The mudroom has long stood as the first line of defense against dirt, clutter and chaos. But while mudrooms used to be treated as a utilitarian necessity, today’s focus on tailoring floor plans for real life has put a spotlight on the hardworking space. (Why spend a fortune on a formal front entry hall that sits dormant, when the mudroom entrance is used every day?) At their best, mudrooms offer buyers a spot to stash shoes, coats, and backpacks while keeping in step with a home’s overall aesthetic. These projects offer illustrations of what a mudroom can be—a useful and lovely welcome home.

Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder. Senior Editor Amy Albert contributed reporting to this article.