Clever storage ideas are essential for a smooth running home and the utility room is no exception. You don't want your space to become a dumping ground or a nightmarish place to be, so with a little organisation, our utility room storage ideas will have you sorted in seconds.
The main use of a utility room is two-fold: storage - both for the home and garden - and washing, usually clothing and outdoor equipment.
Director of Design and Innovation at Howdens, Tori Summers says, 'A well-designed utility room can be the secret weapon for any busy home. These spaces help to contain the clutter of our everyday lives, and if they’re an entry point to the main house, they act as a barrier between the outdoors and our inner sanctuary, keeping dirt and debris contained.'
There are lots of different ways to keep everything you store in your utility room neat, tidy and most importantly, accessible. Think about how you use your utility room - what you just store in the room and the items you use most days.
Utility room storage ideas
Whatever sort of utility room storage ideas you're after, and however you make use of the extra space in your house, we have lots of ideas and top tips to ensure your space works hard for you.
1. Free up floor space by stacking appliances
If utility space is super-tight, and you're after small utility room ideas, make the most of the room height by stacking your appliances on top of each other.
Vicky Silverthorn, Professional Organiser at You Need a Vicky advises, 'A tumble drier works best on top of the washing machine and not the other way around. I love the universal stacking trays which include a fold out tray to balance laundry baskets on when emptying.'
You don't even need a whole room to do this, as Rebecca Nokes, Head of Design & Brand Creative at John Lewis of Hungerford explains, 'Perfect for housing washing machines and tumble driers, utility rooms can be installed in the smallest of spaces- even some cupboard spaces in hallways or bathrooms can house your appliances, just ensure there is access to plumbing.'
2. Plump for multiple storage solutions
To ensure you maximise your utility space and eke out every nook and cranny, it's not just about having enough cupboards to squirrel away your cleaning paraphanalia. You'll need to think of smarter ways to store things, consider utility room design ideas and opt for a multi-layered approach that will work in your favour.
'A combination of beautiful fitted storage, sets of laundry bags, and beautifully arranged baskets will ensure your laundry room is kept clutter-free. Where space is often more limited, we recommend using extendable wall dryers that don’t take up precious floor space and can be placed over washer-dryers this way not interfering with anything,' says Claire Wilkes, Senior Buyer at Garden Trading
3. Opt for open shelving
Looking for utility room shelving ideas? Opting for open shelving rather than wall-hung cupboards will make your room feel airier and more spacious, plus act as the perfect spot for keeping cleaning products out of reach from young children. If this is the case, choose to either decant them into prettier vessels and bottles, or stow them in larger caddies, storage boxes and baskets to keep them tidy.
Vicky agrees, 'Cupboards aren't always essential if your utility area is closed-off from the kitchen. Open shelves allow you to see everything at a glance and grab what you need easily.'
4. Build in bespoke cubbies
'To get the most out of your utility you need to start by working out exactly what you need to keep in it. Make a list of everything that needs storing, including items that might currently be living elsewhere in your home, but really should be kept there instead', says Vicky Silverthorn.
'You can be clever and pack much more into a small space than you think, but the key really is making storage specific. Measure up your ironing board and make sure heights of shelves are thought through in cupboards- don’t just guess and think ‘that should be fine’. Working this way and forgetting to measure your items before building bespoke, is one of the top utility room design mistakes that can be made.
Tori Summers, Director of Design and Innovation at Howdens agrees. 'One of the most common uses of a utility room is to use it as a laundry room. Storing your appliances here will free up more useable space in the kitchen where your washing machine and tumble dryer might usually be. It’s also a great space to keep items like irons and ironing boards tucked away and out of sight in bespoke cupboards and cubbies.'
5. Bring it into a bathroom
You don't need an entirely separate room to house your utility essentials, as many homes have 'lootility' rooms that serve a dual purpose. A bathroom is a great place to keep appliances as the plumbing access that washers and driers will need are already in place, plus they are a practical space that's not going to be used for hours each day for entertaining (unlike the kitchen.)
If your bathroom is rather bijou, make sure there is enough space to open and close washing machine doors easily, and again think about stacking appliances to save space. A simple café curtain is a great way to hide away the more practical things, if you still want your bathroom to feel spa-like.
6. Fit adjustable shelving above appliances
Make use of wasted wall space above a washing machine or tumble dryer by adding shelving and racks where you can stack and air clean laundry. The warm heat from appliances will help speed up drying time.
This customisable shelving system consists of wall-mounted uprights that are fixed to the wall, with easy-fit shelves and racks that simply click into place. Shelves can be arranged at different heights to suit your needs and the space available.
