Narrow Hallway Built-In DIY Mudroom

Tutorial for making a built in mudroom for a narrow hallway (The Creativity Exchange)

Tutorial for framing a narrow hallway built-in mudroom (The Creativity Exchange)

Tutorial for creating a built-in mudroom in a narrow hallway. (The Creativity Exchange)

Tutorial for turning a narrow hallway into a built-in mudroom with shelving (The Creativity Exchange)

Tutorial for creating a built-in mudroom in a narrow hallway. (The Creativity Exchange)

I’m back today as promised on Wednesday’s post, to go into the details/tutorial of our DIY mudroom that turned out to be a life saver for us.  For those of you who missed it on Wednesday, I shared the pictures of our stairwell/mudroom revamp project.

Here is the before picture:

stairwell revamp before picture {The Creativity Exchange}

and here is the after picture:

Turn a narrow hallway into a mudroom (The Creativity Exchange)

turn a narrow hallway into a mudroom using just 5 inches {The Creativity Exchange}

My biggest challenge for this space was trying to figure out a way to incorporate some sort of mudroom into this narrow hallway. This hallway is right by our back door to our garage and we desperately needed a spot to hang jackets, backpacks, hats and baskets for little things.  The hallway is super narrow and measures approximately 42″ or 3 feet x 6 inches.  Yep, not much to work with.

On the front end of this revamp project, I knew that I didn’t want to simply put hooks on the wall but rather I wanted a really pretty piece that looked built-in and finished.  I didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money of the piece as well.  I also needed shelves for baskets and additional storage for us to drop and store little stuff like scarves, mittens (which we rarely need in Texas), flip flops, travel bags, headphones, ect..

Tutorial for turning a narrow hallway into a built-in mudroom with shelving (The Creativity Exchange)

how to turn a narrow hallway into a mudroom and also add narrow shelving for baskets (The Creativity Exchange)

So, we came up with a plan to do this pretty built-in mudroom wall, which turned out to be a very inexpensive, functional and beautiful solution for us. This project was done under $150.00!!

As we started to design the mudroom, we looked carefully at things like how far could we come out until it infringed on our walking space into the laundry room.  We also thought about how much space would we need to allow to move things like a washer and dryer in and out of the laundry room.  We also didn’t want it to look funny and just stick out.  So we decided to use the most natural thing to guide us and that was the door frame into the laundry room:

Tutorial for making a built-in mudroom in narrow hallway {The Creativity Exchange}

The measurement of the wall to the inside of the door frame is about 5- 1/2 inches.   We knew that 1 x 6 pine actually measures 5 -1/4th, so we came up with our plan.

We started by planning out the wall layout and we measured out and drew lines direction on our wall for the layout.  I did not want to the piece to go all the way to the door frame itself but rather have a few inches of wall between the side of the mudroom piece and the frame itself to help make the mudroom look more like a built-in.  We also wanted to use the wall itself for the shelving part and only use the paneling in the middle (the coat and hook area)

I wanted to use bead board paneling but I wanted a more modern look, so we decided to turn the bead board paneling on its side going horizontal:

Tutorial for a built-in mudroom wall in a narrow hallway (The Creativity Exchange)

Bead board paneling is 8 ft. x 4 ft. and we turned the paneling on the side, so the grooves are going horizontal, which was perfect because the length of my hallway is over 10 feet.  As you can see, by turning the paneling on the side and centered on the wall, it’s exactly about how much space we needed for the coat and hook part and then the edges top and bottom were the natural place to begin the shelves.

We purchased our paneling from Home Depot and this is link here for what we used.

Next, we determined where all of the studs were and then we got the paneling on the wall and attached it with a lot of finishing nails basically down each groove and stud line.  I didn’t want the piece glued to the wall like some wall paneling:

Tutorial for a built-in mudroom wall in a narrow hallway (The Creativity Exchange)

On the top and bottom of the paneling, we nailed 1 x 2, which would eventually be our shelf brace.  We nailed it onto the paneling to help secure the paneling as well (rather than the wall).

Next, the first shelf was added, which was a 1 x 6, which again actually measures 5-1/4th inches (the exact width that we had to work with!!).  It was nailed to the 1 x 2 shelf braces at the top and bottom of the paneling:

Tutorial for making a built-in mudroom in a narrow hallway (The Creativity Exchange)

The 1 x 6 shelf was flush on the wall but nailed to the 1 x 2:

Tutorial for making a built-in mudroom wall for a narrow hallway (The Creativity Exchange)

After the top and bottom shelf were added, we added a second shelf the exact same way up top and down below. We used another 1 x 2 as well to brace the shelf.   We placed the second shelf centered between the ceiling/floor and the first shelf up top and down below. (Unfortunately, I did not get a picture at this stage, so here is a picture of the layout of the shelves on the finished piece):

narrow hallway built-in mudroom {The Creativity Exchange}

Tutorial for creating a built-in mudroom in a narrow hallway. (The Creativity Exchange)

After our shelves went up, we then added the sides of the built-in which went from floor to ceiling, which of course was also a 1 x 6 (measures 5- 1/4th inches).  At the floor, instead of having to remove the baseboard, the 1 x 6 was cut and rounded to fit over the quarter round at the floor:

Tutorial for doing a built-in mudroom wall in a narrow hallway (The Creativity Exchange)

The side pieces were nailed into each of the shelves up and and down:

narrow hallway mudroom (The Creativity Exchange)

Once the piece was built, all of the edges, shelves and 1 x 2 braces were caulked.  After the caulk dried, the piece was primed with Kilz and then the piece was painted with oil-based paint in a matte.  We used the same color as the trim and banisters, which was Mindful Gray by Sherwin Williams:

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 9.08.16 AM

Because we wanted the piece to look like a built-in, we only painted the piece itself and the inside of the shelves in the Mindful Gray.  We left the wall on both sides of the piece my blue/green wall color.

