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Smiling Mudroom

September 11, 2011 |
posted by Ana White
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This mudroom is DIY and I spent less than $150 on it! Check out the full tutorial, you will be amazed at how easy it is to build yourself!

Smiling Mudroom

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Smiling Mudroom
Smiling Mudroom
Smiling Mudroom
Smiling Mudroom
Smiling Mudroom

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About Project

Author Notes: 

Remember a few weeks back when I blogged about building a new mudroom just in time for fall?  I told you about the mudrooms that I would have loved to have built, but they just didn't quite fit my home.  

 Today, I'm going to show you the mudroom that I loved and used as inspiration for my new mudroom, from my Pinterest Board via Better Homes and Gardens.

Source: bhg.com via Ana on Pinterest

Why I Choose this Mudroom for Inspiration

This mudroom really appealed to me because it had a little extra fancy too it, and my blah tiny 6x7 mudroom with cheap peeling linoleum flooring really needed it.  

The mudroom also used all of the available space, from shelving on the tippity-top, to hooks all the way around, to under bench storage for shoes and boots.  Drawers could be added - I thought I'd make that decision after I built the mudroom system.
And finally, our mudroom floor has a cutout in the center for access to the crawlspace, so the bottom part needed to be open. Perfect, thanks Better Homes and Gardens for the inspiration!

My $148 Formaldehyde-Free DIY Version

And here's what I was able to come up with for $148 - made with PureBond Formaldehdye Free Plywood.  That's right, just two sheets of formaldehyde free plywood (remember our family is committed to NO more furniture made with formaldehyde that off gasses cancer causing carcinogens into our home), some 1x2s and 1x3s and a couple of sticks of trim, a gallon of buttery yellow paint, and some hooks, for a grand total of $148.  
I adore DIY.  It rocks. 

Perfect Fit

DIY isn't just about saving money.  When you choose to do-it-yourself, you make the decisions, and you can get EXACTLY what you want.  See my dirty boots that I wear up at the Momplex?  THAT cubby is sized to the width of the crawlspace opening, so my house betterment goals are in line with our house maintenance goals.
I also decided not to put drawers in because I have no where else to store boots in our house.  Drawers would take some of the height away from the under bench storage areas.  And Lord knows what this Alaska girl would do without a spot for her boots.

Hello Yellow!

Perhaps one of my most difficult DIY moments EVER for me was painting this beautiful PureBond Birch Plywood.  It was HARD to do.  I have such a love and appreciation for natural wood, and the birch grain was so beautiful and clear.  Not something I would enjoy painting over.  

Paintful Decision

But our bland mudroom really needed a pop of color.  We already have wood moulding and trim the space is so tiny, I just felt color was called for.  So I made a truly paintful decision.

Smiling House

I loved what John and Sherry of Young House Love said about their freshly painted yellow front door.  How each time they come home, it's like their house is smiling at them.  
I couldn't paint our house front door yellow . . . it just wouldn't work, trust me . . . so I decided the next way to get our house to smile at us when we come home would be the mudroom.
So this lover of reds, pinks, blues and greens (and neutrels) - did something very uncomfortable.  I bought a whole gallon of yellow paint.  Thanks John and Sherry for the inspiration, turns out going out of your comfort zone can be a good thing!

You Can DIY This Too!

Looks complicated?  NO WAY!!!  The hardest part about this mudroom (well, aside from painting the PureBond Birch Plywood) was getting it hung in the tiny mudroom.  And you'd have to do that if you bought a mudroom system anyway!
You'll see in this project plan that it's really simple - just a basic shelf on top, a super easy bench on bottom, and some fancy cut dividers making it look really complicated.  
YOU can build this!  Yes, YOU!


Smiling Mudroom
Dimensions are shown above. You can build to suit, just keep the bench supported every 2 to 3 feet at the most.

Materials and Tools

Shopping List: 

2 - Full Sheets 3/4" thick PureBond Plywood (available at the Home Depot) cut into strips 15 1/2" long and 8 feet long, referred to as 1x16 boards in this plan.

