How To Design The Perfect Boot Room (2023)

Expanding on our wealth of experience in period home design to help you make the most of your space, we offer our expert and practical tips on how to design the perfect boot room, mud room or flower room.

As well as sharing our conceptual design insights, we advise on where to start with your boot room designand take you through the aspects of the design that should always be considered like storage and materials plus individual needs of family members… pets included!

 

Artichoke and boot room design

Artichoke’s design team is fairly obsessed with boot rooms. In fact, the domestic back end of a country house holds a rather geeky fascination for us. While boot rooms or mud rooms are hardly glamorous, they do present a variety of interesting design challenges, which, if done well, we believe, can add greatly to the “liveability” of a country house.

Image of bespoke boot room with coat hangers

What is a boot room?

The primary function of a boot room is to act as a valve between the outside elements and the house interior. It should be a practical, functional room that everyone in the family uses.

Where should you start with a boot room design?

It all starts with a conceptual design. In order to produce the perfect boot room, it’s important to fully understand the family that will use it and to consider every aspect of their day-to-day life. For example, how many children or animals are there? Are shooting, fishing or riding regular family activities? What kind of sports kit needs to be stored? What sort of hats, and how many coats do they own? Do guns need to be stored? If so, what are the security requirements?

When we go through conceptual designs for clients, early into the design process we will produce a sketch that gives clients a clear picture of initial ideas and intent for the design.

We are the boot room design experts so you can contact us for an initial consultation.

Image of black and white boot room drawing by artichoke

 

What to consider when designing a boot room?

 

1. Storage

Storage in a boot room depends on the family that will use it and all the aspect of their day-to-day life, but essentially, when designing a boot room you should consider three levels of storage:

• shoe storage
• storage for coats and jackets with hanging racks
• storage usually with shelves, drawers or cupboards for hats, gloves and any other additional equipment

For extra boot room storage, you can consider a bench with lift-up seat, baskets or an all-in-one hall stand – a multi-functional freestanding piece of furniture with storage and hanging space.

 

Image of two bespoke boot rooms with coat hangers

 

This Edwardian boot room in a Queen Anne country house is the perfect example of a room with limited space that we expertly crafted to serve many purposes for a busy family.

 

Image of Edwardian Boot Room storage

 

Our considered design accounted for the free movement of people and dogs, and the fact that as children grow older, their needs will change. We managed to create a mud room that was beautiful and ‘liveable’ with plenty of practical ideas.

We revived an Edwardian-style “up and over” cupboard door so that when opened, the doors didn’t intrude awkwardly into the space. We also incorporated a peninsula and small drawers with brass handles to provide plenty of extra storage.

 

Image og edwardian boot room peninsula and up and over cupboards for storage

2. Mud

This is the reason why we also call boot rooms mudrooms. Different names, the same function – both are a link to the outside – a valve between the outside world of muck, mud and rain and the interior of a house with a primary function of stopping the mess from spreading throughout the home.

As practical spaces, that are likely to see heavy use, they require practical solutions and thoughtful consideration of materials.

Here, a hard-wearing material for the floor is essential.

In our designs, we often opt for natural materials such as stone or tiles. A great example of this is the Belgian Fossil which we chose for the flooring in this Regency country house project, because it is robust but also because its attractive flecks of fossils and white shells help to camouflage mud and dirt.

Image of bespoke boot room with coat hangers
We also added extra practical features such as the grate and drain, set in the floor for easy cleaning of weather-related mess and the zinc plinths with copper nails which provide a buffer between the floor and panelling and protect the paint from smearing and scuffing when frequently mopping the muddy floor.

Image of stone floor with drainage and zinc plinth

 

An externally mounted tap may be another key feature to think about. Having this outside allows muddy boots or animals to be cleaned before they enter the house.

 

3. English weather

In many country houses, boot rooms function as the main back entrance to the house. If this is the case it could be wise to consider an additional smaller entrance to act as a second valve to trap the cold and wind as family members or guests, enter and leave.

Image of two second entrance in boot room
You must also always think of the flow through a boot room space where you can pass quickly with little furniture obstructing the route between the doors.

 

4. Wet clothing

Typical of the traditional English weather rain often causes outwear to get wet. A boot room is then the place where they can dry. We often incorporate discreet and practical solutions to deal with this problem.

One such example is the design in this Regency country house. A stone bench with holes sits above the radiator drying the coats that hang above it.

Image of stone bench with holes for drying clothes in boot room

5. Function of the sink

If a sink is required, you need to make sure it’s made appropriately for what it will be used for. For example, if it will be used for washing muddy boots or pets it must be large and made of a robust material. Alternatively, if it’s only used for lighter activities such as flower arranging, you must consider the height of the tap to ensure that all tall vases can be filled easily.

 

Image of Artichoke boot room with stone sink and storage
A solid stone sink in this Artichoke boot room provides a hard wearing and attractive alternative to stainless steel.

 

Consider whether your boot room will need a sink for washing hands, bathing smaller pets, cleaning boots or rinsing off vegetables picked from the garden. It should be a durable sink that can handle knocks and scratches from muddy paws, gardening tools and hard-bristled brushes.

