Everybody we talk to about reconfiguring or extending their kitchen/ living space wants a utility room built into their plans at the moment. Maybe it’s because most of our clients are families with children (i.e. lots of laundry!) or that we’re up north and generally a bit more outdoorsy. Whatever the reason, we’re finding ourselves having to think about the placement of the utility room and where it’s best placed for functional purposes whilst maintaining the flow and space.
Most utility rooms we’ve come across are usually housed on the ground floor, either in a side return extension or as a separate room created off the kitchen. But, whilst we were viewing properties with friends recently we came across a first-floor utility room next to the bathroom, which we thought was an interesting twist on it!
So, it got us thinking about the types of things you need to think about when designing a well-functioning utility room.
Image from Rightmove
What do you want to do in your utility room?
For some it’s purely laundry, for others it’s more of a boot room with a bit of storage as well as the laundry thrown in for good measure. If it’s purely laundry you need it for then maybe the first-floor utility idea might be for you. Given that most people’s laundry baskets are housed on the same floor as their bedrooms and that clean laundry goes back into those same bedrooms then it does make sense.
However, for most of us a ground floor or lower ground floor utility room is a must as it needs to serve as an entrance/exit for those muddy boots, or needs to be close to the kitchen or other parts of the house on the ground floor with easy access to plumbing.
But that doesn’t mean it should be a new room plonked next to the kitchen, or a space carved out of an old garage etc. which is what we often find when we visit people’s homes. Of course, that’s where they may end up, but that should be down to it being designed that way and that it works with the flow of the house, not because it’s easier that way.
What do you need to house in your utility room?
Nobody likes ugly appliances on show in their kitchens so hiding the washing machine and tumble dryer is a must! And finding space for your vacuum cleaner and ironing board is hard without eating into precious space elsewhere. And, if you’re like 95% of the population you’ll have all sorts of other things you need to store that don’t have a natural home anywhere else.
The humble utility room, usually being the smallest room in the house, then becomes a jack of all trades and often becomes a dumping ground. If you do want a utility room to serve multiple purposes, you’ll benefit from zoning different areas of the space for different purposes. This is something we’ve just done for a family in north Leeds who are planning to build a side extension. This area needed to work hard for this active, outdoorsy family of four and so we designed a long corridor space with 3 clearly defined zones (boot room, laundry/storage, pantry) separated by shorter stud walls, meaning they weren’t small separate rooms but were separate spaces in a larger overall space.
Who’d have thought a first-floor laundry room would inspire us to think so much about utility spaces?! So, before you go-ahead and create that utility room, make sure you really think about what you want it to achieve and design it with that purpose in mind. This is always the way in which we work, we always identify how a family want to live in their space and create designs that allow the space to work for them. And don’t forget, you can also make a utility room look stylish too, just look at this one from Katie Woods.
If you are thinking about how to renovate your home and need some help or inspiration, do get in touch with us here. And don't forget to follow us via Instagram, Facebook and our upcoming blogs.