Your home’s utility can act as the engine room of all things cleaning, washing, and tidying; housing washing machines, tumble driers, mops, buckets, pet paraphernalia and any other number of items you mightn’t want in direct view.
Faced with an empty space, it can be hard to know how best to design the area to be the most optimised version of itself to ease your at-home cleaning tasks. Do you want to have your vertical space utilised for more storage, or would you rather take your washing machine and tumble drier from your kitchen to free up some much-needed cupboard space?
We take a look at:
- Colour patterns
- Storage choices
- Ideal appliance placements
In this article, we’ll be looking at 30 pretty and practical utility room designs to get your creative juices flowing, giving you that much-needed inspiration to translate into your utility room at home.
Utility Room Designs
1 – No Utility Room? No Problem!
First and foremost, some homes may not have the square footage to allow for a dedicated utility room. In these cases, homeowners can still make a special spot in their kitchen or bathroom to house a washer/dryer and to put it to good use.
A way to help an uncovered washing machine blend into its surroundings is to try and source complementary colours to the room around it. In this case, the white machine matches the white countertops in the kitchen. Using lighter colours and additions, like wicker baskets, can grant an area airiness and help to keep the space looking like a continuation of itself, rather than an awkward appliance shoe-horned onto the end of the design.
2 – Make It Compact and Purposeful
Utility rooms can be entire rooms of their own or little nooks in the corner of other rooms. In the example image above, we can see a great example of a compact yet perfectly-formed utility space.
With a countertop to house the washing machine, a gap has been left in the centre to allow for easy access to a washing basket, while fixed drawers are situated at the end of the unit to provide much-needed storage for washing equipment, from powders to gels and even hangers for drying clothes once they’re clean.
3 – Obscure Appliances Behind Closed Doors
If you have your washer/dryer stationed in your kitchen, you might not want the appliances on show for all to see. That’s where privacy curtains and blinds can come into play. This way, you can keep shelves full of useful items to aid any cleaning, but hide them away behind a cover so that you needn’t tidy everything away each time.
To make this look really sleek, you should look to use the same colour for the blinds or curtains as your flooring or surrounding cupboards. This will create a continuation of the kitchen and your new addition won’t look out of place but complementary.
4 – Keep Functionality at Heart
When it comes to a stand-alone utility room, you can let your imagination run wild. The space is closed off to other main rooms in your home, such as your kitchen or bathroom, which means you have slightly more option when it comes to design. You might like to continue the colour scheme and cabinetry from your kitchen into this type of utility room or make use of any leftover timber from renovations to be resourceful with your design.
Storage is essential in a utility room with countless bottles, boxes and tools all looking for homes. If you want to have a sleek surface that is easy to clean, then ensuring you have lots of cupboards available to store loose bottles and cleaning aids is an essential step in designing your utility room.
5 – Achieve Sleek Simplicity With Tonal Features
For the ultimate in sleek simplicity, using lighter colours is the best way to go. Having white countertops paired with white cabinetry can help to open out a utility room, giving a sense of brightness and airiness. This makes the room more comfortable if you’re having to spend a few hours in it a week to get some necessary chores done.
Although white shows up marks far sooner than darker colours might, in a utility room you’re never far away from a cleaning product!
6 – Take Steps Towards Organised Bliss
Utilising named or numbered baskets can be a great way to ensure clothes get back to their rightful owners. For those households with lots of little children, having numbered storage units is a great way to make sure each child gets their set of socks back!
Having a cupboard mounted on the wall with an open gap beneath will offer you practically endless uses for the space; be that for functional items like detergents or sorting baskets, or decorative items to brighten up the room such as plants or scented candles.
7 – Make the Most of Your Multi-Functional Room
Utility rooms traditionally will back out onto your home’s garden or driveway, making the room conventionally used as a go-between for the house proper and the outdoors. For this reason, it’s useful to have the room work in a multi-functional way where space permits, giving a needed home for muddy items like walking boots and bicycles.
You can also use the extra space to store additional appliances such as overflow fridges or freezers, or as a handy spot to have your boiler installed so that your wall space is freed up in your kitchen or bathroom, where plumbing permits.
8 – Clear Your Floors and Stack it High
A traditional layout of washer/dryers is to have them placed on top of one another. This not only makes the most of the vertical space, but it also makes transferring wet clothes into the dryer far easier as you won’t run the risk of dripping wet clothes across the floor.
If your appliances are in your kitchen, this can ensure you still have plenty of cupboard space for the storage of food or other kitchen bits and pieces. Tucking in some laundry baskets to the side of the appliances can make sure no socks are lost on the trip to and from the washing basket to the machine.
