How to design a practical but stylish Boot Room

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On a recent collaboration with Cambridge auctioneer house Cheffins I did some styling at the Farmhouse  with some lovely goodies that will soon be appearing in their Spring Fine Art sale. In this sale there is a lot of sporting memorabilia so much of  it worked perfectly in the boot room.

Boot room decor with hunting scene wallpaper by Lewis and Wood

No country house is complete without a boot room, in many instances multifunctional, my own boot room stores coats, hats, outdoor paraphernalia, is a boiler room, clothes drying room and a downstairs loo! They are always a hard working and essential area of the home. Often the main rear entrance to a country property, the boot room is the link between the exterior and interior and as such takes some harsh treatment from both people and pets. As a ‘behind the scenes’ area it can easily become a chaotic dumping ground and a place to hide clutter, however, backstage area it maybe, but that is no reason to sacrifice style. Take a look at my top design tips to creating a practical but stylish boot room that you can be proud of.

“A place for everything, everything in it’s place”

First the practicalities…

Its no good making it look beautiful if there is nowhere to put anything!

painted cupboards in boot room

Hidden Storage

A well designed boot room is not just about storage but some hidden cupboards for items not used on a day to day basis is a good idea to keep things clutter free. For a fitted look bespoke cabinets are obviously ideal to make the most of space, but another more affordable option would be to find an older character piece of furniture, for example an old brown wardrobe and repurpose, giving it a new personality by painting with a chalk paint in a lovely fun shade, check out Amsterdam Green, by Annie Sloan. Try antique fairs or the auctions for great bargains and unique pieces.

Painted cupboards add charm to this Boot Room

Hooks, Shelving & Cubbyholes

Plenty of hooks and/or coat pegs are essential to hang the many coats, hats, helmets and umbrellas etc that gather. Ensure the hooks protrude sufficiently to hang heavy coats, Baileys do some good sturdy traditional brass ones.

Shelving at above shoulder height is great for storing things that you want to keep out of the way but need to get to easily such as vases and jugs. Also useful at a lower height, is cubbyhole shelving for boots and shoes rather than having them strewn all over the floor. Cabinet makers Neptune, do a good range of ready made shelving and hooks.

Cubbyhole storage, by Neptune

Boot room storage by neptune
Basket storage in the boot room

Baskets, Flooring and Drying

Baskets

Great for storing things like woolly hats, gloves and picnic blankets. They can be placed on the floor, on top of cupboards or in cubby holes. The Basket company do a good range of all shapes and sizes.

Flooring

A good hardwearing washable flooring is essential. Door mats are a must and vinyl washable mats, try Rockett St George, can also help with containing some of the mud!

 Drying

A good heating source is imperative for drying our damp coats and footwear. A pulley style clothes airer can also be a massive asset, it dries things quickly and is up and out of the way, pulleymaid.com do a great quality range of traditional pulley clothes airers

Baskets make great storage

 

Now to add some style…

Now comes the fun part where we can get creative and personalise our space so that represents the family and how you live, be bold and have some fun.

Paper & Paint

Since its not a formal space, if you feel a little nervous about trying out bold wallpapers and paint colours the boot room is its definitely the place to have a go. You can play with scale and use novelty wallpapers with large designs. In my Boot room (see images above) I’ve used a sporting scene wallpaper by Lewis and Wood and you can’t see it in the images here, but there is also a matching fabric blind. They also do some lovely fishing and woodland designs which would work well.

Large scale patterned wallpapers don’t, as some believe, overpower the room, in fact, they tend to work better than in a larger space. Also try Tallyho by Sanderson  If painting, best to use a darker paint with a harder wearing washable finish. I would suggest carrying through the shade from the kitchen or if thats a bit light, use a darker shade of the same colour. So for example, if you have a pale grey kitchen consider a darker shade of grey like Scree by Little Greene. I’ve used Railings by Farrow & Ball on my woodwork and ceiling, which really adds great contrast to the wallpaper.

Bold Green and a chequered flooring creates an eye catching combination

Fishing rod display in boot room

Display

Now’s a chance show off your sporting cups and awards, maybe on a shelf or in a display cabinet, perhaps paintings or pictures of your sporting triumphs. Vintage sporting equipment can be fun to display, for example I have some old wooden skis  on display that I picked up at an antiques fair. The selection of polo and walking sticks and the sporting cups are from Cheffins Spring Sale. A collection of lovely fishing rods hung on the wall can look great, these are also easily found at antique fairs and auctions

A lovely display of fishing rods

Repurpose

Repurpose

Take a fresh look at old furniture and objects to repurpose, in my boot room above, we have used a leather powder keg from Cheffins Spring Sale to hold walking and polo sticks. A Silver sporting cup can act as a lovely vase for garden flowers, seek out pretty old mirrors or repaint old furniture.  A large old wardrobe painted a great colour, with large wicker baskets placed on top to store picnic blankets and rugs, can be great storage and add character.

Toiletry treats

If theres a sink in your boot room add some pleasant hand wash and hand cream and a nice fluffy towel. Pour liquid soap into a fancy pump bottle, something organic and earthy would add a nice touch. I can’t get enough of Aesop products in their wonderful utilitarian packaging. Who can resist a hand wash that contains Mandarin rind, Rosemary leaf and Cedar Atlas, gorgeous!

Gorgeous handwash & cream add a touch of luxe

Country house cloakroom, hunting wallpaper

Take a seat

Rather than trying to balance on one leg whilst getting those boots on and off, add some seating and hook over a handy shoe horn. How about adding a great bench or some unusual old chairs, or maybe repaint some farmhouse ones in a funky colour. I’m thinking of painting an old chair I have in Rectory Red from Farrow & Ball. It’s a wonderful rich intense red which will pick out the red in the sporting wallpaper by Lewis and Wood and add some lovely depth.

Bold wallpaper and an antique settle create a welcome space

Practicality is key in the boot room but don’t let that spoil your fun. For more inspiration and ideas visit my Boot Room Pinterest board, or contact me for bespoke design help.

Extras

Here are some extras you might like to add …

 

Fun country door mat from Cox and Cox

A traditional long shoe horn from Trickers

A  wipe clean, fully washable, dust and dirt repellent plastic woven rug runner from Hus&Hem

Classic french style soap holder by labour and Wait

Traditional boot scraper and brush stands Black Country Metalworks

 

Best wishes

jane ashton sifnature

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