If, like most families, your home is cluttered by belongings that are frequently in demand but a pain to store, you could benefit from incorporating a boot room.
At its simplest, a boot room functions as a practical storage solution that can be created by re-organising the hall or porch or borrowing a portion of the existing kitchen. Add a handy shoe storage unit, a welly rack and coat hooks, and you’re there. In a larger space, a purpose designed boot room can double as a utility area, too.
A fully fitted, well designed boot room will be planned and executed in the same way as a small kitchen – take a look at our guide to designing a small kitchen for advice – with a price tag to match. Ready to go? Don't miss our boot room design ideas, too.
Decide how you will use the boot room
Above all, a boot room is an adaptable space. Be clear from the outset about the tasks it needs to perform, over and above its main purpose for changing shoes and hanging up outdoor gear.
Provide a sink and cupboards for brooms and mops and it becomes a utility area, taking the strain off a busy kitchen. Add a washing machine, tumble dryer and drying rack and it’s a laundry room. Include a work bench to create a workroom and slatted shelves for a garden store. Instead of tripping over bikes in the hallway, store them on wall mounted racks or out of the way on a pulley system that suspends them close to the ceiling – take a look at our bike storage ideas for inspiration.
Find space to make it work
In a typical farmhouse, a boot room is positioned by the back door, so that you can stomp in with muddy boots and change out of wet weather gear without traipsing mud through the house. If you’re embarking on a renovation project, planning an extension or fitting a new kitchen, now’s the time to see whether the ground floor could be reconfigured to include a boot room.
For most homes the front door is the main port of call, and adding a porch might be the answer to avoid dirty trainers and school bags being trailed through the house. Without resorting to building work,an existing utility room can double up as a boot room, or you could simply find good hallway storage solutions.
Achieve a great layout
The flow of the space is the first consideration, the ideal being a room that you can pass through quickly, with a door separating it from the main house to keep cold air out. Avoid obstructing the route between the doors with furniture.
Depending on room size, the furniture can be arranged in a row or in an L or U shape, in the same way that you might plan a small kitchen. Would it help to move a door, window or radiator to achieve your aims? Could the amount of daylight be improved, if you include a skylight or glazed doors? Could a downstairs loo be incorporated?
Choose practical storage furniture
Essentially, three levels of storage are required; shoe storage goes at the base – a bench with cubby holes beneath is ideal – then hanging racks for coats and jackets. Above head height, shelves can take hats or lesser-used items, such as sports gear.
For extra storage, consider a bench with lift-up seat, or baskets. Wellies are best stored on taller shelving or on a rack. Fit peg rails to the wall for coats; a rail at a lower level allows for children’s jackets. Make sure the pegs or hooks protrude far enough to take more than one item. As an alternative, go for an all-in-one hall stand, a multi-functional freestanding piece of furniture with storage and hanging space.
Go for a built-in solution
Fitted furniture naturally costs more but does make use of every inch, and it can be configured precisely for the items you want to store, incorporating built-in benches with lift up storage, a mix of open and closed shelving and cupboards and peg rails.
If the boot room is to double as a utility room with a ‘wet’ area for a sink and washing machine, you’ll want a practical, hardwearing worktop, cupboards or open shelving above and below, and adequate sockets. Select finishes that can be wiped clean – if painted they will be easy to touch-up when knocked or damaged.
Make the room work harder
Adding a sink to a boot room keeps all the messy jobs out of the kitchen. A tall tap with a swivel spout makes cleaning off boots and garden tools easier. When there’s no space for a sink, an outdoor tap by the entrance is practical.
In a larger room, a drain could be incorporated in the centre so that dirt can be swished away. At the planning stage, consider whether plumbing should be added for a washing machine. Plan the position of electrical sockets so they’ll be useful for recharging DIY tools or for carrying out tasks such as ironing. Consider lighting options, and whether a radiator or underfloor heating would work best.
Decorate in style
For a traditional and hardwearing finish, fit the lower part of the walls with tongue and groove panelling, painted to match the storage. Not only will this give the sports pavilion vibe but once the wood is protected by a tough eggshell finish, the surface can simply be wiped down if it gets scuffed.
If painted walls are your choice, select a durable version such as the Hall & Stairs Durable Matt range of super-scrubbable paints from Crown.
Select hardwearing flooring
Laying flagstones or reclaimed bricks will give your boot room the country vibe. Not only will they give a timeless impression, but they’re immensely durable and look even better with a few knocks and scrapes. Stone tiles, however, do need to be sealed occasionally.
Among the alternatives, porcelain tiles can imitate stone accurately, yet are thin and lighter in weight than the real thing, and are easy to care for. Luxury vinyl tiles are ideal for a hall or kitchen with an adjacent boot room, providing an opportunity to give a contemporary feel with on-trend pattern.
Add that final flourish
Finishing touches for a boot room can be practical as well as attractive. Place a boot scraper by the door, a rack for keeping wellies upside down to drip dry and an umbrella stand.
To get the country look, revamp old furniture with a fresh coat of paint and add wicker baskets or crates for storage.
Looking for more boot room or storage inspiration?
- 10 fabulous ideas for boot rooms
- Hallway shoe storage ideas - could be applied to boot rooms, too
- 10 storage ideas for shoes: cabinets, racks, benches, boxes and more