How to ensure the Boot (room) fits

Expert and practical tips for the perfect boot room, mud room or flower room.

May 1, 2024

Artichoke and Boot room design

Artichoke’s design team is fairly obsessed with boot rooms. In fact, the domestic back end of a country house holds a distinct fascination for us. Maybe not glamorous, these rooms nonetheless present interesting design challenges, which can add greatly to the ease of everyday management of a house.

An organized mudroom with coats and hats hanging on hooks, several pairs of boots lined up below, and baskets on overhead shelves. sunlight streams in through a window beside a potted plant.

Plate 1: Bespoke boot room with coat hangers

Why a Boot room?

It’s primary function is to act as a valve between the outside and the house interior. Practical, functional and accessible – a room the whole family uses – probably every single day.

Imagine every eventuality

It all starts with conceptual design. For the perfect boot room consider every aspect of day-to-day life. For example, how many children or animals are there? Are shooting, fishing or riding regular family activities? What kind of sports kit needs to be stored? Which hats and how many coats? Do guns need to be stored? If so, what are the security requirements?

When we go through conceptual designs for clients, early into the design process we will produce a sketch that gives clients a clear picture of initial ideas and intent for the design. Here’s a quick guide to our key considerations:

A black and white sketch of a vintage pantry room with shelves filled with jars, crockery, and boxes. a ladder leans against the shelves, and a countertop with kitchen utensils is visible.

Plate 2: black and white boot room drawing by ARTICHOKE

1. Storage

Storage in a boot room depends on the family but essentially there are three levels of storage:

• shoe storage

• storage for coats and jackets with hanging racks

• storage usually with shelves, drawers or cupboards for hats, gloves and any other additional equipment

For extra boot room storage, you can consider a bench with lift-up seat, baskets or an all-in-one hall stand – a multi-functional freestanding piece of furniture with storage and hanging space.

Two split views of well-organized mudrooms with wall-mounted coat racks, bench seating, and storage cabinets, showcasing elegant rustic and contemporary designs.

Plate 3: two bespoke boot rooms with coat hangers

This Edwardian boot room in a Queen Anne country house is the perfect example of a room with limited space that we expertly crafted to serve many purposes for a busy family.

A traditional mudroom featuring a wooden bench, storage cabinets, coat hooks with hanging coats and bags, drawers, and a tv embedded in a cabinet, in a clean and organized setting.

Plate 4: Edwardian boot room peninsula and up and over cupboards for storage

2. Mud

We also add extra practical features such as the grate and drain, set in the floor for easy cleaning of weather-related mess and the zinc plinths with copper nails which provide a buffer between the floor and panelling and protect the paint from smearing and scuffing when frequently mopping the muddy floor.

Close-up of a worn-out brown work boot beside a white door, showing detail of the leather texture and laces, placed on a rough concrete surface.

Plate 5: Stone floor with drainage and zinc plinth

An externally mounted tap may be another key feature to think about. Having this outside allows muddy boots or animals to be cleaned before they enter the house.

3. English weather

In many country houses, boot rooms function as the main back entrance to the house. In this case it could be wise to consider an additional smaller entrance as a second valve to trap the cold and wind as family members or guests, enter and leave.

A sunlit room viewed through an open door, showing a glass-fronted cabinet filled with neatly arranged coats and hats, reflecting a warm, inviting ambiance.

Plate 6: Second entrance in boot room

You must also always think of the flow through a boot room space where you can pass quickly with little furniture obstructing the route between the doors.

4. Wet clothing

Typical of the traditional English weather, rain often causes outwear to get wet. A boot room is then the place where they can dry. We incorporate discreet and practical solutions to deal with this such as a stone bench with holes above the radiator for drying coats above.

A neatly organized mudroom featuring a bench with rubber boots underneath, hooks holding jackets and a hat, a woven basket, and a green thermos placed on the bench.

Plate 7: Stone bench with holes for drying clothes in boot room

5. Function of the sink

If a sink is required, you need to make sure it’s made appropriately for its intended use. For example, for washing muddy boots or pets then large and made of a robust material. Alternatively, if only for lighter activities such as flower arranging, then the height of the tap to ensure that tall vases can be filled easily.

A boot room with a traditional design featuring a long, grey cabinet with a black countertop under a window.

Plate 8: ARTICHOKE boot room with stone sink and storage

Consider whether your boot room will need a sink for washing hands, bathing smaller pets, cleaning boots or rinsing off vegetables picked from the garden. It should be a durable sink that can handle knocks and scratches from muddy paws, gardening tools and hard-bristled brushes.

A bright kitchen space with a large farmhouse sink below a window, surrounded by grey cabinetry. the counter is adorned with fresh flowers and green plants, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Plate 9: Boot room with sink

A stunning Belfast sink is sometimes the perfect choice for arranging blooms and foliage picked from the countryside.

6. Pets

If you are a pet-loving family, your design won’t be complete without their consideration – specifically dogs and their needs.

A neat mudroom with white cabinetry, a black countertop, and colorful potted plants. a dog rests on a pink bed, and coats hang on hooks beside a bench.

The boot room may be a place where your dog rests so you should allow for some room for it’s bed or consider building your dog’s bed into the joinery to keep things tidy for you and snug for your dog.

The boot room may also be the perfect place for your pet’s eating station where you can contain spillages and store pet food and toys.

And after a muddy country walk? The quickest and easiest solution to rinsing your dog of the outside muck is to install an outdoor tap or to incorporate a shower area into your joinery indoors.

Summary

Try to think of boot rooms as ‘decompression rooms’. To get them right use a variety of robust natural materials and furniture details and take time to consider every eventuality to work for each unique need, dogs included.

Asking the right questions at the outset as to how you want your boot room to function is the key to designing a space that will suit your needs exactly. This is why no two Artichoke boot rooms are ever the same.