10 ideas for a utility room

10 perfectly practical utility rooms

Solutions for laundry, storage, outdoor gear and grubby pets

By Paula Woods |

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.

Grey cabinet utility room with basin sink and traditional taps with grey splashback

Essentials Collection aluminium splashback in Smoked Ember, from £139 for a 800x600mm panel, £269 for a 3,050x610mm panel, Alusplash. Photo: Chris Snook

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.

white cabinet kitchen add on with curved mixer tap and heated clothes rail wood flooring

Handmade cabinets and open shelving painted in Blackened by Farrow & Ball, from £15,000, Simon Taylor Furniture. Photo: Darren Chung

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.

utility room with stacked washing machine and dryer pet basket and wood flooring

Hartford cabinets in Chicory, from £25,000, Tom Howley

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.

light green storage area with chopped wood and shoe storage wicker basket

Handmade Shaker cabinets, from £5,000, Olive & Barr

5. Complete the cycle

Thermostatically controlled and programmable drying cabinets use less energy than tumble dryers. Or select an efficient heat pump dryer.

white traditional cupboards circular plants footstool

Spenlow cabinets, including drying cupboard, in Tailored Grey, from £15,000, Humphrey Munson

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.

Modern utility room with lower blue cabinets and large wicker baskets and hanging jackets on coat rack

Bespoke boot room in Basalt, from £10,000, reclaimed weathered barn oak cladding, £67.80 per sqm, flooring, from £144.50 per sqm, The Main Company

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.

Bright utility room with stone flooring and full height glass door leading to garden

New Deco cabinetry in Light Blue by Farrow & Ball with quartzite worksurface and bespoke shower, from £15,000, Martin Moore

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.

Bright yellow kitchen add on with green curtain and white sink with coat rack

Freestanding base units, from £650, undersink unit , from £860, housekeeper’s cupboard, £1,845, shelving, from £160, British Standard by Plain English. Interior by Sarah Southwell Design

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.

light green utility room with gold fixtures and white surfaces

Bespoke Shaker cabinets, including sink and worksurfaces, from £12,000, Davonport

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.

house side entrance with storage and herringbone flooring blue cabinets

Marlborough terracotta parquet tiles, £77.83 per sqm, Artisans of Devizes. Scheme by Hudson Homes and Interiors