Utility room ideas – 31 inspiring ways to create a practical, stylish and organized space

Utility room ideas – Inspiring ways to create a practical, stylish and organized space

Utility room ideas that make yours a supremely practical space are essential. But it’s also vital that a utility room is stylish as well as smart, so it’s not just a room with functionality, but has some flair too.

Utility rooms are often located off the kitchen and, if that’s the case, you’ll also want to consider how the two areas complement one another for a harmonious feel when you’re deciding on a new design.

Browse these utility room ideas for inspiration on layouts, looks, storage, design ideas and more. You can then save the best options for your space and whether you’re creating the room for yourself or working with a designer, they’ll provide the starting point you need.

Make space for all the tasks you want to carry out and ensure your space is a pleasure to spend time in with these utility room ideas. Whether you are looking for inspiration for larger spaces or small utility rooms, we have plenty of ways to create yours.

Look on the bright side

Transform a mundane space for household chores into an uplifting room to be in. This cabinetry by Guild Anderson has been painted in Benjamin Moore’s bright and cheery Sunray shade, and the room is further enhanced by the natural light which floods through the windows.

If you are unsure of experimenting with bold kitchen color then the utility room is a prime opportunity to let your creative side flourish.

While you don’t need to add too many decorative elements, if you have young children it might be a fun idea to incorporate a chalk noticeboard to leave pictures and messages on.

(Guild Anderson)
Take a cost-effective approach

More often than not, homeowners will update or create a new utility room at the same time as redesigning their kitchen. While this can be a cost-effective plan, it’s likely that the bulk of the budget will be weighted to the kitchen as this will be seen and used the most.

‘Where countertops are concerned, if you’ve gone for a beautiful quartz or similar in the main kitchen, you could consider choosing a similar look in a more cost-effective finish for the utility room,’ suggests Julia Trendell, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchens.

‘Laminates, for example, have many marble-esque, granite and even sparkle-flecked options that can echo your kitchen choice perfectly.’

(Benchmarx Kitchens)
Choose vinyl flooring that's up to the task

Your space may double up as a boot room or dog-grooming zone, which means it should stand up to mud and wear and tear. Opting for vinyl flooring is not only an affordable option, but a practical one, too.

Luxury vinyl tiling is also resistant to chemical stains and water, so can be cleaned easily and frequently. Fortunately these days there are plenty of finishes to choose between, from those mimicking wood and stone to playful patterned that add a splash of decoration while disguising pesky footprints.

Look out for vinyl floor tiles, as opposed to rolls which are prone to warping, with a wear guarantee as standard for longevity.

Coordinate with the kitchen

'We find most homeowners replicating the look and feel of their kitchen in the utility room – same worktop and colour scheme, with perhaps a twist on the handles,' says Matt Baker, kitchen designer at Harvey Jones.

When planning your cabinetry, be sure to incorporate rails, open utility room shelving and baskets, to avoid the small space feeling cramped with too many wall cabinets.

'Box shelving is a great way to open up a wall and create storage, and can be painted to match the cabinets or highlight a favourite colour from within the room,' suggests Matt.

(Harvey Jones Kitchens)
Glow up

If your utility room sits in an area of the house where there is little or no natural light, think carefully about different ways to illuminate the space.

As well as your standard overhead light, why not add under-cabinet strip lighting and task lighting to add a shine to your chores? With no windows, it is a good idea to consider installing additional ventilation too, as heat and moisture are likely.

Vented tumble dryers will need to be installed next to an external wall. If this isn’t possible, you will need to opt for a condenser tumble dryer instead.

(Mark Wilkinson)
Create a view to the utility room

Utility rooms are usually hidden away behind a door, but consider creating a permanent visual link between the two spaces instead. ‘We wanted to establish a clear separation between the kitchen and the utility whilst still retaining a sense of cohesion between the two spaces,’ says Richard Moore, Design Director, Martin Moore of this family home refurbishment project.

‘We installed tall Crittall doors to give the owners a clear run from the utility room through to the kitchen and dining area, meaning they can keep an eye on their young children whilst cooking or sorting out laundry. It also allows natural light to stream throughout the space.‘

The room was given its own distinct character, however, painted kitchen cabinets finished in a deep charcoal gray shade and a dramatic floor.

(Martin Moore)
Opt for a sizeable sink

A sink of generous proportions could be a good choice for a utility room with the uses it’s put to different from those in the kitchen.

‘A butler sink is a good choice for a utility room as it’s deep enough to soak laundry in, clean dirty boots in and, due to the ceramic finish, it is also very easy to keep clean,’ says Richard Davonport, Managing Director and Founder of Davonport. ‘They are historically the type of sink that was designed for the butler’s pantry in London (hence the name), so they nod to this heritage and are aesthetically a nice focal point.’

Surprise with cabinetry color

The choice of color for cabinetry can lift a utility room and contribute to a scheme that’s attractive rather than merely functional.

‘This pink utility room is just off a neutral kitchen,’ explains Matt Baker, Kitchen Designer at Harvey Jones. ‘We agreed with the homeowners to create something a little different from the kitchen and chose a more playful shade to inject character. The light pink hue paired with a modern style of cabinetry looks fresh and contemporary and brightens up a slightly darker space.’

In fact, a utility room can be the ideal venue for a color choice you might be hesitant to make elsewhere in your home. ‘They’re usually hidden away and we don’t spend enough time in them to get bored of a bolder color scheme,’ says Matt.

(Harvey Jones)
Hang wallpaper

Utility rooms are really receptive to bold decorating styles. It is also a great space to experiment with decor if you are a little apprehensive because it is not a room you have to stay in for long lengths of time.

'Strong colors and patterns can work well in a smaller space – perhaps matching the accent color used within the main kitchen,' suggests Richard.

