10 perfectly practical utility rooms
Solutions for laundry, storage, outdoor gear and grubby pets
A good utility room is highly practical. It must have good ventilation, an easy-to-use layout, robust and hygienic surfaces, efficient appliances and sufficient storage. It’s a lot to ask but perfectly doable, as these product and design solutions demonstrate.
1. Pick a practical surface
Non-porous aluminium, high-pressure laminate or composite panels are seamless easy-clean options for upstands and splashbacks. Or, to avoid lots of dirt-collecting grout lines, choose large-format porcelain tiles.
2. Assemble everything you need
The priorities in a space dedicated to laundry include good ventilation, sufficient room to load and unload machines with ease, at least one way of drying damp washing and a sink for soaking.
3. Take it off the floor
Save space by stacking laundry appliances – kits are widely available. For stability put the heavy washing machine beneath the dryer.
4. Put it all away
Take time to get your storage right at the planning stage to avoid clutter later. Many kitchen companies offer a design service for free or a fee redeemed against what you buy.
5. Complete the cycle
Thermostatically controlled and programmable drying cabinets use less energy than tumble dryers. Or select an efficient heat pump dryer.
6. Opt for hardwearing wood
Good-quality reclaimed timber is a surprisingly durable, water-resistant and wipe-clean material that won’t show scuff marks and grime.
7. Clean up quick
Dog owners can prevent getting mud trailed through the house by installing a dedicated shower – as part of a bespoke scheme or by adapting standard fittings such as the Dogshower brush nozzle handset, £150, from Hansgrohe.
8. Assess the space
Ideally, you’ll need an area measuring around 3x3m for a utility room with enough space for a sink, appliances and storage. Plus, ensure there’s 1m between cabinets and in front of appliances.
9. Select a site
An ideal place for a utility space is next to the kitchen, especially if you want it to include appliances, and somewhere with direct access to the outdoors.
10. For a functional floor
Sealed engineered timber, tumbled or riven stone and terracotta offer a resilient, slip-resistant surface underfoot. Poured concrete and resin also work well, as do low-maintenance vinyl, ceramic or porcelain tiles.