Since we used oil-based paint, we allowed the piece to completely dry for 48 hours and then we added six combo coat and hat hooks across the paneling part of the piece.  The hooks were positioned and drilled into each stud for extra measure:

Tutorial for how to make a built-in mudroom in a narrow hallway (The Creativity Exchange)

Tutorial for creating a built-in mudroom in a narrow hallway. (The Creativity Exchange)

I couldn’t find hat hooks, so I purchased standard smaller hooks and we drilled them to the inside top of the first shelf above the coat part of the piece and they work perfectly:

Tutorial for making a built-in mudroom wall in a narrow hallway {The Creativity Exchange}

Tutorial for creating a built-in mudroom in a narrow hallway. (The Creativity Exchange)

The next challenge was finding storage pieces and baskets for the shelves with widths that were 5-1/4th inches or less.  I keep a tape measurer on my key chain, so as I looked through storage pieces at the store, I could measure.  I ended up finding the awesome wire baskets on the bottom shelf in the Christmas section at Hobby Lobby.  They were red and had handles.  I used a wire cutter to remove handles and I sprayed them in chrome:

how to turn a narrow hallway into a mudroom wall {The Creativity Exchange}

Remember when looking for storage pieces to consider anything!  With a can a spray paint, anything can work!

I hope I’ve explained all of the details clearly.  If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section and I will get back with you with any additional details.  I’m thinking that maybe I need to draw up a plan or something.  If you would like a plan, let me know and I have enough people who want one, I will do that.

Before I close, I have to mention again that I do not do these big projects alone and have great help with a contractor friend Jesus Terrazas, who helps me with my grand, crazy plans. I am really fortunate to work with him because he has taught me so many tricks each step of the way and ways to save so much money on these projects.   Since my husband doesn’t want anything to do with DIY  have the time, over the years Jesus has become my DIY partner and helps me with the big stuff.  Thanks so much to Jesus!!

Have a wonderful weekend friends!



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This is a perfect solution to my narrow small hallway (48″ long X 42″ wide) from the garage to the kitchen! I have been searching and searching for something that wouldn’t cause a further narrowing of the space. Thank you so much for your clever design! Question: did you use 1″x6″ furring strips, or the better (and more costly) kiln-dried whitewood, or something else for the shelves? What does Jesús recommend?

Came out really well, and kudos to you on your measurements and space planning! Love those baskets to hold ‘stuff’! Thanks for mentioning the wire baskets were found at Hobby Lobby! AND love how you put up the panel of beadboard to make a more durable surface behind the hooks. Great make over! And so useful!

Our master bedroom is Mindful Gray. Such a pretty shade. I really like it in combination with your blue/green wall color and have been looking for a similar one for our master bath. Could you tell me what that soothing color is please? Thank you kindly!

You said that Jesus helped you with this . . . . . well he was the son of a carpenter, so I think he’d be a good choice for a helper!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I have been searching for a narrow mudroom idea forever. I love this and think it will work for our space. We have a very narrow hall leading to our bathroom (just off of the garage where we always come in and out.) Our laundry closet is in this hall, too. We already have shoe racks there that stick out nearly 11″, so this would really help to streamline the space and keep it useful. Thanks again for sharing your process!

Just finished mine! Thank you for the wonderful idea!!
And target sells “tank baskets” they are exactly 5 1/2″ wide perfect for the narrow shelves!

I found this via Pinterest and I’m so glad I did!! I have a wall in my living room that I wanted to turn into a mudroom “wall,” but like you I only have a few inches of depth to work with. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull it off until now!

Just finished our “wall” and it looks amazing. I can’t tell you how happy I was to find this site and this post. Love, love, love this.

Hey Cyndy!
So I loved this project and I have a similarly narrow mudroom so I did this and it looks awesome
Only took me a day and my husband was kind enough to paint it for me! I couldn’t find baskets so I bought two $10 wooden crates and cut them in half long ways then nailed on wooden back and it works out great! I also added quarter curve molding in two areas. I’d love to share pictures!

Thanks for the project !

Hi Cyndy

Love what you did to your entryway especially with such tiny space. My dimensions are very similar so it was great to see what could be produced and to such a superb quality.
Where did you get the wicker baskets on the upper shelf?
And do you have a step-by-step plan for the layout?


Cindy – this project is AMAZING!! I am buying a home that unfortunately has no mud room so I was looking for solutions to turn an art niche wall in a hallway into a pseudo mudroom with hooks and possibly going into the studs so it doesn’t come out too far. You just saved me the hassle of hiring a contractor to tear up the wall!! I am definitely interested in the plans if you are willing to share. THANK YOU! This is so awesome and looks so custom.

I love your narrow mudroom. We are going to try to get this done before the start of school. Do you have plans you would mind sharing?