How to Design a Mudroom for Function & Style

How to Design a Mudroom for Function & Style

A mudroom is a versatile and functional space within a home that acts as a buffer zone, alleviating the everyday chaos that can accompany the comings and goings of busy families. Traditionally found in European and American rural homes, the concept of the mudroom is becoming increasingly sought after in Australian home design. Often located near the main entrance, back door or garage, it is a transitional area designed to bridge the gap between the outdoors and the interior of the house. While the name "mudroom" might suggest a sole focus on mud and dirt, in modern and urban homes its role extends far beyond just that. 

When designed well, this high traffic area can serve as a practical, multipurpose hub for organisation, cleanliness and overall household efficiency. Whether it is part of a laundry, in the entryway or a dedicated room, the main purpose is to provide a space for all the items that tend to cause daily clutter in your home such as shoes, backpacks, umbrellas, sporting equipment and pet gear to be stored. More than that, this room can also be an extension of your interior style and an opportunity to inject some personality into your home - a place to experiment with texture, colour and playful elements like baskets, hooks, tiles and hardware.

In this journal post, we explore the many roles that mudrooms play in our daily lives, from offering a warm welcome for guests to serving as a catch-all for life's messiest moments. We spoke with four experts who have shared their top tips, organisation hacks and creative ideas to design a mudroom that not only enhances the functionality of a household, but also reflects our unique personality and style.

Image credits / Left: Designed by Oak & Orange - Image by The Palm Co / Right: Upland Farm - Image by Hannah Puechmarin.

Simone Matthews of Soul Home

What are your key storage considerations for a well designed and functional mudroom? The primary consideration for a functional mudroom is understanding its purpose as a transitional space between a home's exterior and interior. It serves as the area for taking off outdoor gear like shoes, jackets, hats and bags. The key is to design the space to the specific needs of those that live in the home; for instance, if you have children, consider school bag and jacket storage, or if you live near the beach, think about storage for hats and beach towels. Design the space to your needs, and think of elements like seating for taking off shoes, wall hooks for hanging items, and baskets for organised storage. Understanding these needs ensures an efficient mudroom that aligns with your daily routines.

What other features can be added to help personalise this space and make it aesthetically beautiful? Mudrooms offer a blank canvas to infuse the personality of those who live there. Don't shy away from colour, pattern and material experimentation. Consider coloured walls, decorative wall hooks, patterned upholstery on seats, textured baskets, or unique tile patterns that steal some attention. Definitely not a necessity as mudrooms should be practical first and pretty second, style the space with practical items like striped beach towels or quirky decor, such as a leather fly swatter, hung on wall hooks, can add some fun and the style will relate to the location of your home ie. coastal, country, city etc.

Do you have any other special tips or tricks for designing a mudroom? Maximizing your mudroom's functionality doesn't require a large space. My preferred setup includes open shelves for beach towels and hat storage, wall hooks for bags and hats (enhanced with timber battens for a traditional touch), a built-in seat, and open cubes with baskets for shoe storage. If your mudroom is prone to messier activities or occupants (like my builder husband), opt for a timber bench over an upholstered seat for easy maintenance. The key is to adapt your design to your specific needs and make the most of the available space.

Image credit / Designed by Sarah Davey - Image by Jessie Prince.

Heather Gampe of Oak & Orange

What are your key storage considerations for a well-designed and functional mudroom? We love locating our mudrooms near or even combined with our laundries, especially in a double storey home, it makes practical sense for a few reasons. Firstly, because it means when everyone comes home and starts taking off socks and jackets they can go straight in the dirty wash basket, instead of scattering them throughout the home (the same for bags too). It prevents the need to be running up and down the stairs for shoes and bags when you’re in a hurry to get out the door. We have also found that it’s a great place to store kids sporting uniforms after they have been washed, that way everyone knows where to find things for next week’s game.

We like to incorporate a mix of open shelves with baskets, seating with drawers underneath for shoes and hooks for hanging bags and towels. If designing a mudroom, we would recommend you consider what the unique needs of your family are. How many kids you have, how many shoes do you want to be able to store in the drawers, how many hooks does each person need. It’s sensible to get the cabinetry measurements and mudroom layout perfect before moving onto the colours and materials so that the finished mudroom serves your family’s daily needs.