9 – Consider Careful Appliance Placement
If you are using your utility space as a dual-purpose room to also dry clothes indoors in the colder months, then placing appliances near to heating can be an ideal solution. This way, as soon as the clothes come out of the machine they can be aired near to radiators or windows where the sun comes in, helping to aid a quicker drying time.
Again, making the most of vertical space is essential, and adding a tall cabinet for housing detergent and spare linen can be a great way to store some items that mightn’t otherwise have a home.
10 – Integrate Unique Storage Solutions
Cabinets come in all shapes and sizes, and some storage solutions might not be anything more than just simple shelves on the wall. If it suits your style, you can go all out here and experiment with some lesser-seen styles, such as a zig-zag effect on the wall as seen in this inspiration picture.
As it’s the perfect spot for detergent and fresh linens, you can make your utility room look magazine-ready if you so wish. Having your laundry supplies on display will force you to keep things tidy, which can only be a good thing!
11 – Optimise Your Room With a View
Having a window in your utility room not only aids your time in that space mentally, but it’s a useful feature to allow for better ventilation and drying when clothes are out of the washing machine. If you are doing some hand washing at the basin, it can also be a welcome distraction to glance out of the window every now and again to see the wildlife outside—or even to see the rain and be thankful for being safe and dry indoors!
12 – Create Practicality With Thoughtful Placement
Keeping the laundry basket, detergents and clothes airers close to one another is a great time-saver, since this practical layout will save you from scrambling back and forth.
If your utility room shares double duty with another space like a kitchen or basement, you can use a dividing screen to block off drying laundry from your family and house guests.
13 – Keep Appliances Tucked Away
In homes where a separate utility room is possible, having the choice to simply close the door to the room while machines are running can be a blessing.
To make the most of the space, you can opt to continue your kitchen’s flooring into your utility room to create an unbroken eye line which will open up the space, keeping it looking sleek whether the door is open or closed.
14 – Make the Most of Your Indoor Drying Space
Sometimes, drying clothes outdoors simply isn’t possible. For those of us in unpredictable climates, more often than not our clothes will be dried inside to save us from the mad dash out to the washing line to get things in before they get drenched.
Opting for a light, warm spot to have the clothes airer can help clothes drying times, be that from the sunshine or a radiator. If the space allows for it, being able to space clothes out while drying is the best way to go to avoid any damp smells.
15 – Incorporate Easy-to-Integrate Cabinet Solutions
A washing machine in the kitchen can go unnoticed if it’s hidden behind an integrated cupboard. With the help of kitchen fitters, or done yourself if you’re handy with DIY, you can create an obscuring solution to add a cabinet door to the front of your washing machine to keep things sealed off and out of view.
This can be a great solution for homeowners who want an unbroken finish to their kitchen cabinets, but don’t have the space to put their washing machine in a different room.
16 – Create Your Very Own Laundry Station
Nestling your washing machine unit in between existing cabinets is a great solution if you are short on space. Installing a worktop above the unit gives a spot for folding or sorting laundry before and after washes, while clever nooks can be made on either side of the machine to aid the storage of detergents and other equipment.
Where possible, matching the colour of your washing machine to that of the surrounding cabinets and storage can help to make the space look clean and tidy, with the appliances making cohesive design sense in that location.
17 – Find Dual Purpose in Larger Spaces
Larger utility rooms can have several uses; laundry is one purpose, but you might also need your utility room for other cleaning and housekeeping reasons. Where space permits, you can have storage installed to house larger household items like ironing boards and vacuums, as well as tricky-to-store items such as mops and buckets.
If there is enough floor space, the utility room can also be used for jobs that might usually only take place outside, such as tinkering on a bicycle. Making your utility room a dual-purpose space is ideal for those days when the weather is less than cooperative.
18 – Lean into a Warm-toned Aesthetic
Bringing in a warm, cosy feel to a utility nook can help to enhance your mood while you’re working in the space. Mixing white appliances with a warm-toned wooden countertops, and other cosy items such as wicker baskets, can make the space a little haven.
Adding in a few houseplants will give a natural nod to the area, as well as oxidising the room to give some mood-boosting vibes, too.
19 – Utilise Even the Smallest of Nooks
A small space can be utilised well, and since washing machines are relatively uniform in size, you will quickly and easily be able to tell if the spare spot you have is large enough to house a washing machine.
You can extend the look of your kitchen cabinets by matching the work surface height with that of the washing machine, which is a handy tip to trick the eye into thinking the kitchen counters are greater in size than they actually are, which helps the washing machine to blend in a little more.
20 – Don’t Forget to Add a Splash of Colour!
In kitchens where the washing machine is on display permanently, it’s important to remember that you can decorate around it to add some of your personality to the space.
