6 Smart Mudroom Ideas That Maximize Storage

With all roads leading to the mudroom in interior designer Amanda Reynal's home, she outfitted the space to be both storage-savvy and smart-looking.

woman walking into large mudroom with custom window benches with storage

Our home’s hardest-working spaces are also often responsible for delivering first impressions. (We’re looking at you, mudroom.) “People don’t really use front doors anymore,” says Des Moines-based interior designer Amanda Reynal. “So when our friends come in the back door, our mudroom acts like a foyer.” With that reality in mind, she did the seemingly impossible: designed a space that stands up to the messes of her two teen boys and dog yet is a place fit to welcome guests. Learn from her tips on how to maximize your mudroom with style.

mudroom bench with shoe storage and dog bed underneath

1. Keep It Cohesive

Don’t be deceived by the good looks. Soft gray (Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter) on the custom built-ins and Pietra Cardosa stone flooring inset with quartz banding is only the face of hardworking perimeter storage and heated floors. A lantern chandelier gives the mudroom main-entry status.

Limiting colors to grays and whites keeps the look uncluttered. “The mix of hard and soft, glossy and matte, and scale in patterns creates visual interest without relying on color,” Amanda says. She also kept open storage (including a doggy bed) below eye level so nothing feels too utilitarian.

Amanda Reynal

I wanted to create decorative elements so the mudroom felt like part of the house, not a dumping ground.

— Amanda Reynal
mudroom with custom mirrored door closet and window bench with storage

2. Fake a Larger Space with Mirrors

Mirrored closet and cabinet doors play up the room’s natural light and echo the look of windows on the exterior wall. The floor-length mirrors are the best place for final peeks at outfits before heading out the door. Heated floors make taking shoes off at the door a welcome touch during cold Iowa winters.

3. Incorporate Custom Cabinetry

Custom cabinetry is worth the investment for reasons beyond its winning looks. Built-to-fit units under the bay windows fill two roles. The cushy window seats work as shoe-tying stations with storage shelves and make “what was once dead space feel integrated.” You can also build in super-shallow storage. Amanda opted for a 10-inch deep armoire so items don’t get lost in dark back corners. If you’ll have to spend on retrofitting units into odd spaces or need tricky installation, get a recommended local cabinetmaker to do the job. (If standard sizes and shapes will work, go with stock cabinetry.)

boy standing in from custom cabinetry holding phone next to wall hook organizer

4. Designate a Zone for Every Item

Amanda’s keys to balancing form and function? Building a spot for every item, and making sure all family members are briefed on the zones. “Everybody has a drawer and everybody knows what’s theirs,” she says. She labels storage bins with initials to remind each person they’re responsible for keeping that space tidy. The Reynals juggle demanding jobs and school with tennis and golf. Totes—some empty for grocery runs, some with sports equipment—hang ready to grab on the way out the door.

custom built in cabinet in mudroom

5. Combine Open and Closed Storage

The built-in holds all the little items Amanda wanted out of sight but in reach. Outlets in the cabinet keep phone chargers in one place; trays organize sports and grooming items like lint rollers.

organized drawers filled with sunglasses, scarves, dog balls, dog treats

6. Divide and Conquer

Every human—and dog—has a drawer to wrangle belongings. The shallow top ones store sunglasses, lipstick, and scarves. Brass pulls on the built-ins coordinate with the lantern and add a little sparkle.

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