How to DIY a Mudroom/Drop Zone (For Renters)

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DIY closet turned mudroom for renters | 11 Magnolia Lane
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Obviously Amy and I have similar taste, and often we copy each other’s best ideas.  Her closet-turned-mudroom is definitely one of those ideas that I had to steal, but since she owns her home and we’re renting, I had to tweak things a bit to make it work for us.

She was able to remove her closet doors and create built shelves and hooks as well as a bench.  The result is beautiful and so functional for her family of five:

Everything I did had to be reversible; we had permission to do a lot of awesome things in our garage entryway (see the whole plan for that area here), but we didn’t have permission to open up the doorway and create a permanent mudroom.  To be honest, I didn’t ask–I thought that was probably a little more than even I wanted to attempt in a rental home!  And then I thought that was probably good, because there are lots of renters out there like me who’d be interested in how to create a (semi-permanent) mudroom drop zone.

I’ll start by saying that we have lots of storage space in this house and there’s a coat closet in the front hallway by the front door.  This closet is right inside the door to the garage, which is where we do most of our coming and going, with backpacks, umbrellas, lunch boxes, sports equipment, and the like.  So we still have room for all of our coats elsewhere in the house.

The space looked like this when we moved in, with nice solid surface closet organizers already in place.

Garage entryway plans | 11 Magnolia Lane

I knew that I didn’t want to remove those, so I decided to work with them.  However, I would have removed the dreaded white wire shelving if I had found that and used this instead, because it’s removable but looks just as finished as Amy’s built-in’s do:



(If you leave the drywall anchors in place and store the white wire shelving, you can replace it when it’s time to move on).

I was able to remove the hanging rods and stored them, along with the door, hinges, and strike plate.  I painted over the raw wood under where the hinges and strike plate had been but didn’t patch the holes since I’ll likely be replacing the door when we move.  You can see the strike plate hole in the photo below, but it’s not terribly noticeable.

DIY closet turned mudroom for renters | 11 Magnolia Lane

The entire closet got a coat of Revere Pewter paint, like the rest of the garage entryway, and then I striped the walls using Edgecombe Gray (see my tutorial on how to paint horizontal stripes here).  It’s amazing how great a fresh coat of paint makes a space look!

Since I couldn’t construct a built-in bench, either, I found a prefab one that fits perfectly in my closet, which is almost 39″ wide.  It came with a cushion, which was a nice bonus since I’m a pretty rotten seamstress.  Remember, if you don’t like the color of the cushion, you can always paint it {read how here} like I did with my chair!


The locker baskets didn’t come with my bench, but they fit perfectly.  I knew that I wanted something to store little things, like lunch boxes, umbrellas, and shoes, but I wanted us to be able to see what’s in them so nothing gets lost in the abyss.

The hooks are just loose coat hooks that I picked up at Lowe’s; they probably don’t need to be removed if we ever opt to use this as a coat closet again since the coats will hide them.

DIY closet turned mudroom for renters | 11 Magnolia Lane

The wicker baskets on the top shelf fit perfectly, but I just shopped the house for them (I originally found them at HomeGoods).  I added the little wood chalkboard signs; those are just unfinished wood pieces that I sprayed with Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint and then glue gunned to the baskets.

DIY closet turned mudroom for renters | 11 Magnolia Lane

DIY closet turned mudroom for renters | 11 Magnolia Lane

I’m thrilled with how it turned out, and how renter-friendly it is.  Really the only thing I did was put a few holes in the wall, and those can easily be patched and painted when it’s time to move.  We renters have to be creative, right?

Here are a few of the items I used for this space, as well as a few I like for different sized closets:


Read the other posts in this series here:

Plans for an Organized Entryway

Paint and a Striped Wall

How to Paint Horizontal Stripes

DIY Custom Plate Rack for $40


Our posts contain affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking on these links, we will earn a small commission.  You don’t pay a cent more than you would otherwise, since that would be tacky!


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  1. Looks awesome!! You have such a creative mind! I so appreciate your sharing suggestions for renters ~ there are very few renters in blog land it seems.


  2. Love! I have been toying with turning our back coat closet just off the garage into a mini mud-room. Especially since there are 3 doors in that very small space. This might just be the thing!!

  3. Great job! I love how it turned out. I’m trying to convince my hubby that we should convert our hall closet into a mudroom. This was simple enough that it might help me convince him 🙂

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