If two areas of a home make winter living more manageable, it’s an attached garage and a mudroom. These are luxuries not everyone can indulge in; however, if you’re resourceful there are ways to mitigate the tracking of mud, snow, and water into your home. There’s nothing fun about soaking your socks by accidentally stepping in a surprise puddle of water in the middle of your living room floor.
The answer could be a pseudo mudroom — one you create on a wall, in a closet, or another clever space in the home. We caught up with Megan Bristol, principal designer and co-founder of Tahoe Modern in Truckee, for tips, and asked our readers for suggestions on how they cope without a mudroom.
Go tall and use the wall
“If you can’t go wide, go tall,” suggests Bristol. Maximize unused wall space by installing hooks, shelves, or pegboards. Consider unique wall art that can double as a coat hook or conversation piece. Pegboards can be customized with various hook placements, and to keep it from looking like a wall in your garage, spruce it up with colorful paint. Look for shelves with hooks underneath, which boosts a shelf’s functionality.
Designate a drop zone
“If you can, visually define the space with vinyl wallpaper, wood veneer, or even a coat of paint of a different color to create a boundary around the area,” says Bristol. Invest in an inexpensive indoor or outdoor rug, or lay down cheap tile or linoleum to mark off the space.
Our readers had some ideas as well.
“We got a $5 rug from Five Below. It’s actually pretty big, and we use it to dry shoes out so we don’t track the wet and mud inside anymore,” wrote Aubrey Lyhne on Facebook.
Soumya Srinagesh Tulloss said she designates an entire room as a drop zone. “We have a guest bathroom by the entryway but no real mudroom,” she wrote on Facebook. “When we are really wet/dirty, outer clothes can go straight in the bathtub and boots on the tile floor, which is easier to clean. Also, a slipper bin is right near the door so you can put on cozy shoes and not track boots around. A bench is outside for easy shoe removal.”
Convert a closet
If you have a closet near an entrance, consider building it out to accommodate winter gear. “Take off the door and redesign the space with a custom built-in so you can really optimize that storage space,” suggests Bristol. She says that while purchasing off-the-shelf items is one option, customizing a closet with a designer maximizes its potential.
Embrace multi-functional furniture and accessories
For very small spaces, other experts suggest utilizing slim furniture that can serve more than one purpose and investing in small pieces that can help organize winter items. For example, a bench with built-in storage provides a place to sit while putting on shoes and can double as storage for hats, gloves, and scarves. Vertical shoe racks that hang on the back of the door save a lot of floor space. Mitten trees are a unique way to dry gloves and keep them from getting lost. A small, rolling utility cart with tiers is versatile — it can be easily moved out of the way as needed. Trays and baskets keep items organized. A slim console table can be a catch-all for mail, bags, and other items if you have a narrow hallway. Look for one with drawers for additional storage.
Another option is small or tall lockers. The closed doors help keep the area tidy, and each family member can have their own if you have the extra space.
Become creative with pieces from nature. Devin Price of Roundwood Furniture and Tyde Music designed a custom coat rack from local pine for his Truckee home. The floor-to-ceiling structure doubles as a work of art.
Not all is lost if you don’t have a dedicated room for your mud. Think vertically, choose multi-functional furniture, and keep items organized to create a practical, aesthetically pleasing space, ensuring your sock-clad foot never gets wet on your way to the kitchen.