7 utility room ideas combining practicality and style

Scavolini Laundry Space

Thinking back to the laundry room in my childhood home, it was far from stylish – although the polished concrete flooring is on-trend today, the rest certainly wouldn’t be. After all, the space was practical, located in basement room, adjoining my nan’s in-law flat (which, I feel the need to specify, did have windows, fresh air, and garden access).

In which we placed a washing machine, dryer, some shelving, a large freezer, and, tucked neatly underneath the stairs leading up to our home, more shelving.

As I said: it wasn’t much, but it did the job. Quite brilliantly so, because there was no door to the stairs so you wouldn’t even get the classic laundry room air – you know, kind of muggy, very warm, makes your glasses fog up.

These days, however, we’d very much like our utilities to work hard while still looking good. They’re often multi-functional – some serve double duty as a a boot room, others are designed for entertaining, with a second dishwasher and plenty of work surface. There are even schemes which double as a walk-in pantry.

So whether yours is used for doing the washing, drying your dog after a walk, keeping coats in order, or all of these (and more), here are some ideas on how to boost your space’s practicality.

All, of course, while keeping it stylish.

Hanging space is always a good idea in your utility. If you don’t want to go for the full under-ceiling rack, why not opt for a high shelf with some rails? This design also features the NT M11 82XB ActiveCare 8kg heat pump tumble dryer from Hotpoint, £399 from John Lewis & Partners.
Add a sink

Fitting a deep bowl, maybe with some countertop space next to it, in your utility is incredibly handy.

Need to pre-soak dirty sports kit? No problem. Want to handwash delicates? You’ve got a dedicated space. Has the dog managed to get its paws exceptionally muddy? If you choose the right sink size for your pet, you can rinse its paws right there rather than in the bathtub.

If you’re entertaining, it’s also ideal to hide dirty dishes from sight until you begin clearing up in earnest. Not to mention the added work surface is ideal as extra food preparation space.

Colourful laundry room
A sink is always a good idea – but for extra practicality, add on some work surface next to it. You don’t have to add as much as in this scheme, but even a 1m-long countertop will create a neat space to fold laundry, rest baskets, or store dirty dishes during a party. This scheme in Instagram user @hamsey_belle‘s home not only works well, it also looks cool. It features a pair of Industville‘s Brooklyn glass dome pendant, £109 each, above the set-up.
Install a drying rack

Do away with unsightly clotheshorses and free up your radiators: this solution keeps wet laundry confined to one single space.

“It’s not new or revolutionary,” William Durrant, director at Herringbone Kitchens, told me when I asked him for advice. And he’s right, too – we had one of these when I was growing up.

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But, William said, it’s ideal if you don’t have the space for a tumble dryer. Plus it helps save precious floor area, as the overhead racks won’t have much of an impact on you moving around.

Fed up of drying clothes on the radiator? Add an overhead rack to your utility to keep laundry in a dedicated space – plus, hot air rising will help your clothes dry faster. This scheme features the Sisal Linen flooring in Titanium from Kersaint Cobb, priced £45 per sq m.

If you do decide to go for this traditional solution, make sure you install them quite high up. This way, the hot air rising will help dry your clothes faster and keep them smelling fresher.

Create flow between the kitchen and utility

When you design the room, think about what you would like to achieve.

Your utility doesn’t have to match the kitchen. This scheme from Harvey Jones features cabinetry from the company’s Shaker collection in a range of ice cream shades, for a dash of retro style. Harvey Jones kitchens start from £20,000.

If you want, you can of course go for the full contrast and have completely different looks in the kitchen and utility. However, coordinating the two spaces will result in much better flow and a cohesive look that will make your scheme look unified.

But don’t worry if matchy-matchy is not your style: you can always opt to go for the middle ground and use the same worktop or wall paint. Another great idea? Choosing the same cabinetry, but painting it in different – but related – shades.