3 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long
4 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
1 - strip small crown moulding, 6 feet long
1 - edge moulding, 6 feet long
1 1/4 inch finish nails
2 inch finish nails
1 1/4 inch pocket hole screws
wood glue
wood filler
120 grit sandpaper
paint brush
measuring tape
safety glasses
hearing protection
circular saw

Cut List

Cut List: 

2 - 1x16 @ 72"
4 - 1x16 @ 16"
1 - 1x3 @ 72"
1 - 1x2 @ 72"
4 - 1x2 @ 13 1/2"
1 - Crown Moulding Strip @ 72"
2 - 1x3 @ 23 1/8" (Sides - Optional if need to support shelf from back)
1 - 1x3 @ 22 3/4" (Center - Optional if need to support shelf from back)

1 - 1x16 @ 72"
4 - 1x16 @ 17 1/4"
1 - 1x3 @ 72"
4 - 1x2 @ 15 1/2"
1 - Edge Moulding Strip @ 72"

2 - 1x16 @ 47 7/8"
2 - 1x3 @ 23 7/8" (cut to fit)
1 - 1x3 @ 22 3/4" (cut to fit)
2 - 1x3 @ 14 3/4" (Optional sides for extra hooks)

Cutting Instructions: 
Have the Home Depot cut your PureBond plywood into 15 1/2" wide strips, 8 feet long. The strips will be easier to transport and cut. These strips will be referred to as 1x16 boards throughout the plan.

General Instructions

Make sure you measure your mudroom carefully and are certain you can move the piece in. Mine was so tight of a fit, we had to remove moulding to get it in place.

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Step 1

Smiling Mudroom

Build the box. This is the basic frame for the upper shelf. It will be fully framed, so nailgun lovers, nail away. I used Kreg Jig pocket holes, but you can also use 2" screws or nails - just adjust for square and use glue.

Step 2

Smiling Mudroom

On your shelf, nail the tops and bottom on. One thing I don't like about my shelf is the bottom trim makes pulling baskets straight out impossible - there's a little lip. This could be a good thing for you, I'll let you make the call.

Step 3

Smiling Mudroom

Trim exposed shelf dividers as shown above.

Step 4

Smiling Mudroom

And tack on some moulding for an added touch of fancy.

Step 5

Smiling Mudroom

Build the bench box as shown above. Mark out all joints and fasten as you did the shelf.

Step 6

Smiling Mudroom

Just the top gets trim. Attach to all dividers for added structure and support.

Step 7

Smiling Mudroom

Now trim legs too.

Step 8

Smiling Mudroom

Followed by a touch of decorative edge moulding.

Step 9

Smiling Mudroom

Carefully draw out pattern as shown above. Cut with a jigsaw and sand rough edge. Make sure your two match. We actually clamped the two together and cut to ensure a perfect match.

Drill pocket holes along the top and bottom edge for assembly.

Step 10

Smiling Mudroom

Start assembling from the bottom up, installing bench and then dividers and then finally the top. Attach dividers to bench and shelf through pocket holes.

For a freestanding mudroom, you can add end dividers but you MUST support that top shelf by hanging it to studs in the wall (see next step).

Step 11

Smiling Mudroom

Make sure your upper shelf is well supported, screwed to at least two studs in the wall at minimum, on each end. If you used a freestanding design (no side walls) you MUST add blocking as shown above and screw through the blocking.

Attach the hook blocking as well. I used pocket holes to attach, and also nails and glue into the wall.

Step 12

Smiling Mudroom

And this is just to add a few more hooks. And a little more fancy.

Step 13

Smiling Mudroom

And this is not in the cut list, but with just 1 more 1x3, you could trim out the bench top as I did. Just in case your bench doesn't sit flush to the wall, or for a little extra color.

Finishing Instructions

Preparation Instructions: 
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.

We are very thankful to Columbia Forest Products for providing beautiful and healthy PureBond Plywood for this project. The cost of $148 reflects an average price of $48 a sheet of PureBond Plywood. For those of you who cannot find PureBond Plywood at your local Home Depot, ask the manager of the store to start carrying it. It is comparable in cost to other hardwood plywoods, but a healthier alternative.  And in the meantime, visit the PureBond website for other distributors and resellers.

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I absolutely love this! Down the road when we do some reno, I'm keeping this in mind. I already have a pop of color on the walls, because I don't do white walls. Looks great and the color is indeed cheerful! Again, I ask, do you even sleep? Honestly, how do you find the time for this with the Momplex built and all. You are an amazing inspiration!

posted by spiceylg | on Mon, 2011-09-12 03:00

Love it

Ana its georgous! And yellow is my favourite colour :)

What tool do you use to cut the small squares out of the big squares? (I know you use a jigsaw to cut the scrolly edge bits but do you use it to cut the straight cuts as well?)

