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What is a Mudroom & Why Should I Want One?

mudroom with storage for jackets, shoes and laundry

Although their popularity has been increasing for many years, it is still quite common for home buyers and remodelers alike to ask, "what is a mudroom?" Well, the name actually says it all. A mudroom is a dedicated space in the home, usually located near the rear entrance, where you can remove your muddy boots, jackets, and other outerwear. It includes storage for these items and is often combined with the home's laundry facilities.

Whether you spell it mudroom or mud room, it's the same thing — a place to remove coats and outer garments before entering the rest of the home. Today's mudroom is the next-gen evolution of the old back porch once common in every farmhouse around the country. As post WWII suburban sprawl replaced many of the rural farms surrounding metropolitan areas, the back porch was dropped in a lot of tract homes due to space considerations. Builders just needed to "pack em in" back in the late '40s, '50s, and into the '60s. But the need for a place to sit down and remove muddy shoes, coats, etc. before entering the house remained. That's why mudrooms are back in demand today. With the right amenities, a mudroom will even increase the sale ability and value of your home.

5 Reasons to Include a Mudroom in Your Next Home Remodeling Project.

  1. Keeps the Home Cleaner

    Custom mudroom with laundry and storage
    This custom mudroom includes storage for jackets and shoes on one side and laundry facilities on the other. Everyday jackets are stored on hooks which is much more convenient than hangers when you are in a hurry — especially for children. There is a place to sit down and take off your shoes. Shoes can be stored on shelves. There is a place for out-of-season items in the upper cabinets. The home's laundry with appropriate storage for detergent and other sundries is directly opposite.

    When coming home after school, did you ever have your mother call out "Go around to the other door. I just mopped the floor?" No one wants to track mud all over the house. And nobody wants to do extra cleaning of dirt that might get tracked in from outside. For this reason, removing your shoes at the door is required of all family members in many homes. Homeowners want a place to sit down by the door to take off shoes, plus a place to store all the dirty footwear, coats, wet umbrellas, etc. When I was growing up in a 1950s ranch home in the suburbs, my parents ended up putting a hall tree with integrated boot box that doubled as seating in our attached garage. It had a nice mirror surrounded by coat hooks. But with four kids, they would have preferred a dedicated mudroom if space had allowed. Most homeowners immediately recognize the value of a mudroom when they see one. They will want it, even if they've never considered one before.

  2. Organized Storage for Jackets, Shoes, and More

    custom mudroom with storage for jackets and shoes
    This custom mudroom with storage for jackets and shoes also offers an integrated bench to sit at while taking your shoes on and off. Notice how the lower shelf on either end was omitted to provide space for pet bowls and a small dog bed.

    What is a mudroom but a form of organized storage for the back entrance? Storage and organization are things homeowners can't seem to get enough of these days. And the shoe storage is just as important as coat storage. No one likes tripping over a pile of shoes by the back door. The best way to avoid this unfortunate situation is to make sure that there is plenty of convenient storage in the same place where the shoes and coats are removed. You'll be surprised at how compliant your entire family can be about putting their things away as long as it is easy to do so. And don't forget about the storage needs of your pets. Mudroom cubbies can easily incorporate a place for drinking and feeding bowls — even a dog bed or two.

  3. Kids Can Put Their Own Things Away

    Child putting school papers in backpack in mudroom
    This child is able to access and organize her own backpack, including putting it away when finished, because it hangs from a simple hook in the custom mudroom cubby.

    Hooks are much easier for children to use than hangers. This is why kids who are asked to hang up their coat and backpack are much more likely to comply when there are mudroom cubbies with hooks. Children who need to open a closet and use a hanger in order to put things away are more likely to leave their things on the floor. If you believe that good habits start young and last a lifetime, or simply want your children to learn to put their things away, give them a mudroom with hooks. What's more, typical mudroom cubbies for coats and backpacks can include shelves and baskets for shoes, gloves and other miscellaneous items. This type of storage is usually left open, making it easiest for youngsters to use. But if you object, the cubbies can be enclosed by cabinet doors for a neater appearance.

  4. Close to the Laundry

    Laundry room and mud room combination with custom storage
    Located between the kitchen and the entrance to the attached garage, this mudroom/laundry room combination space offers plenty of easy-to-use, organized storage. Notice the way numerous hooks were included next to the back door for extra convenience.

    The best location for a home's laundry room is a hotly debated topic. However, one of three locations are on nearly everyone's list: the mudroom next to the back door, upstairs near the bedrooms, or in the basement. Despite this variety of personal preferences when it comes to locating the home's laundry room, the top location for the majority of homeowners is the first-floor mudroom. Most people naturally prefer to keep the mess and dirt in a single location. When the kids come home full of mud, their things can be quickly dropped into the wash before they come into the house. Putting the laundry in the mudroom also makes sense for washing kitchen towels, dish rags, tablecloths, napkins, and more since most mudrooms are near the kitchen. A laundry room/mudroom combination space is simply the most convenient arrangement for a majority of the population.

  5. High ROI

    Mudroom with home buyers
    These home buyers are ready to sign a purchase agreement after viewing the home's mudroom.

    Custom mudrooms have a high return on investment (ROI) at resale provided they offer abundant storage opportunities and upscale finishes. Beautifully designed organized storage is a highly sought-after feature in the current real estate market. In fact, all types of custom built-in storage have seen a resurgence in demand that is unequaled since the American Craftsman era in the early part of the 20th century. Built-in storage is a feature that makes one home stand out over another in the marketplace. In a time when many homes in a neighborhood are constructed using just a few standard models, these types of interior customizations are what differentiates one home over another.

Are you still wondering "what is a mudroom" or questioning its value?

The purpose and value of the mudroom is obvious. Today's homeowners crave organization and home improvement. They want to make their residences as comfortable as possible. This means including a place in the home's design to sit down and take off your shoes and coat. In other words, a mudroom. Mudrooms keep homes cleaner while providing storage for all those jackets, shoes and other items often left by the back door. Children are more likely to put their things away when their is a mudroom in the home, creating lasting good habits. Many mudrooms are located close to the home's laundry, adding extra convenience and corralling the dirt into a single location. Best of all, homeowners are willing to pay for them. This means they help sell homes and bring a better purchase price at resale. Who can argue with that?