Utility rooms are all about being useful. And if your home is lucky enough to be blessed with one, make the most of that invaluable space with the best utility storage ideas. From finding clever solutions to storing your dirty washing and your ironing board to making your clothes horse disappear and keeping your floor free of muddy boots.
But just because a utility room has functionality at the heart of it, it doesn’t mean these 21st-century storage saviors can't be stylish. Not only do they need to be able to work hard (where else are you going to put your washing machine, tumble dryer, drinks’ fridge and second sink?). But they can also look swoon-worthy – even if you plan on shutting the door to clear the chaos.
So, what do you need to think about when you're planning the storage side of things in your utility room? As Interior Designer Aurélie Tshiama says, 'You have to think about your personal needs outside of your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and sitting room. We usually decipher what things our client needs on a day-to-day basis that are outside of the standard and the daily activities that contribute to the factors involved in the utility room. For example, if you’re a mother of two sons who play sport twice a week, how can your utility room cater to that?'.
To make the most out of your utility room, and mask the clutter elsewhere in the house, we've compiled a list of the most creative, clever, and charming utility storage room ideas that add – not take away – from your room's footprint.
Utility room storage ideas that add style and function
1. Conceal appliances behind beautiful cabinetry
Of the best ways to get the most storage out of your utility room and make it look uniform? Concealing your appliances behind laundry room cabinets. Not only can this storage trick make your utility look smart, it enables you to space save and make room for other pieces of storage or space for stylish (but still practical) shelving ideas.
As Adrian Bergman, Design Manager at British Standard by Plain English (opens in new tab) tells us, 'Utility rooms are often hardworking areas in the house, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful.
'We often conceal appliances behind our cupboards so that the joinery sings, without interruption from the white goods. The simple shelving unit above is labeled accordingly, organisation is the key to success!'
2. Keep things accessible with open shelving
Pretty and practical are two things we love when it comes to utility room design. Take this open shelving, for example, that's filled with storage containers and wicker baskets. It's ideal for stashing away all your fresh linen, laundry products, and your dishwasher tabs which you can reach super easily as and when.
'I love having open shelving in a laundry room,' Marie Flanagan (opens in new tab), award-winning interior designer, explains. 'Open shelving allows for grab-and-go organization. Place baskets or laundry hampers in the open shelving and give each basket a designated room or person.
'When folding clothes homeowners can immediately sort each item and place it in the designated hamper, making the process of putting laundry away simple and fast.'
3. Add valet rods to ensure clothes look their best
Easy, convenient, and an efficient use of space – save square footage in your utility room for valet rods and you'll never look back. Marie says, 'Valet rods are perfect solutions for spaces that don’t have an obvious function.
'Whether it’s a small corner of the space above your washer and dryer, a valet rod allows for additional hanging space for delicate items.'
4. Incorporate drying shelves
When it comes to your utility room, you really should be thinking about what you will be using it for. One thing's for certain, you'll be spending a lot of time in there doing laundry. This is why a drying shelf is worth its weight in gold.
'Drying shelves serve as both a place to dry delicates and fold your laundry,' Marie tells us. 'Having a folding surface, whether it’s built-in, or a wall mount is a great organizational benefit that is low-profile and easy to incorporate.'
The best drying shelves can carry quite a fair amount of weight. This makes them the perfect accompaniment to have in your arsenal come laundry day. Plus, when you’re finished, you simply push the shelves back in and no one would ever know.
5. Stack washers on top of each other
When in doubt, go upwards. If you have the budget and space to do so, why not invest in a washer and dryer and save space by stacking them on top of each other?
As Marie explains, 'If you have the room and the budget, double washers and dryers are the ultimate luxury for busy families.
'Stacking double washers and dryers make laundry efficient and quick, while saving space. If double appliances aren’t necessary for your household, think about stacking your washer and dryer to conserve space.'
6. Make it multi-functional
If you’re short of space in a small laundry room – make the most of every inch you have got. Even if you only have space for one storage unit, make it multi-functional so you can store just about everything and keep eyesores to a minimum.
Lauren Foster, Core Area Specialist of Kitchens at IKEA (opens in new tab) commented: 'Make the most out of your utility space with clever storage solutions that create a multi-functional working area.
