Home Projects

Before and After: A Run-Down Mudroom’s $300 Redo Brings Cottagecore Vibes Without the Clutter

published Jan 10, 2023
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Credit: Amber Giles

Although they might not be at the front of the home or the entrance guests use, mudrooms are, often, an entrance homeowners use daily. So when those spaces are cluttered or dysfunctional, it can be a daily drag.

Credit: Amber Giles

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In Amber and Kevin Giles’ 1860 farmhouse, that was the case. “Before, this room wasn’t functional,” Amber says. “It was cluttered and very dated.” To give a lay of the land, the mudroom has two corners with windows; in the center is a door, an entrance to the farmhouse from the outside. One corner had a small bench, an old cabinet, and clutter galore, and one corner had a bulky armoire and chair. Amber and Kevin spent about $300 and one weekend zhuzhing up the place, starting with decluttering and removing some of the furniture that was too big for the space.

Credit: Amber Giles

Once all the clutter was banished, the next (and most pivotal!) step was painting the brown wood paneling a lighter, brighter color. “It is such a cheap and easy way to bring a project into this century,” Anna says of a fresh coat of paint. (And she would know — her house is over 160 years old!) Amber used a creamy off-white for the walls and a khaki-meets-green for the window trim.

Credit: Amber Giles

Amber and Kevin also addressed the ceiling tiles with wood paneling. “We used B-grade paneling for the ceiling, and because the boards were longer than the room, it was easy to cut and install,” Amber says. She notes that in the future — after a few other projects are crossed off their list — they might add trim around the edges of the room.

Credit: Amber Giles

Amber’s most proud of the thrifty furniture upgrades in the space, including a plywood bench she got for free and topped with upcycled couch cushions and a tablecloth for the seat. The other bench was thrifted at auction for just $32.

Credit: Amber Giles

Both benches add concealed storage — essential for a family pass-through like a mudroom — and the new hook and rail system offers even more practical places for hanging coats, hats, and bags. And the slim shelf above? That’s the perfect way to display vintage prints that suit the historic character of the home.

For more ideas for setting up a functional entrance to your home, check out these six mudrooms that pack in the storage without skimping on style.