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Family-Friendly Multi-Purpose Mud Rooms

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Spring brings tulips, Easter bunnies, and thoughts of love but it also brings mud—both outside and inside on your clean floors. Mud in the spring is almost unavoidable but the mess it makes in your house isn’t. The mud room is the perfect answer. Mud rooms came into being in farmhouses long ago but today’s mud rooms are very different from their predecessors. These spaces are now multi-purpose and can be anything a family needs it to be—from laundry or craft room to pet center—in addition to a place to leave shoes and boots.

Mud rooms are very hot items in new homes and they are also a good remodeling idea. A full room may be nice depending on what you plan to do in it but it isn’t essential to good mud room design. What is essential is good organization and storage for at least: backpacks, briefcases, hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, boots and shoes, sports equipment like skates, and pet leashes. Many mud rooms also serve as the family office with space for a computer and other electronics, a charging station and a board for messages, schedules and appointments.

If you’re planning to have a multi-purpose mud room consider some of these options:

  • Cabinets or shelves for pet food, potting soil, and a recycling center for cans, paper, etc.
  • A laundry room with a few cabinets, both upper and base, for cleaning products and a tall cabinet for things like the mop, broom, etc.
  • A pantry or pantry cabinets or even just open shelves for food, and paper products--this is a great place to store things that are less expensive when bought in bulk. Also include snacks that the kids can grab without running through the kitchen, some families even include a small refrigerator.
  • Have coat hooks at various levels so that younger members of the family can reach them. Also include low shelves for small children and bins or baskets for mittens, hats, and other small items.
  • This is a great space for the cat’s litter box and litter, pet beds, leashes, even a pet grooming center.
  • A craft center may include open shelves with bins or baskets for supplies or a tall cabinet, a table and chair, sewing machine, cutting table, iron and ironing board for those who sew. This is the perfect place to keep gift wrapping supplies as well.
  • If you like gardening make a mud room potting center with a potting bench and storage for pots, tools and other potting/gardening supplies.

For flooring in a mud room use something easy to clean and something that doesn’t get slippery when wet. Vinyl is easy to clean but can become slick, wood and laminate do not do well in wet areas. Concrete flooring, slightly textured ceramic or porcelain stone tile is the best.

Water Glutton brand doormats are a product to keep in mind; they are tough, super-thirsty door mats that trap mud and hold water. They will actually hold 1-1/2 gallons of liquid per square yard. Just vacuum when dry. They have specially raised nubs that scrape boot and shoe bottoms clean. Also don't forget a boot tray, these are a must in any mud room.

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