Posted by Jenny Entler in Home Design

A new home is a great opportunity to start fresh with organization—wouldn’t you agree?

The mud room (sometimes also called a drop-zone or valet) is one of the first places you’ll want to set up for success, since it’s often what all family members use as soon as they set foot in the door.

Here are 6 mud room design must-haves to keep the area organized and under control.

Green and Blue Mud Room

1. Separate Cubbies for Everyone’s Gear

The first thing to consider when choosing your mud room design is how to keep each family member’s belongings organized and easy to find in the mud room.

“When I was designing the [mud room] layout I divided the room into functional zones. This makes storage and organization much easier, and it also gives the room better workflow,” –Amanda, The Ginger Home

Each person’s area of the mud room could include a long cubby or locker with hooks, a storage basket or two, and a smaller cubby area.

Mud Room With Individual Cubbies

  • Long cubby / locker: Sports gear, coats and jackets, duffel bags and backpacks, and purses
  • Storage basket: Usage can vary from family member to family member, but basket size will be a huge factor (see must-have #2)
  • Small cubby: Shoes taken off here and left here so as not to track mud and grime all through your new house!

Pets are family members, too, right? A pet area is another necessary section to devote space to in the mud room. This keeps leashes from getting tangled up with other items, and it’s a good home for food and treats.

Mud Room With Individual Cubbies

2. Storage Baskets With Designated Purposes

There are virtually endless storage basket options you can find online or at your favorite home décor store. Find a style that ties in with your interior decorating style and colors but that’s also durable and large enough for the items it will contain.

Drop Zone With Storage Baskets

Flimsy baskets just won’t be able to hold shoes, lots of winter accessories, or many other mud room items for very long before falling apart. Opt for solid materials when possible.

It’s important to have an idea of what each member of your household will need to store in a mud room basket. Thick scarves need large baskets; keys can be kept in a small basket just big enough for them.

3. Mail Slot

A mail drop is so helpful in a mud room because it’s an immediate way to empty your armful when you come home. It safely keeps important bills and letters until you’re ready to sort through them.

Mud Room With Wall-Mounted Mail Slot

A mail slot could even be coupled with a package area. Bonus points if your recycling bin is nearby to send empty cardboard boxes there immediately after emptying their contents!

4. Durable Wall Hooks

From hooks inside the cubbies in your mud room to hooks on the wall surrounding them, you’ll be glad for all the help you can get to keep organized.

Mud Room With Wall Hooks

Adhesive hooks don’t work as well; we recommend sturdy wall hooks that can be permanently affixed to a wall.

When hanging hooks, make sure they are securely fastened so they don’t rip drywall out when holding a heavy backpack.

The other main consideration with hooks is spacing them enough apart so that they hold their intended cargo: thick winter coats, sun hats, dog harnesses, etc.

5. Outdoor Gear Drop-Off Zone

To make it as easy as possible to remove shoes and other outdoor gear immediately upon entering your home, a bench or seat is an immensely helpful mud room enhancement.

Mud Room With Small Bench

If decorative baskets just won’t hold the dirty shoe eyesores, invest in seating with storage to really conceal boots and shoes.

Mud Room With Seating Storage

6. Extra Ways to Use Every Inch

A mud room can also double as a family planning center, complete with a wall calendar, small desk for paying bills, and mail and/or file organization area.

Mud Room With Wall Calendar

While kids are putting their shoes on and gathering their belongings to head out the door in the morning, a calendar on the opposite wall can give them some helpful reminders for the day ahead.

We all appreciate a secure place for pending bills and mail, as well as a neat and tidy space to get caught up on payments and filing important documents. With a couple wall organizers, a pen holder, and wall plug for a laptop or phone charger, this monthly chore is made simple.

Mud Room With Desk

Bonus tip: Make your mud room design a fun extension of your home décor and spruce it up with patterns, colors, and gadgets. Your whole family will enjoy the organization and practicality of your well-thought-out space!

Mud Room With Purple Striped Walls

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Jenny Entler


Jenny Entler is the Design Studio Manager for our Central Ohio Division. She has been with M/I Homes for over 14 years and has helped over 4,000 customers design their new homes. When she’s not helping homeowners with home design, she spends her time working in her yard and planning her family beach vacations.

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