Mini Mudrooms

Sometimes there isn’t enough space for a full-sized mudroom, yet the homeowner still needs an area to hold coats and backpacks. Here are four projects that incorporated clever solutions. 

March 06, 2019

Mudrooms are a perfect transition between the outdoors and indoors. As American homes have grown bigger, the mudroom has grown in importance, with some designers calling it an “Owner’s Entry.” Today, these enlarged rooms can include laundry facilities, a dog wash, closets, crafts areas, charging stations, and storage for winter clothes. 

But not all homes have the square footage to spare for such a grand room. For those, it’s best to shoot for a niche to drop coats, boots, backpacks, and all that “stuff” we carry when we leave the house.  Here are four projects where we reconfigured a small space to create a highly functional nook. 


7th Avenue Remodel

Between the furnace room and garage, we discovered this coal room, equipped with a 1920s coal chute and electric auger, that fed the boiler. There was even a load of coal still in the hopper, although the boiler had been swapped for a gas-fed one about 50 years ago.  

The space was just the right size for a new entry from the garage, with room for a wall for cubbies and a bench. There was a 6-inch height difference between basement and garage, and we provided a ramp instead of a step, as one of the family members has some mobility challenges. One interesting feature were the “can lights,” which are actually LED discs. The ceiling above is poured concrete, and we had only about an inch of space to work with for lighting.


Washington Park Bungalow

In this bungalow, the basement stair was relocated to the center of the house as part of a larger project, which freed up floor space for a small mudroom. The mudroom is concealed from the great room by a 42-inch-high wall clad with beadboard. 

The porcelain tile floor handles wet boots and mess from the dog feeding station.


Westminster Ranch Remodel

The old stairs to the basement were right inside the door from the garage, and dropped you into a mechanical room, which you had to traverse to get to the rec room and guest rooms. Not great. We relocated the basement stairs to a more prominent space by the front door, which created a narrow space to work with for a bench and cubby arrangement. Hooks along the left wall are usually filled with coats, and the cubbies provide plenty of additional space. Being right by the garage door, yet out of the traffic flow, this area provides the perfect spot to get ready for the day.


South Clayton Remodel

The enlarged kitchen in this ranch home has sliding doors leading out to a patio, with steps down to the detached garage. This is the way the owners come and go, so we needed a space where they could drop their coats and gear, but we didn’t want to lose much of the kitchen. We captured a 54-inch area at the end of a run of cabinets to provide a bench with drawers, four coat hooks, and two cubbies. It is stepped back and also differentiated with stained wood. The couple who owned this house has since had two children and moved to a larger home, with presumably a larger mudroom.

About the Author


About the Author


Doug Walter, of Doug Walter Architects, in Denver, has specialized in residential remodeling for 25 years. He has a long history with Universal Design and aging in place. He helped write the NAHB’s Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist curriculum and holds an ICC Certificate as an Accessibility Inspector.

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