When you’ve spent time and effort designing your ideal hallway, the last thing you need is an avalanche of dirty shoes, coats and outdoor gear cluttering up the space and getting mud all over your perfectly-curated entrance.
But where else am I going to store them, we hear you ask? The answer? A boot room!
Although, traditionally, ‘boot rooms’ – sometimes called ‘mud rooms’ – were whole rooms dedicated to storing shoes, coats and all manner of walking accessories, nowadays millions of homeowners are transforming unused corners of their home into a well-organised mini boot rooms to store their outdoor gear without cluttering the hallway.
Interested? Keep reading for our ultimate boot room guide, plus our pick of the best modern mud room ideas!
What is a boot room?
The mention of a boot room might conjure up images of a large country manor set in acres of rolling fields, but in reality, a boot room is simply a practical, dedicated place where you keep your muddy outdoor gear and change your shoes before you enter the rest of the house.
Despite the name, a boot room doesn’t necessarily have to be a whole room – it can be a space in the corner of your kitchen, utility room or porch where you keep a few clever storage solutions and purpose-built furniture.
Boot rooms are usually positioned right by the door – traditionally the back door – so you don’t end up traipsing muddy shoes all over your clean carpets or floors. They’re typically set up so you can pass through them quickly, grabbing what you need before setting off.
Boot room ideas
The exact elements you’ll want to incorporate into your boot room will depend on the size and shape of the available space, but there are some key features you’ll need:
Boot room bench
A sturdy, comfy bench is the cornerstone of any good boot room, as it’s important that you have a dedicated place to sit down and change your shoes.
The type of bench you choose for your mud room will completely depend on how you want your space to look – whether you choose a rustic wooden seat, a space-saving model or something with clever built in storage is totally up to you, just remember that your bench will be the main focal point of your mud room, so it’s worth giving it some real thought.
Add a comfy outdoor cushion or style it up with a hardwearing blanket for a homely, cosy feel.
Boot room storage
As with any space in your home, efficient storage is a must.
We’ve broken down the different types of storage a typical boot room will need:
Boot room shoe storage
As the name suggests, a good boot room will have plenty of space to store walking boots, wellies, trainers and regular shoes.
Whether you choose freestanding or bespoke, built-in furniture, you should aim to have somewhere to store each pair of shoes you own so that everything has a place.
If you can, try to have one set of storage for muddy, outdoor shoes and one set of storage for the clean shoes or slippers that you’ll be changing into after your walks – traditional shoe racks work well, but if you prefer to keep your shoes hidden out of sight, opt for pull-out storage or repurpose an old chest of drawers with some upcycling paint (check out our guide on how to use Frenchic chalkpaint around your home here!)
It’s worth having at least one welly rack set up in your mud room and, if you have the space, a standalone boot scraper is really handy for cleaning your shoes after a long muddy walk. Remember, all your shoes should be as easy to access as possible, so it’s worth going for ground level storage.
Boot room coat storage
Your outerwear will naturally change with the seasons, so it’s important that your boot room has flexible coat storage options that’ll work with you as the weather alters.
Decorative hooks and coat racks are ideal for holding your current jackets, while freestanding cabinets are great for storing out-of-season outerwear. If you can, incorporate both into your mud room design as this will allow you to keep your coats on rotation, in turn keeping clutter to a minimum.
Boot room umbrella storage
Umbrella stands are super practical, but if you take the time to do some research, they can also become an amazing design feature, perfectly mirroring the décor in the rest of your home.
If you’re opting for a luxe-look boot room, why not choose a sleek marble stand? If you prefer a country house vibe, why not go for a blue and while china option?
From leather to ironwork and woven rattan to sleek Scandi-style, there’s such a huge range of stands online, so take the time to find one that will visually tie your boot room to the rest of your home. At the very least, it will become an interesting talking piece.
Boot room storage shelves
Whether you choose floating shelves, adjustable shelves on brackets or slimline shelves, open shelving makes a fantastic addition to a mud room as it allows you to keep everything you need close at hand.
When you’ve installed your shelves, fill them with further storage solutions to keep loose bits and bobs like boot brushes and dog leads stored neatly out of the way.
Seagrass storage baskets look particularly good in a boot room, as do rustic wooden crates. After something more alternative? Try mounting crates directly onto the wall for a quirky shelving solution, or make your own storage baskets with pastel pom-poms and tassels.
Boot room sink
If you have the luxury of building a dedicated boot room from scratch, asking a plumber to install a sink with a pull-out tap will make life much easier. Not only will you be able to wash your hands on coming in, but you’ll also be able to hose down muddy pets and deal with any messy laundry jobs without the worry of dirtying your lovely clean bathroom. Just remember to tile a splashback area behind it as you would in your kitchen.
