Entryway bench with drawers and cubby shelves and hooks
Build | Home Accents | Home Decor | Room Makeovers

How to Transform an Ugly Space to an Insanely Functional Room

Every time I walked into the house, I cringed.

Every time I did laundry, every time I went to grab my coat, every time I went to get the mail.

I couldn’t stand our mudroom, and I was constantly in and out of it.

It was a tight space with a bench blocking the window. The bench filled up quickly with backpacks, hoodies, and amazon boxes. There wasn’t any place to put anything down and then of course a third of the room was a huge closet.

It was beige-y, boring, and not functional for our family.

We had big plans to knock out the closet and put in countertops and cabinets. However, we didn’t have the time or budget to take that on this summer.

We thought that we were stuck with this room as it was.

However, we changed a few things here and there – and it started with painting an accent wall and building cubbies. Before we knew it, we had a whole new room even with the old closet.

So, here are our 4 proven steps to transforming a room in your home.

If you love these, check out our room makeover workbook and you’ll be on your way to making over a room in your home too!

1. List the things that drive you crazy.

The first thing we did was think about what we didn’t like about the room. Figuring out what we didn’t like (other than just saying “ugh I can’t stand this room!”) helped us see what we could and couldn’t fix.

Here’s our list of things we didn’t like about our current mudroom.

  • There was nowhere to store coats, shoes, and backpacks – and therefore was always a mess.
  • There was not enough light.
  • It was a boring space – beige paint, beige and brown floors.
  • And, there was the huge walk-in closet, taking up a huge chunk of the room.

2. Brainstorm fixes for each item on your list.

Next, we jotted down a fix for each thing that drove us crazy.

  • Nowhere to store outdoor gear –> Build locker-style cubbies with bench and plenty of space for drawers or baskets
  • Not enough light –> Move bench away from window, switch out the light fixture for a brighter (more modern) one
  • Boring space –> Paint, stencil an accent wall, install shiplap?
  • Huge closet –> Tackle this stage of the project at a later date

By simply listing out the problems and fixes, we had ourselves a blueprint of what our mudroom makeover would look like. Now, we weren’t planning on tackling the closet/countertop fix this time. However, that’s okay!

With all of the other changes, I was certain our mudroom would get its much needed makeover. Here’s an after picture – what do you think?!

DIY Mudroom Makeover with Cubbies

3. Make a master list – break large goals into smaller action items.

In order to get our mudroom from the before picture to the after picture, we took our list of fixes (above), and then we turned it into our master list. We had four main items to work on.

  1. Stencil the wall
  2. Install shiplap
  3. Build an entryway piece with bench and cubbies
  4. Replace light fixture

And then, within those large items, we broke it down into smaller tasks. For example, the stencil task looked like this:

  1. Stencil the wall
  • Choose paint colors for wall and stencil
  • Paint entire room
  • Review stenciling techniques
  • Do a practice stencil
  • Stencil wall

Breaking large items into smaller ones make them more manageable and it gives you direction on what you need to do next. Also, action items keep you from getting overwhelmed or wasting time.

Stenciling an accent wall in the mudroom

4. Set goals to complete action items each day or week.

Now that we had a master list with manageable action items, we set goals each week to complete certain action items. Each day, we chipped away at our action items, crossing things off the list here and there.

It took us a month – but we had an incredible mudroom makeover. The process of listing out the problems with the room, then determining solutions worked so well for us.

All of the years that we’ve lived in this house that I spent frustrated with the mudroom or complaining about it, could have been channeled productively through creating solutions and chipping away at the projects.

I mean, you can’t tell that it was the same room!

5. Check out 33 Days To a Space You’ll Love

Looking to transform a space in your home? Tired of the room or space driving you nuts?

Check out our Room Makeover Workbook to guide you through transforming a room in your home in just 33 days! We will take you step-by-step through the process of making over your space.


    1. Thanks, Fiona! Hope you’ll join 🙂

  1. Wow that turned out beautiful and so much useful storage. Love this idea. Found you on Blogger’s Lifestyle.

    1. Thanks so much for your compliments 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! Hope you’ll participate 🙂

  2. Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle says:

    So good to transform and get rid of a big frustration. You makeover made such a difference.
    We are going to feature this frustration breaker on the next Blogger’s Pit Stop.
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

    1. Thanks so much for the feature, Kathleen! Totally love to get rid of a frustration! 🙂

  3. I want to let you know that your project was our “most viewed” project this week at Totally Terrific Tuesday and we featured this post. Thank you so much for linking up with us.

    1. Awesome, thanks so much Sherry! So glad your readers liked it 🙂

  4. Awesome challenge you guys. Now I just need to decide which of my many rooms goes first 😉

    1. Thanks Michelle! Hahaha pick the one you can’t stand the most 🙂 That’s what we did!

  5. I love your tips and your room. Currently, we are in cleaning mode as we prepare our house for sale.

    1. Thanks so much! Good luck with the house 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *