Before and After: Try to Spot the IKEA in this Sophisticated Mudroom Redo

published Jan 8, 2022
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Before: empty mudroom with wood floors and cream-colored walls
Credit: Leslie Davis

Everyone has different needs when it comes to outfitting entryways and mudrooms. Some might like lots of cubbies; others might want a closet instead; and still others could gravitate toward a wall full of multi-level hooks. With preferences all across the board, it’s hard to find a standard-issue entryway setup that will make everyone happy.

Leslie Davis (Deeply Southern Home) lives in a new home, where the builder would typically add a bench and a set of hooks to the entryway as part of the design. But because Leslie wanted to modify a different part of the space — including a sliding door rather than a swinging door — she asked the builder to just leave it all out.

Credit: Leslie Davis

That meant that the space was totally empty, which definitely didn’t make for a practical entryway for the family. But the silver lining, Leslie says, was that after moving in, the family figured out that what they needed just as much as a bench and hooks was a storage cabinet. And because they had an empty room to start with, they could create exactly what they wanted.

So with a blank slate and six weeks of the One Room Challenge on her hands, Leslie decided to create a mudroom that was actually practical (not to mention stylish).

Credit: Leslie Davis

Leslie started with the cabinet, using the IKEA GODISHUS wardrobe as her frame. She added a base to elevate the wardrobe (literally and figuratively), plus crown moulding and trim on the panels; the combo makes the flat pack piece look like custom cabinetry. “That cabinet is kind of an overflow of the kitchen,” Leslie says. “It is used daily to store my purse, mail, can drinks, as well as the recycling.”

Leslie created a small bench next to the cabinet with cubbies to hold storage crates, topping it with recycled red cedar stair treads she brought over from her last house. She made sure to leave a gap between the bench and the wall to accommodate a sliding door.

Credit: Leslie Davis

That door was a vintage find; Leslie filled in the holes where the locks had been, added wood to the bottom so the door would fit the height of the opening, and then mounted it with sliding barn door hardware.

“The restoration of the door was a huge project that pushed my woodworking skills into new territory,” Leslie says. “Just because some of the steps were things I’ve never done before, doesn’t mean I couldn’t do it. With each DIY project, a new skill is learned and as years pass you realize you can do so much more than you ever imagined.”

The rest of the room was finished with board-and-batten wainscoting painted in a creamy beige color (Sherwin-Williams’s Minimalist), and some additional hooks for coats and bags as well as a shelf for displaying decor.

“I love the storage and the smart use of space,” Leslie says of her custom-built mudroom. “If we had let the builder add their bench, we would have lost the opportunity to add the large storage cabinet.”

With all of her practical — and stylistic — additions, she adds, “it turned out 150% better than what the builder offered.” Talk about a DIY win!