7. Save space with a folding laundry basket
Bulky laundry baskets can be tricky to find room for when space is limited. Opt for a neat, collapsible basket like this Addis folding laundry basket, £14.99, Amazon, that will hold a full load of washing but folds flat so it can be tucked under a counter or in a gap next to the washing machine.
8. Kit out cupboards with interior storage
‘Think about what needs storing before kitting out your utility area and ensure that there’s a home for everything’, says Vicky Silverthorn. ‘Remember to factor in space for cumbersome items like the vacuum cleaner, broom, dust pan and mop.’
Utilise every inch in a tall kitchen cabinet or an understairs cupboard by kitting out the interior with hooks and racks so you can stash bulky items securely. Slide-out interior storage like this will give easy access to cleaning essentials.
Arrange cupboards so that most-used items are stored lower down for easy access and those you use less-frequently are stored higher up. Consider mounting a rail on the under-side of a cabinet where you can hang freshly-ironed items.
9. Store supplies in easy-clean mesh baskets
‘Store items neatly, in categories, so you can see what you have - and what you’re running low on,' says Vicky. ‘Don’t stockpile - it might be tempting to buy extra supplies when they’re on offer, but it’s just more stuff to find storage space for.’
Mesh caddies and wire baskets are great for storing laundry supplies and cleaning kit. Easy to clean if there are any leaks or spills, with everything stored together, they’re easy to grab if you’re heading to another part of the house.
10. Set up a smart storage system
Free up much needed space with personalised out-of-the-way storage. Design a simple, budget-friendly layout and include a large storage box for each family member or use labels to specify particular contents. Set them within reach on a high shelf to keep other surfaces clear. Look for a built-in unit featuring a deep basin and cupboards.
Pick unusual tiles for an attractive splashback and a white worktop for streamlined wipe-ability. Make the shelf extra practical by choosing one with a fitted rail, and add a wall-hung extendable airer that allows you to dry clothes without taking up floor space.
11. Hide appliances behind folding doors
In a large kitchen, the laundry area can be separated from the rest of the space into a neat unit so that it can be easily closed away out of sight. This little laundry store has no airs or graces but has everything needed, from appliances to linen storage, in a well-organised package.
12. Wall mount where possible
Keep utility room surfaces free of clutter by wall-mounting practical items such as an iron and ironing board. Objects that you do not use every day can be stored out of the way but within reach on shelves. A compartmentalised laundry basket helps to ensure that whites, colours and delicates are kept separate.
13. Repurpose furniture pieces for savvy storage
Add something a little different with reclaimed storage. Give a neutral utility room character with a wooden merchant's chest or trunk large enough to store outdoor wear and blankets. It can also double as a boot store and bench seating. Use the free space above to hang a peg rail for coats. Source oversized enamel tins - they're perfect for storing detergent.
14. Store away under stairs
Designate a little space under the stairs for your cleaning paraphernalia. A cupboard might not be a utility room, but optimise the space inside for household necessities and you'll be amazed how organised your life will be.
Use it for slimline equipment, such as a dustbin and dustpan and brush, and add a handy over-the-door rack that can hold all manner of dusters, cloths and brushes without taking up floor space. Choose colour co-ordinated items - even if you won't see them when they're hidden away, the mere fact that they're co-ordinated will make you happy.
15. Rediscover wash-house chic
Get a Victorian feel with large traditional fittings. If you have the space, create a drying area - a perfectly practical plan considering our British weather. Mount twin conventional towel rails on the wall and a vintage pulley airer on the ceiling for drying laundry up and out of the way. Source large-scale laundry baskets - these ones are in black metal for contrast - and make life easy by choosing a design with castors. Keep the look fresh with a palette of white and spring green.
16. Make the most of wall space
Anodised aluminium shelves are great for storing laundry products and tools. These fine examples are actually zinc window boxes used as wall storage instead.
Make them even more unique by personalising them with paint and hanging them up in a quirky way.
17. Keep it simple
Clever storage is the key to creating a successful utility room. Here, a fixed cupboard with a built-in bench seat accommodates all the necessary equipment required to turn the area into a streamlined but multifunctional space. White-painted walls keep the small room looking airy and bright.
18. Utilise a passage way
Turn a passage or hallway into a utility space with streamlined storage. Add a contemporary vibe by fitting tall, glossy cabinets in white to boost light levels and a cool grey geometric floor to visually elongate the space. Use a wall of floor-to-ceiling clean-lined storage to conceal a multitude of necessities - even a washing machine and laundry bin as shown here. Keep detergent supplies close to hand with fitted shelves above.
