Mudrooms offer a clean slate to neatniks wanting to keep the great outdoors out and family stuff confined to one tidy area.
No longer an afterthought, this transitional room affords multi-purpose function to the delight of the organizationally challenged.
"Mudrooms are hot," says Kit Selzer, editor of Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen and Bath Ideas magazine. So handy is this room, she says, that the term "'mudroom' doesn't do it justice."
The mudroom, usually just off the garage or breezeway, is at the intersection of daily comings and goings. But according to Selzer, this super-utility room is far more than a stowage spot for shoes and coats.
As storage and daily chore space remain at a premium in homes, Selzer says, inventive homeowners have myriad options to stylize and equip mudrooms to fit their fancy.
Laundry. Dirty clothes go straight into washer-dryer combinations hidden from view by a simple curtain.
Sinks. Oversized sinks do double duty for general cleaning as well as re-potting plants and rinsing yard tools, muddy boots and shoes.
n Message centers. What better way to capture youthful attention than a message center in plain view. Don't forget a phone.
Home office. The mudroom can be a secondary computer station for e-mail and household correspondence. A shelf or countertop to wrap packages with attached mail baskets is ideal.
Craft and hobby zone. Counters and adjacent storage cubbies and cubicles do double duty as a spot to ply hobbies and crafts.
Pantry. De-clutter adjoining kitchens by storing food, kid's snacks, pots and pans and seldom used items in a pantry.
Pet headquarters. Pet food, water bowls, leashes, grooming supplies, etc.
Out of sight, out of mind is the essence of a mudroom. Selzer says new-look mudrooms involves cubbies and boxy openings for backpacks and odds and ends along with cabinetry.
Because keeping children organized is a huge portion of mudroom design, many homeowners opt to keep schools supplies and coats and hats at child-height. A bench with slots below for shoes and boots makes it easier to don seasonal clothing. Hooks keep items off the floor, at least in theory.
Open cubbies or slots are good ideas because in these typically tight quarters, to open a door just makes the space more crowded.
Cabinets should climb the walls. Selzer suggests homeowners make good use of corner and vertical wall space that typically goes unused. While lower portions can be open, cabinet doors reached by adults are great to shield seldom-used items from view.
Space for mudrooms is usually very limited and often borrowed from narrow, barren hallways or scrapping an adjacent closet. Homeowners will need to plan carefully for a configuration thus all the attention to using every available inch of wall height and corner space for storage.
Surface materials in mudrooms usually take a beating. Grit and sand tracked in by shoes and boots mean floors of tile or stone are worth installing. Solid surface counter stand up to wear and tear, too.
Because mudrooms are often situated next to kitchens, you might consider colors, tones and some materials that allow a nice transition between the two rooms.
"What we hear from people is how they like this separate space," says Selzer. "People like an organized setup and no matter what you put in the mudroom, it still looks tidy."
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