A boot room is a fantastic idea. Its primary function is to act as a kind of decompression chamber between the rural outdoors and the interior of the home. Above all, it’s a space where mess and dirt are allowed. It’s where the family keeps coats and wellies, sports and outdoor pursuit paraphernalia. There will be a large sink for cleaning rugby kit and football boots or washing the dog.
Designing a boot room needs to take a down-to-earth approach. Speaking to Artichoke, designers and makers of bespoke country house interiors and self-confessed boot room geeks, there’s absolutely no reason why this honest, hard working part of your home can’t be as stylish as, say, the kitchen, as long as the main requirements are catered for.
1. Storage for boots and shoes
The clue is in the name – it’s called a boot room because that’s where dirty boots are kept. A place to sit and take off your muddy wellies after a long country walk, riding boots or perhaps the kids’ football boots, there should be plenty of storage shelving, wellie racks and perhaps a boot jack by the door.
Ideally, shoe cleaning equipment should be kept close at hand nearby, so footwear can be cleaned and buffed, ready for the next outing.
2. Coat hooks or pegs
Make sure your boot room has ample hanging space for everyone’s coats, jackets, hats, umbrellas etc to keep your family’s outdoor gear neatly organised. You will also need extra storage facilities for scarves, gloves and out-of-season winter wear.
Whether you invest in some freestanding hallway furniture, a dedicated coats cupboard or a bespoke solution to maximise all the available space, it’s a good idea to leave room for visitors’ outerwear too, perhaps with extra pegged coat racks on the wall.
3. Plentiful practical seating
Seating and storage are watchwords for every boot room. Depending on the size of the room, a traditional Monk’s Bench might be the solution, offering practical seating, under bench storage and coat hanging space in one attractive piece of furniture. There are many different styles of Monk’s Bench available, or you can commission a reproduction piece to your precise specifications.
Alternatively, look for a competent cabinet maker or kitchen designer to create a bespoke solution for your boot room that will take into account any unusually shaped areas and use every inch of space.
4. A generous farmhouse sink
A boot room is essentially a messy space, so installing a large Butler or Belfast sink along with robust hard flooring is a must to get everything cleaned up. Think carefully about your family’s needs. Do you take part in outdoor pursuits like fishing or riding? What about rugby, football or gardening? Do you have small children? How muddy do your pets get – and how many are there?
Dedicate as much space as you can to your cleaning station, including a washing machine / tumble dryer, clothes airers and maybe even a dog shower where necessary.
5. Pet station
Don’t forget to take your furry friends’ needs into account, for everyone’s sake. Muddy paw prints on the sitting room carpet are never popular. Having a dedicated pet station in your boot room will allow you to get your four legged family members cleaned up, fed and watered away from the main kitchen and other areas of the house.
If space permits, why not install a cosy cat or dog basket by a nice warm radiator or stove? Who knows, it may turn out to be their favourite place to relax.
6. A place for everything…
From cleaning products to towels for dirty hands and mucky paws, your boot room needs to have plenty of space to keep a wide variety of useful items to hand. There really is no such thing as too much storage!
Opt for a mixture of open shelving, cabinets and drawers, with distinct ‘zones’ for cleaning, seating and different storage areas for sports kit, gardening tools, logs for the woodburner, etc if you have the space. Locker room style cupboards – one per family member, plus extra for guests – can be useful to keep personal items.