Create a wall cubicle for each child to hang jackets and backpacks.

How to Make the Most of Small Mudrooms

by Mary Cockrill

Even a small mudroom can offer a place to store wet outerwear, muddy shoes and dripping umbrellas before they have a chance to traipse through your home with your children. Make the most of your less-than-ideal mudroom with creative storage solutions for small areas, furniture pieces to fit the available space and durable wall and floor finishes that hold up to active kids and messy pets.

1. Walls

With a limited amount of available floor space, take full advantage of your small mudroom's vertical space. A space-saving wall-mounted coat rack provides an ideal spot to hang a wet jacket or coat upon entering your home. Protect the drywall against moisture and wear-and-tear by applying a heavy-duty semigloss moisture-resistant paint that is also easy to clean. Hang two coat racks -- one a few feet from the floor that your younger kids can reach and one higher on the wall for adult outerwear. Utilize a portion of the wall space to hang a large bulletin board to tack memos for you, reminders for your kids and as a display space for creative artwork or special homework papers. Hang a couple of single hooks for your dog's leash and a spare set of house or car keys.

2. Floors

Although your mudroom may be small, it still needs quality, durable flooring that is attractive and simple to clean. Concrete, tile and linoleum offer optimum choices for a mudroom floor. Tumbled brick flooring adds charming character and hard-wearing functionality to a tiny space. Another flooring option includes tumbled rocks backed with mesh and grouted in place to supply your petite mudroom with a natural look that is more slip-resistant than tile. If you have existing hardwood floors, cover them with a scuff-resistant floor-and-porch enamel. Lay a small entry rug inside your mudroom to remind your kids to wipe their feet before they come inside.

3. Storage

Construct a slim storage unit divided into open cubicles and equipped with coat hooks inside each individual space. Assign a cubicle to every family member to keep coats, jackets, hats and other personal items organized and out of the way. Another option might be something your kids would love -- old school lockers refurbished to your liking in lieu of the open storage unit. Install open shelves high on your mudroom walls. Slide plastic containers onto the higher shelves for storing seasonal outerwear, such as mittens, hats and boots. Attach lower shelves to the wall to keep everyday stuff, such as pet food and supplies within easy reach. Add a built-in or freestanding bench with interior storage space as a convenient spot to tie shoes or pull on boots. Place a shoe storage rack underneath the bench to prevent dirty and wet shoes from escaping into your clean home.

4. Other Ideas

Small mudrooms easily become damp and stinky from wet clothing, umbrellas and shoes. Ventilate your mudroom by installing a screen door to let in fresh outdoor air that can help reduce humidity and prevent mildew. Install a doggie door to allow your pet free access from your mudroom to the outdoors. Set up a childproof gate between the mudroom and your interior spaces to keep a dirty or wet pet from trekking through the house. Situate a large upright basket in a bare corner to store umbrellas, hockey sticks or baseball bats. Line the basket with plastic sheeting to keep wet umbrellas from leaking onto the floor.

Photo Credits

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