6 Mudroom Mistakes That Might Be Costing You a Sale, According to Experts

published Jul 14, 2020
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You may call it a mudroom in your listing description, but let’s face it: the space that’s currently doing triple-duty as a laundry room, makeshift office and overall dumping ground for your family’s entire wardrobe is not doing your property any favors. Potential buyers are not interested in wondering where all their stuff will fit, and if your mudroom is not up to the test, they’ll turn right around and check out your neighbor’s house instead. (Having a place like a mudroom to sanitize before heading inside is also high on buyers’ wish lists thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.) Here are six mudroom issues that need your attention pronto.

Things that don’t belong there have piled up

It’s tempting to come home and drop everything on the mudroom floor, but that creates a chaotic mess, says Anna Maria Mannarino, an interior designer in Holmdel, N.J.

“The biggest mistake is making mudrooms a catch-all because there aren’t specific places for items and tasks,” she explains.

Fast fix: Mudrooms are transitions between outside and inside the home, so think about what you need to accomplish here, and then clear out the room, suggests Amy Strang, an interior designer in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“Common functions include storage for shoes, jackets, school backpacks, purses, and bags,” says Strang. “For cold weather, you’ll want designated areas for boots, jackets, coats, hats and gloves. For homes with swimming pools, you may want storage for towels and hooks for drying swimming suits.” 

The room is serving multiple purposes, but nothing’s clearly defined

Few homeowners can devote an entire room to jackets and boots, so for double- or triple-duty mudrooms, it’s important to establish functional zones within, says Mannarino. 

Fast fix: “For example, have cabinets for pantry items and a tall tower or wall hooks for brooms. The room is more likely to stay tidy if everything has a place,” explains Mannarino. “I like a mudroom to have running water and a deep work sink; it’s great for messy tasks like cleaning paint brushes.”

Remember that you’re showing buyers how they can use the space to add organization to their day-to-day living, adds Strang. Highlight how easy it would be to integrate laundry or a home office nook.

You have too much open storage

Sure, hooks are awesome, but must we see every. single. thing. hanging in front of us when we walk through our mudrooms?

Fast fix: Hide as much clutter as possible, advises Strang. 

“If your home supports a more casual or industrial look, get lockers for each family member with doors that close or get built-ins made. If they get untidy inside, no one can see it,” she says.

You can also neaten up open cubbies with sliding bins or baskets for smaller items.

There’s nowhere to sit down 

Getting out the door—especially if you have little ones—is simpler when you’re not balancing on one foot. 

Fast fix: Benches are a beautiful thing that also add hidden storage, notes Strang.

“It’s great to have a bench with baskets underneath for putting on or removing footwear,” she says. For smaller spaces, consider installing fold-down shelving that doubles as seating when needed.

You’ve forgotten about furry family members

Pet paraphernalia needs a home, too, and ideally their belongings should be stored in the mudroom so buyers who aren’t pet lovers won’t be turned off by messy dog or cat dishes on your kitchen floor.

Fast fix: “You can keep their food, water, treats and even their bed in the mudroom,” says Strang. Designate a spot under a bench where you can close the door and keep things out of sight.

Mannarino suggests adding a low bath or shower for dogs, too. “A place to wash off the dog or clean their paws eliminates messes in the kitchen or bathroom,” she says.

It doesn’t match the rest of your house

Your mudroom shouldn’t be an afterthought, says Strang. 

“When selling a home, sellers should look at all areas of the house to make sure every room ties together so it’s more appealing to buyers,” she explains.

Fast fix: Give the mudroom a fresh coat of paint that coordinates with the rest of your home. “Keep the look simple and uncluttered so buyers can visualize their own family using the space,” says Strang. 

And don’t forget good lighting. Your kid will never find that missing shoe if your mudroom is dark and dingy-looking.