How To Plan A Utility Room

If you have children and endless washing, you’ll understand how much of a game-changer a utility room can be. And even if you think you don’t have space for one, there might ways around it. We asked some of the top interior designers how to make it work.

Be Clever With What You Have

“Clients often think they won't have room for a utility area, but you can be clever – you don't need to dedicate a whole room to it. It can be hidden away in wall-to-wall cupboards in a downstairs cloakroom, or in a landing cupboard. Currently, I’m working on a tiny 'boot room' in an entrance portico to shield the front door from the open plan living room, but there is still space for vintage shelving and a bench. It's good to keep the clutter of coats and boots out of the main living space if you can.” – Olivia Emery, interior designer

Review Your Daily Needs

“Design the space for your way of living. When planning an area such as a boot room or utility room, a good starting point is to write a list of how the room will be used. All too often we create spaces based on how we might use it, rather than how it will be used on a day-to-day basis.” – Charlie Horner, interior designer 

Pay Attention To The Joinery 

“Joinery is one of the most important elements to consider and you need to make the space work hard for you in terms of storage, so think carefully about how you will use it, as well as the design. Simple joinery looks good in these rooms – companies such as Plain English offer all the right inspiration. But little details such as a scalloped shelf, or doors panelled in grass cloth or cane look fabulous, too. Tongue and groove also works well.” – Katharine Paravicini, interior designer  

Plan Your Storage

“There are dedicated storage solutions for everything in my utility room. For example, there’s a pull-out bin with three sections: one for hand wash items, one for standard laundry and one for dry cleaning. Spice racks on the inside of cabinet doors allow you to see all the items at once, making it a much more user-friendly option than deeper shelves.” – Sophie Paterson, interior designer 


Size Up On The Sink 

“From hand washing clothes to cleaning muddy paws and boots, a big sink is essential. For a more traditional look, a butler style works really well, although for a more contemporary feel, Kast Concrete Basins are hard to beat.” – Charlie 

Don’t Underestimate Simple Additions

“We're big advocates of hooks all over the house, but it's especially important for entries and mud rooms, particularly those without lots of closed storage. It's also a quick and cheap way of adding functionality to a space.” – Sheena Murphy, interior designer 

Incorporate Seating Where Possible

“It is important in a boot room to have somewhere to sit and take your shoes off. The Dormy House do some lovely benches at a reasonable price in different colours, with hidden storage or open cubby holes, and you can add a cushion in any fabric to bring a bit of life to the space.” – Olivia 

Think Beyond The Utilitarian

“Although this room is a heavily used area which needs to be functional and practical, do look beyond it being purely utilitarian. For example, incorporate a display of pretty vases, and think about the artwork just as you would in other areas of the house. And don't discount thinking outside the box – wallpaper can look fantastic in these spaces.” – Katharine


Don’t Forget About Heating

“Quite often, boot rooms are in back hallways and people don't necessarily think about heating them too much. Think about where you want your heat source to come from – ideally, it would be fairly close to the coats and boots so when you come back dripping wet, they dry as quickly as possible.” – Olivia

Use Colour 

“It’s good to use colour, especially lighter shades, to open up the space. Warm-toned colours look beautiful next to burnished brass handles and taps, and as well as oak.” – William Durrant, designer and director at Herringbone Kitchens 

Elevate The Everyday

“There are so many wonderful hardware suppliers making everyday, usually mundane, items a joy to use. They will help make utility spaces work hard for you, as well as looking fabulous. My favourites are Labour and Wait and Dyke and Dean.” – Katharine

Think Carefully About Shoes

“It's great to have shelves for footwear but unless you have beautifully clean shoes lined up perfectly, you probably don't want to actually have them on show. Consider storing those within a cupboard or have drawers built for them.” – Sheena 

Add A Mirror

“Where you take coats and shoes on and off is usually your point of entry or exit into a home. Therefore, it makes sense to have a full-length mirror in that area so you can give yourself a quick once over before you leave the house.” – Sheena 

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