Here's How to Design a Functional and Stylish Mudroom

One local designer shares her tips for creating a successful mudroom.

“A functional mudroom needs to offer many different types of storage for a variety of items,” says Claire Paquin, founder and principal of Clean Design Partners in Scarsdale. “Closed-cabinet storage, drawers, open cubbies, and hooks are essential to deal with the mix of items that come in and out of a house on a daily basis.” Paquin loves adding custom built-ins to accomplish all of this. “I like to combine drawers, open storage, and cubbies, as well as a bench, in order to allow a large surface to place things down and sit while taking  shoes on and off,” she adds. “If space allows, it is wonderful to add a closet as well.” If large enough, the mudroom can even store cleaning supplies, a mop, and vacuum, she says. Read on for Paquin’s answers to essential mudroom design questions.


What does every family member need in a mudroom?

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“Dividing the built-ins into individual cubbies, one for each family member, allows everyone to have their own space for shoes, bags, coats, and sports equipment,” Paquin explains. She also likes to add an additional cubby for guests.  


Where is the best spot for a mudroom?

“[In our area] it’s ideal to place the mudroom right off the entrance to the house, coming from an attached garage,” says Paquin. But she says a second entrance — a side, or back door — could also work well. “In smaller homes, sometimes there may not be an ideal space for a mudroom,” Paquin adds. “You can carve out a small amount of space in the kitchen or garage if need be.” In her own home renovation, Paquin designed a long, narrow mudroom between the kitchen and the garage. “Believe it or not, all you need is five feet of space to make an amazing mudroom!” says Paquin.


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What are some of the mistakes homeowners make when designing mudrooms? 

Only wanting closed storage in the mudroom is a prime mistake, says Paquin. “I understand that many people don’t want to see the clutter, however, the reality is that a combination of open and closed storage is more functional. The mudroom is not supposed to be a pristine space that looks perfect all the time. It is supposed to help you stay organized.”


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What are some of the different storage solutions for specialized needs?

Paquin points out that mudrooms are not always solely for keeping the usual suspects organized; families need a place for sports and other equipment, as well. “Tall, narrow, open cubbies work well for tennis racquets and lacrosse and hockey sticks to be stored standing upright, while soccer and basketballs are best kept in deep, large drawers,” she says. “I like to have open shelves with baskets or clear containers to store smaller items like sunscreen, swim goggles, and mouthguards. Containers like this are also useful for hats, scarves, and gloves.” If you have the room for each family member to have their own basket, it makes finding things much simpler, she adds.


What are some of your favorite products to use in mudrooms?

“Hooks are indispensable in a mudroom,” says Paquin. “There are all different types of hooks out there and they work well for different purposes. I often use different hooks in the same mudroom for various purposes.”

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