What other features can be added to help personalise this space and make it aesthetically beautiful? We love introducing colour into our mudrooms and laundries, we feel like this is a safe place to have fun with colour without potentially compromising on the value of the home. We gravitate towards muted greens and blues whether through tiles or cabinetry and then we like to introduce natural textures in our styling or through hints of timber. Natural textures can be introduced through laundry baskets, runners, baskets. These are our favourites as they are timeless, suit so many styles, look beautiful and are great for keeping the mudroom looking stylish. Handles are also a great way to bring some personality to a mudroom and finish off the cabinetry design beautifully.  

Do you have any other special tips or tricks for designing a mudroom? Consider the sporting activities of your children and what equipment you need to store in your mudroom. If you have kids in swimming lessons, it might be easier to store their swimmers and towels in the mudroom after washing them, so you have quick and easy access for the next time you need to grab them on the way out. Plan adequate storage for as they get older too, the equipment and uniform sizing will likely grow as they get older, so you want to make sure you have plenty of room in the future.

Image credit / Left: Designed by Soul Home - Image by The Palm Co / Right: Kyal + Kara, Blue Lagoon Build.

Sarah Davey of Davey Constructions

What are your key storage considerations for a well designed and functional mudroom? My main considerations for designing a functional mudroom are definitely position within the home and ensuring that the joinery design allows for seating space and baskets. In terms of layout for the joinery, it's preferable to have some open space for hanging school bags/handbags etc and also some closed storage with open shelving or drawers for other equipment that you want to hide like beach bags, raincoats, rashies etc. I think it’s critical to have the mudroom positioned close to entry so that kids can grab school bags on the way out the door and vice versa when coming home from school.

What other features can be added to help personalise this space and make it aesthetically beautiful? Definitely storage baskets like the beautiful Dharma Door jute natural baskets - these are wonderful storage for shoes in this space. For our mudroom at home I added brass hooks, beautiful cabinet handles and some VJ backboard panels in the open joinery section for interest.

Do you have any other special tips or tricks for designing a mudroom? Work out the size of your baskets and school bags first to allow for the perfect space for these. It’s like working backwards from the finished result to ensure that everything looks perfect and fits well in the space. Definitely think about the other things you want to store in the space as they will determine shelf/cupboard and drawer heights.

Image credits / Main: Designed by Oak & Orange - Image by The Palm Co / Left: Designed by Sarah Davey - Image by Jessie Prince / Right: Upland Farm, designed by La Haus Studio - Image by Rachel Claire.

Shelley Kennedy of Upland Farm

What are your key storage considerations for a well designed and functional mudroom? We have incorporated an open plan mudroom within our entry hallways of each cabin for a styled yet functional welcome. They pay homage to the traditional narrative and function of a country farmhouse and provide our guests an inviting introduction to farm life. The durable bluestone exterior pavers seamlessly run from the outdoor entryway to the indoor boot room. The material was chosen for its raw textural elegance and durability for farm life. The handmade bronze hooks give a pop of colour that ties in the bronze hardware throughout the cabin. Farm life can get muddy and wet particularly in winter, so our boot rooms invite our guests to leave their wet gear and shoes at the entrance. Quality Australian products were chosen for longevity and sustainability.

What other features can be added to help personalise this space and make it aesthetically beautiful? The hardy textures are softened with the styling of functional items that we encourage guests to use during their stay. Dharma Door baskets are used for wood storage, bags, picnic baskets and Grampian Co picnic rugs. 

Do you have any other special tips or tricks for designing a mudroom? The mudroom is a dumping ground so using elements like drawers and baskets to hide away the mess is ideal. As a host we have opted for open storage in our cabins including shelving and basket storage to ease the load on cleaning. Materials are durable but easy to wipe and dust down between guests. When we travel however, I love to be able to unpack and hide away our clutter and luggage so that we can fully immerse in the setting without the constant reminder that our visit is temporary. Darker surfaces fare better in such a high traffic space and because these spaces are often on the smaller side, take advantage of the vertical height of the room with overhead shelving and cabinets. 

Main image credit /Designed by Soul Hom.e - Image by The Palm Co.

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