway?
Add pattern & colour: At this family chalet, we installed two colours of oversized hexagonal floor tiles in a more random, staggered pattern to create a casual vibe suitable for chalet living. This chalet is open concept, so when you step in the front door you can see all the way through to the living room that features a monochromatic mix of deep charcoals and creams with accents of cranberry red. This presented the perfect opportunity to paint the doors red! Because this is a country space, we had the contractor take an in stock slab door and apply a classic barn 'X' motif for that extra special touch.
Q: What if I'm looking for a more minimal and monochromatic look for my entryway?
Put up penny gap: At our Alpine Farmhouse renovation, we installed a durable wall solution called penny gap. It's a little bit like shiplap and a little bit like tongue and groove. Instead these are boards that overlap like shiplap but have a narrow gap that's about the thickness of a penny or a nickel. We installed them horizontally to look crisp and contemporary.
Accent with oak: To highlight painted white walls, we introduced accents of natural white oak. The oak comes down on the handrail like a ribbon. We also had our carpenter build us an oak L-shape bench that is so simple, so durable and has so much space to tuck boots and shoes underneath. On the other wall we have these fabulous peg hooks, plus another bench, plus a shelf. This mudroom will always look sleek and stylish even when ready to conquer all that clutter.
Sarah off the Grid, Season 2
Q: What if I have a compact mudroom that I can't hide because it's visible from another room?
Make function = beauty: Give equal consideration to how it looks as you would how it functions. Even if it's compact, your mudroom can work well. This mudroom from Sarah Off the Grid, season 2, adjoins the living room, so having it look good was key. Since we added an addition onto an existing 1890's house, the back wall of brick was exposed. Which just means we had something to celebrate! We wouldn't dare cover up the awesome brick. We made a great peg hook rack out of a piece of wood that we found in the garage, added a bench underneath, celebrated that fabulous rich rustic look of the brick and created a living space that was layered in greys, charcoals and muted tones. We also added a bank of closets at the end which disappears seamlessly yet offers lots of storage.
Q: What if I only have room for a single closet?
Install mirrors: If you only have room for a single closet, try adding mirrors to the doors. In our home in the city, wood trim runs down the length of both sides of the slab doors and I had pieces of mirror installed that go all the way from top to bottom of the slab doors. This offers a more contemporary look and the reflection gives the illusion of more space. If you prefer something that feels more traditional, you can also try installing mirrors on shaker style panelled doors.