Ask any compulsive cleaner or organisation expert — the secret to keeping a neat and tidy house is to give everything a home of its own. Say hello to the laundry mud room, which can provide the perfect solution to your “store and order” dreams! But what is a mud room, and what are some of its benefits?
What is a mud room?
Originating in the US and UK, the idea for a mud room first began in rural areas where unpaved roads made the likelihood of muddy clothes much higher. It is typically a room that has side, rear or garage access (as opposed to a foyer, which is at the front of a home). It is a place where people can take off and store their dirty, muddy and/or wet coats, gloves, shoes or umbrellas, etc. and its primary function is to help keep the rest of the house clean.
Many new homes are now being built with the inclusion of a mudroom, reflecting the popularity of modern country farmhouse and Hamptons-style trends.
What are some of its benefits?
Probably the biggest benefit of a mud room laundry (besides keeping other parts of the house clean) is its ability to store things, particularly messy things, well out of view. A well-designed mud room has a place for everything so it can be neatly put away. Some popular laundry mud room storage and design ideas include:
These are a crucial element of any mud room as they allow items to dry if you’ve come in out of the rain. Items include things like coats, towels, scarves, umbrellas, backpacks, school bags, dog leads, etc. They need to be strong enough to hold heavy, waterlogged clothing, and there should be enough of them to ensure clothes aren’t hanging too close together.
Plastic storage containers
Ideal for storing everything from shoes to sporting equipment, if they are plastic, it means you can give them a quick rinse if they get too dirty. Shoe racks will also help to keep pairs together. It’s also a good idea to have separate containers for separate items or separate family members and also separate ones for dirty and clean items. This can help alleviate morning rush hour stress!
A dirty clothes basket
This should be a decent size, as in most households, dirty laundry piles up pretty quickly. Better still, have one for whites and one for coloured clothing. Every time-saving minute counts, right? Make sure it’s also positioned close to the washing machine to speed up the process as much as possible!
Dirty clothes need their space, but so do clean ones. Try to design the room so you have adequate space for sorting whites and colours before washing, folding them when they’re clean and dry, plus some sort of hanging device for relevant items, particularly if they need to be ironed. Folding benches that tuck away after use are also great space savers.
There are lots of ways these can be configured, including above sinks and appliances. Ideally, they’ll combine style and functionality, and vertical shelving can make great use of floor-to-ceiling space.
Cupboards/cabinets with doors
Again, out of sight, out of mind. Not being able to see mess goes a long way to making things feel like they’re under control! A linen cupboard will allow you to wash, fold and store your linen in the same room. A broom cupboard is always handy for hiding unsightly mops, the ironing board, the vacuum cleaner, or better still, consider organisation gadgets like broom and mop rails and a wall-mounted ironing board. Cabinetry should also be used to store washing and cleaning products out of reach.
A washer/dryer combo that is vertically placed will also make great use of the room’s space. Choose one with a decent star rating and you could potentially get savings on your power bills as well.
Seating and/or benches
Taking off dirty shoes and minimising the mess they can cause is a whole lot easier if you can sit down while you’re doing it. If seating is set close to the floor, it can also help emphasise the horizontal space of the room, making it appear larger. And if it has storage drawers or compartments, it’s a bonus!
Multiple sinks are recommended – one that is kept clean and one that will allow you to quickly wash grass, mud and sand off shoes and clothing before it spreads into the rest of the house.
If you have the space, consider a dog washing station for your canine friends who love a beach swim or rolling around in the mud. Custom-built basins for washing and grooming pets are also becoming popular design features in modern laundry mud rooms. It can also be a nice warm indoor space for them to relax in when the family’s out without allowing them to have the run of the whole house. Install a doggie door for when nature calls!
Other proactive ideas for a mud room with a laundry include hanging a clock (for coming and going on time), placing a doormat at the door (obvious), having a rug underfoot (for warming relief on cold mornings) and mounting a wall mirror (for quick touch-ups). Some homeowners even have a shower included in their mud room. If beachgoers and pool users regularly trek through the back door after a swim (and drip water everywhere as they’re doing it), why not have them clean off entirely before they even think of coming indoors?
What to consider before building
Before constructing a mud room laundry, carefully consider form and function. Obviously, you want the room to be practical (starting with being hard-wearing and easily washed down). But considering aesthetics will also make it a room that’s enjoyable to be in (unless you hate doing laundry and it’s your job. Sigh). We all consider beautiful bathroom colour schemes, so why not do the same for your laundry mudroom?
How much does a mudroom cost?
The costs of a laundry mud room can vary dramatically — from anywhere from $8000 to $16,000 and above, depending on the design of your home and the type of additions and features you want. An option that may save you money on your budget is to consider repurposing an existing room. If it’s a bathroom or laundry, even better, as plumbing will have already been installed.
- 2022, What’s the difference between a laundry and a mudroom, Collaroy Kitchen Centre
- Juliet Taylor, 20223, The Mud Room – Where is it and what is it used for? Architecture Design
- Shelley Tustin & Diana Moore, 2023, How to Design the Perfect Mudroom, Home Beau