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-09-12 03:29


I love it without the drawers, the drawers would have just filled up with little bits of sand and grass and gravel. The yellow is great. My mudroom walls are painted a bright yellow.

posted by babysteps | on Mon, 2011-09-12 07:09


Hey Anna!!

Love it!! I have to add this one to my growing list of projects!!! Just one question - what do you do to the edge of the plywood when you paint? Do you edge trim then paint or fill with wood putty then sand and paint - or some other technique?? Thanks Ana for all the inspiration to build yourself, and design yourself!!

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-09-12 11:04
Ana White's picture

Hi, the only edges that are

Hi, the only edges that are exposed are the scalloped edges - everything else is face framed. We found the edges of the PureBond plywood to be very easy to simply patch up with wood filler where it is needed, then sanded and primed and painted. You could also do edge banding for a stained finish.

posted by Ana White | on Mon, 2011-09-12 13:25

Hi Anna, I adore the color of

Hi Anna, I adore the color of the built in mudroom. Could you please share with me what color it is? Thanks, Helen Williams

posted by Helen Williams (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-09-12 12:11
Ana White's picture

Hi Helen, the color is

Hi Helen, the color is Willow's Gold by Dutch boy in semigloss. Goes with everything too!

posted by Ana White | on Mon, 2011-09-12 13:23

I love this project. Too bad

I love this project. Too bad my entry way is too small for it. Thanks for the safe plywood tip. I found a supply near me and I can't wait to check it out. I'm trying to build only with safe materials why not that's one of the benefits of DIY.

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-09-12 12:22

Love the color!

I agree with Helen - I love the yellow color. What color and brand is it? Thanks, and the mud room looks great!

posted by Sheela (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-09-12 12:42
Ana White's picture

Yellow Paint Color

Hi Sheela, the paint color is called "Willow's Gold" by Dutch Boy. Thank you so much!

posted by Ana White | on Mon, 2011-09-12 13:55

Under bench

Try big aluminum baking sheet pans as boot trays. You can slide them in and out and they contain all of the mud. Easily hosed off, too!

posted by Virginia (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-09-12 13:53
Ana White's picture

What a great idea! Thanks

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing - those would fit perfect!

posted by Ana White | on Mon, 2011-09-12 13:58
fethiye's picture

with pebbles :)

Actually, I was going to suggest the same thing with one more twist; with pebbles on the tray so that lets your boots dry out, not to mention the extra cuteness it will bring. Saw this idea somewhere that I do not remember.

posted by fethiye | on Mon, 2011-09-12 15:42

That yellow does make me

That yellow does make me smile. And I have to say your project out did the original inspiration.

posted by Shea (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-09-12 13:56

turning the corner

Ana -- I love that this is built in with no back so you don't have to spend as much on wood. We have 8 people in our family and a perfect place to build something like this, but it will need to turn a corner and be an L shape. How would you suggest we handle the corner? Put shelves in it cut in an odd shape to fit? Just box it in and have empty space?

I also was thinking, how cool would it be to stencil something with your yellow paint on the white walls inside the lockers?

Amazing work, as usual. You inspire me!

posted by lyndyjo@iowatelecom.net (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-09-12 15:00


This mudroom makes me smile! We have 7 people in our family and also need to make this In an L-shape. I'm wondering what would look the best, diagonal corner locker or boxed in dead space? Ana and her readers have the best ideas, I would love to hear some.

Beautiful mudroom, can't wait until I have one in my home!

posted by 5 tater tots (not verified) | on Mon, 2012-01-30 14:08

This is so fabulous! I love

This is so fabulous! I love the cutouts, they really "fancy up" the cuts! Also, they make it appear so much more open! I love it.

posted by justjayma (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-09-12 16:26

Made me smile!

I've never been a lover of yellow until the past couple of years. It is such a cheerful color for sure. Nice job. Glad you stepped out of your comfort zone!!

posted by Pam in Colorado (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-09-12 18:06
mrsmillikin's picture

And this one was just right...

