Living through the seasons in the Northeast reminds me of my daughters’ favorite book ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ where the father, the kids and the dog go looking for a bear and when they find one, they run home through the snow storm (Hoooo woooo), the forest (Stumble trip), the mud (Squelch squerch), the water (Splash splosh) and back through the grass (Swishy swashy). They then run into the house(without wiping their feet), up the stairs, into bed and under the covers with the bear looking through the window. I’m sure that having a mud room to shed the wet and muddy layers would have made mom happier when she came home.

Just about every home we design includes a mud room which is good for keeping bears out, but more importantly provides a place to take off boots and coats and leave the mud and slush behind. Mud rooms are also the primary place for organization of outer wear for future excursions. More elaborate spaces include slop sinks for cleaning gear and storage space for sports equipment and even sometimes a dog grooming area. Some layouts also work as an airlock to the rest of the home.

The basic requirements include a non slip, water resistant, durable floor. Walls and cubbies should be made of a rugged material such as wood with plenty of room to hang coats and store boots, gloves and mittens. Occasionally we will add a center drain to the floor for easy wash down(make sure the baseboards are waterproof). A bench with or without a hinged seat top is required for putting on and taking off those extra tight boots. Near the ceiling, a long shelf comes in handy for hats and other paraphernalia.

Even though the mud room can be the smallest room in the house, from its organizing capacity to the impact of a cleaner home, this little room earns its keep.