So, What's a Mud Room?

No it's not a room made from mud or adobe but until 25 or 30 years ago unless you lived on a farm or a ranch you probably wouldn't have had any idea what a mud room actually was. Even today while mud rooms have become relatively common in areas of the country such as the north east and Pacific North West, many people still don't know what a mud room is or what they're used for.

In reality, mud rooms are a practical solution to problem virtually all families have, how to keep dirt and mud out of the house. So, a basic mud room is simply a room where people can leave their muddy boots and clothes. They began primarily in country homes as a transitional area for people coming in from the fields where they could take off their wet or muddy boots and not track dirt into the rest of the house. However, over time mud rooms have evolved into something more than that and now people use their mud rooms for lots of other things.

Informal entrance

  • Since mud rooms are commonly located off the back or side entrance of a home, they're usually the informal entrance the family uses, while guests still get to use the more formal front entrance. Since mud rooms need to be tough enough to stand up to wet and dirt, they often have vinyl or even concrete floors that are easy to clean and can withstand some rough treatment.

Storage room

  • Closets or hooks on the mud room walls can be used for hanging outdoor clothes and stacked baskets or lockers can be installed for kid's school books. Hooks are a great way to allow wet jackets or even umbrellas to dry since they will dry much quicker than if they were hung in a closet.
  • Storing bulky sporting equipment like skis or even bikes in a mud room works well since they can be wet or dirty but in a mud room they can dry inside, protected from the elements and potential thieves.
  • Many people also use their mud rooms to store pet food, dishes and even litter boxes. Easy to get at yet removed from the family's living area they can be even more accessible by installing a pet door in inside entrance door.

Area for cleaning up

  • Originally a wash basin with some water in it was a common feature in mud rooms, but modern mud rooms now often include a small bathroom, a laundry tub to soak dirty clothes before washing and even a washer and dryer when there is space.
  • Having a washer and dryer in the main floor mud room is often a welcome addition to a home since it's located right on the main floor (no going up or down stairs with loads of laundry).
  • Installing folding doors to separate the washer and dryer from the area people leave their dirty boots and clothes can eliminate the potential problem of clean laundry getting dirty in the mud room.

Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer whose work has appeared on numerous web sites, as well as in newspapers and books in both the US and Canada. He is often cited as an expert on home related topics and is a regular contributor to