Perfect! In the process of an entire house renovation from roofline to foundation on a 40k budget...we are doing everything ourselves...everything. Just designing the mudroom and this one is perfect. THANK YOU.

Question for you Anna,

Does the seat feel deep enough and comfortable? The Braden is 24 inches and I like this depth because of space.

Thank you

posted by mrsmillikin | on Mon, 2011-09-12 19:53
Ana White's picture

Sounds like you've got quite

Sounds like you've got quite a project on your hands!

I think the seat is fine, but I'm pretty short. It would be no trouble to just make the bench 24" or the entire project for the matter - it would only cost one extra sheet of plywood. More storage too!

Best of luck!

posted by Ana White | on Mon, 2011-09-12 20:07
mrsmillikin's picture

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly

Yes we do! We couldn't have done it without your site. I've made all the vanities, cabinets and cubbies from your plans. We are sincerely grateful to you Anna.

posted by mrsmillikin | on Mon, 2011-09-12 21:42

This is EXACTLY what I was looking for :)

This is exactly what I was dreaming up for my mudroom in my new house. I have to have tall spots for boots also as we have mud season 6 months a year here, and snow the other 5 :o). Great job, love it!

posted by Amy Eavou (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-09-12 20:32
ferbit's picture

That looks sooo awesome!!!

Oh Ana, I wish I had a mudroom! I would build this immediately! *sigh* I have a long, narrow utility room and that's it. Ugh! Yours turned out adorable! Love the yellow!

posted by ferbit | on Tue, 2011-09-13 10:05


This is absolutely wonderful!! I'm a big DIY-er and have yet to get into building things...I stick to sewing and crafting lol...but when we have our own house I will be visiting your site again!!! Love the yellow too- so cheery :D Thanks for sharing this awesome project!

posted by Rboyd (not verified) | on Tue, 2011-11-22 11:35

Don't have a mudroom, but...

our "mudroom" is the laundry room. It's where we come in from the garage, and the boys come in from playing in the grove. I'm thinking that I can close off the front of the benches and make them into laundry bins with a hinged top. That way we can still have a place to put dirty clothes and place to sit and take off our shoes and jackets. Thanks Ana!

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-01-04 15:54


Hi! I cannot wait to get started on this project! I have the perfect place for it in our entry way and its exactly what needs to go there. I am readying over the instructions tho and I have a question I'm hoping you can shed some light on. On the dividing panels, the plans call for 3/4 " pocket holes for assembly on the top and bottom. How are these used? I do not see anywhere in the instruction where it mentions applying these anywhere. I'm a visual person but I don't see what you're suppose to do with these holes! Thanks for the help!


posted by mrsmc | on Wed, 2012-01-18 18:04

Amazing Creation!

Wow, this is truly amazing! This mudroom organizer looks like a custom piece that you would pay thousands for, especially in that gorgeous yellow!

Great instructions. I am going to attempt this myself in a very small entry area!



posted by Jordan Crompton (not verified) | on Mon, 2012-04-23 09:52

So excited to do this!

I found that same built in picture (blue shelves) on pinterest and have been trying to figure out how to build it into our small mudroom. After a few failed "google" attempts I've stumbled across this posting. Perfectly clear and easy to follow. I'll have to send photos once I've convinced my husband to let me do this myself. :)

posted by Heather T (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-07-27 11:06

Pictures Gone

Hi Ana,

I REALLY want to do this in my mud room- but all your pictures are gone!! I'm a visual learner- can you please fix the pictures? I want to start this project after Christmas!!

posted by NAVVAN (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-12-19 22:39


I would love to build this for the hallway coming from our garage door but would need to create an L-shape. Has anyone figured out how to convert this plan into an L-shape or does anyone have any idea how I could do this?

posted by TammyHunsinger | on Sun, 2013-02-17 13:19
LisasCreativeDesigns's picture

Love this!

I just found this website and love all of the projects lisetd on here. I am an avid DIYer and am no stranger to power tools. I see a couple of projects on here I am going to give a try. Love this one!


posted by LisasCreativeDesigns | on Sun, 2013-03-24 10:04

Look at that, it's so bright

Look at that, it's so bright and beautiful. You wouldn't say it's a mudroom, nice color choice. When you live in the country you definitely need a mud room, it would spare you of a lot of cleaning trouble. I am thinking about having one myself.

posted by kally | on Fri, 2013-05-17 15:16

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