With the winter months quickly approaching, it’s the time of year when there is an endless amount of boots, coats, gloves, hats, scarves… and the list goes on. And where do you store it all? Sometimes, a simple closet configured with one bar and a shelf above, does not cut it. Is that how your front closet /entry is laid out? Mine was until I made some updates by adding shelving, baskets, and shoe racks. Using smart design solutions for storage, flooring, and seating, a front entry or mudroom space can be efficient, functional, and inviting.
I’ve decided to write a series on mudrooms and how best to design them to create a pleasing exit and entry environment. The most important part of the mudroom is storage, so let’s begin this series with ideas on how to make the most of your space.
1. Start Fresh
Remove everything that is in your entry or mudroom space. Determine what you use and don’t use, then throw away, give away, or donate the unused items. If you haven’t touched it in 6-12 month, you probably don’t need it – so toss it! Starting with a clean slate will help you see and understand the space better and how best to utilize it.
“Locker” Style Mudroom Cabinetry via That’s My Letter
2. Design Time
Once you’ve determined what to keep and give/throw away, it’s time to design! This is the exciting part because you’re starting from scratch with an empty palette. Think about how your family works and functions. Introduce baskets and bins at the heights of each of the family members – lower placed baskets/hooks for the kids and higher baskets/hooks for the adults. Take into account the number of coats, shoes, and bags that you need to store in your space. And always remember, if possibly, to leave room for expansion.
Whether you have one closet or an entire wall of cabinetry, work with what you have to create a functional entry/exit “hub”.
3. Go High
Often seen in a front closet is 1 bar with a shelf above, set at 5′ high, even though the ceilings are 8′ or 9′ high. There is no reason to stop the shelving at 5′ or 6′ – go as high as you can go. Install a shelf above the one set at 5′ high and access it using a step stool. Store items on the top shelf that you don’t need to access on a regular basis, like large platters, holiday dishes, and/or large glassware/vases. Use the same idea for below the 5′ shelf. If room allows, add shelving below for the baskets and shoes.
If your mudroom is without a closet, and instead designed with built-ins, consider building them to the ceiling. Again, even if they are difficult to access while standing on the floor, use a step stool. Higher cabinets allow for so much extra storage and it doesn’t have to be for just winter wares.
This mudroom has open and closed cabinetry built to the ceiling level allowing for more storage. It also incorporates a central command center and seating via Better Homes and Gardens
4. Open and Closed Cabinetry
In a mudroom / entry space, it’s best to have a combination of open and closed cabinetry. Open hooks, baskets, and shelving allows for easy access to coats and shoes, while closed cabinetry allows items to be hidden away to conceal “messier things”. Using open and closed cabinetry also provides interesting aesthetic qualities to “break up the wall”.
Proper shelving, storage, and baskets isn’t the only way to stay organized in a mudroom. Since the mudroom / front entry is the first place you enter and the last place you leave, introducing a family calendar or central command center is a helpful way to keep everyone on track and on schedule.
Next up in this Mudroom series… Seating! In the meantime to read more about specific mudroom layouts, visit Magnificent Mudrooms… Without the Mud, a post I wrote on my blog, SAS Interiors.