If you’re building your boot room from scratch, it might also be worth thinking about whether you have space for a washing machine – that way the space can double up as a utility room.
Boot room bike storage
Whether you’ve chosen to build a dedicated boot room, rethink your utility room or add a porch that’ll double up as a mud room, a boot room is a great place to incorporate some bike storage, especially if you don’t have the room for an outdoor shed.
Think about what type of storage is best for your space. Free-standing floor racks are super stable and great if you’ve got plenty of room, but wall-mounted hooks – vertical or horizontal – are ideal if you’ve got ample wall space and want to make a quirky feature wall of your bikes.
Wall leaning and free standing racks are less permanent and great if you can’t drill holes into your walls. Whatever you choose, try to consider a solution that comes with built in wall and floor protection to keep your space free of marks, or even zone the storage area with tiles or lino for added protection.
Boot room flooring
Practical flooring is a must in mud rooms, so it’s important taking time to decide the best flooring option for your home. Surfaces that you can easily deep clean are your best bet – think hardwearing tiles or lino.
Again, if you’re building your mud room from the ground up, it’s always worth thinking outside the box and introducing clever, multifunctional elements into your space… why not include a wetroom-inspired tiled area with floor drainage? You can use the dedicated space hose down muddy boots and pets.
Boot room décor ideas
Much like a hallway, a boot room will often be the first place you enter when returning to your house, so taking the time to add some finishing touches can make all the difference in helping you to make the best possible impression. Although a mud room is first and foremost a practical space, it should reflect your personal style!
How you decorate your boot room will depend on what you want from the space, but try to choose décor accessories that are made out of easy to clean, durable materials. Need some inspiration? Take a look at our boot room décor ideas below:
Boot room door mat
If you’re stepping into your boot room after a long walk, a nice doormat will give you a warm welcome, as well as providing you with somewhere to brush off muddy wellies and boots.
If you’re going for a rustic farmhouse vibe stick to plain brown mats, or choose something a little sunnier if your home is more contemporary.
Boot room wall art
Boot rooms might naturally feel a little lacklustre due to their purpose, but treat it as you would any other room in the house and the space will instantly feel more welcoming.
Some carefully placed wall decor will do a great job of brightening up any boot room – try sticking to prints, paintings and wall hangings that are inspired by the outdoors for a professional designer-esque look.
Boot room mirrors
Boot rooms are typically small spaces, and hanging a mirror on the wall is a great way to make any room in your home feel lighter and more spacious.
Try angling the mirror you choose towards a light source such as a window or door… this will bounce the light around the room and make it feel more airy, plus, it’s always handy to have a mirror that you can glance in on your way out!
Boot room lighting
Interior designers suggest that each room should contain at least eight different light sources, and a boot room should be no different.
Why not add some stick-on LED lighting to the inside of your cupboards, or strip lighting to the bottom of your floating shelves? This will be extra handy when you’re heading out on late night walks in the winter, while giving your boot room a welcoming glow.
Boot room houseplants
You don’t have to be an interior enthusiast to know that houseplants are perfect for giving a room a new lease of life, and this is certainly no different when it comes to boot rooms.
Choose sturdy, potted plants that won’t mind lots of traffic passing by them – Ivy is a great option because it’ll inject your space with a splash of green but needs very little attention.
Check out our list of the best online houseplant shops if you’re keen to find some that will suit your space.
Boot room panelling
Panelling is by no means a necessity, but adding some to your boot room walls will give it a homely, farmhouse feel. For a traditional look, panel the wall halfway up and paint it in a contrasting colour to the walls. If you prefer a more modern vibe, panel the whole wall with an interesting pattern and paint it the same colour as the rest of the walls.
This will add texture and depth to your space. If you need some inspiration, take a look at how Abi used MDF panels to transform a room in our roundup of the best lockdown DIY projects.
Boot room rug
If you’ve decided to transform an existing portion of your house into a boot room and don’t want to change the flooring, a hallway runner will do a great job of livening up the space and protecting your floor.
If you have a large surface area of floor to cover, consider choosing a bigger outdoor rug for your space – these are designed to tolerate large amounts of dirt, and most are machine washable.
Boot room furniture
If you plan to repurpose old furniture in your boot room, why not revamp it with some furniture paint?
Farrow and Ball’s 2021 colours are perfect for a boot room – they’ll give second hand furniture a sophisticated, country home feel.