Mudroom dilemma: Butler's Pantry or Bench?

wamotApril 20, 2014

We have a dilemma on how to use the space in mudroom. We have a mudroom off the garage, which connects the kitchen, backyard and garage in our new home. It is a narrow but longer room, about 12' by 5'.

On the end closer to kitchen, there are three door/doorway: door to garage, door to backyard patio, doorway to kitchen. Then on the far end, there is a half bath and a decent size coat closet (Attached photo shows the view from kitchen into mudroom ).

After reserving the hallway space between kitchen and the half bath, we have a workable space about 8' by 2'. Since the kitchen is not huge(10' by 15'), we were thinking a butler's pantry to add more storage(putting base and wall cabinets, and then countertop).

If we put 3 units of cabinets, it would take about 6', and leaves only 2', which is a small space for a bench. If we put only 2 units of cabinets, it would take 4' - 5', which leaves at least 3' for a decent size bench.

A butler's pantry with 3 units would be much more pleasing aesthetically(see the attached design), but a larger bench in mudroom seems provide more practical use.

This is my very first post here, I searched and read lots of very inspiring topics and discussion here, but I did not find a similar topic. Any advise or comment is welcome! Thank you!

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We are redoing the entire house. See the design I got for the butler's pantry.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 7:25PM
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I find that the more storage space I have, the more junk I have. So I would maximize the bench. But you may not have pack rat family members. . . .

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 7:55PM
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I have a house too tiny for a mudroom OR butler's pantry, so take my input for what it's worth. I do have a storage bench right at the front door which is intended for use in taking off/putting on shoes. The thing is: no one ever uses it. Boys and husband seem to kick shoes off and will literally walk past the bench to sit elsewhere if needed to put on boots or something. So I have this sneaky suspicion that benches are overrated. I still like the way they look though (currently contemplating replacing my bench with an antique pew) - but if you think you'd actually use the butler's pantry space, I'd go smaller or not at all on the bench.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 8:38PM
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Me too. I have a comfortable bench in a wide, light airy entry that no one sits on. People dump coats on it. I say go for the aesthetically pleasing cabinets. In the remaining two feet you could put one of a file cabinet, a coat tree, an umbrella stand, a folding tea cart, a chair, or if you have a crazy relative who gave you a crystal wine cooler on a stand, you finally have a place to put it. :) Or you could do the whole length in cabinets. :)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:22PM
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Me three! It is so aggravating! A decent bench and plenty of coat hooks and stuff still gets piled on chairs. Dude, a half-pivot and a small reach puts that coat on the hook. It ain't rocket science.

So, I vote for the larger unit a chair...just a chair! Then if it ends up being a junk holder it can go somewhere else.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 9:31PM
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I have a bench by my front door, and it gets used all the time (by me). Even visitors have commented that they appreciate it. At the very least, it's overflow storage for shoes and we keep the dog's leash in there. But it doesn't need to be 8' long.

What would you use the counter for in your design? I feel like it's there because you said "butler's pantry", and butler's pantries have a counter. Technically, a "butler's pantry" is supposed to go between a kitchen and a dining room. This is the space where the butler decanted the wine, and rested dishes until they were ready to be served in the dining room. In between a kitchen and garage, the counter is more likely to be a place where people dump their stuff, a clutter trap.

I would suggest full height cabinets here rather than a "butler's pantry". It would be more flexible for storage. It can be a pantry (storing mid sized appliances and canned goods) or it can house the coats and shoes. It's also less likely to collect (visible) clutter, and you might feel your wider bench makes more sense next to high cabinets than next to the butler's pantry.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 11:34PM
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Thanks to all the inputs!

To amberm145,

I think most of times, my family members(including myself) do not need to sit down when leaving or coming back home, but they will need somewhere they can put their bags and stuffs when change shoes. So the countertop would serve this purpose.

However, I guess your suggestion makes more sense and provides multi-purpose function: bench for sitting/putting bags, and full height cabinets for shoe/coat/grocery/garget storage. Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 11:49PM
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I have a small bench with a shelf and pegs in the mudroom, DD sits there to put her shoes on and sometimes to take off, my dad will sit there as well (can't bend over) - when she doesn't have her backpack, coat, etc. thrown there. Everyone else takes their shoes off standing up, can bend over to tie them, and hangs up coats. DS hangs his backpack on a brass hook screwed into studs behind the door - I have 2, but the top one seems to be used for coats (the wooden pegs in the shelf have gotten loose) so instead of hanging his backpack high and hers low, he hangs his low and she leaves hers (and her books, artwork from school, etc.) on the bench.

I second the tall "locker" style cabinets - with hooks and shelves inside.

One other thing I would like to find room for in my tiny entry-way (mudroom is also a laundry room, so just the space between the garage and kitchen doors is available) is a grab bar - my dad will sit down if there's room, but my mom tends to hang onto a door knob to take her shoes off and slip on, the kitchen door is almost always open so the door swings a little, and I don't think it's good for the hinges to have a lot of weight on them - it's a little different than just turning the knob to open or close the door, having someone leaning on the knob while standing on 1 foot, and the door wiggling back and forth.

If it weren't for the fact that we live in a cold climate and sometimes do close that door for an "air lock" I'd just remove it and case the opening. It's also nice to be able to close that door and not see the shoes, backpacks and coats.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 9:45AM
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Thanks to all the sharing!

I have the following set up on my mind now: two full height pantry/closet with a bench. I will use dark stained wood instead of white paint though.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:34PM
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Absolutely! Why not?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:04PM
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That looks like a great choice!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:58PM
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This idea has counter space, floor to ceiling cabinets and a stool that could be used instead of a bench when needed.

Yes it is in a kitchen. I think it could work in a mudroom/ hallway as well.

Traditional Kitchen by Victoria Architects & Designers The Sky is the Limit Design

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 9:27PM
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I like what mellyc123 suggested or something like what we were thinking of doing.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:38PM
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