Thursday, 31 January 2013 by Keith Bahlmann
Contending with snow and ice can be hassle enough without also facing slushy and wet messes indoors. After spending time outdoors in wintry weather, people inevitably track in sand and debris from the outside.
Not only can this leave floors unsightly but it also creates a slipping hazard.
Men and women who live in multi-season climates know how invaluable a mudroom can be.
When snow, mud, rain, and even summer sand gets lodged in footwear and gear, a mudroom is the perfect place to keep it from spreading throughout the rest of the house.
Unfortunately, not every homeowner or renter has the space available for an entire room devoted to sloppy boots and wet mittens.
However, a mini-mudroom can be created even in a small alcove.
Thinking creatively can help you turn an entryway — or even a closet — into a small mudroom. Equipped with just the essentials, this space will not lack in form or function.
To get started, think about what is housed within a mudroom. You are sure to find a few key elements:
* a bench for putting on and taking off shoes
* hooks for coats, scarves and hats
* trays for wet boots and shoes
* cubbies or baskets for miscellaneous gear
* a basket for pet leashes or keys
* a rack for wet umbrellas
* shelves to store dry towels to dry off pets or people
Next, assess how much space you have to devote to a mudroom. Keep in mind that you may be able to find an antique piece of furniture that combines the bench with hooks and even a mirror at an antique store or online. Otherwise, it can be fashioned easily with just a few materials.
For those who have adequate space in their entryway, a two-seater bench is a must.
To add decorative flair, cover a cushion sized to the bench with a water-resistant fabric designed to be used outdoors.
This way kids or adults with damp coats or pants will not ruin the cushions when they sit down.
If space is limited, a simple stool tucked into a corner provides a place to sit.
Stow a few wicker storage bins under the bench. These can be assigned to each member of the family and be used to hold backpacks, gloves and hats or even sports gear.
If there isn't much room beneath the bench, purchase inexpensive boot trays that can keep wet shoes from puddling right on the floor.
You will find that well-placed wall hooks can tidy up a mudroom or foyer quite easily by having a place for just about everything.
These hooks can be used to keep coats until they are dry enough to hang in the closet. Hooks can hold hats and tote bags.
To make the space look more like a home and less like a locker room, think about adding a few hooks that simply hold decorative plaques or artwork to break up the utility of the space.
A table or a shelf right inside the door can be a place to store mail and keys.
It also may be a place to serve as a transfer station of important paperwork that should be brought to school or work.
Some people do not have any usable space to use as a mudroom.
In these instances, why not turn a coat closet into a mini-mudroom? Take off the door of the closet so the space then becomes an alcove.
Frame it with decorative molding and paint the interior walls a complementary color or use beadboard or wallpaper for texture.
Slip in a free-standing bench that fits the width of the closet, or create a bench that attaches directly to the interior wall.
Add a coat rack and a basket to store shoes, and you have a functional space.
Keep in mind that while mudroom items are primarily meant to be functional, that doesn't mean they can't be stylish, too.
Coordinate fabric patterns or wood colors with the decor in the rest of your house.
If and when you cannot find pieces that fit the dimensions of the space you have, think outside the box and build them yourself.