Planning the ultimate utility room

Some homes HAVE one and couldn’t do without it.  Other homes can often take it for granted.  Terms like “there is no need to worry about in there” or "that's just the utility" are used to best describe this space.

Other homes YEARN for one and will do everything they can to try and squeeze one in.

Image Credit: Bath Bespoke

Image Credit: Bath Bespoke

Like your kitchen and bathroom, your utility is a hardworking power room that should be designed with function and practicality in mind.  It might be tucked out of sight and out of bounds for your guests, but why shouldn’t it look as good as the rest of your home? 

We hope to help you create a utility that is uplifting, a place where you will want to spend time in - even when you are doing your laundry.

Our 5 top tips for designing your utility room

1. Utility Location, Location

So where is the best place to have your laundry room?

Due to the noise levels of washing machines and dryers, it is vital to locate it in a services area away from bedrooms and living spaces.  It may be located directly leading from your kitchen or pantry or perhaps off your garage.  A second access from your hallway can prove highly functional, but this is not always feasible.  Having ease of access to your rear is ideal to facilitate trips to and from the clothes line.

If you are unable to muster up enough space for a dedicated laundry room, simply work cleverly with your existing space.  You could integrate your utility into your kitchen or hidden behind a recessed area with custom cabinetry off the kitchen or in your hallway (but away from your relaxing living areas).

Image Credit: Keri Brown Homes.

Image Credit: Keri Brown Homes.

2. Appliances Rule

Given that your appliances do most of the hard grafting, you should choose them carefully and design your utility around them.  If you plan a beautifully designed utility space only later to discover that your dream washing machine won’t fit – it will be  a disaster (slight exageration, but you know what I mean)!

The features and benefits of washing machines and tumble dryers are continuously changing.  We are loving the recently advertised fabulous Samsung QuickDrive.

Image Credit: Samsung

Image Credit: Samsung

Now this is something you would like to give pride of place in YOUR utility.  Not only will it look great, it will reduce your work load – HAPPY DAYS!

When it comes to appliances, do your homework, and choose what best suits you (or your families) lifestyle requirements.

Think about whether you want a separate washer and dryer?  Do you want them hidden away (integrated) and/or stacked?  Do you have adequate ventilation? 

3. Utility Layout & Function

So how do you plan to use your utility?  What exactly are you hoping to store in it?  These are some of the questions you need to consider prior to nailing your ultimate layout!

Think of how YOU do your actual laundry……

Do you separate according to colour/labels, if so how many laundry baskets might you need?  Do you want these hidden out of sight?

We all have a certain way of approaching laundry (or maybe it’s just me)!  Having a separate basket for lights, whites, darks, wools, and towels is exactly how I like to do it!  Over the coming months, we will be planning our utility in our new build.  For me, I don’t mind a utility room looking like a utility room, once it’s orderly, bright, fresh, and a pleasant place to hang out.

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

Also ask the question, who else will be using the laundry room?

Think PROCESSES - what will make your job easier?  Ensure you have sufficient space to move around comfortably and have a place for everything that you require within easy reach.  In other words, anything that will help reduce crouching, bending, lifting and reaching. 

Do you normally fold laundry beside your dryer?  Do you place items of clothing on hangers and thus might require a suitable hanging rail? 

You may recall an episode of “Room to Improve” a few years back when one of Dermot’s clients insisted on having a larger utility space with a large hanging rail above her appliances.  In this instance Dermot bowed out defeated and his victorious client was delighted she held her ground and absolutely LOVED her new utility space (complete with her clothes hanging rail).  This is a great idea as it simply removes the need to iron most items (creases just fall out when hung correctly).  Anything that can reduce or eliminate IRONING time is a BIG PLUS in my book!

If you can have a sink, what size would you like?  Ensure your worktop are deep enough for your sink and appliances.  Having a dedicated area for hanging wet clothes can be partially useful so keep this in mind if square footage or layout allows.

If you can set up an easy access dedicated ironing station that can be folded up and hidden when not in use, this is ideal!  This should be ideally located close to your drying and dry hanging rail (if you have one).

4. Smart Storage

Sufficient storage is so important in your utility.  If well thought out, there is no reason why you can’t have a place for absolutely everything.  A combination of units, overhead and worktop space should do the trick.  A tall unit will house mops, brooms and a hoover. 

If budget allows you could fit-out your utility with the same units as your kitchen or custom-made cabinetry, which will help maximise every nook and cranny.  An off the shelf budget kitchen model if carefully planned will also easily do the trick.  Including some open shelving can jazz up this space and with some decorative pieces and a lush plant.

5. Utility Styling (The Tasty Bits)

NOT everyone will agree, but personally I feel that your utility room matters and should look equally as good as the other spaces in your home.  What is the harm in injecting some wow factor into this space?  When doing the ironing or laundry I want to enjoy my surroundings.  That said, there is no need to break the bank to achieve a pleasant utitly space.  Usually the square footage of your utility is minimum, so why not choose some drop dead gorgeous encaustic decorative floor tiles – for instant visual impact!

Image Credit: B&Q

Image Credit: B&Q

Avoid turning your utility room into a dumping ground by ensuring you have a specific space for everything.   If you have pets, consider their bits and bobs and for other family members think of their hobbies and associated paraphernalia.  Aim to keep your floors as clear as possible by getting everything hung as this will facilitate cleaning.

Depending on your home layout, if you can connect your upper floor directly to your laundry space via a laundry shoot, this will prove most useful.  Planning is so important, so working specifically with your room layout and working around limitations is vital.

Natural lighting is ideal but not always possible.  Don’t just place a standard ball light fitting, choose a light fitting that will add interest and compliment the rest of this space!  Hang some quirky pictures on the wall space, store your clothes pegs and washing powder in glass labelled storage jars.  Introduce some lush leafy plants to add life and vibrancy.

Image Credit

Image Credit

BEST OF LUCK with creating your luxe utility space!  Make sure that that you can SHOW OFF as appose to CLOSE OFF your utility when guests call round!

Need help planning your new utility space, just get in touch with Placelift for a chat 01 2548070.
Clodagh Doyle