Image of boot rooms with sink
A stunning Belfast sink is sometimes the perfect choice for arranging blooms and foliage picked from the countryside.

6. Pets

If you are a family with canine companions, your perfect boot room design won’t be complete without the consideration of your pets, and specifically dogs and their needs.

Artichoke bespoke Boot room with dog
The boot room may be a place where your dog rests so you should allow for some room for it’s bed or consider bulding your dog’s bed into the joinery which will help to keep things tidy for you and snug for your dog.

It’s important to ensure that the spot is suitable for your dog’s individual needs as recommended by the clinical pet behaviorist, Helen Greenley. For example, some pets will need cooler or warmer spots, depending on their breed.

The boot room may also be the perfect place for your pet’s eating station where you can contain spillages and store pet food and toys.

And after a muddy country walk? The quickest and easiest solution to rinsing your dog of the outside muck is to install an outdoor tap or to incorporate a shower area into your joinery indoors.

In summary

You should think of boot rooms as ‘decompression rooms’. To get them right we suggest using a variety of robust natural materials and furniture details and take time to consider every small detail so that the boot room works for each family’s unique needs, dogs included.

Asking the right questions at the outset as to how you want your boot room to function is the key to designing a space that will suit your needs exactly.

If you have a boot room project you’d like professionally designed, we’d love to discuss it. Email newprojects@artichoke.co.uk or call +44 (0)1934 745270.

Modern Boot Room Ideas for Modern Country Life

As country house experts, we have plenty of experience in designing beautiful boot rooms to meet modern families’ needs, and events over the last couple of years mean that the boot room has never been more important in family life. We look at modern boot room ideas and how to create a space that works for your household, without compromising on aesthetics.

Boot rooms have always been a convenient midway point between the wild outside and the calm interior of a home. They are the place where you can happily leave wet coats, muddy boots, dirty dogs, umbrellas and prams without worrying that they are going to ruin any beautiful furnishings. Depending on your boot room design, they can also provide extra utility space, whether you want a separate area for laundry or a dedicated place for flower arranging.

Country house design bootroom

However, these rooms came into their own even more in the COVID-19 era. The global pandemic saw homes driven to two extremes: they either became  much quieter than usual, with family members locked down in different parts of the world, or the opposite, with grandparents or parents seeing their offspring return to the family estate to enjoy country living during the Coronavirus restrictions.

english country boot room design

Modern boot room ideas for modern requirements

As life has returned to normal, the modern boot room remains an important factor in how a busy household functions.  Below we look at boot room design ideas and how to create a space that works for your household.

country house boot room design

Where to start

When looking to create the perfect country house boot room, you first need to look at your family’s day-to-day life and consider exactly how the space will be used. For example, how many children or animals do you have? How many coats, hats and pairs of shoes will need to be stored here? What are your family’s favourite activities – perhaps shooting, fishing or riding are regular hobbies? If so, what kind of kit needs to be stored? If guns will be kept there, what are the security requirements? 

Once all this has been thought about, you can start to sketch out a vision of what your ideal boot room design would look like, setting out a clear idea of what needs to be done.

What to consider for optimal boot room design

As much as you may want your boot room to be aesthetically pleasing, its primary function is as a midpoint between the outside and the in. This means that mud – and how it can be easily dealt with – should be a priority. You will definitely want a hard-wearing floor, such as stone, tile, or vinyl. You should also think about drainage – for example, you may find it convenient to install a drain in the centre of the floor, meaning that mud and dirt can be easily swept away. To avoid as much as possible mud being trampled in, you could consider installing an outdoor tap, which provides an easy way for people to wash off muddy boots or animals before entering.

Another modern boot room idea for English country homes is to anticipate and work with the English weather. In many homes, boot rooms act as the main back entrance to the house, but this can mean that they let in a significant draft as people come through. So, you may wish to consider adding an extra door between the boot room and the outside world, preventing the cold and wind from coming in.

Flower and boot room cabinets

If you wish to incorporate a sink into your boot room, think carefully about what you will use it for first. For example, if you will be washing off muddy boots inside, you will want to choose a large and robust sink, whereas if you are mainly planning on using this sink for flower arranging, the sink won’t need to be as robust however the height of the tap will need to be planned to ensure that tall vases can fit underneath. 

During the pandemic, the boot room was often used as a ‘decontamination zone’ to avoid bringing in germs from the outside world.  It might have a washing machine and storage for detergent, allowing you to put potentially infected clothes straight in the wash as you arrive home. You can then decide whether you want your boot room to become your main laundry space, in which case you will also need to consider hanging areas for washed clothes and baskets for dirty items. 

How much work is it to design and create a fully-kitted-out boot room?

As specialists in fitting English period homes to suit modern family life, we are able to handle projects with ease, whether its restoring a very old building to better suit the needs of our client or whether its a new back of house addition to an old house ensuring they understand exactly what you want from your boot room before they commence with the build.

All this may seem like a lot of effort for a simple boot room. However, when you consider what an important role this space actually plays in family life, it is well worth investing time in boot room design ideas in order to create a space that will suit all your household for years to come.

If you’d like to discuss our approach to design and our craft, please email newprojects@artichoke.co.uk or call +44 (0)1934 745270.

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