Utility room ideas: How to make it a calm space you won't want to shut the door on

Utility room ideas that will work for you, whether you're still it the planning or dreaming stages, or trying to avoid that growing pile of ironing.


I was recently in a utility room that totally blew my mind. It was in the top-floor eaves of a family home, not rammed into the side of a kitchen or overflowing from under the stairs. Next to the boiler, clothes dried in a heartbeat and weren’t waiting patiently on the sofa and dining room table to be returned to their bedrooms.

You’ll have to wait for the next issue of Image Interiors & Living to find out all about the project (it’s on shelves from February 25) but it did get me thinking about utility rooms and how little consideration they’re given.

Here are a few ideas for your utility, whether you’re just drawing up plans or wishing that the room (and its mountain of ironing) would just disappear.

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A utility room is still a twinkle in my eye...

Aside from considering the frankly genius idea mentioned above, there are a few ways to get your soon-to-be (or imaginary) utility in order.

If it absolutely has to be on the ground floor, consider a laundry shoot, it's especially handy if you have kids. Clean and dirty clothes tend to mingle on their bedroom floor until they're all the same level of mustiness. Make their life (and yours) a little bit easier by giving them an easy-out of dumping their laundry through a handy shoot – otherwise, they might never make it to the washing machine.

We have a utility room but it’s more of a dumping ground…

Start thinking about storage. Generally, we don’t have much room to give towards a utility room, which means you should make the most of it. Using every single bit of space here is crucial, and it’s a great spot to put things you don’t use often but don’t want to go musty in the attic either. Think spare duvets, sheets, towels and sleeping bags. The corner unit in my parents' utility had a false bottom and it made for the perfect hiding place for Santa presents growing up (it went entirely undetected despite years of co-ordinated sibling searches).

Consider too what it is you need to store. If yours in a busy sports house with boots, rugby balls, helmets and hurls littering the floor, then factor that in. Make sure there’s a home for everything you’d like to store in a utility room; a standing closet for winter coats and brooms and mops; a wide deep shelf for the hoover so you don’t need to take it apart every time. Even a doggie bed for your snoozing pooch. Thinking about these things early on will pay off later.

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Clothes horses are another thing that can take up space and cause an eyesore. A pulleymaid might be an old-fashioned idea but it’s ideal for freeing up floor space and drying clothes quickly.

I have €100 to spend on my utility, can you help?

If your utility is a few wrecked-looking units from the old kitchen, why not paint them? It’s great practice if you’re thinking of changing up the kitchen and will breathe so much life into the place with relatively little expense. You can read our expert’s guide to painting kitchen units here.

Next is to invest in three, good-sized baskets: to wash, to iron, to go. Hopefully, they’ll prevent your utility room looking like a clothes explosion every time you open the door and help you keep track of what needs your attention.

Finally, if all else fails, invest in a label maker and label the living daylights out of everything. It’ll (hopefully) encourage everyone to put things where they ought to be and even if they don't end up where they're meant to, it’ll at least have the appearance of being organised.

All imagery: Neptune

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