Mud Rooms for Everyone

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Typically, the first room when entering the house through the back or side door, is the mudroom. Often thought of as a utility room or place to drop whatever is in your hands, the mudroom is moving out of hiding by embracing its own sense of style and purpose. Used as an entryway, transition space, and/or a combination space with laundry or pets, homeowners are starting to see mudrooms as something beyond a utilitarian space. Mudrooms are becoming integrated into the home’s aesthetic.

More than just a place to toss shoes, drop jackets, and collect pet accessories, architects and designers are incorporating specific mudroom areas in their house plans so homeowners can create a comfortable and functional space and make the house a home.

People are living in their homes differently now than any time in the past. The shift to living and working in the same space is creating a desire for a more organized, attractive, and functional space. New ways of living combined with new construction, new floor plans, and beautiful appliances and creative ideas are fueling the desire for a space that suits the way they are living and using the space. Homeowners are extending, renovating, and adding-on to homes to achieve the space that best suits their household style and mudrooms are becoming a key space for homeowners to shift their attention to.

Our experts agree that the #1 priority for a mudroom is functionality: “A mudroom is a functional space that helps us all stay organized and tidy,” says Amanda Sweeney of Just Design this and Deborah Hayden of DC 7 Designs LLC agrees: “Today the mudroom functions in the home much like it did in the past for keeping muddy clothing and shoes out of the main entry area.”

Homeowners also have a desire for flexible storage and style. Linda Carlquist of Artisan Custom Closets points out, “mudrooms give homeowners a safe spot to store frequently used items in a way that looks great but is highly functional.” Yet, there is also a shift to bringing beauty to the function as Sandra Sokol of Closets by Design points out, “A mudroom is not just about a “drop spot” anymore. We want our mudrooms to look great also! We want to have all the function to store jackets, and shoes, but we also want areas to hide items and places for additional storage.”

When designing a mudroom, our experts point to several features that are not only in high demand but add to the functionality of the space. Things like a seating bench, flexible storage, shelves, and hooks are top priorities. Our survey of our design experts points out that a seating bench and flexible storage top the list of design features coming in at 32% each, however a few of our experts wanted to pick all of the items on our list: Linda Carlquist says, “I tried to click all of the above because they are all important! You need a place for shoes, but you also need a bench to sit and put the shoes on your feet :). Hooks are a must for jackets and cubbies for backpacks and/or sports items is a must,” and Sandra Sokol of Closets by Design agrees “Our clients usually want several of the features you have listed. They love to have benches, hooks for jackets and backpacks, bins for extra storage, shelving for shoe storage, and even a couple of doors for the miscellaneous items.”Deborah Hayden weighs in saying, “Cubbies for each person who resides in the home, especially the children, is key. I feel that a bench is also a must and the mail/paper control center is handy when entering and exiting the home.”

Our experts are of the same mind and say that homeowners need to think about how their home functions and what their needs are and let the answers to those questions drive their design choices. When considering design choices, experts are a bit split. Some point to grey as the ongoing color trend along with maintaining simple and clean styling and others point out that the mudroom as a place to go bold or try something new and fun.

Sandra Sokol says, “Greys continue to be a popular choice, but whites will always be classic and look clean and timeless,” while Deborah Hayden implores, “Mudrooms are a great space to go fun! Most of what you see on Pinterest is white to look very clean, but that is a marketing technique, not a way to live. Your home should represent your own tastes, so don’t feel limited to the idea of white. In fact, white just shoes the dirt all the more. Medium tones will camouflage the mess until you can get to cleaning it up. A graphic wallpaper can add interest to your walls opposite the door so you can see it when you enter. Design is for the soul as much as it is for function. Have fun with it.” Chad Polk of CDP Architecture, LLC offers up an idea to find that magical balance between function and style: “Adding wainscoting in mudrooms can serve to protect the lower portion of walls. This element can also provide a level of sophistication and detail and also a place to provide an accent color or contrasting material. The key is to minimize the amount of detail on the paneling in order to make it easy to keep clean.”

Kathie McClanahan suggests the mudroom is a great place to do something out of your normal design box, “Go big with a large print wallpaper such as a jungle theme or animals.” The beauty of a mudroom, our experts points out, is that it can be created from space already in the house. Linds of Kijiji Realty points out, “A mudroom can be created, it doesn’t have to be its own room.” Homeowners don’t necessarily have to build on or renovate a space completely to create that much needed dropzone. “We are often able to find inefficiencies in existing floor plans that can provide adequate space for an effective mudroom through a simple wall reconfiguration,” says Chad Polk, and Amanda Sweeney points out, “It can be created. A closet next to an entrance can be turned into a mud room.”

