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by Marni Katz

Marni Elyse Katz is the blogger behind StyleCarrot, a blog devoted to art and décor with a contemporary bent, along with a sprinkling of street style. A Boston-based writer and editor, Katz is a regular contributor to the Boston Globe, Boston Globe Magazine, and Boston Home. You can follow @StyleCarrot on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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  • Everybody knows the essential ingredients for a functional mudroom or entryway, even if you can't always fit them in: somewhere to hang coats, a basket for discarded scarves and gloves, a sensible spot to leave a wet umbrella, and a mat on which to wipe muddy feet. If possible, a stool or bench for the easy on and off of shoes. But there are other things--big and small--that you can add to make life a little easier.
  • 1. Clothesline

    This is one of those, "Why didn't I think of that?" items. So simple, yet life-altering (in a mudroom functionality kind of way.) Think of all the wet bathing suits and snow-encrusted mittens you can get up off the floor. And, if you get a retractable setup (they're absolutely affordable), you can make it disappear in the off-seasons.
  • 2. Clock

    No matter how small your entry area is, I'm certain you can fit a clock on the wall or a little ledge. No need to be fumbling with your iPhone as you're rushing out the door to check the time. Get it front and center, now.
  • chalkboard mudroom wall
  • 3. Chalkboard

    True, chalkboard walls are trendy, but they're also darn handy. If you don't want to commit to painting an entire wall, how about just the back of the door? Or hang up a whiteboard? You will be grateful next time you leave the house with the reminder you jotted down the night before staring you in the face. 
  • 4. Antlers

    Okay, so you don't really need antlers. But IF you're going to put them up, or any decorative element for that matter, consider making them functional too. I love the way these quirky taxidermy treats hold hats. 
  • boot tray mudroom
    Photo: Lonny
  • 5. Boot Tray

    A boot tray sounds so very Martha Stewart, but--you must admit--the lady knows what she's talking about. Why worry about wet, muddy, or just plain dirty shoes leaving debris and muck on the floor that you'll then have to sweep, when you can contain the mess?
  • 6. Umbrella Stand

    This is an obvious addition, but one that's often left out. It's true that proper umbrella stands can be pricey, so I use a wastebasket as umbrella storage in the closet. That's half the battle; an umbrella holder for wet ones would be nice.
  • coat stand
  • 7. Coat Stand

    If you don't have the luxury of a coat closet (or perhaps its stuffed full with something else), and you're not into hanging coats on the wall (because, let's face it, yours don't all match as well as they do in the photos), get yourself a cute coat stand. There are some clever, modern designs on the market that you'd be happy to have in your hallway. 
  • running water in mudroom
    Photo: Unknown
  • 8. Running Water

    This one's a biggie, but if you're building a McMansion (or tasteful dream home), add running water in the mudroom. Not just for the laundry, but as a footbath or doggie shower. It's also a great place to store boots. (Allowing you to subtract boot tray from your list.)
  • mudroom space
    Photo: Unknown
  • 9.  More Space

    Another tough one, but still, you might have the option. Do you really need a library or formal dining room? Here, it looks as though the room off the entry of a center hall has been transformed into a killer mudroom. I bet you'd use it a lot more!
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