Doing the laundry may not be top of anyone's ‘fun things to do' list, but there's no need to make it any more of a chore than it already is. And while your utility room might not seem an obvious choice to splash the cash when it comes to renovating and decorating, it is a place we spend a huge amount of time in doing chores, so you may as well enjoy the space as much as possible.
Our budget utility room ideas offer savvy ways to update your laundry room without blowing the budget. Not only are they cheap and cheerful, theses ideas are simple and quick too.
See all our utility room ideas for more inspiration
Budget utility room ideas
By name and nature, the utility room area has to be a functional space, equipped and ready to tackle the washing, ironing and cleaning. But with a bit of planning and a few bright ideas, a laundry room can make those tasks a little more pleasant.
The most important issue to think about is storage, because with everything from a mop and bucket to the cat's litter tray shoved in there, it's hard to keep everything neat and tidy.
With our essential purse-friendly guide to upgrading your laundry room, a stylish and practical utility space is just a few steps away...
1. Get a luxe look for less
Add a touch of luxe with the simple addition of metallic finishes. In this all-white room glam gold-brass hooks help to add a decorative flourish that looks like you've spent a little more on the finishing touches.
Keeping the small space in white with pops of black help to adopt an effortlessly cool monochrome colour scheme – which helps to keep the look contemporary and thoughtful.
Buy now: KAMPIG Hook, £4, IKEA
2. Add simple stickers for decoration
For budget decorating ideas it doesn't get much easier or more affordable than simple stickers. While white appliances are essential in a utility room, they aren't always the most attractive of items. This savvy idea uses flower stickers to add a pretty touch to the bulky appliance. Budget and also non-permanent stickers are the ideal solution for jazzy up plain white goods.
3. Repurpose zinc window boxes for storage caddies
Make your own stylish wall storage by repurposing old zinc planters. Attach the boxes on brackets and stencil labels on teh front – to make the new purpose clear.
Consider what you need and make sure everything has a place. Dirty clothes sit in a basket, cleaning products should be stored together and dirty tools are best tucked away. Don't rule out open shelving: it keeps everyday items close to hand and in the right storage can be put on display.
4. Mix open and closed shelving
Keep the budget balanced by choosing a mix of closed cupboards and open shelving. 'Shelving, rails and hooks are super affordable and ideal for making full use of vertical space and storing the items you use most' advises Becky Martin, Interior Design Leader at IKEA UK and Ireland. 'For example the MÅNSARP Display shelf with hooks is perfect for hanging re-usable bags, tea towels and anything else you need to quickly grab.'
If, for whatever reason, you can't have a tumble dryer in your utility, then opt for a heated clothes airer instead. This will make your wet clothes dry a lot faster, whilst some heated clothes airers are nice and compact for nestling into a corner of your utility room.
5. Decorate with small elements of pattern
A utility room is all about practicality, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. One roll of wallpaper or possibly even a patchwork of paper samples is sufficient to jazz up the inside of the cupboards, to ensure every chore feels like a happier one. Go one step further and match the design to your ironing board cover and enamel accessories.
6. Choose multipurpose storage solutions
A traditional peg rail provides one of the most affordable, yet versatile storage solutions for a utility, boot room or kitchen. The multipurpose rail can house all manner of cleaning apparatus, from feature dusters to cleaning cloths, one minute – then it can be a coat rack or a chair hook the next.
You can pick a peg rail cheap form most DIY retailers, from as little as £10 for a 4-hook rail. Best of all you can paint the rail to inject a hit of colour too, or keep it plain against an already colourful wall.
7. Secure laundry bags on hooks
Why install extra storage when you can simple hang laundry bags. Simply secure hooks to the wall within the utility room to directly hang the gathered laundry bags from each room. It saves having to buy alternative washing baskets as you prepare each load. You unhook the baskets once the load is done and return it to the room where it lives within the house. This tip is also ideal as a small utility room idea to save on space.
8. Make it minimal
One way to keep the budget super low is to keep your utility needs to a minimum. A washing machine hidden under the stairs with storage for laundry products is enough to make a mini utility room. A foldaway clothes airer will tuck away down the side of the washing machine to keep it all neatly stored together.
9. Forgo cupboards for curtains
'For a more traditional country or shaker-style design you can keep costs down by minimising the cupboards and using textiles at low level to hide appliances, baskets or pet beds and bowls' advises Becky Martin, Interior Design Leader at IKEA UK and Ireland. 'Curtains can be hemmed to suit any space and hung on a track system like the VIDGA rail, which will help to keep things tidy at an affordable price.'
If you don't have a separate room you can dedicate a corner of the kitchen to all things clean – concealed by curtains.
10. Keep the layout completely open
Reduce the costs entirely by having no cupboards at all, bespoke or otherwise. 'If you prefer a more contemporary style, the ENHET kitchen system is super affordable and easy to install. With no cover panels it has a simple, modern look with both open and closed units, making it perfect for a utility space.”
11. Pretty up products to display
Make even the products look more luxury with the help of smart glass jars, wooden topped containers or smart enamel caddies to complete the look. Empty household and laundry essentials into labelled tins and boxes on shabby chic shelves to keep the look neat, tidy and more sophisticated. The money saving tip to take your empty bottles to a refill shop, so you can fill them up as and when you need to – and be less wasteful with packaging.
12. Create a seamless flow
Many utility areas are small spaces just off the kitchen. Keep the whole area unified by painting both in the same colour scheme so there is a flow from one room to another. Use the same worktops and cabinets to ensure they blend seamlessly. It also helps to save money by repurposing materials from one space into the next.
13. Give an old cupboard a new purpose
If you don't have the space or the budget to transform a whole room, try repurposing a cupboard. Fit the space with stacked, smart shelving above appliances to ensure the space is utilised to full potential. Simple rack storage solutions can be adapted to suit your needs, meaning you can tailor the costs to suit your budget.
14. Wall-mount multifunctional furniture
Use every inch of available storage space by hanging a wall rack. A design like this, with rails, hooks and a shelf, allows you to hang and store a variety of items.
15. Put your best on show
A traditional ceiling clothes dryer is great for drying items without taking up floor space. But why not put it to use when washday is over? There are so many gorgeous tea towel designs around you could create a swish display with them.
How to create a utility room on a budget?
Creating a utility room on a budget is all about thoughtful planning and savvy shopping. 'Whether it’s for doing all your laundry, storing bulky kitchen items, keeping shoes and coats tidy or as a space for your four-legged friends, utility rooms are such useful and varied spaces,' says Becky Martin, Interior Design Leader at IKEA UK and Ireland.
'So it’s important to consider exactly what you want and need from the space, so you can start planning the best solutions for your needs and budget.'
Becky goes on to advise, 'Choosing a mix of closed and open storage is a great option if your budget is limited. Shelving, rails and hooks are super affordable and ideal for making full use of vertical space and storing the items you use most.'
How to style your utility room?
'Achieve a sense of calm by keeping your cleaning and laundry products tucked away in cupboards,' advises Becky. 'Choosing a few key pieces you love that are both functional and beautiful, like the VARIERA bamboo box or RISATORP basket, to keep out on display.'
'Adding storage solutions that are beautiful both inside and out will also help you to create a stylish but practical space. Choose boxes and baskets for your cupboards that are consistent in their materials and colourways to form a curated look. Containers like the KORKEN glass jars and SOCKERBIT boxes are ideal for utility spaces as they come in a wide variety of sizes, and they are both also made from more sustainable materials. Another tip is to add labels to your storage pieces, to help you to keep everything neat and tidy.'
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Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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