7 ways your mudroom could be doing double duty

Maryalene LaPonsie | Improvement Center Columnist | April 1, 2016

Remodeled mudroomHow does your family use its mudroom? If you're like a lot of families, it may be serving as nothing more than a dumping ground for shoes and coats.

However, you could be doing more with that valuable real estate. Whether your mudroom is a small hallway or a larger space, here are seven ways to make it do double duty.

Use it as a laundry room

If you have the space, a mudroom is the logical place to set up your washer and dryer. A load of wet, soggy outerwear can instantly be started after a day outside in the snow or rain. When you come home from vacation, your appliances are right by the door, making it convenient to unpack and wash dirty clothes.

Consider using a stackable washer and dryer to minimize the footprint you need in a smaller mudroom. Hang an iron on the wall and put detergent in a nearby cupboard. Not only is a mudroom/laundry room combo convenient, it is often a contained space that can keep clothes from taking over your house.

Create an art gallery

The mudroom is often the first room you see in your home. Don't let it be boring and bland. Use the walls to hang art or prints that add a pop of color and interest to the space. Look for something that will make you smile every time you see it.

Another option is to use the mudroom as a place to display all the school artwork that comes home with the kids. Put your favorites in inexpensive frames that can be easily opened to swap out the old piece for the latest creation.

Get bikes out of the garage and off the floor

Bikes can be a convenient way to get around town or exercise, but storing them can be a pain. Those with a garage may find it difficult to maneuver bikes around cars and other clutter being stored. Those without a garage could find their bike takes up valuable floor space or must be left outside in the elements.

Either problem can be solved by installing some heavy duty hooks in a mudroom and storing bikes on the wall there. As a bonus, you may find you are more likely to use your bike when it's within easy reach.

Make it your pet's personal space

Pets are great, but their accessories can look sloppy. Food dishes, kennels, and climbing trees all take up floor space and detract from the overall look of your décor.

Gather up all of Fido or Fifi's goodies and move them to the mudroom instead. Set up their beds in one corner and food in another. When not in use, food dishes may be slid under a mudroom bench or placed in a cabinet. If you kennel your dog when you're away, look for one that can be easily folded and stored during the day to avoid cluttering the space.

Add pantry shelves

Even if your mudroom is small, you may be able to install cupboards or shelves and let the space do double duty as a pantry. Add a bench or, better yet, a counter where you can drop grocery bags and then unload them.

This option frees up space in your kitchen while also making groceries a little less of a chore. Consider keeping extra or occasionally used ingredients in the mudroom while items used daily or weekly should be kept closer to your cooking space.

Set up a recharging station

It seems like everyone has an i-something nowadays, and the mudroom is the perfect place to corral all those devices and wires.

If you have a limited number of outlets in your mudroom, use a power strip to connect multiple devices. Then find an attractive drawer or box to place electronics while charging. Drill or cut a hole in the box to feed wires through the back for a more streamlined look.

However, be cautious about using an enclosed box for recharging since you don't want your tech to overheat. Leaving the lid off or the drawer open may be the safest bet.

Have it serve as your command center

Since most of your family is likely leaving and entering your house through the mudroom, let that space do double duty as a command center.

Place a dry erase board or chalkboard on the wall to write notes alongside a wall calendar for all the family events. If you have kids, consider a hanging file system where you can put in notes and other items that need to be taken to school. To make your life easier, teach your kids to unpack their bag each day and put paperwork in their file for you to retrieve later.

Mudrooms are great, versatile spaces. Let yours move beyond storing muddy boots and do double duty in one of these ways instead.

About the Author

Maryalene LaPonsie has been writing professionally for more than a decade on topics including education, insurance and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Western Michigan University.