How to design the perfect utility room

It’s a part of the home that’s synonymous with the soft and comforting hum of the tumble dryer and the pleasant scent of fabric conditioner. Intended for laundry care, storing cleaning products and generally keeping the clobber away from the rest of the home, a utility room can play a key role in tidy living…

Along with boot rooms and sculleries, functional and stylish utility rooms are becoming a popular trend. Day-to-day it can be one of the hardest working parts of the house, a room that’s constantly on the go behind the scenes to keep a regular supply of fresh bed linen in cupboards and spotless school uniforms in wardrobes. The utility room is where life’s clutter can be kept hidden away from other areas of the home, leaving larger, open-plan rooms like kitchens to feel tidy and ordered.

{ utility; noun.

the state of being useful, profitable or beneficial. Functional rather than attractive.


Should a utility room just be functional rather than attractive? Those with a penchant for interior design know that unrivalled décor can be incorporated into the most functional of rooms. The effects of a stylish and perfectly organised design can be powerful, having an uplifting effect on the way you do your household chores.

A utility room should look bright, clean and ordered. Create a pleasant room that you want to go into, rather than a chaotic space that builds up with laundry that you will inevitably want to avoid.

Playing with colours and patterns

A relatively effortless way to enliven a space is to use colour and patterns, which is never a bad thing to have in a smaller room like a utility room. Our new Encaustic Patchwork Satin floor tiles will draw the eye and frame the space, bringing a fun element to the room’s design. What’s more, they are easy to clean and excellently suited to a room that has to endure water splashes, spilled cleaning detergents and muddy socks.

When carefully positioned, pictures on the walls can bring a unique character and flair to a space like a utility room, which wouldn’t typically have decorative items and helps it to stop feeling overly sterile or clinical. Take advantage of the room’s smaller size and paint the walls in a colour that excites you but is a little outside your comfort zone. It’s easier to take the plunge with a room that isn’t seen by guests, which can be effortlessly repainted if you change your mind.

Fine cabinetry can add a sumptuous touch, concealing hefty appliances like washing machines and tumble dryers to leave the room looking neat and minimal.

Whatever decoration scheme you opt for, make sure the room still meets the needs of your family home. Here’s what you might need to consider when designing the perfect utility room…

Smart laundry classics

Traditional utility rooms are a multi-tasking area but their main function is for laundry and garment care, so the design needs to accommodate for your own requirements. If you have a large family, consider installing multiple washing machines so heavy laundry loads can be turned around quickly, or separate washes for delicates or whites can be done at the same time.

Adequate worktop space is a must for accommodating numerous washing baskets and folded piles of clothes. You want to make sure there’s enough room for laying out larger items like trousers and coats that might need mending or stain removal treatment.

Add some functional items that let you hang washed clothes up to dry while keeping the floor space clear. Clothes horses are cumbersome and awkward to fold away, so install pull-out drying racks, retractable clothing lines, a vintage lazy Mary or multiple brass rails.

A butler sink can be a smart feature for larger utility rooms and is ideal for rinsing off mud-caked football boots, sponging down silk garments, or leaving items to soak. Style with dainty soap dishes, rustic wooden scrubbing brushes and homespun towels.  

Strategically placed in the home

The room needs to have access to water pipes and power points but it doesn’t necessarily need to be downstairs. It makes a lot of sense for the room to be located close to bedrooms and bathrooms, meaning you can say goodbye to hauling heavy laundry baskets full of ironed and folded clothes up and down the stairs.

Effective ventilation will prevent a damp and stuffy atmosphere, making your utility room a bright and breezy part of the home where your clothes will air dry in quick time. Windows will let natural light stream into the room but extractor fans and core drilled vents will also work well.

Get serious with storage

Clever storage will make your utility room a tidy and orderly space, helping to maintain a calming and clean feel. Make sure there are enough designated spaces for everything you intend on keeping in your utility room, from laundered bed linen to spare dusters and marigolds. 

Some everyday utility room items can make rather attractive displays if arranged on shelves, such as rows of wicker baskets, glass mason jars filled with lavender washing tablets or stacks of white fluffy towels. Put rustic clothes pegs and natural soaps on show to highlight the room’s theme.

Cupboards are better for hiding away garishly coloured bottles of cleaning products and other miscellaneous clutter. Opt for cupboards with adjustable shelves which can be arranged to fit longer items like hoovers, ironing boards, steamers and ceiling dusters.  

A neat and tidy utility room which has been thoughtfully designed is just the thing for a busy family home. With some handy features, quality flooring and stylish touches, you can have a flawless space that works on both a functional and aesthetic level.