8 Fresh Ways to Update Your Mudroom in 2023

Optimize your space for style and function with these clever mudroom ideas from a design expert.

If your mudroom has long been overlooked, it might be time for a refresh. Its storage potential alone is enough to warrant an easy mudroom update, but there are aesthetic factors to consider too. Before you get started, it’s important to understand exactly how you want your mudroom to function. 

dog on bench in mudroom with white cabinets

Marty Baldwin

What to Know Before Updating a Mudroom

“Think of it like any other room in your home and consider all the details of the space,” says designer Angela Hamwey. “It should be functional and practical, but also aesthetically pleasing.” The Cape Cod-based designer says a well-designed mudroom is often used as a transition into and out of your home and, therefore, takes the role of a first-impression space, similar to your front door and entryway.

Angela Hamwey is the founder and principal designer at Mackenzie & Co., a design studio based in Cape Cod.

“Ask yourself how you use the space and what you wish you had before you start thinking about how to outfit the space,” Hamwey suggests. Do you like to sit while putting on shoes? Which door do you use as your primary entrance and exit? Even your viewpoint on accessories—and how many you'll need to grab on your way out the door—should weigh into your design choices. 

To help you maximize your mudroom, Hamwey shares her favorite design ideas for creating a function-forward space that complements your home’s overall style.

modern blue white mudroom laundry mural
Edmund Barr

1. Opt for Playful Details

Don’t be afraid to have some fun in your design. Sure, mudrooms are most often used as utilitarian spaces, but Hamwey urges clients to think outside the box. “You can add in playful details that you might not use in other parts of the house, like an unexpected paint color or bold wallpaper,” she says. And, whatever you do, don’t overlook styling. The designer believes a mudroom should be decorated the same way as other spaces in your home. That means items like art, throw pillows, and small accessories are all welcome. If you’re using cushions or other upholstered pieces, opt for a durable indoor/outdoor fabric to help defend against spills and stains.  

2. Create a Drop Zone

While it’s great to have specific storage solutions for outerwear, shoes, and bags, a mudroom is a space that’s inclined to be a drop zone—meaning it has the potential to accrue items that don't have a home elsewhere in the house. While Hamwey believes everything should have a designated storage place, she acknowledges that's not always practical. She suggests creating a space for overflow, but with a stylish nod. “Go beyond the average basket and opt for something more unique like leather bins,” she says. “Or, instead of baskets, consider adding drawers for smaller items like hats, mittens, and scarves.”

mudroom with gray floor and white cabinets

Jay Wilde

3. Consider Mudroom Flooring

What’s underfoot is just as—if not more—important as your mudroom color choices and layout. Hamwey says to begin the material selection process by taking into consideration how you’ll use the space and your lifestyle. “For example, an older couple with no pets or children might want to put down a vintage rug in their entryway, while a large family with kids and pets might opt for a gorgeous slate floor,” she explains. “Mudrooms are hardworking rooms so make sure your finishes reflect that.” Another factor to consider is how (and how often) you'll need to clean the floor. If mopping is more appealing than washing a rug, choose an easy-to-clean surface.

4. Conceal Clutter

A home's most-used spaces are usually the first to become messy and untidy. But you can combat the chaos by concealing some of the clutter. Hamwey recommends putting doors on all cabinets and cubbies to keep visual clutter out of sight. Typically, exposed pegs can add visual clutter, but Hamwey says it’s best to keep them out in the open if you’re trying to teach kids to hang up coats and backpacks. She also likes to ensure there’s a place to sit, whether an upholstered built-in seat, a small bench, or even a simple chair or two. “It’s nice to have a place to sit while you put your shoes on or take them off,” she says. 

mudroom with boots and bags

Stacy Zarin Goldberg

5. Build Out a Boot Room

While many larger mudrooms have designated spaces for boots and coats, Hamwey suggests trying this trend that found its footing over the pond. “We’d love to see boot rooms start trending,” she says. “A British-inspired design, a boot room often incorporates specific racks or housing for boots and shoes to keep the area tidy and give everything a place.” In order for a mudroom to function to its full potential, organization is key—but the goal is to keep clutter out of the way and also employ a clever design.

6. Build a Custom Mudroom 

A surefire way to ensure you're maximizing your space is to create a custom unit. “A lot of our clients come to us questioning the efficacy of their existing space or wanting to carve out or build a new area in their side door or entryway,” Hamwey explains. “Take advantage of every last inch you have by opting for a custom built-in system.” Even with a small space, the result can be remarkable both from a storage standpoint and when it comes to creating an elevated look. 

blue laundry room drop zone
Adam Albright

7. Create Cohesion 

Mudrooms are often connectors, leading from one space to another. That means creating a cohesive design between the adjoining rooms is paramount. Hamwey says the key is using consistent design styles. “Specifically, in terms of the woodworking and trim, use the same colors to keep the spaces cohesive,” she suggests. “Blending the old and new designs is important so a freshly renovated or designed space doesn’t feel out of place.” While not necessarily an issue in lesser-used spaces, finishes in the mudroom will be important for functionality. For that reason it’s important to select paint that is easy to clean. Skip the matte finishes and go for high-quality brands that won’t show their age as quickly. 

8. Add a Door

Whether your mudroom is a true room or more of a hallway, adding a door can help the space maximize functionality. “If it’s going to be a high-traffic, messy area, consider having a closed door so it’s separate from the entry and not in direct line of sight,” Hamwey suggests. “It will likely be the first place guests see when they walk into your home, so it’s important to make a good first impression.” Depending on the style and design choices throughout the rest of your home, internal doors can even be a chance to add interest or make a statement with reclaimed or antique doors. 

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