Utility room ideas

The utility room is an important space, the engine room of any home lucky enough to have one. It might be where you have to do boring chores and store practical equipment, but design your utility room well and it can be a game-changer. From space-saving designs to smart storage solutions and scullery chic schemes, we have all the inspiration and advice you need for designing the perfect ‘beautility’ room.

Tamara Kelly, Digital Editor
9th April 2021

Utility room ideas

Planning and decorating your utility room

Utility rooms are wonderful spaces for keeping everything in your home clean, tidy and clutter free. Often an extension to the kitchen, a utility room can house all the appliances that would otherwise take up valuable room in a kitchen, enabling your space to be enjoyed solely for cooking and eating. Because open-plan kitchen-diners and living spaces are so popular, keeping your washing and all the practical equipment that every home needs in a utility room has become even more important. Typically, a utility room will include a washing machine, tumble dryer, large sink, a place to store clothes dryers, the ironing board and iron, plus extra storage for coats or shoes and even additional larder space. Utility rooms are often compact so working out the right layout is important.

Creating a utility room
The perfect location for a utility room is next to the kitchen with access to the outside - this means the space can function as a multipurpose utility room and boot room. It also makes hanging laundry outdoors easy if you have a garden and washing line.

If your property doesn’t have a utility room and you’re planning to do major restructuring on the ground floor, consider adding a utility room at the same time, as it will be a real asset to your home. Alternatively, you may already have an unused space that can be repurposed with just a little clever planning.

Plan your utility room layout
Work out how much room you have and what the essentials are for you. In a small utility room  you may not have enough floor space for a separate washing machine and tumble dryer, in which case you could either opt for a combination washer/dryer or think about stacking the appliances on top of each other with a strong shelf to separate them. Your stacked appliances could also be put into a purpose-built cupboard with good ventilation to keep them neatly tidied away.

And don’t forget to use the wall space in a small utility room – shelves or units above your appliances and worktops will create plenty of storage, just as they would in a kitchen.

Another thing to think about is including a sink. A large, butler-style design is great for handwashing clothes, hosing down mucky pets or doing other cleaning-based chores that you’d rather keep separate from your kitchen sink. However, a smaller version would be helpful, too, so that you don’t have to keep rushing back and forth to the kitchen.

Utility room colour schemes
Clean-feeling white colour schemes are popular for utility rooms, where the space is mostly used for washing and drying your laundry. White feels fresh and calming, and can trick the eye into thinking the space is bigger than it is. As you may not have windows in your utility room, it will also help to keep everything looking bright. For something a little more colourful , pale greys and blues would work well, too. Having said all this, if you have a strong urge to experiment with something a little more out there, go for it. There’s no reason why you can’t have a jazzy-looking utility room and, if it makes you feel more like doing household chores, then that’s all that matters!

Utility room storage
In a functional space like the utility room, storage is vital for keeping everything streamlined and neat. When there are piles of laundry involved, it’s easy for it all to descend into chaos, especially if you have a large family or young children. Try to have a sufficient number of laundry baskets, open shelving for things you want immediately to hand, plus a cupboard for hiding more unsightly bits and bobs. Ideally, you will also have a spot to put clothes airers and an ironing board, so that they don’t clutter the room. If you can avoid having objects randomly dotted about, your utility room will work all the better.

A laundry pulley is a great way to make the most of a high ceiling, and will keep washing conveniently out of the way. Inside a cupboard, include a rail for hanging coats and jackets, and a rack for shoes, if you want to use your space as a boot room or for extra clothes storage.

In large utility rooms, take advantage of the size by including a freezer, additional fridge or even a larder, but make sure if you’re storing food that it’s kept in a separate cupboard to any laundry detergents or cleaning products.