Step inside the utility room of dreams – this colourful makeover is truly inspiring

Doing the washing doesn't seem so bad when it's in a beautiful room like this one!

utility room with yellow cabinets, a butler sink, open shelving and laundry area
Image credit: Sarah Southwell Design
(Image credit: @sarahsouthwelldesign)

Wondering how to add colour to a utility room? Or need some utility room design ideas to plan the perfect space to do your laundry? Then be inspired by this real home makeover, which turned a boring room into the utility of dreams.

Belonging to Sarah Southwell, an interior designer based in Somerset, the utility room is a masterclass on how to bring colour and creativity to an otherwise dreary area. What was a somewhat uninspiring scheme has now become a room that's colourful, cheery and well-thought-out.

Utility room makeover

Faced with a room that featured old green Lino on the floor and fairly bland decor, Sarah was keen to turn it into a much more stylish space. 'I wanted to create a bright, fun and functional utility and boot room,' she says, 'where I would enjoy doing all the washing for my three boys.'

Another must was to have the new room stay in keeping with the rest of the house, a Grade II-listed, 16th-century manor house. 


dated utility room

(Image credit: Sarah Southwell Design)

With the washing machine and tumble dryer out on show, old green Lino and undressed windows, the room was in desperate need of a makeover. 'It was crying out for some love,' says Sarah.


utility room with yellow cabinets, a butler sink, open shelving and laundry area

(Image credit: Sarah Southwell Design)

The new room is a far cry from its previous state, with beautiful wall panelling, bespoke storage in a cheerful yellow, and a matching blind and curtain to hide the washing machine. 

'I wanted the new scheme to look fresh, but as if it had always been there,' says Sarah. 'So authentic and in keeping with the period of the house.'

An overhead laundry rack idea allows a spot to dry clothes that are out of the way, while a set of hooks offer a spot to hang coats and scarves.

utility room with open shelving and yellow cabinetry

(Image credit: Sarah Southwell Design)

'I chose the cabinetry from British Standard Cupboards,' says Sarah, 'they come in a range of standard sizes. And then we transformed the floor using herringbone terracotta tiles.'

A sweet curtain in punchy green has been used to break up the run of cabinets and matches the window blind – a nice touch that emphasises Sarah's attention to detail.

boot room with shelving for wellington boots

(Image credit: Sarah Southwell Design)

At the side of the room, shelving has been added in the same yellow as the cabinets and houses the family's Wellington boots. Note that some shelves are taller than others to accommodate the different-sized boots.

Features like these are ideal if you're looking for utility room ideas.

utility room with laundry area and butler sink with a green blind and yellow cabinetry

(Image credit: Sarah Southwell Design)

The icing on the cake is the large butler sink that provides functionality and style. 'This is one of my favourite rooms in the house and it’s used every single day as I always have a never-ending pile of washing from my three boys,' says Sarah. 'It’s such a fun and bright space that it almost makes doing all the washing fun!'

You can see more of Sarah's designs on Instagram or her website. You can also see Sarah's full home makeover journey and many other transformation projects on Channel 4's Renovation Nation

Have you been inspired to give your utility room an upgrade?

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at