Utility room storage ideas – practical yet stylish ways to organise any size utility area

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  • Utility room storage is essential for keeping your utility and washing area tidy and clutter-free. The main use of a utility room is two-fold: Storage – both for the home and garden – and washing, usually clothing and outdoor equipment. While laundry room and utility room storage and has practical written all over it, it doesn’t have to be boring (promise!). Whether yours is for laundry, boots or potting up, keep your utility room super-efficient with these practical storage solutions.

    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.

    Is your utility room an extension of your kitchen? Is it where you wash up or where you wash your clothes? Invest in relevant utility room storage to suit the needs of you and your household.

    Utility room storage ideas

    Whatever you’re after from your utility room storage, and however you make use of the extra room in your house, we have lots of ideas in our essential gallery round-up.

    1. Organise laundry essentials in caddies

    utility storage idea

    Image credit: Garden Trading

    Open shelves are a great idea for utility areas as they give easy access to essential items. But having everything out on show can quickly look messy if you’re not super-organised. Corral smaller odds and ends like washing tablets, dryer sheets and pegs into easy-to-grab baskets with cleaning kit in caddies so it’s easy to tote around the house.

    Buy now: Portland storage bucket with bamboo handle, £20, Garden Trading

    2. Fit adjustable shelving above appliances

    Ikea laundry rack

    Image credit: Ikea

    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.

    Buy now: Boaxel one-section storage, £70, Ikea

    3. Save space with a folding laundry basket

    folding laundry basket

    Image credit: Lakeland

    Bulky laundry baskets can be tricky to find room for when space is limited. Opt for a neat, collapsible basket 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.

    Buy now: Addis folding laundry basket, £14.99, Lakeland

    4. Free up floor space by stacking appliances

    appliance stacker

    Image credit: Currys

    If utility space is super-tight, utilise room-height by stacking your tumble dryer on top of the washing machine. Stacking kits have a locking device that keeps both the appliances stable, plus a handy slide-out shelf in the centre where clothes can be folded and stacked as they come out of the dryer.

    Buy now: WPRO Stacking kit with shelf, £49.99, Currys

    5. Kit out cupboards with interior storage

    Ikea cleaning cupboard

    Image credit: Ikea

    ‘Think about what needs storing before kitting out your utility area and ensure that there’s a home for everything’, says storage guru Vicky Silverthorn of youneedavicky.com. ‘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.

    Buy now: Metod/Maximera high cabinet with cleaning interior, £241, Ikea

    6. Go for easy-access open shelving

    B&M utility room storage

    Image credit: B&M

    ‘Cupboards aren’t essential if your utility area is closed-off from the kitchen,’ says storage guru Vicky Silverthorn. ‘Open shelves allow you to see everything at a glance and grab what you need easily.’

    Invest in a couple of handled baskets so you can stash towels, linens and clean laundry inside. Woven baskets allow air to circulate so fabrics stays fresh and are easy to carry if you need to tote laundry upstairs.

    7. Hide cleaning kit behind closed doors

    grey utility room

    Image credit: Benchmarx Kitchens

    If your utility area is on show – or it’s a struggle to keep the space tidy – then consider investing in some built-in storage. A run of base units and wall cupboards will house all essentials and equipment and keep any clutter out of sight.

    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.

    8. Store supplies in easy-clean mesh baskets

    Matalan laundry baskets

    Image credit: Matalan

    ‘Store items neatly, in categories, so you can see what you have – and what you’re running low on,’ says storage guru Vicky Silverthorn. ‘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.

    Buy now: Metal wire storage basket, £14, Matalan

    9. Sort laundry as you go

    Ikea laundry bags

    Image credit: Ikea

    Instead of tackling a huge heap of dirty clothes and washing all in one hit, make the task easier by sorting laundry into categories as you go. Invest in a couple of baskets or canvas bags (hooked up on the utility room wall) so laundry can be sorted out into darks, lights, colours and delicates ready for loading straight into the washing machine.

    Buy now: Plumsa laundry bags, £8 each, Ikea

    10. Set up a smart storage system

    utility room storage baskets

    Image credit: James French

    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.

    Related: Kitchen splashback ideas to keep kitchen walls protected in style

    11. Hide appliances behind folding doors

    utility room behind cupboards

    Image credit: Tom Meadows

    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

    Blue utility room with wall mounted storage

    Image credit: Mark Scott

    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

    utility room storage idea under stairs

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    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. Install an extending shelf to act as a worktop

    country utility room

    Image credit: David Brittain

    Make the most of any space with savvy built-in storage solutions. This bespoke cabinetry features an extending shelf which pulls out to act as an additional worktop when needed.

