The utility room, often the unsung hero of the home, is where efficiency, organisation, and practicality take centre stage in the design process.
When you embark on planning your utility room, the first step is to consider its intended use. Is it primarily a laundry hub for washing and sorting clothes? Perhaps it’s also a dedicated area for dealing with muddy boots and pampering your four-legged companion? Or could it be an overflow storage space connected to the bustling heart of the kitchen? Once you’ve pinpointed its purpose, you’re ready to start designing.
You need to include some essential elements in your design with a place for everything. Think tall units to discreetly house hoovers and mops, a designated spot for your laundry basket, a convenient fold-out ironing board, a cupboard for spare shoes and coats, perhaps a practical dog shower for your furry friend, a second sink for various tasks, and plenty of storage baskets to maintain impeccable tidiness.
So, how can you boost your utility room’s functionality? Let’s dive into the specifics…
1. Appliances and washing machines
Mounting your washing machine at a comfortable standing level will help you say goodbye to bending down to load your machine. “When it comes to the positioning of your washing machine or tumble dryer, there’s no hard and fast rule that says they must reside on the floor,” explains Richard Davonport, managing director at Davonport. “By incorporating a set of cupboards in your utility room and placing the machines at a more ergonomic height, you eliminate the need for constant bending when unloading.”
And if you’re aiming for ultimate convenience, consider adding pull-out shelves beneath the washing machine to house your laundry basket. It not only takes the strain off your back but also boosts efficiency.
Alastair Cooke, fabric care manager at Miele GB, recommends the art of stacking your appliances. This is especially helpful if you have a small utility room. “Stacking your appliances is a fantastic way to create more space in your laundry room, freeing up room for shelves, drawers, and cupboards, perfect for organising washing powders and detergents,” says Alastair. “Incorporating under-sink storage is also ideal for maximising space and serves as the perfect spot for storing cleaning products.”
2. Shelves and storage
The key to boosting practicality in your utility room lies in making the most of the available space. From floor-to-ceiling cabinets to shelves filled with storage baskets, every inch should be put to good use.
“It’s vital to make your walls share the load,” says Tom Howley, creative director at Tom Howley. “Opt for a blend of concealed cabinets to hide cleaning products and laundry essentials, and floating shelves to stow everyday items like laundry detergent or even your dog’s leash and treats. Explore the world of laundry basket cabinets, a savvy choice that maximises your storage space, saving you from lugging a bundle of laundry down the stairs.”
Also, think about where to store significant items such as mops and clothes dryers. You’ll be amazed at how well-organised and functional your utility space can become.
3. Utility room sinks
A sink in the utility room might seem like a luxury, especially when your kitchen is just a few steps away. However, it’s not just an optional extra; it’s a must-have. “A sink is great for hand-washing delicate garments, leaving bakeware and pans to soak, watering house plants and cut flowers, and filling buckets for cleaning, which is separate from the kitchen food prep zone,” explains Paul Illingworth, design manager at Abode.
When selecting a sink, ensure it is crafted from durable materials. And opting for a double sink enhances functionality.
“Selecting an ergonomic tap with a pull-out spray will add even more functionality especially when prepping salad or vegetables for your next meal,” recommends Paul.
4. Include a dog shower
Remember to consider all family members when planning a utility room – including furry friends. Pet showers have gained in popularity in recent years. Washing your dog after a muddy walk as soon as you step inside is ideal because you don’t have to lead a wet dog through the house.
Creating a mini shower areas that’s perfect for your pooch is a fast-growing trend. As Lidia Cetrangolo, marketing manager at Multipanel, says: “A dog shower isn’t a regular human shower that moonlights as a place to wash your family pet, but a dedicated, canine-sized bathing area worthy of a five-star dog spa. It needs to feature the latest shower head, easy access, and, who can forget, waterproof yet stylish shower panels?”
5. Make it a bootility room
A bootility room, as the name suggests, is a mix of a boot room and a utility room. It is most common when the utility room is located by the back door of the house as this space serves multiple functions simultaneously.
The best way to plan this space is to create a clear division between the boot room and the utility room area. “Make the most of a blended bootility room with dedicated space for a dog grooming area with a shower as well as a bespoke cabinet to house the washing machine room and made-to-measure storage for outdoor clothes and shoes,” advises Simon Bodsworth, managing director at Daval.
Key functional areas of a bootility room include a practical bench, shoe racks, hooks for coats, a large sink, and plenty of storage for hats and scarves.