In the example image above, the homeowner has used a combination of blue and green tones to give a little vibrancy to the cleaning area, which helps to break up the expanse of neutral colours used in the rest of the room.
21 – Be Bold and Inventive With Your Storage Solutions
Storage heaven! There are pros and cons to open storage, but one of the main advantages is that it forces you to keep the shelves neat and tidy as there is no hiding them.
Instead of bracing for impact every time you go to open a too-full, too-stuffed drawer, with open storage you can not only see what item is where, but you won’t have drawers stuffed full to the brim. This gives your utility room a sleek appearance that will help you to keep on top of your supplies.
22 – Try a Monochromatic Style Out for Size
Utility rooms can be kept neat and tidy not only in the literal sense but also in their colour schemes. Keeping to a monochromatic scheme can further enhance this, keeping spaces clear from distracting and clashing colours, which adds a sense of calm and peace to a room.
Using complementary tones of the same shade can give a sense of depth to an otherwise plain room, with pure whites being mixed with off-whites and eggshell shades.
23 – Make a Below-Ground Laundry Haven
If your home has the luxury of a below-ground utility room, you can relax safe in the knowledge that you can keep the space a little messier than usual as people won’t venture down there as often as they might if your utility room was above ground.
Having a below-ground laundry room is also a great chance to further utilise the space with additional kitchen storage for surplus supplies of tinned goods and can be a welcome home for extra fridge or freezer units, too.
24 – Take Advantage of Bright and Airy Rooms
Keeping a simple colour scheme gives the impression of a larger, brighter, and more airy space.
White is a classic, clean choice for a utility room. Picking out accent colours from natural plants helps to soften the stark palette.
25 – Try Something New With Movable Storage
Utilising moving storage can be a great way to enhance productivity in a utility nook, helping you move from one spot to another without the risk of dropping errant socks on the way.
This can further be utilised to help to provide a surface to fold dry, clean clothes up on top of, or can even dual as an ironing spot.
26 – Appliances On Display? Rely On Tonal Features
You might not be able to hide your washing appliances from sight, but that doesn’t have to be a problem. By matching the dominant colour of the appliances to the main colour of the room, you can help your appliances blend in and appear less obvious.
In this example, the appliances have been picked out in grey to trick the eye into seeing another cabinet door, instead of a set of appliances.
27 – Enjoy Sleek, Streamlined Countertops
Considering the material for your utility room countertop can be important to make sure it stands the test of time after repeated use and exposure to washing detergents and other cleaning products.
Having something non-porous and easy to wipe down is a must to extend the lifetime of the countertop, as well as help make it look fresher for longer.
28 – Go Bold
Although the predominant colour of washing machines is white, other options are available—including more striking colour options! A black washing machine adds depth to the room, and will also be more forgiving if it is knocked by shoes or other items as marks won’t show up nearly as quickly as with their white counterparts.
In cases where you don’t want to hide away your washing machine, choosing a dark colour can make a bold statement instead, making it a focal point instead of something to cover up.
29 – Utilise Clever Storage Hacks and Nooks
Vertical height is a great advantage for any room, but none more so than in a utility room. Having a bespoke cabinet unit made up can really enhance your experience in the room and how you work in it.
With sections set out for drying clothes or hanging up shirts while they cool off, and clever storage nooks for loose items like clothes pegs and sewing equipment, you can keep useful items in one spot.
30. Seamless Integration? Get In the Know!
Matching the height of your kitchen worktops to that of your washing machine is a savvy solution for those homes wanting to integrate appliances into their kitchen. Matching the colour and tone of the cabinets is a must for situations like these, helping to keep the space looking sleek.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should Be In a Utility Room?
It can also be a handy place to keep outdoor items – such as walking boots or big winter coats and umbrellas – to keep them out of the way and to stop muddy or wet footprints creeping into the house.
How Do I Find Someone to Build a Utility Room?
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Alternatively, you can always ask a friend, neighbour, or family member if they know a tradesperson that they can recommend for the job.
How Can I Organise a Small Utility Room?
If you want a sleek finish, tucking washing machines away behind cupboard doors or curtains is a great way to go, while utilising the space above the fixtures to allow for extra storage of washing materials or a handy space to leave clothes out while they dry.
Maximising the vertical height in a small utility room is paramount for you to get the most out of the small space, using racks, cupboards and hooks to make sure every inch of your space is optimised.
Could a Utility Room Increase the Value of My Home?
Real Homes estimate that fitting out a utility room to the same specification as your existing kitchen can cost from £2,000, so it’s worth bearing in mind your return on investment so you don’t spend too much money on the space and struggle to recuperate it when you come to sell.