    16. Find a place for flower essentials

    utility room storage ideas with vases

    Image credit: Mark Scott

    Conquer the laundry load by ensuring everything is conveniently placed and within easy reach. Add character to your utility room with vintage-style storage. Position open shelving units and mini cupboards on worktops for a country dresser-like look. Try a wire-fronted cabinet, painted white, and use to store glassware. Keep less attractive utensils hidden in drawers underneath to establish a handy flower-arranging zone. Place freestanding units like these alongside fitted versions for the perfect mix of on-show and hidden-away storage essential to an efficient working space.

    17. Rediscover wash-house chic

    UTILITY ROOM STORAGE IDEAS WITH LAUNDRY BASKETS

    Image credit: Caroline Barber

    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.

    18. Wall-mount cool alternative storage

    zinc window boxes utility room storage idea

    Image credit: Debi Treloar

    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.

    19. Clear the clutter with open-shelving

    utility room shelving

    image credit: Paul Raeside

    Separate your laundry in designated baskets to make doing the washing that little bit easier. This utility room uses open shelving – great for creating the illusion of space – to stash away freshly folded laundry as well as boxes for other utensils.

    20. Keep it simple

    small utility room idea with extending drying rack

    Image credit: Caroline Arber

    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.

    21. Utilise a passage way

    small utiity room idea with bespoke cupboards

    Image credit: Clive Doyle

    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.

    22. Create a display area

    Display shelves utility room storage ideas

    Image credit: Mark Scott

    Be practical with helpful open shelves rather than wall cabinets and keep everything in sight. Fit functional shelves for easy access and get creative with otherwise mundane supplies. Decanter detergent into attractive, easy-pour jars and label with vintage-style stickers. Display with attractive soaps and classic tins in various muted colours for a little hardworking rustic charm.

    23. Spruce up with shelves

    utility room with open shelving

    Image credit: Ben Robertson

    An open shelved cupboard will store a whole host of fundamentals for the organised utility room. Using a clip rack on the inside of a door keeps mops off the floor and dusters in place. Pale grey paint will not need re-painting as often as white and is still light enough that the room will not feel cramped or dark.

    24. Inject industrial style

    utility room sink and storage

    Image credit: Garden Trading

    Industrial storage is an original and highly practical storage solution for a utility room. This bakery trolley on casters is practical and easy to move around should you wish.

    25. Rethink cupboard storage

    utility room cupboard

    Image credit: Ben Robertson

    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.

    26. Go behind the scenes

    rustic east sussex home

    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    If you’re planning a kitchen extension and entertain frequently, consider apportioning an area for a utility. A room leading off the kitchen acts as backstage, providing somewhere for extra storage, dirty dishes or prep and cooking, improving the ambience of the kitchen itself and making it a more enjoyable setting for guests.

    27. Make the space fit for pets

    Utility room idea used as boot room

    Image credit: Mark Scott

    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.

    28. Corner off a section of the kitchen

    Image credit: David Parmiter

    Where no separate room is available, a corner of a kitchen can be used as a pantry or utility space. Opt for a rounded solution t make this happen. These doors are practical but also add character. In a smaller room, limit the number of materials you use. Simplicity creates a better sense of space and a more unified scheme.

    29. Conceal clutter with a curtain

    Small utility room ideas with curtains

    Image credit: Trevor Richards

    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.

    30. Take a sophisticated approach

    navy blue utility room

    Image credit: Ben Robertson

    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.

    31. Embrace baskets for decorative storage

    baskets used for storage

    Image credit: Ben Robertson

    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.

    32. Make it multifunctional

    utility boot room

    Image credit: David Still

    If you do not have a dedicated space or room to devote to all your utility requirements, it would be a good idea to adapt a cloakroom or boot room to house all your essentials. Cupboards lined with tongue and groove panelling can help to create a smart finish in this often-overlooked space.

    33. Choose country-style

    Make the most of a small utility room with endearing cottage features. Create pretty country style with a series of cupboards and drawers in Shaker-style cream cabinetry, allowing allocated space for every little thing. Go for pieces that have traditional metal tee hinges for added character and a practical butler sink for a touch of yesteryear.

    Bring in rustic accessories, such as this wirework basket with a heart motif for peg storage. It is always useful to have one big sink. You will always need somewhere to soak pans or clothes without encroaching on kitchen space.

    34. Uniform the look with colour

    Ensure footwear is close to hand with large open shelves. Forget cupboard doors on at least one unit in your Shaker cabinetry and break up the scheme by making a feature of footwear. Re-create a traditional utility-cum-boot room with period stone flooring and a practical butler sink. Line walls with cream tongue-and-groove panelling and go for soft sage cabinetry and a character wall pendant.

    35. Build bespoke storage

    Good storage will maximise space and put everything at your fingertips. Cubby hole storage is great for taming belongings but it can look untidy. This version with baskets is a smart compromise that makes it easy to access things, while bring a rustic mood that really looks the part in a country home. Utility room see a lot of wear so choose tough finishes, especially for the floor. Stone or porcelain is ideal.

    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.

    Additional words by Lisa Fazzani

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