Even if your home doesn’t have an actual mudroom, chances are the area closest to the main entry door (the one you use the most) is put to work just like a mudroom. It’s where everything gets dropped off on the way into the house and where things are set so they’re not forgotten on the way out. Ideally, a storage system here not only provides a proper place for hanging coats and leaving the car keys, it also helps organize the household’s activity schedule.
Inspired by busy households everywhere, this easy-to-build mudroom wall is part storage system and part command center: deep wall cubbies provide space for stowing sports and outdoor gear; a long coat rack keeps jackets and tote bags out of the main part of the house; two wire baskets manage mail; small hooks hold car keys; and a shelf above the coat rack manages miscellaneous items like cell phones and sunglasses. Centrally located at eye level (so as not to be missed by harried commuters), a dry erase calendar manages daily activities, while a combination bulletin/ message board allows for important notes.
All of the pieces in this mudroom wall system are available for purchase, so this project can be a completely plug-and-play affair. However, you might have a hard time finding an extralong coat rack that fits just right, so we’ve included steps for building that from scratch . Keep in mind that you can change the dimensions, placement, and arrangement of anything to suit your needs and your space.
Tools & Materials
Shelf support brackets
Wood putty or plugs
4 ft. level
Router and roundover bit (optional)
Lumber (l x 4, 1 x 6)
2 1/4″ finish nails
2″ wood screws
2 1/2″ coarse-thread drywall screws
Wall-mountable storage cubes
Dry erase calendar
Wall-mountable pouches (2)
Wood plague or 1 x 4 lumber
Hollow-wall anchors (as needed)
How to Install a Mudroom Wall System
Step1: Draw a scaled plan of your wall system on graph paper: Measure the available wall space and transfer those dimensions to the paper. Then, using scaled dimensions for each item, experiment with different spacing and arrangements. Create a final measured drawing to guide the rest of the installation.
Step2: Transfer the final layout to the wall using a laser level or a 4-ft. level. Make light pencil marks to represent the edges of each item. Use a hammer and finish nail or a stud finder to locate and mark all wall studs in the project area.
Step3: Cut two 1 x 6s to the desired length for the coat rack mounting board and shelf; make the shelf 1″ or so longer than the mounting board for a decorative overhang at each end. Round over the edges of the shelf with a router or sandpaper.
Step4: Assemble the shelf. Fasten the shelf to the mounting board with glue and 2%” finish nails so the pieces are flush at the back. Add a support bracket at each end using glue and 2″ wood screws driven through the mounting board and finish nails driven through the shelf. You can use precut brackets or make your own from 1 x or 2x lumber.
Step5: Finish the coat rack as desired. Mount coat hooks to the mounting board with even spacing. Fasten the rack to the wall with pairs of 2 1/2″ drywall screws at each stud location. Cover the screw heads with wood putty or plugs and touch up the finish.
Step6: Mount the storage cubes as directed by the manufacturer. Here, a wood mounting strip is being installed at the top rear edge of the cube to create a stronger nailing strip. Fasten mounting hardware to wall studs whenever possible. Otherwise, use heavy-duty hollow-wall anchors.
Step7: Create the car key rack. Finish a premilled wood plaque or a custom-cut piece of 1 x 4 or 1 x 6; mount key hooks or cup hooks using even spacing. Install the rack with screws driven into wall studs or anchors, and then hide the screw heads as with the coat rack.
Step8: Install the mail pouches, dry erase calendar, and bulletin board as directed by the manufacturers. If desired, add more functional pieces to your mudroom area, such as an umbrella stand, a coat tree for very long coats or to use for guests, or a small bench for putting on and removing shoes.
Step9: Substitute wire storage cubes for one or more of the solid-sided cubes. The wire mesh is great for airing out sports equipment and for drying wet gloves and hats. Mount the cubes to the wall with metal clips or short pieces of pipehanging tape (metal hanger strap).
Step10: A shoe cubby or shoe-and-boot rack helps minimize clutter along the floor. Shoe containers come in a huge range of types and sizes, and some can be wall mounted. For an entryway, choose a material that can stand up to wet and muddy shoes and boots.
Step11: Install a shelf along the top of the wall in place of a top row of cubbies. Cubbies are great for keeping each person’s stuff in one place, while a deep, high shelf is good for seasonal storage. Keep things neat with attractive baskets labeled with their contents.
Step12: Add a low coat rack so children can be in charge of their own things. Mount a few of the same coat hooks used in the main rack to a painted 1 x 4, then screw the board to the wall studs, or use hollow-wall anchors.