A mudroom is salvation, particularly if you live in a four-season climate with months of snow, mud and rain that you don't want brought inside. But when the mudroom lacks the desired capacity, you have to get creative. A cluttered entryway will spill over into the rest of the house. A blocked doorway is very inauspicious, not to mention inconvenient and irritating. Expand your too-small mudroom with clever use of furniture and fixtures.
Everything should function as storage in a tiny mudroom. Use a single piece of furniture as an all-purpose room definer, with a bench for sitting and lacing sneakers and cubbies below to stash those sneakers when you come home. Inside the bench is room for some out-of-season badminton rackets or ice skates. Behind the bench hang a mirror. Shelves as high as the ceiling can store hats and gloves on lower shelves and seldom-needed items up high. Install a line of hooks below the mirror to hang jackets and coats. Tuck and umbrella stand in the corner and, if there's room, more hooks for backpacks and reusable shopping bags and a basket for keys. All-in-one pieces for an entry or mudroom can sometimes be found in country antique stores, on Internet sale sites or in furniture catalogues.
School? Factory? Or mudroom?
Use a row of old school or industrial lockers for mudroom storage. If there's space, dedicate one to each member of the family for keeping track of personal gear. Wire baskets on top of the lockers can hold sports equipment. A wheeled stool or a lightweight bench is useful for taking off muddy boots. You can "stretch" the too-small mudroom a bit---especially if you have an entry overhang or small porch---by placing floor mats outside and inside the exterior door. Keep a boot brush outside for cleaning off mud, leaves and dirt. Boots can be removed outside the door; hang coats and umbrellas inside.
From the bakery to the mudroom
Shift a shallow wire kitchen rack from pantry to the back door and you get an instant mudroom. Use the wire shelves for boots and shoes. Use "S" hooks on the sides and ends of shelves to hang jackets and shopping bags. Put milk crates or wire crates on the top of the baker's rack to hold hats and gloves or balls and frisbees. If the rack is on wheels, clean-up in the mudroom becomes a breeze. And if it is a tall rack, you can squeeze more stuff in less space. A wire mesh wastebasket makes a good umbrella stand with this look. Big box stores often sell rubber entry mats that look like river stones in shades of grey. They can help keep dirt off the floor.
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