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Stack your appliances

In a compact room, every inch of floor area is precious – so make the most of it by stacking your appliances. You can’t do it just like that, though: purchase the manufacturer’s stacking kit to make sure your set-up is safe and stable.

Think lifting laundry into the machine is a little cumbersome? Place a small table next to it, on which you can rest baskets. This way, you won’t have to bend down time and time again. Some stacking kits also come with a pull-out shelf, so it’s a good idea to keep your eye out for this feature.

Schüller‘s multi-functional Utility Concept, from £5249 from InHouse Inspired Room Design, takes the load off of daily chores. It includes appliance housings at an ergonomic height, a sliding shelf, tall units for laundry and cleaning needs, recycling solutions, and a pull-out airer, plus a special charging station for robotic vacuums.
Hide your utility away

Everyone who lives in a busy household knows the feeling: no matter how many loads you wash, the laundry pile rarely seems to shrink. (And if it does, it quickly builds back up again.)

To keep your utility and kitchen connected, a pocket door is a good idea – or a glass design, which can help you shut mess away while still letting light filter into both spaces. This is a design from Day True, where kitchens start from £25,000.

If you have doors, that’s okay – but in an open-plan scheme, you might feel it could get you into a pickle. After all it’s not that nice to look at, is it?

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But fear not: there are solutions out there to help. You could hide your laundry space away behind a pocket door, which slides into the door when it’s open. This way, you can shut off the utility when needed without losing out on floor area.

And if you are in there putting on a wash and sorting out socks, simply open the space up to feel connected to the main kitchen.

Who said you couldn’t have the best of both worlds?

Hidden behind a secret door, this utility conceals the plant room, boiler, and hotwater system. A full-height cupboard holds cleaning appliances, with plenty of extra storage. The cabinetry is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Brinjal. Bespoke utility rooms by Rencraft start from £9600.
Opt for larder-style storage

A freestanding cabinet is the ideal addition to a laundry space.

Larder-style units in laundry room
Tall cabinets are ideal to store your iron, board, and other cleaning supplies. Fit a rack inside and hey presto, you’ve got a place to hang freshly ironed clothes before they go into your wardrobe. This is Mereway‘s English Revival Shaker cabinetry in Chalk White and Gunmetal Grey. Prices start from £5000.

Not only can you stash your iron, board, and other paraphernalia inside, you can also hang up freshly ironed clothes to ensure they don’t get new creases.

Make sure you add a plug socket inside so you don’t have to trail a cable all through the house and to guarantee there’s always one free. Smart, right?

Choose clever solutions for your utility
I know what you’re about to say – this isn’t a utility, it’s a kitchen! However, we’re focussing on one specific thing here: the shelving. It has been created using Rotpunkt‘s new Wall Panel system is a storage system that can be personalised to suit your needs. You simply clip the modular features in and you’re good to go. Ideal for a utility, don’t you think? Price on application.

Whether you have plenty of floor area or are creating a hard-working scheme in a compact space, there are lots of intelligent designs out there which help you maximise every inch.

Pull-out ironing boards hide underneath the work surface until they’re needed, keeping cupboards free. Alternatively, there are tabletop designs that won’t need much space, either. A pull-out washboard  is equally as clever, as it slides into the sink when not in use.

Then, of course, there are flexible wall systems which allow you to create a shelving solution that’s exactly right for you.

So, what’s your utility like? Are you going big or is a compact but incredibly smartly planned space more your style? Let me know – and as always, don’t forget to share your top tips!

Featured image: Who said a utility has to be compact? If you have the space, consider creating a dedicated laundry area along an entire wall, complete with units and appliances. This scheme features Scavolini‘s Rivo furniture in Navajo Elm textured laminate, which has been combined with features from the brand’s Laundry Space range. The scheme features a lift-up worktop with pull-out ironing board, for example, as well as a sink with pull-out washboard. Prices for Scavolini’s Laundry Space start from £5000.

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