At first I felt silly worrying so much about the style and function of our mud room, but I realized it is the one space we all pass through so many times a day. For us it is our main entrance to the house off the garage. It also is one of the hardest working spaces in our home. Today I want to take you on a walk through of the complete mud room transformation from blank slate to beautiful. Most of the changes were quick and easy.
The mud room was off to a good start with a large bench and shelf from the builder. The original paint color was a boring tan that almost blended in with the wood tone. The first step to make this room more inviting was a nice new paint color. We used Driftwood Grey from our whole house color palette. It instantly brightened the room. This space does not get any direct sunlight, so the light grey helps it feel brighter and more open.
The shelf was okay. The hooks were useful for hanging all of our stuff, but the shelf space above was a big void with a lot of potential. To improve the storage opportunity on the shelf I wanted to add “baskets”, but I am not a basket-kind-of-girl. My solution were these magazine bins from Target. I liked the fabric pattern and the shape of the bins. They are shallow enough to fit nicely on the shelf. I was able to fit four bins. We use them to hold supplies like lunch boxes, swim diapers, sun block, bubbles, etc. It is great to keep the supplies we need to grab on the way out the door right near the door. It is a great place to keep refills of diapers and wipes for the diaper bag.
Next to the door I added hooks for our car keys and dog leash. This was the simplest project and one of the most effective for us. It is so nice not to search for car keys. We hang them up as soon as we walk in the door and grab them easily on the way out. They sell key hooks at the home improvement stores, but I chose to a use a couple double robe hooks I already had on hand.
I recently undertook a bigger-than-I-thought-it-would-be project to add a bench cushion. I wanted another pop of color in the mud room. We also needed a little cushion on that bench where we sit multiple times a day to put shoes on. I decided on a thinner 1″ cushion to keep the foam cost down. I got a 24″ x 72″ slab of foam for about $27. In an effort to keep the cost low, I hoped for a sale on outdoor fabric. Outdoor fabric seemed like the most durable option, but it was still pricey for the 3-4 yards I needed. On the way out of Joann’s, almost feeling defeated, I stumbled on the fabric for making reusable grocery bags. This great typographic brown pattern was only $2.99 a yard. I paired it with a bold teal contrast piping. The fabric is super durable and cost effective. See the tutorial for making a bench cushion with contrast piping.
I also added this cute polka-dot green bin from Target. The green coordinated well with the pattern on the magazine bins. This bin tucks in the corner of the bench to hold all the small loose items that come with little kids. In the winter it holds mittens, hats, and scarves. In the summer it holds sunglasses, hats, and flip-flops. This bin is within the kids reach so they can grab their own stuff.
Lastly, I focused on the shoes and the dirt they drag in. An inexpensive utility rug in chocolate brown is a great place to wipe our feet. It is also easy to shake out the dirt and sweep it up. The shoes running amuck under the bench started to drive me nuts. I took a bunch of them out of the mud room for these pictures…trust me they were all over the place. I used to get down on my knees every few days and try to line them all up to bring some sort of order to the chaos. When I saw these big white wire bins at Ikea, I knew the perfect place for them.
The bins help contain the shoes. Daddy gets one, mommy gets one, and the boys share the other one. The shoes get put “away” more now that there is a designated place that they should be contained within. Even if they just get tossed in, it looks better with the basket.
On the other side of the mud room we have a closet door and two small sections of wall. The closet is our broom closet and extra hanging space for bulky winter clothes. I am not sharing pictures, because it is still a mess in there. The art on each side were inexpensive prints we got years ago for our first kitchen. They fit perfectly on these small walls and make the mud room feel like a real room (real rooms have art).
In the little bit of space between the bathroom and laundry room door, I snuck in a play kitchen. The Ikea play kitchen was a perfect fit and I loved the look. If you recall from our floor plans, the mud room is just off the kitchen, so the play kitchen is visible from the real kitchen. The kids can play while we cook (although they still prefer to drag their kitchen toys into the real kitchen). Above the play kitchen I added a frosted glass memo board also from Ikea. It is a great place to display the kids favorite art and keep class schedules.
I love this space. It is airy and happy. It is like a breath of fresh air every time we walk in our house. I plan to make a more tweaks (listed below), so stay tuned.
- Mail sorting
- Mailbox for the kids
- Paint the door to the garage (maybe teal!)
- Change the overhead lighting
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