I’m going to put it out there. I think mudrooms have got to be the most underrated rooms in the Aussie home, writes Interior Designer and The Block personality, Carlene Duffy.
What has always been a staple in the design of American homes and many European homes, is really only recently being valued and therefore, implemented, in house design in Australia.
I, for one, certainly didn’t have a mudroom growing up. I had not even heard of the term until a few years ago. I remember this clearly because my Mother was forever misplacing her keys, mail, and bills to pay.
Handbags and school bags would line walls of the house, Dad’s keys and wallet would sit on a bookshelf and shoes would live in a pile at the front door. It really didn’t do much for our efficiency at getting out the door in the mornings, which brings me to…
Why you need to create a mudroom
It seems that, as a society, we are becoming busier and busier, which means, now more than ever, it’s important to put systems in place to help simplify our lives. This should start in the home.
I am a big believer that good design means that your home is working hard for you, and not the other way around. This is at the forefront of my mind right now because we are at the initial stages of our own home renovation.
This is our forever home and I’m determined to leave no stone unturned when it comes to living simpler and easier. So here’s why a transition zone will help that cause.
1. To consolidate your items for coming and going
It sounds stupidly simple. You see, this is what this space is all about. It’s a dedicated transition zone for storing everything you need for coming and going; keys, wallets, handbags, umbrellas, shoes, coats, you get the idea.
2. To service your visitors
We won’t be including one but two mudrooms (transition zones) in our home design. One near the garage to service our family of four and one near the front door to service guests.
The latter may not seem immediately necessary to you but we are home entertainers. We love hosting Christmas and Easter or even just having close family and friends over for around for wood-fired pizza.
What I don’t love is going to all the effort to make my house look pretty, only to have every surface of it littered with handbags, shoes and sunglasses. So including an area in the home to store these items encourages guests to do just that.
3. To avoid accumulating forgotten belongings
I know it’s unreasonable but I get irked when visitors leave behind items at my home - because then I need to store them and have to remember to return the item to the owner when I plan to see them next.
If you have an area in your transition zone for guests to ‘de-robe’ then all their items are consolidated too, which means they don’t need to hunt the house for the sunnies on departure.
4. To make your children and husband independent
I’m a Mum, so making sure my kids know where their belongings are located in the home is key for me (though, the worst offender for misplacing keys and phones is the hubby).
I’m big on making sure everything has a ‘home’ within the home. And when these items have ‘homes’, nobody needs to ask me, “where are my school shoes,” “where is my hat,” “where is my homework folder,” because they will always be in the mudroom.
And the less I hear “Mum, where is my (insert missing item),” the better.
How to create a mudroom
1. Where to position your mudroom
The term implies you need a dedicated 4-walled ‘room’ to house your shoes and bags, but I assure you this isn’t the case. The area I have elected to house our lower floor mudroom is, in fact, a large thoroughfare next to our garage.
It’s an area that won’t otherwise be used for any other purpose and its position next to the garage means we won’t be tempted to dump any items elsewhere in the house.
Other possible mudroom ideas:
- In the laundry
- Carve off some of your garage
- Make use of an empty corner
- Zone off a large hallway
2. What your mudroom should include
- Wall hooks are a must for holding hats, coats, scarves and umbrellas and possibly, your keys.
- Drawers to store and hide wallets, sunnies etc.
- Pigeon holes to store shoes and pull out baskets
- A bench seat with an upholstered top looks pretty, but it's also functional, providing somewhere for the kids to put on their shoes and providing space underneath to include some extra storage.
3. What your mudroom could include
Although I dread the day my children start caring about what they look like to leave the house, the day will come so a mirror in this area makes sense.
I, myself could certainly make use of a mirror before scurrying out the door. Better to be surprised by my unfortunate state of appearance before I leave the house rather than after.
You can either include a wall mirror on the inside of a cupboard door or feature a decorative mirror as part of your mudroom design which will also help bounce some light around.
- Corkboard / chalkboard / whiteboard
A big ol’ whiteboard with a month-by-month, hand-written calendar, in which to organise mine and my family’s life, is on my New Year’s resolution list for next year.
And having an organiser positioned in my mudroom/transition zone to view before running out the door just makes perfect sense. I’ve forgotten free dress day at school one too many days this year.
Are you convinced?
Here starts my mission for an Australian mudroom/transition zone revolution. Once you have this dedicated spot for all essentials required for coming and going you’ll be wondering how you ever lived without one.
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