...because home doesn't happen overnight.

mudroom doors black 3

As winter slips into spring, I’m itching to put away the snow boots, toboggans and heavy coats in favor of sandals, sun hats and light jackets. For a seamless transition, I rely on our versatile back entry. We don’t have a true mudroom. Instead, I carved out a corner of the dining room/laundry nook to act as a mini mudroom of sorts. A row of hooks, a saddler bench and a catchall floor basket keep in-season outerwear in check and provide a place to put on and remove shoes. (We have a similar setup near the front door.)

If you have room for one, a hardworking bench can be a great addition to an entry. I have a few stipulations when it comes to entry benches…

*Backless, armless, narrow, straight-lined. For those of us who don’t have the luxury of a separate entry, it’s essential to choose a bench that hugs the wall and doesn’t interfere with traffic flow.

*Robust. I prefer a bench that is primarily constructed of wood, metal and/or leather. It needs to hold up to kids and all four seasons.

*Leggy. A bench that sits up off the floor is easier to clean around. In small spaces, it’s lighter on the eyes, too.

*Opportunity for storage. A bench that includes hidden storage, shelving or an open design (i.e., no cross bars under the seat to allow for clearance of baskets or shoes) is ideal. For benches that don’t boast built-in storage, a woven or felt floor basket is an easy fix.

*<$200. Sure, there are a slew of pricey entry benches out there that I have all the heart eyes for, but in reality, I can’t see spending more than $200 on a piece of furniture that is going to get beat up on a daily basis – especially when I know there are affordable alternatives that can do the job just as well. It can’t be too precious. I think I would cringe every time a kid threw a muddy shoe at a more expensive bench.

*No espresso! There are plenty of benches that meet all the criteria above but many of them are only available in an espresso finish. Don’t fall for it! It will immediately cheapen the look of an entry (or any space for that matter).

For fun, here are eight entry benches under $200…

blu dot twilight

Target mid century modern bench

For closed storage plus a cushion top, I like the Blu Dot twilight bench and Target’s midcentury modern bench. I would consider reupholstering the cushions with indoor-outdoor fabric, mudcloth, a kilim rug remnant or another vintage textile for a bespoke look.

ikea skogsta bench

andover mill bench

For solid wood construction, I like the simple lines of the IKEA SKOGSTA bench and the Andover Mills thorndike bench. Keep the look natural with a wax topcoat, or use stain or paint for a custom look.


leather + birch bench

Leather + wood is one of my favorite combinations. This saddler bench sits at our back entry. It has held up wonderfully to years of use and abuse. The Andalucia bench in white is a larger, more modern option.

mud hut wood + metal bench

universal shoe bench

For added durability, try a bench that combines metal and wood. The Mudhut asmara bench is marketed as a dining bench, but I could see it working well in an entry that opens up into a long, narrow hallway. The universal expert shoe bench from West Elm offers a compact design along with shelving. Use it where space is limited.

What are your must-haves for a practical entry? Do you have a dedicated mudroom? If so, I’m envious.

P.S. – Our front entry’s exterior.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking, sources linked within



that overstock one is a steal!


Great choices. We don’t have a dedicated mudroom either. I really like that midcentury modern one from Target.


I made our back entry/laundry room into a mudroom of sorts, but it doesn’t have room for a bench. I put lots of hooks on the wall, and shoes pile up underneath, but it works well enough. At the front entrance we have an actual coat closet, and under the windows I put the Ikea Tjusig bench in white. It’s a great spot for shoes, guests to drop their bags, and the dog to watch for enemies (aka any other dog).


We had hunks of sturdy wood from an old built-in workbench we removed from the garage. We cut, sanded, and sealed it and attached it to a set of these legs from etsy to make a custom bench for a tight space: https://www.etsy.com/listing/187936946/ships-within-24hrs-metal-leg-bench-leg?ref=market

Love it, and it’s held up well so far.


Can you comment more on the caution against espresso finish, either here or in a separate post? Is that a general thing? I’m legitimately interested in this. It’s such a common option but I’m never satisfied once it’s in my house. Just curious if this is a design “thing” I’m not in the know about. Thanks- love your blog and style.


Love that Andalucia bench! And the price is a bonus. I’m currently looking for an outdoor bench and wondering if the Asmara would be durable enough…


This post is perfect! We just got an offer accepted on a house and I’ve pictured a bench in the “mudroom” area. Love these options. Any suggestions on where to pick up an inexpensive chandelier for the entryway? We have an 18′ ceiling and I want something fun!


Have you seen anything similar to the woven jute bench by your front door? I know that one is discontinued at Target, and I can’t seem to find that style anywhere else!


I have the IKEA SKOGSTA bench in our very small and narrow entry. I love the look of it, the only downfall that might not be obvious is that the legs are set at an angle, which means you loose almost an inch of space from the wall. I’d love it even more if I could just push it back towards the wall.


Thanks for the links to some really great finds. I like them all and think a few could be used at the end of a bed as well. I’ll save this post for future reference for sure!


Ooh! The saddler bench looks exactly like what I want for my entry! Room and Board has a similar style but it’s something like $500 (maybe $400?), which seems totally cray for a small piece of furniture in a high-traffic area. Good to know yours has held up well!


I haven’t so far. It was a Threshold seasonal item (on sale!) that I almost didn’t buy, but I’m glad I did. Lots of texture!


Awesome idea!


I have it and love it


I second that question. I don’t think espresso finish on MDF looks any cheaper than other faux-wood finishes.


i agree… just curious!


Great choices. I like that mid-century modern one from Target.
Thanks for the links to some really great finds.


This post couldn’t have came at a better time. I purchased the saddler bench last night. Thank you for the links. ;) Have a great day!


Is your saddler bench the chestnut or burgundy color? Love it!


I came to the comments section for the sole purpose of seeing if I was the only one with that same question! I would love to hear more about that too.


Loved this post. Pertinent, and these can be hard to find! We have the West Elm one (had finally found a bench small enough for our section of wall by the garage).

I second the idea about espresso finish. I’ve been guilty of this, but you and others are convincing me to change.




Mark me down as another one interested in your thoughts on the “No espresso!” bullet point.
My MCM house still has the original espresso stain on all the exposed posts and beams that form the door and window frames and headers. If using espresso finishes cheapens any space, what do you recommend instead?