Sometimes the hardest part of my day is getting out the door because I’m faced with a bunch of unanswered questions: Which coat do I need? Should I take the umbrella? Has the dog been out yet? Where did I put my keys and sunglasses? Why is my phone almost dead?
Likewise, when I finally get home, all I want to do is unload all my junk and relax – but that can leave me with a big mess by the front door.
So what’s the answer to my struggles? How about a mudroom (or mud area if your home is small-ish like mine) to make your daily entrances and exits easy, quick and fun?
Marsha from Rochester Hills, Mich., just finished a redesign of her mudroom. She felt her new front-loading washer and dryer set presented the perfect opportunity to refresh the room. Here are some of the tips and tricks she shared with me.
Make It a One-Stop Shop
The key, according to Marsha, is to think of your mudroom as the place where you can grab and go when you’re leaving, but also as a quick drop-off station when you get home or welcome guests for a visit.
“I wanted it to be a one-stop shop,” Marsha said. “I made sure there is room for everything so you don’t have to go any farther than the mudroom to get rid of whatever baggage you have. Then you’re ready to go on into the house.”
Marsha mounted a row of coat hooks spanning the length of an entire wall for hanging coats and bags, and she had her contractor install a countertop above her new washer and dryer for quick drop-offs of groceries and packages.
Marsha’s over-the-laundry countertop also doubles as a dessert station and bar when guests are over. With this in mind, she made sure to pick out the sink next to her laundry with care.
“I didn’t want a washtub,” she said. “So we opted for a small stainless steel sink like you’d find in a wet bar.”
The multipurpose counter and sink make her mudroom an extension of her kitchen that she can close off if needed – for example, to pen up Cooper, the family dog. For this reason, Marsha recommended a door with a glass panel so it still feels open and bright.
Hang a Communication Station
Marsha’s favorite feature in her new mudroom is the chalkboard Pottery Barn wall clock that she purchased. She and the family can leave messages and reminders for each other throughout the busy day, such as “Cooper went out at 3:00” and “We need more milk.”
My favorite thing about Marsha’s mudroom is the way she incorporated smart devices to make the morning routine easy. She has a device charging station right by the door, complete with a wireless weather station that’s linked to an outdoor thermometer via Bluetooth. She can grab her charger on the way out the door, or she can come home, plug in and relax. And she always knows if she’ll need to wear the heavy coat instead of the lightweight one, or if she needs to pack an umbrella.
Free Up Your Fun Side
The mudroom is one of the least formal rooms in your house, so make sure to add some fun design features that reflect your style and personality.
Marsha loves Asian architecture and home furnishings, so when it came to choosing a wallpaper for her mudroom, she found the perfect design from Thibaut, an online wallpaper shop.
“It’s called ‘Chinese Laundry,’ and I just love it,” Marsha said.
She recommends Spoonflower, her favorite custom fabric and wallpaper site, for inspiration. Check out the “Gardening Tools” and “My Left Foot” designs, for example. You can even upload your own designs and have them turned into wallpaper.
Don’t Forget About the Mud
Lastly, mudrooms exist to make sure that mud, snow and water – or the who-knows-what that they stepped in – doesn’t find its way any farther into your home.
To combat the constant footprints, Marsha added a bathroom right off the mudroom complete with a small bathtub and shower. She uses it when she needs to clean up after working in her garden or when Cooper makes a mess of himself.
If you don’t have the space to install a whole new bathroom, you could install a combination dog/boot/mop sink on the floor of your mudroom.
Are you planning to create or refresh a mudroom in your house? What are your plans for features and design? Share your ideas with us in the comments section.
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