No mudroom? No problem: Solutions for a functional home entry

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The Eames Hang-It-All ($195-$295) is a good entryway solution. (Photo by Herman Miller)

Search #mudroom on Instagram, and you’ll get more than 100,000 hits showing perfectly organized and styled spaces with cabinets, cubbies and hooks to house everyone’s backpacks, coats and shoes.

Those pictures are dreamy, but what if you don’t have the space for a dedicated mudroom, where all the clutter of everyday comings and goings can be neatly stowed out of sight? The entry spaces in apartments, rowhouses and other smaller homes get a real workout – and often look the part.

We asked designer Shawna Underwood of Shawna Underwood Interior Design in D.C. for advice on how to tame your entryway clutter and which products she would suggest to store shoes, coats, keys and more.

Having designated places for everything is the key to avoiding a mess, she says. “If you have a place to put your keys, your purse, your hat, and you train yourself to put things where they’re supposed to go, they can always stay kind of neat.”

Here are Underwood’s suggestions for a beautiful but functional home entry.

A dedicated coat closet is nice, but not everyone has the space for that, and even if you do, what are the odds that everyone’s coats make it there every day? Hooks, such as the Eames Hang-It-All ($195-$295) from Design Within Reach, are a good entryway solution for those stray jackets and backpacks. This steel, wall-mounted rack with solid wood balls comes in several colors, including a fun multicolor option.

Underwood also likes the Barker vertical wall-mounted coat rack ($29.95) from CB2. Made of iron, it comes in either a matte black or warm gold finish. The vertical design is particularly well-suited to small spaces, Underwood says, and family homes, because the lower hooks are easier for kids to reach.

Clutter can accumulate quickly near the home entry, so consider adding a catchall tray or dish to corral keys, wallets and mail. Thesquare quartz stone catchall ($69) from Pottery Barn is eight inches wide and would add an elegant, modern touch on a console table in the entry.

CB2’s Trek oval horn bowl($19.95) is a less expensive alternative, made of water buffalo horn that has been heated and molded into a glossy brown 8-by-3-by-11/2-inch oval.

Underwood is a fan of closed storage in an entryway to conceal visual clutter, she says. To keep shoes and other everyday items organized, she suggests the Tatum entryway shoe storage cabinet ($999) from Crate & Barrel. The cabinet is made of acacia wood and metal in a brown-and-black finish. It has a shelf at the bottom for shoes, removable hooks on the sides, and drawers, open cubbies and doors that conceal additional shelves.

Underwood suggests using baskets to add storage and texture. For storing hats, gloves, scarves and other miscellaneous items, she recommends the Baba Tree Pakurigo basket ($200) from Goodee. The 17-by-17-by-12-inch baskets made of vetiver grass come in natural, black and white, red, and multicolor, and they’re made by Ghanaian artisans.

You could also try Goodee’s Makaua’s oval floor basket ($85). Handcrafted in Mexico with palm fibers, the 20-by-12-by-10-inch baskets come in two colors, agave and piedra, and have handles that make them easy to move from room to room.

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