Utility room, laundry room, mud room. Whatever you want to call it, the utility room is such an important space, it can have a huge impact on how you plan and use your home. It is often referred to as the “engine room” of a house, a place where you do all your boring chores like laundry and cleaning and can hide away your washing machine, tumble dryer and boiler.
Even though utility rooms are often one of the smallest rooms in the house, if you plan it right, they can be a fabulous place to squeeze in a lot of extra storage space. They can help take away the mess from the kitchen and make it feel less cluttered by keeping all your cleaning equipment like mops and buckets in a dedicated cupboard.
It can also be a laundry room so you can keep your freshly washed clothes and bed linen away from the grease and grime of a kitchen.
We had a utility room when we moved into our current house (read about my plans for our house renovation here) and it was a decent size (200cm x 170cm), with the washing machine, plenty of worktops and several cupboards cleverly packed into the space. There was also a large cupboard where we could store our vacuum cleaner and mops and a door out to the garden.
When I planned our new house renovation and extension, having a large utility room was a must. We quickly realised that by knocking down our double garage and extending the house out at the back, we would be left with a considerable space to create a large utility room.
We also realised that we had the potential to create an annexe along the side of the house. This would include a bedroom and bathroom and by cleverly working the utility so that it could potentially be a galley kitchen, we would be able to Airbnb the annexe out. Our utility room would have to work hard!
Utility room plans
With our extension plans in place and our builder ready to go, I had to start thinking about the layout and design of our utility. The utility itself would be 210cm x 500cm, so it was a large space. It also had a door leading straight out onto the garden so it would also double up as a mud/boot room.
As we live on the beach, I wanted this room to be a place where we could hang all our beachwear, body boards and other equipment needed for a day on the beach. The idea would be, we could come in through the back gate and straight into the utility, hang up all our beach stuff and go straight into the downstairs bathroom to wash the sand off!
Giving the utility a separate entrance to the rest of the house would also mean our Airbnb guests would be able to walk down the path on the right-hand side of the house and have their own entrance.
Finally, we decided to go with underfloor heating as this would free up more wall space and it would be beneficial for when we use a clothes drier in this room in the colder, wetter months.
Utility room requirements
The utility room had to work for us as a family as well, so with it’s many uses in mind, I made a list of what we would need to put in there –
- Room for washing machine
- Tall cupboards for vacuum cleaner, mop and cleaning equipment
- Plenty of storage
- Fridge freezer which could be a spare one for family use and emptied for guest use
- Bench and coat hooks for beach stuff and somewhere for guests to put their coats and shoes
- Potential for a drop-down table and 2 chairs for guests
- A countertop hob so guests can cook, but it can be hidden away
- Pulley clothes airer
- Underfloor heating to free up more wall space
With our requirements listed out, I set about designing the utility room. I knew before we even started knocking walls down that I wanted a dark navy utility room. I love dark units but didn’t want my kitchen to be completely dark as this room is north facing and I thought it would be too gloomy.
I also knew that I wanted a tiled pattern floor. As the utility room tends to be a smaller version of the kitchen, I think it’s a fabulous space to be creative and go for it with your design ideas.
I wanted the utility to flow easily from the kitchen, so we went with the same Howdens handles and taps in brushed brass. We also put in several brushed brass power sockets in keeping with the kitchen.
We put in a large window as I wanted to maximise the light coming into this room as it is north facing. We also added a glass door that matched the bifold doors to the kitchen so that it all looked uniform from the garden.
Finally, I decided to add a glass door from the kitchen into the utility so light would be able to flood in from both directions.
Choosing the utility hardware
We worked with Howdens to put in our kitchen and decided to use them to do our utility room as we were impressed with the quality of their products and had used them before.
We went with Howdens Chelford Navy units and the same Silestone white marble quartz worktop as the kitchen. As we tend to do a lot of cleaning and laundry in this room, we wanted a large sink so went with the Lamona single bowl ceramic white sink.
We also went with a Lamona integrated fridge freezer which is nicely hidden behind the Chelford doors which keeps this utility room symmetrical!
With the units being dark navy, I thought it best to keep the rest of the room neutral and bright so we decided to tile the walls with a white metro tile.
I had some herringbone style wallpaper left over from our last house which would look perfect! As the wallpaper didn’t need to go around the sink, I used this to create a tile effect and it saved us around £500!
As I said before, I knew I wanted patterned flooring so I spent many hours scrolling through the internet. I fell in love with some tiles, but they were going to cost in the region of £500.
I found a similar pattern in the form of vinyl from onlinecarpets.co.uk and they look like tiles! Another saving bonus.
I have a real passion for biophilic design and I wanted to add lots of natural elements to this room with lots of natural materials and plants. I decided to put some open shelving in here, just like our kitchen, so I could add wicker baskets to pop in all the odd bits and bobs from day to day like tea towels, napkins, light bulbs and tablecloths.
Useful utility tips
The utility room is a space for organised chaos! With cleaning equipment and products and laundry to organise, I wanted easy access to everything.
I added a wire basket underneath the shelves from Dunelm to store all the odd socks (like how? How have we got so many odd socks?!?). I bought a laundry tin to keep my washing powder looking pretty and added a metal pole from IKEA to hang up all our cleaning brushes and cloths.
That’s all there is to it really! It is always a lovely bonus to have space for a utility room and if you can reconfigure your house to add one, it is 100% worth it!
Our utility room helps keep all the day to day clutter out of our kitchen and it is nice to be able to close the door and walk away from all the mess that comes with cleaning your house. Ironic really!
Which feature is your favourite?
In Part 2 of our utility, I will be explaining the opposite wall and my plans to install boot room inspired cupboards and a drop down table!