'Making use of your wall space is an easy way to enhance storage and have everything you need close by. Our clever rail systems give you the option for hooks, containers and even hanging space for towels.
'With our wide range of storage boxes, you are able to choose a style that enhances your utility but makes sure everything has its place.'
7. Compartmentalise your cupboards
Too much storage? That's not a thing. But what separates good utility rooms from great utility rooms?
As Ben Hawkswell, Senior Design, Roundhouse (opens in new tab), tells us, 'A great utility is a compartmentalized utility – there should be a place for everything.
'Decide if you would like your laundry appliances side by side or stacked, and the implications on worktop space. Plan the room with your clothes drying requirements in mind, for example, if you would prefer a floor-standing drying rack or a ceiling pulley.'
We love this bespoke design from Roundhouse with its made-to-measure cupboards sitting snuggly around white goods and the shelving that has space for just about everything.
8. Invest in a drying cupboard
Make your storage solutions work harder than ever before. Instead of incorporating a cupboard that houses your dryer, why not opt for a cupboard that dries your clothes?
Introducing: this thermostatically controlled drying cupboard that was designed by Humphrey Munson (opens in new tab). This is a real hero if you’ve got a whole load of clothes that can’t go in the tumble dryer. And it works wonders on clothes that get easily creased, such as shirts or linen.
If you ask us, the fact it's hidden behind a cupboard just makes it even more appealing.
9. Maximise height
We can't all be blessed with inches of square footage. So if that's not the case, make the most of what you do have to play around with and extend your cabinets upwards to the ceiling of your room.
This makes space for items you don't need to reach every day – or every other day. But it still gives you the option to mask the clutter behind the cabinets.
Rajan Amin, CEO of Puzzle Kitchens (opens in new tab) says, 'Whether it is in the form of open storage above or taller wall units, go as high as you can.
'If you’re worried about access a safe and inexpensive solution is to get a concealed step ladder, it simply hides away behind the plinth when not in use!'
What should be in a utility room?
Utility rooms can house pretty much all of the everyday chaos you can't fit elsewhere. It could double up as a boot room or mudroom, house your coats and include built-in bench seating for removing welly boots.
Plus, if space allows it could be the place for a second laundry room sink, dirty laundry in baskets and your cleaning products.
As Interior Designer Aurélie Tshiama (opens in new tab) says, 'Your utility room should be where the mess goes and gets sorted out. The dirty clothes, the muddy shoes, the ugly box of electrics, the washing machine and dryer etc.
'All the things that drive the ecosystem of the home. And because utility rooms are so compact, having the right layout is important. '
How can you best organize a small utility room?
Small spaces can still be just as beautiful.
Sometimes, they can actually be even more so because of the amount of creativity that's needed to make the most out of your space.
Tshiama says, 'Getting organized is the key, thinking of your most important needs and separating the room in sections accordingly e.g. via the use of shelves. Or downsize containers where possible and label label label! Essentially, maximizing your space with smart small-space storage.'
We'd also suggest planning your utility room down to a tee before you start work on it to ensure you are really utilizing every inch where possible.
Wall-hung fittings will be a godsend because it effectively doubles up the amount of storage space you have. Another idea is to use sliding doors rather than an open and close door as this will take away – not add – to the amount of space you have.
How can you make your utility room look nice?
Don't underestimate the power of a great-looking utility room.
Yes, it might be the place you'll be doing some of the most arduous of household chores. But why not counterbalance that and make it one of the most calming rooms in your home? Add some potted plants, incorporate candles, and don't forget reed diffusers and pictures of happier times.
Tshiama top tips for adding some calm to the chaos? 'Keep it very simple and minimal and have everything in its place,' she says. 'Aesthetically and practically, neutral colors are great for reading labels easily and any instructions included. You want to make the utility room usable and accessible to everyone.'
Becks is a freelance lifestyle writer who works across a number of Future's titles. This includes Real Homes, Top Ten Reviews, Tom's Guide, TechRadar and more. She started her career in print journalism at a local newspaper more than 8 years ago and has since then worked across digital and social media for food, fashion and fitness titles, along with home interior magazines. Her own interior style? She's big on creating mindful spaces in every corner of her home. If it doesn't spark joy or happiness, it has no place here. When she’s not writing, she’s reading and when she’s not reading, she’s writing.
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