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Ode to a boot room

While December is a time for festivity, jolliness and far too much food, January, it seems, is often all about muddy boots, dirty paws, and damp (and maybe even snowy!) coats. It’s perhaps the time of year that we yearn the most for the luxury of a boot room.

If you already have a dedicated boot room, read on for how to ensure you’re making the very most of it and have it organised in the most useful way.

And if you can only keep boots, coats and all manner of winter paraphernalia just inside your front or back door, don’t despair. It’s absolutely possible to dedicate an area of your existing hallway so that it feels and functions like a mini boot room rather than an overcrowded set of coat hooks.

Pembroke shelving hand-painted in Smoke

Think in layers
Whether you have a spacious room at your disposal or just an area within your entryway, organise it in layers and sections. The uppermost layer of your shelving or wall-mounted rack is reserved for non-everyday items, such as hats, coat brushes, polish and so on. Then, work your way down the layers: coats and jackets, then shoes and boots at floor level.

Boots vs shoes
If you have a covered porch, consider keeping wellington boots outside, either on a rack where they point downwards (thereby keeping dry inside) or in a covered, weatherproof box. A bootscraper – or two – can be a valuable addition to outdoor areas, so the worst of the mud doesn’t even make it up the garden path. That means your main shoe storage is reserved for ‘indoor’ shoes and boots. Cubby holes, sideboards, adjustable shelves of fitted storage, such as the Pembroke – the choice is yours.

Pembroke shelving hand-painted in Smoke.

Petherton wicker basket.

Boxes and baskets
Good-looking boxes, weathered crates or woven baskets can conceal a multitude of storage sins. School book bags, gloves and scarves, dog treats – they can all be sorted and stacked in style.

Get hooked
Invest in hooks that protrude enough for heavy coats to loop over and not slip off. The Wardley and Suffolk hooks do the job beautifully, taking their cue from the finest Shaker style so that they have just the right depth and angle. The Suffolk has the added advantage of a top shelf for added storage. It’s a lovely touch to add a lower tier of coat hooks for children.

Chichester seat cabinets hand-painted in Honed Slate, Suffolk coat rack hand-painted in Honed Slate.

Somerton and Ashcroft baskets. Shelves hand-painted in Cobble.

Sitting comfortably
The perfect boot room needs a comfortable bench or seat, where people can pause while they put shoes on, or take them off. Clever storage can be incorporated underneath an upholstered bench.

Wash and go
If there’s space, a laundry basket is a worthwhile addition to a boot room. Sports kits can go straight into it as can post-walk socks so that no pesky bits of dried mud or straw can be traipsed into the house.

Suffolk coat rack hand-painted in Dove Grey. Walls painted in Charcoal.

Create a mini boot room
OK, so if you have a straightforward hallway rather than the option of a dedicated boot room, how can you create an organised, accessible area on a smaller scale? It all comes down to thinking in layers (see above) and investing in hard-working, cohesive storage (ditto).

However, realistically you won’t have as much space to play with. So you need to divide and rule your boot area stock. Do this by hiving off the items that are not used every day, be it coats, bags, umbrellas or dog toys and establish a secondary location for them. This could be under the stairs, an alcove in the kitchen or even a section of a neighbouring room. As with your primary hall storage, you’ll need to invest in equally efficient and orderly storage for here, too.

Have a regular audit
The thing about hallways, boot rooms and all storage areas is that ‘things’ seem to magically accumulate. Which ends up transforming into clutter so that no-one can ever find that rogue missing glove or that special pair of trainers. Have a monthly or fortnightly audit, weeding out and rehoming items that are not needed on a daily basis. And if that missing glove turns up in the process, all the better.

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