inspiring design: tile for magnificent mudrooms

by clé tile | published: Apr 05, 2022

mudrooms are having a moment, and tile is playing a big role. once overlooked as a place to make a design impact, this former utility (only) player is becoming a star in its own right–thanks to tile–and great design. here are some of the designs that get it right and some tips for making your own mudroom magic.

mudrooms: a utility space turned towards wellness

the mudroom has always been a vital part of the home, helping us transition smoothly from indoors to outdoors and back again. it’s the stuff of grand english homes and country lifestyles where muddy feet and muddier paws are the stuff of life.

but mudrooms aren’t only for countryside mud. “mudrooms” are now a growing necessity for suburban homes and in urban highrise apartments alike.

in fact, over the years, the mudroom has evolved into something that’s more of a concept than a dedicated room: it’s a gathering space, a resting point, an intermission between indoor and outdoor acts – a place to bring a little outside in, and relax the boundary between indoors and out.

slate 6×24 planks, design: becki owens / photo: rebekah westover

natural zellige 2×6, design: pure salt interiors / photo: vanessa lentine (right) both set in a herringbone pattern

here are 5 design tips to keep in mind when building your perfect mudroom.

know your space – what kind of mudroom do you have?

this should be the first question you ask yourself when designing a mudroom.

in some homes, the mudroom is the initial space you enter after stepping through the front door. in others, the mudroom appears near the garage or patio, towards the back of the house.

considering your mudroom’s location, think about the impression or vibe you want to evoke. if your mudroom is at the front of your house, use it to preview the rest of your home, using colors and textures that reflect the overall mood of the home and show what’s to come.

if your mudroom is a little more tucked away, you can use this opportunity to get creative–and maybe take a step outside of your comfort zone.

plan ahead – what are your organizational needs?

how do you want your mudroom to be used.

like a traditional japanese genkan (a small tiled entryway directly inside the front door used for removing and storing shoes) a mudroom can be small and fulfill a simple need.

if organization is your thing, think about your needs and requirements for storage. but even if organization is your main priority, there are lots of ways to play with design.

open shelving with a patterned backsplash is a great way to add oomph without compromising on storage space.

a mudroom with open shelving featuring clé tile cement squares in industrial milan behind the shelves.

slate subway tile on the floor. design: suzanna santo stefano / photo: andrea calo.

protect against mud – and don’t forget sand, grit, water, and ice

floors (and walls) are very important here–mudroom surfaces should be water- resistant and easy to clean, and not highly sensitive to scratches and high foot traffic. if you’re dealing with snow and ice, make sure to select materials rated for freeze/thaw use.

tiles made from some terracottas, stone (especially slate), and high-quality cement (make sure it’s sealed) hold up best against water, mud, and sand–the same natural elements used to create them. as a general rule, stick to materials traditionally used for both indoor and outdoor spaces. for the floor, try to find something slip-resistant: tile with natural variation in texture, like our belgian reproduction terracotta hexes or foundry flats brick.

stone also provides a good option, with slate offering the most slip-resistant and water-resistant surface. slate subway planks come in a variety of sizes and also show the stone’s natural variegation, so no surface looks exactly the same.

clé tile belgian reproduction terracotta tiles in star + cross bundle. design: celine ord / photo: nick sorrentino

slate subway tiles arranged in a herringbone pattern. design: heidi lachapelle / photo: erin little (right) balance design with function.

bring a little outside, inside

although commonly seen as a place to cleanse ourselves of natural elements, the mudroom is also a great space to re-incorporate nature into the home.

terracotta tile, made with nothing but clay, water, and fire, brings an earthy and elemental vibe to your mudroom floor–almost like walking on earth itself, minus the mess.

if you’re looking for something earthy yet modern, try a stone tile with natural variegation in creamy brown and beige tones, like forage terrazzo in shell. remember to check the installation and maintenance guide for each kind of stone, as guidelines differ.

a modern entryway floor featuring clé tile forage terrazzo in 12x12 shell.

quick reminder not to forget the walls, where you can use a broader range of tile.

earthy clé tile belgian reproduction terracotta hexes in flemish black. design / photo: porch and vine

rustic foundry flats standard issue brick in sand cast. design: barrick interior design / photo: ronnie bruce photography. lend an earthy and nature-inspired feel, reflecting the transition from outside to inside.

you can also expand your horizons in terms of materials and textures on the walls since, unlike the floors, they won’t be encountering foot traffic. create a sleek, glossy surface with ceramic subway tiles or embrace the more hand-hewn with zellige tile on the walls.

don’t hold back

whether your mudroom is an entryway to the home or a private, a “behind the scenes” family area, there are plenty of ways to add personality and flair.

for a graphic, colorful material that works well in both indoor and outdoor spaces, cement should be your go-to. with cement, the sky’s the limit: it’s up to you how you want to customize your space, whether you’re into geometric patterns, western vibes, or want to try something completely new: like granny squares.

a moody, modern urban mudroom with clé tile cement hexes in honeycomb on the floor. design: west end interiors / photo: sarah wintle

bright and airy mudroom with clé tile cement squares in zenith in white on the floor. design / photo: bonnie christine

finally, don’t be afraid to mix different textures and patterns–in fact, we recommend it. slate subway tiles on the floor, glossy ceramic on the walls with a contrasting grout? go for it.

to recap, here are our top 5 favorite mudroom tiles:

1. slate planks
2. belgian reproduction terracotta
3. forage terrazzo stone
4. cement (new drop: granny squares)
5. new california in fennel

now go forth and make your mudroom a marvel.