Even the smallest utility room can be smart, chic and efficient. A well planned room can turn household chores into pleasures (well, almost). And it is storage that is the key. Brushes, vacuums, dusters, cloths and cleaning products stored away in well thought-out cupboards or stacked on shelves will keep cleaning tasks efficient and stress-free. Laundry baskets, products and airers, all stowed for easy access will make wash day a dream. Whatever you use your compact utility room for, beautifully organised storage will make it ship-shape, fit for purpose and efficient. Imagine the time you’ll save for all those things you really want to be doing…
When looking for utility room ideas start by thinking about appliances. Do you want your room to house a washing machine and/or a tumble drier so you can use it ostensibly as a laundry room? Or might you want to move in a spare fridge or freezer so that it functions as a utility-cum-pantry space where you can also do some food prep.
Plan your cupboards around your appliances: do you want to be able to see your appliances or do you prefer to hide them behind doors for a more streamlined feel? Balance usability and ease of access with aesthetics and decide what will work best for you. What about storage cupboards: freestanding or fitted; shelves or drawers? Work out what you need to store first and then decide which form of storage works best and what you have space for. Plan wall storage, too. Cupboards will keep things hidden away and tidy; open shelves are easily accessible and can look lovely if you have lots of nice enamelware tins and baskets to put on show. Open shelves give you that classic utility-room feel.
If doing laundry in your utility room, there will be additional things to plan for. Look for floorstanding collapsible clothes airers or versions that you can fit on a wall to free up floor space. If you have a period home with a high ceiling, consider old-fashioned ceiling-hung airers with pulleys so that you can pull that wash load up and out of the way. You can also buy heated airers that you plug in and heated wall-hung towel rails are another option.
One simple way to keep a small utility room looking organised, streamlined and efficient is to avoid placing bottles and packets of product directly on shelves. Instead, look for labelled enamelware tins, fabric bags, pretty cardboard or plastic boxes and pull-out basket drawers and store all your bits and pieces in those before sliding them onto shelves, stashing in cupboards or dropping into drawers.
Don’t underestimate the usefulness of hooks. Peg rails are invaluable for hanging up storage bags. For that boot-room feel, add stands for coats plus, boot racks and shoe stores.
A butler sink unit with a marble worktop is a practical choice for a utility room. Decant ironing and laundry products into Kilner-style jars, bottles and enamel tins and store on smart open shelving. Here dusters and mops are kept orderly on wall-hung clips, while the towel-on-a-roller is always find-able. The area behind the sink is easy to keep dry thanks to a splashback of metro tiles.
Sink units and cupboard
Roller towel set
The Garden House at Not on the High Street
The key to a smart utility room is banishing all product packaging from view. To do this, assemble a collection of practical enamelware tins with lids, Kilner-style bottles, jam jars and any other pretty containers you fancy. Use them to store soap powder or liquid, laundry softener, descaling and dishwasher tablets. Pack away shoe polish and dusters, dishcloths and scourers and see what a difference it makes to your room. Remember never to decant corrosive or harmful chemical products; always store these in their original bottles.
Shoe Shine box
For a super-streamlined look, go for fitted cupboards in low-sheen grey. Here full-height, floor and wall units create a bank of storage on a single wall that matches the worktop. This room, with easy access to the garden, hides everything from view so that it always looks clean, tidy and organised.
Why not use a utility room for a hobby? This rustic, country-style space is the perfect spot for potting up or flower arranging. A unit with shallow drawers and shelving is ideal for filing away seed packets, plant labels and gardening notebooks. Use pigeonhole shelving and printer trays to store all the bits and bobs that would get lost in the backs of drawers or cupboards – they’re perfect for spools of twine and ribbon. A floral wallpaper provides a fitting backdrop.
A peg rail can be enormously useful in a utility room. This one, fixed somewhere between dado and picture rail height, has been used to hang an ironing board, chalkboard, dustpan and brush and duster. Run it as a rail all around your room and you can also hang coats, aprons, shoe bags and towels. An open storage unit like this one can help take up any overspill of paraphernalia from the kitchen, while also making the perfect food store for the autumn garden harvest.
Utility rooms tend to be small, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be streamlined and efficient. This tiny space is filled with practical features that make use of every inch. Fitted units have been added wherever possible for maximum storage capacity. A traditional pulley-powered airer keeps washing out of the way up high while, below, a wall-hung tabletop can be pressed into service when needed.
Utility rooms are practical beasts, but they can be beautiful too. This room features wood cladding and stipped floorboards in country cream and a set of open shelves. Fabrics in a mix of modern colour co-ordinated prints have been used to make tea towels and a lovely Roman blind. Hooks are invaluable in a utility room. Here they mean that you’ll never be hunting around for a tea towel again.
The joy of a utility room is that it can become the home for all sorts of bits and pieces that just don’t quite fit into any of the other rooms in the house. Instead of overcrowding a hallway with coats, boots and dog leads, why not give them a home here? A handy locker takes centre stage in this utility room and it breaks up the space between dog bed and storage. A mid-tone green creates a mellow backdrop.
Bring a touch of vintage style to your utility room with an old-fashioned cafe-style curtain. Use it to screen any bits and pieces you’d prefer not to have out on show, such as washing loads or dog beds. Choose a jolly fabric that will introduce pattern and colour into the neutral space. Open shelving and a tiled floor are simple easy-to-clean choices which add to the nostalgic vibe.
The Country Cottage Shop
Floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall utility room storage will hide everything behind closed doors. Here that includes appliances, an ironing board and all the accessories and products for cleaning, ironing and laundry that you can imagine. These bespoke units produce the perfect utility room space: one that doesn’t look like a utility room.
Miele at Appliances Direct