01/09/2012 02:51 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Home Makeover: Creating A Functional And Inviting Mudroom (VIDEO)

The Dilemma: A mudroom, which is arguably one of the most important rooms in a home, is often the most easily overlooked area. Even though most people know that a mudroom is supposed to be the transitional area that connects the outside world and the home, many homeowners don't really see it as a real room and, thus, have trouble making the mudroom a functional and inviting space. Given that, the mudroom quickly turns into a poorly maintained (and furnished) storage spot.

The Fix: In order to make the most out of a mudroom space, it's important to, first and foremost, see it as a room like any other room in the home. While it might be small in square footage compared to other rooms, it's gets just as much foot traffic as any other area in the home, if not more. So give the mudroom the thought and attention to detail in furniture and storage options as you would any room.

The mudroom is the entrance to the home so it should feel inviting. One of the easiest ways to warm up the space is to place furniture that will help keep the room looking neat and organized -- nothing is more unwelcoming than a messy mudroom. And since storage is key in a mudroom, coat and shoe racks along with a bench or seating area for removing and putting on shoes are essentials. And especially during the winter months, these will help keep those dirty shoes and wet coats and umbrellas confined and out of the home. If you're a pet owner, the mudroom is the perfect place to create a designated area for them.

Once you have the basic furnishings in place, start bringing in larger storage pieces. Sideboards and horizontal cabinets are not only great in providing extra storage to hide miscellaneous things, they're also nice decorating accents for the space. If the room is tall and has a lot of wall space, consider using a nice étagère, which is a nice alternative to utilitarian wall shelving. Other organizational accents like baskets and trays will keep keys, spare change, sunglasses, and other random items contained in one spot.

Finally, you can instantly warm up the mudroom with a coat of paint. Earthy tones and warm colors will give the space a welcoming appeal while bright colors can enliven it and make the room really stand out. The next time you're on your way out, you'll look forward to coming home that much more.

Click on items in the images below and scroll through the product rails to find some of the pieces used in the makeover.