I have noticed in the past couple of months that any time I post a picture of our utility room it seems to attract a lot of attention and comments. Who would have thought that of all the rooms and interiors I post this would be in the top 5! It just goes to show the importance of the utility room to most women, and I’m assuming a few of my male followers 😊
Let’s face it, we all spend A LOT of time washing, drying and ironing clothes so it makes sense to have the best facility for housing this as possible. When we were designing our house a decent utility and boot room were high on the list of priorities, especially as we live in the countryside where there will be plenty of mucky boots coming and going on a regular basis. One of the most popular places to house a utility room is somewhere off the kitchen. The reasons for this are that you might want to add some extra storage in there that can act as a kitchen overflow, or you might want to keep your ironing away from all those kitchen smells. For me, I wanted a separate space that would have the washing machine, dryer, ironing board, pet food and storage away from the kitchen. It is also useful to put it somewhere close to an exit so that if you are going to hang clothes outside you have easy access to the line. Our utility and boot room are in our back hall, which leads into the kitchen. This means that the boots can be thrown off in the boot room, dirty clothes into the laundry next and then I let them back into the house, (just kidding! 😊)
The layout was hugely important in terms of how we were going to use the room. We wanted storage for the ironing board, shelves for all the washing powders and softeners (high enough to be out of the reach of kids), and extra storage for miscellaneous things like kids training kits etc. Nobody wants to look at all these things so if you can keep them behind closed doors then do. The washing machine and dryers are at a higher level so that it would save bending down constantly to load and unload them. Below them are areas for the laundry baskets. Then, above those are sliding drawers to sit them onto when loading the machines. This makes life so much easier day to day and it saves a lot of back ache. When I’m ironing, I just pop the basket onto the sliding drawer, and everything is within arm’s reach.
Another feature I love is the hang rail that we had installed. It means that as soon as something is ironed it can be put on a hanger and hung up straight away instead of trying to find a door knob to hang it off until you bring the clothes upstairs. All these little things are game changers in doing these daily mundane tasks. We have a Belfast sink in the corner of the room which is so useful too. I really think that if you can put a sink into your utility you should. It is great for handwashing clothes, emptying the container from the condenser dryer, hosing down mucky boots, or pets, and just doing other cleaning jobs that you’d prefer to keep out of the kitchen.
We went with a natural stone floor throughout our entire back hall and into the boot room and utility because we knew that this area was going to take some wear and tear so having something practical was key. I also loved how the stone already looked so worn. Even though we are living in a new build, we felt that this floor would make it look more lived in and authentic. The worktops are Silestone. We wanted something low maintenance in here as it is likely to take some spills and general weathering over time.
The colours we went for are probably quite popular in utility design. As ours isn’t a big room, I wanted to use a pale colour on the walls to make it feel a big bigger. We used LittleGreene French Grey Light in here and the units are painted in Farrow and Ball Light Blue. The same colour scheme was used in the boot room to keep a flow between the two. For lighting I found these Quarry pendants that had an old look to them so I thought they would be quite cool in this space. Again, I repeated these in the boot room.
So here are my 10 Tips in designing your Utility room!
- Make sure that there is a hot and cold-water supply and waste for the sink and washing machine and that there is ventilation for dryers.
- Decide whether you want the room to function as a boot room as well as a utility and if so, do you want to have room to hang coats too? This will help determine what size it will be.
- Ideally you will have space for a washing machine and dryer but if you don’t then either choose a combination washer/dryer or think about stacking them on top of each other.
- Choose practical flooring, something that will take some wear and is easy to clean.
- Choose low-maintenance worksurfaces that can endure spills and general hard use.
- Put in a deep sturdy sink that will be useful for all the practices mentioned above (handwashing, mucky boots etc.)
- Fit in as much storage as you can for both storing the ironing board and cleaning materials but also for those extra things you don’t want to keep in the main house like sports kits, shoes etc.
- Place the washer and dryer at eye level to make loading and unloading so much easier. Sliding drawers beneath these are a game changer.
- Add in the hang rail if you have room.
- If it is going to double up as a boot room, then add in a rack for shoes and some coat hooks for coats and jackets.
So that is the round up on our utility. I hope there will be something helpful in there to any of you building your home or renovating. One last thing, if you like podcasts, your time spent doing laundry doesn’t have to be boring. I always stick one on if I have a pile of ironing to get through. It makes me feel like my time is more productive in there and I learn something new at the same time! If podcasts aren’t your thing then pop on your favourite music and sing to your hearts content!