Design Notes Archive

The Boot Room

The Boot Room

Whether you call it a boot room or a mud room, these multitasking spaces do wonders at keeping a house neat and orderly. Carving out room for one sometimes lands at the bottom of one’s allocation list but it’s a luxury that can truly transform how you use your house. Providing a designated place to stash your kit, particularly in transitioning seasons like spring when the weather varies so dramatically that you need a myriad of outwear options at the ready, a boot room keeps things from piling up at the front door or in random closets around the house. 

Regardless of how much space you have, baskets and boxes are the easiest entry point and essential for housing accessories for all seasons, from scarves and mittens to garden gloves and sunscreen. If you have little ones about, label them clearly and you’ll have a better chance of things getting returned to their rightful place. Then go wild mounting hooks, pegs, and large knobs. Ideal for hanging hats and coats in the cooler months, use them for tote bags and beach towels come summer. We especially love how hooks line the boot room in Miranda Brooks’ Oxfordshire home. If you have don’t have quite as much space, a row along an entry hall will work just as well. Then dress it up with artwork, like the vintage military prints she scooped up at the Paris flea market, and find a stylish bin for storing umbrellas.

If built-in cubbies are on the cards, good lighting is essential so that you’re not fumbling around for things in the shadows. Also, don’t underestimate having a place to sit. Nothing is worse than trying to lace up your boots from a standing position. American architects Morgante Wilson designed this modern joinery for a family in Chicago, Illinois, with these considerations and more. Beyond storage, the cubbies provide a place to temporarily house outgoing items like packages to be mailed or shopping to be returned. On the floor, a simple boot tray keeps wet shoes from leaving a mess. If traditional design is more your style, closer to home, Artichoke crafts exquisite bespoke boot rooms that feel authentic in even the most historic homes.

© Werner Straub, Oberto GIli