15 modern utility room ideas for contemporary style and function

Make laundry day feel like a treat with these on-trend utility room ideas that combine both style and function

Utility room with glass sliding door, white units and belfast sink
(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

In any busy home, creating a functional spot for chores and general storage is key. But it's even more crucial that it also complements the rest of your interior, which is where modern utility room ideas come into play. 

Utility rooms are a sought-after space in any modern home, offering an area to complete mounds of laundry in peace, and store house cleaning products and appliances. They can make or break how streamlined your day-to-day life is, so it's important to design a utility room with the most contemporary features in mind so that it will help the cogs run smoothly. 

‘The utility room – one of the most coveted extra spaces in the home – has experienced a huge design renaissance in recent years,' says Jo Jackson, market product manager UK & Ireland at Fisher & Paykel. 'What was traditionally a functional room to house laundry appliances is now a multipurpose space that is an integral part of a seamless kitchen design rather than an afterthought.'

From the latest storage solutions to stylish design features that will make the space look expertly curated, there are a number of considerations to take into account when planning a modern utility room. By following a few simple tips, you can easily achieve an up-to-date space that will make laundry day feel like a treat. 

Modern utility room ideas

Be inspired by your kitchen, carrying on the same look; or alternatively be brave and try something completely different. At the heart of our modern utility room ideas lies great storage, whether behind unit doors or shelving that makes a feature of dead wall space.

1. Tower it up

Utility room with stacked appliances behind navy sliding door

(Image credit: Future PLC/Darren Chung Photography)

Modern utility rooms all have one thing in common - functionality. A laundry room's primary purpose is a space to house appliances and complete chores, so it makes sense to make this as streamlined as possible. 

Stacking appliances not only provides you with more floor space to use for storage, but it also makes laundry day that little bit easier. Maximising the height of the room means you don't have to bend down as often and you can instead transport laundry from top to bottom with ease. 

'The modern utility is a space that’s not only functional but also fun in the way it is designed. One functionality you should consider including is a washing machine and tumble dryer stack, especially with a pull-out basket tray between the two,' recommends William Durrant, owner of Herringbone Kitchens.

2. Take on task lighting

Utility room with green wall panelling and pooky table lamp on counter

(Image credit: Pooky)

One way to make a utility room feel contemporary is by carefully selecting lighting. It can be easy to go for a standard overhead light in a space that feels primarily functional, but mixing in task lighting will make a room feel stylish and like an extension of the rest of your home. 

Including lamps and sconces in your utility room lighting selection will provide added illumination for detail-oriented chores and ambience for when laundry goes on into the night.

'Thanks to Instagram, these new must-have spaces are being decorated with the same consideration and care as more public rooms, despite their utilitarian purpose,' says Charlie Bowles, director of Original BTC. 'Often small and awkwardly shaped, lighting is a great way to make these small spaces more inviting and of course, a well-lit room makes work of any kind far more enjoyable.'

3. Go for an on-trend metal

Utility room with glass sliding door, white units and belfast sink

(Image credit: Future PLC)

The key is in the detail, so pay attention to the metal hardware you choose for a utility room. Metallic trends change frequently, but they're easy to swap out if you want to make your space as modern as possible. 

Brass hardware will make cupboards look impeccably styled and they wear well over time which is essential for a high-traffic area. You can also match them to door handles and a tap for a cohesive look. 

4. Make it a place for pets

Utility room with navy units, stacked appliances and dog basin

(Image credit: DesignSpace London)

Pets make a house a home, so it's important to make room for them in your design. Adding a pet basin to a utility room extends the functionality, meaning you don't need to worry about washing them off in a bathtub after a muddy walk. 

'We have found that fitted-in dog basins were particularly popular with buyers giving the new owners ability to wash their dog's paws before entering a home,' adds Karolina Adamczyk, director of Ademchic.

Not only will a dog basin help to keep your utility room flooring as clean as possible, but it also adds an extra spot for washing off muddy shoes and outdoor gear. 

5. Make room for boots

Utility room with light sage shaker units and built in boot room

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

If you're planning a utility room renovation and want to make it as useful as possible then why not add a boot room in? There's no need to have these as two separate rooms, instead adding a bench and storage area into a utility will make it much more useful, especially for those with children. 

'In larger homes, utility rooms are increasingly being used as boot rooms too, with a door to the outside. This prevents dirty shoes from being walked through the house. In these rooms, it’s a good idea to include seating areas where possible to allow shoes to be put on and off in comfort,' recommends William. 

6. Divide and conquer

Broken plan kitchen utility room with sleek cabinetry and white appliances

(Image credit: Future PLC)

In a large, modern kitchen, why not section off space for a clever, space-saving modern utility room idea? Build a false wall, allowing you to conceal pipework and cables, enhancing the clean lines of handleless units.

Choose a smart grey for your modern utility room units, providing contrast to an all-white kitchen and alluding to a much more practical space.

7. Make a modern utility wall

Two black peg rails holding cleaning equipment, post, notes and clothing

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

No space for a modern utility room ideas? Think outside the box for your utility room storage and opt for hanging rail and baskets, keeping essentials safe by the back door. Hooks are a modern utility room’s best friend – you could even hang up your iron and ironing board, freeing up floor and cupboard space.

Keep the look utilitarian, choosing matt black hooks and rails, while a chalkboard helps the family keep on top of any chores.

8. Swap cupboards for open shelves

White open shelving storage in utility room

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Open shelves offer so much storage and allow you to see essentials at a glance but you will need to stay on top of the clutter, even in small utility rooms. They will also allow you to create pockets of interest, through colourful laundry must-haves.

