Utility room safety advice

Make safety a priority when appliances, electrical fittings and water are in the same space.

By Paisley Tedder | 22 February 2021

Utility room safety is a priority when appliances, electrical fittings and water occupy the same space. This guide will help you design a safe space.

Harvey Jones Laundry Room with pink cupboard space, washing machine and tumble dryer

Linear units in Little Greene’s Confetti, from Harvey Jones

There are many benefits to having a room or area for doing the laundry or keeping foodstuffs separate from the kitchen. Everything is close at hand and easy to organise. Any clutter is out of sight of the kitchen and dirty laundry is kept away from cooking ingredients. But careful thought and planning is needed to reduce the risk of accidents. Choose the right flooring, follow the rules on electrical safety and design a workable layout.

Floor safety

Non-slip flooring is a must for utility room safety. Always look for surface finishes suitable for use in areas that may get wet. So, look for durable engineered timber and non-slip tumbled or riven stone finishes. Also, large-format porcelain tiles, with a textures surface, have fewer grout lines making them easier to clean. And textured luxury vinyl or linoleum is soft underfoot and a breeze to wipe over.

Wood flooring in utility room

Kahrs Oak Chevron Light Grey engineered wood flooring, Carpetright

Layout matters

Design the layout to minimise the risk of open doors and drawers causing an obstruction. This avoids the danger of walking into something causing you to fall or drop what you’re carrying. For instance, in a U-shaped layout plan for at least a metre between units.

Blue utility room with sink and clear glass doors

Bespoke kitchen with walk-in pantry and metal-framed glass partition, Blakes London

Electrical regulations

Certain electrical work has to be notified to the local building control department to meet safety standards. So, seek advice from your kitchen fitter or electrician. A National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NIEIC) contractor is able to self-certify the work. If necessary, they will notify the local building control department.

Laundry room with cupboard storage and sink, granddesignsmagazine.com

English Revivial Shaker utility room, from Mereway

Laundry basics

Allow around a metre of free space in front of washing and drying machines for loading and unloading safely. So, consider putting the drier on top of the washing machine in a small room. To do so, invest in the machine manufacturer’s stacking kit for utility room safety.