Creating the mudroom from existing space might sound daunting but Sandra Sokol points out it’s easy if the homeowner takes the time to consider the space they have and what is really important to them, “Focus on function. Making sure clients know what their main goal for the mudroom is, and plan accordingly.

Not everyone has a large space to incorporate all the bells and whistles, so it’s key to focus on making sure you have specific areas for the greatest needs.” A mudroom can function as a drop-zone, laundry, crafts, and office space as well as gear storage and a pet station. The goal is, as Katie Fudim of Beth Haley Design points out, is the space should be designed, “specifically for the client’s lifestyle and how they live, or want to live, in their home.” She reports that mudrooms can provide ample storage, custom cabinets, and tailored amenities. This includes things like a seat or counter space if that’s what a homeowner most desires. “Our clients see these ‘service rooms’ as key elements of their homes,” Fudim adds. Specialty features such as desks, “Desks are (especially now) a great thing to have in your home. A desk in the mudroom may offer the needed privacy you can’t find in other areas of the home,” says Lisa Carlquist, and pet showers or grooming stations are popular additions as well. “The dog shower is wonderful! Built at a height for less bending over, you can stand, spray off your pet and have a towel handy,” says Deborah Hayden.

Mudrooms have become more stylish and smarter these days with the inclusion of more durable materials but, at their very heart, they need to perform their tried and true functions. Features such as barn doors, closed storage, hooks, and seating are popular features for mudrooms says James Carbine of Carbine & Associates. “Our clients continue to prefer the choice of multiple cubbies, hooks, and storage, but they’ve added more stylish barn doors, tile that looks like wood, and drawers to conceal dog bowls,”

Overall, mudrooms are an important design feature that allow homeowners to get creative with their design muscles. Bohnne Jones of Decorating Den Interiors says, “While mudrooms are sometimes incorporated into a laundry room, they are showing up as separate spaces with a space to sit and remove shoes, charge electronics, hang outerwear, and more.” Bold colors and designs are more frequent design choices and homeowners can change design features as their needs change.

Sandra Sokol reminds homeowners of the necessity for versatility in mudroom design, “Mudrooms need to be functional for today, but need to be able to evolve as the homeowners’ needs change. If planned correctly, this can be achieved by adding shelves, baskets, drawers, etc, to an existing space.”

Focus on versatility, our experts agree, and homeowners will create the perfect space for their lifestyle. “Versatility is a necessity, but the pure basic function of having a place to hang a jacket, drop off backpacks, sit down to put on and take off shoes and store them, and hang your keys is essential. If you can incorporate a spot to sort the mail here also, that is icing on the cake!” says Chad Polk.

Ultimately, the goal of the mudroom is to give the family a space to transition from their everyday life into the family unit and know they are going to find that thing they dropped when they came in the door.

There are a number of sources in the Nashville area for mudrooms/laundry rooms including:

Artisan Custom Closets Nashville, TN 770-790-5368

Beth Haley Design Nashville 615-228-3664

California Closets of Tennessee Franklin 615-367-1030

Carbine & Associates Franklin 615-661-9995

CDP Architecture, LLC Nashville, TN 615-349-9639

CMS Designs Nashville 615-944-9684

Closets by Design Franklin, TN 615-261-8700

DC 7 Designs, LLC Nashville, TN 615-490-2637

Decorating Den Nashville 615-469-7334

Edmonds Design Brentwood, TN 615-218-3842


Clarksville 931-647-0276

Murfreesboro 615-890-5599

Nashville 615-385-3054

Formica Corp. Cincinnatti 800-367-6422

Hermitage Kitchen Design Gallery Nashville 615-843-3310

Jordan Miller Architecture and Design Knoxville 865-602-2435

Just Design This Auburntown, TN 615-606-8450

Kijiji Realty Nashville, TN 615-506-9007

MasterBrand Cabinets Jasper IN 812-482-2527

Rushton & Co Reality Waverly, TN 615-418-1276

Superior Custom Homes & Remodeling Brentwood 615-224-9771

Teresa Zilinsky Interiors Designs Franklin 615-772-1481

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