Add contrast to an all-white modern utility room with walnut worktop – you can even use to make a ‘bookend’, concealing the side of your washing machine for a more modern line.

9. Bring in pattern

Grey utility room with Belfast sink, patterned tiled floor and patterned window blind

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

Windows and floors are perfect for injecting your own style into a utility room design. Look for a patterned roller or Roman blind, which can frame the view through the window. 

Underfoot, patterned ceramic utility room floor tiles are a great choice for modern utility rooms as they can make a small floor look bigger. Plus, if you’ve fallen for an expensive tile, but can’t justify using in a larger room, you might find you can afford the square meterage needed for your utility room instead.

If choosing a painted finish, make sure any paint used is wipeable, with easy-to-grab handles.

10. Go for modern maximalism

Utility room with white cabinetry, patterned wallpaper, brass hardware and belfast sink

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

Give white units your own maximalist style for suited to modern utility room ideas by combining patterns on your walls (it’s a great way of using end-of-line wallpaper rolls or discontinued tiles). Don’t be afraid of choosing busy designs – the white base units will help balance the look, but this look is all ‘more is more’.

Try fitting a wall shelf high up, with smart brass brackets echoing your choice of brassware and unit handles.

11. Embrace your dark side

Utility room with dark grey cabinetry, wall panelling and wallpaper

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

In modern country utility room ideas, try a dark grey or almost black shade for your base units – teamed with black composite stone worktop, the look will feel very smart. Add peg rail underneath a wall shelf, providing space to display essentials (it’s a great way to boost texture in the space too).

Try a neat leafy wallpaper on one wall, echoing the choice of black units by painting internal doors and the window frame to match for a smart utility room design.

12. Combine trad features with modern style

White utility room with laundry rail above belfast sink

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

A traditional clothes airer pulley looks great contrasted against modern utility room ideas like metro brick tiles and makes a great money-saving alternative to using the tumble dryer. If you have wall space to spare then a wall mounted drying rack, £108, Amazon, is a neat alternative.

A fisherman’s lamp in chrome makes a feature of the ceiling, while light, bright utility room shelving makes a great spot for houseplants to receive a little boost, while adding a touch of greenery.

Make a feature of your back door, painting a dark grey – it will withstand those knocks and scrapes better than white, while giving the room definition.

13. Keep it sleek

White utility room with sleek black cabinetry

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

Handleless units instantly lend modern style to a kitchen, so why not use the same trick in your utility room, with under-sink units and a tall larder-style cupboard to house those taller essentials, like the ironing board and vacuum cleaner. Minimalist design works well in narrow utility rooms.

White composite worktop and walls lead the eye upwards to a simple shelf, lined with baskets and cleaning products. A tap with a pull-out hose is a great choice for a utility room – those muddy boots will be a breeze to clean.

14. Choose contrast

Sink with black taps and white metro tiled splashback

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Monochrome is a great look for modern utility room ideas – and it can be in the smallest of touches. Try a mono mixer in black, while swapping white grout for a dark grey, giving metro tiles a very different feel.

When choosing a sink for your utility room, an undercounter stainless steel design makes a practical choice – if you have space, then go for a double, or sink-and-a half.

15. Think about freestanding

Cream utility room with open and closed storage

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Give your utility room design a modern, freestanding look with separate units – a sink unit and a larder-style unit with pull-out drawers or baskets. Make sure you use the space around freestanding pieces, with wall towel racks and clips for brushes a great way of filling in space.

Supersize shelf wall brackets, making a great feature of the wall above the sink. Try tiling up to the first shelf, adding a colourful splashback.

How do you make a utility room feel modern?

‘Utility rooms are one of the most functional rooms in the house, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be the most boring,’ says Al Bruce, founder of Olive & Barr. ‘There are plenty of ways to bring a modern twist to the space for added personality. Think painted cabinets, open shelving to showcase decorative items, to clever but impressive design elements that give an instant wow factor.’

Sleek finishes, handleless doors and a neutral colour palette will provide a blank canvas, ready for you to add those finishing modern touches, such as lighting, wall treatments and flooring. 

What are the latest utility room trends?

‘Often utility rooms are the smallest, meaning creativity is key,’ says Al from Olive & Barr. ‘We’re seeing a rise in demand for stacked washer dryers, pull down drying racks, broom cupboards with charging points.'

'Additionally, modern utility room ideas can often be a place for pet essentials, whether that be dog bowls, leads and accessories or an area for our furry friends to take their afternoon naps. The pets’ needs are therefore often a consideration when planning the utility, with built in dog beds or pull-out lower drawers to host dog bowls often creeping to the top of wish lists.’

Bootility rooms are also trending: ‘These ‘have dedicated areas for wellies, coats, bikes and features such as a large Belfast or butler sink for rinsing boots when early morning dog walks and family afternoons become a muddy affair,’ says Jo from Fisher & Paykel. 

Jennifer Morgan

Jennifer Morgan is an award-winning editor, writer and stylist, with over 25 years’ experience writing, styling and editing home interest magazines. Jennifer was the deputy editor of Ideal Home from 2008-2010, before launching Ideal Home’s sister title, Style at Home in 2010. Jennifer went on to launch several craft magazines and websites, before going freelance in 2016, with a client list that includes John Lewis, Dunlem and Nordic House. Today, she writes for Ideal Home, Real Homes, Waitrose, Woman & Home, Sainsbury’s Magazine and Homes & Gardens. But it was during lockdown that Jennifer realised her dream of publishing her own magazine – Simply Scandi.

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