19. Rethink cupboard storage
Storing watering cans and vases together will make it easier to find what you need. Use simple linen to line the shelves and help keep breakables in place and soak up any excess water.
If you have a couple of favourite vases or watering cans, show them off on a window sill and create an appealing artisan look when seen from the inside and out.
20. Make the space fit for pets
A utility room can offer home comforts for pets without giving them the run of the house at night. Baskets, food and water bowls, and litter trays should have their own zones, somewhere that won't get in your way when using the room.
21. Conceal clutter with a curtain
If your utility room isn't designed to be boxed in you can choose a simple curtain to make your stoarge solutions look more pleasing to the eye. Whether just to cover a bulky appliance or used to hide all the shelving a decorative curtain can go a long way to improve the appearance of any essential storage.
22. Take a sophisticated approach
Clever use of storage and well-organised essentials ensure a calm, multifunctional utility room where everything is conveniently placed and within easy reach. Combine natural materials such as wood and linen with a dark paint colour for a sophisticated look. Good order is key to the smooth running of this space, so don't underestimate its importance.
23. Embrace baskets for decorative storage
Utility rooms are generally limited when it comes to space and storage, so use spare baskets or picnic hampers to store a selection of your small essentials. Not only will it save you money and the time and trouble of installing shelves, it will also add an instant hint of countryside charm.
How can I make my utility room look nice?
Don't forget to really take your style into consideration as you plan your utility room space and remember that practicality doesn't mean you have to shun your favourite looks. If you're a country fan, go for wicker storage baskets. Sleek and chic utility room storage can be achieved with high gloss, colourful storage units and buckets. Traditionalists might like cream or grey units with built-in drawers for hiding everything away.
Think about where you can use on-wall storage, such as sturdy shelving either side of your utility room sink. This keeps washing products high out of reach of little people's hands. If you mainly use your utility room for washing and drying clothes, you can get some fantastic retro laundry sacks to hide dirty laundry away. Consider things carefully before you start buying cabinetry. Thing about what you will need to store - cleaning appliances, utensils, laundry items or pet paraphernalia. Include one or two drawers in your cabinets to house all the small items, and don't forget to make room for the bin and the recycling.
How should I organise my utility room?
When it comes to organising your utility room, think about the things you'll need access to regularly- like washing detergent and pet food, and make those items easy to grab. But things like out-of-season footwear or shoe polish can probably be put away somewhere a little higher or out of reach as you won't be needing these things daily.
Also think about what appliances and utilities you will need in your space and how you will use it.
Tori Summers, Director of Design and Innovation at Howdens says 'Lots of people also choose to include a sink in their utility room as a place to rinse delicates, wash down muddy boots, or carry out emergency houseplant revivals.'
Vicky Silverthorn, Professional Organiser adds, 'Remember to think summer vs winter when planning your space, as you’re probably going to be storing more bulky items in the winter and will need a space for multiple pairs of muddy boots.'
'Try not to over stock and fill space you don’t need to. You may not require as much cupboard space as you think if you simply buy what you need and have just one or two spares, not five to ten! Baskets and containers are great for smaller, fiddly things but don’t just use them for the sake of it. Sometimes putting things in containers can hinder and not help.'
What should I store in a utility room?
It's totally up to you what you store in a utility room but the idea to is free up space in other areas of your home such as your kitchen and hallway. Generally they are a great space for appliances such as the washing machine and tumble drier, the fridge and freezer and even appliances such as microwaves and airfyers.
But once you've moved in the big, bulky items, think about what other bits will be useful to have in your utility room.
Vicky advises, 'A boot tray is perfect for keeping wellies on after a wet walk, as you can simply wash it when it gets too muddy. Boot racks are great too, but bear in mind that wet mud will drip off them so either have a tray below or keep it outside the back door instead.'
'If you have pets, a good place to keep their bits is an ottoman that doubles up as seating for putting shoes on and off. You could also look to creating a built-in cubby for their bed too, and keep their lead and toys on hooks nearby.'
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Holly Walsh has been Content Editor at Ideal Home since 2021, but joined the brand back in 2015. With a background of studies in Interior Design, her career in interior journalism was a no-brainer and her passion for decorating homes is still as strong as it ever was. While Holly has written for most of the home titles at Future, including Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Style at Home, Ideal Home has always been her ideal home, and she can be found sharing her expertise and advice across both the printed magazine and the website too.
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