Also consider echoing the kitchen cabinet design but in a different finish to achieve good continuity and flow between spaces, particularly if there is open or glazed access between the two. This space which showcases the celebrated Tema e Variazioni design from Fornasetti.

Displaying clear glass objects in front of the paper keeps it highly visible, while silver finishes harmonize with the wallpaper’s colorway with the result that the room feels rich in interest rather than merely practical.

(Future / Lisa Cohen)
Consider counter materials

The counters of a utility room need to be hard wearing and hygienic - just as they are in the kitchen. Choosing the same material for both spaces is an option for continuity and is ideal if you're looking for utility room ideas that will make the two spaces feel linked.

Julia Brown, Design Director, Mowlem & Co, Newcastle, opted to use the same white Carrara marble she did for the wall run of kitchen cabinets in this utility room. ‘Some projects cry out for a beautiful blend of all the finest ideas, materials and solutions – especially when ample space allows,’ she says.

Using a natural material that will always have a unique appearance for the counter contributes to the character of the room, and the pale marble is combined with this tongue and groove, hand-painted kitchen cabinets as part of an overall subtle color scheme in soft blue, grey and white.

(Mowlem & Co)
Incorporate unfitted furniture

Cabinets made bespoke for a utility room can maximize every inch of space and provide a design that suits exactly the uses and precisely the storage demands on the room. However, it’s also worth considering introducing a freestanding piece of storage furniture for a characterful finish.

Antique linen cupboards, along with furniture used by previous generations for other storage purposes, retain their usefulness today with internal layouts that provide adequate space for folded linens and towels.

Size up to a design that extends towards ceiling height to utilize otherwise dead space in the room. Width-wise, be sure to measure how much space is needed to open the doors, especially in a narrow room and where storage is placed opposite front-loading laundry appliances.

(Future / Simon Brown)
Pick terracotta for a farmhouse feel

A utility room is a high traffic area requiring hard-wearing and durable flooring. It should also be able to cope with splashes, and prove easy to clean. For this room, the homeowners picked terracotta.

‘Used on walls and floors for centuries, terracotta tiles have never gone out of fashion,’ says Hamish Smith, Creative Director, Artisans of Devizes. ‘A timeless look perfect for classic and contemporary interior projects, this rustic surface solution has seen a huge surge in interest with consumers, designers and architects alike.’

Terracotta is also a sound choice for adding texture to a scheme that contrasts with the smooth surfaces of counter and cabinetry for decorative richness.

(Artisans of Devizes)
Make it streamlined

Stacking front-loading laundry appliances can be a space-saving strategy. Designed-for-purpose cabinetry is essential to support the weight and be mindful, too, that the top machine’s height needs to be convenient for operation by all the room’s users.

Flat-fronted cabinets can keep the look of a utility room contemporary, and handleless options can also be a sound choice in smaller spaces where every inch counts. This design by Scavolini features an integrated sink and pull-out washboard as well.

'If families have the space and budget, we recommend incorporating two washing machines and two dryers so laundry can be processed in half the time,' says Richard Moore. 'For a recent project we were asked to accommodate some commercial laundry machines, which offer much larger capacities than domestic. Commercial clothes steamers have also become quite popular for eliminating trips to the dry cleaner. An extra fridge, freezer and dishwasher is a real luxury, especially if you entertain on a large scale, and can often be tucked away in the utility.'

Think about an open arrangement

A utility room that’s a zone of the kitchen rather than a separate room could be a convenient alternative to one that’s closed off and behind a door.

‘When a utility room opens to a kitchen it can provide many benefits,’ says Graeme Smith, Head of Retail & Commercial Design at Life Kitchens.

‘Often a utility room contains many items that we need at hand on a daily basis, so having this close to the kitchen is handy as you’ll be able to easily access things you need. In addition to this, having a utility room connected to a kitchen helps to free up space for kitchen storage ideas.'

If you opt for this arrangement, consider the noise levels of appliances to avoid laundry cycles intruding on activities in the kitchen.

(Life Kitchens)
Plan storage that conceals

As an alternative to tidying the items kept in a utility room behind cabinet doors consider slide-out options. ‘We often recess pigeon holes and shelving into the cabinetry to insert wicker baskets, which not only look great but provide a convenient place to keep light bulbs, laundry detergent and other bits and bobs which might clutter up a home,’ says interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch of Sims Hilditch.

Slide-out storage has the advantage that you can take it right out of the place where it’s stashed for best access to the contents. Kits for cleaning or for repairing clothes, for example, can also be easily carried to where they’re needed.

(Sims Hilditch)
Cater for different activities

A utility room can be far from merely a laundry space, and is handy for arranging flowers fresh from the garden as well as shop-bought varieties. If yours fulfills this function, follow this room’s lead with counter-top storage dedicated to vases of different sizes and shapes to suit all your displays accessible right where you’re arranging for maximum convenience.

This slim cupboard leaves space to work on the counter, and adds pretty detail with its rustic wire front.

(Future / Mark Scott)
Experiment with materials and finishes

Think about including a range of textures and finishes in your utility room ideas for added interest.

Glazed cabinets can be part of the mix just as they are in the kitchen, provided you pick the right glass:

‘The reeded glass units make the space feel lighter and add interest to the cabinetry,’ says William Durrant, owner of Herringbone Kitchens of this design. ‘In addition it adds a new texture and helps with obscuring the glass so you don't have to be too tidy behind it.’

The Belfast sink adds attractive and tactile detail to the scheme, too, while pink tiles laid in a herringbone pattern add subtle color and shimmer.

(Herringbone Kitchens)
Dress the window

Utility rooms can often be window-less spaces but if you’re fortunate enough to have a room with a window, there’s the opportunity to use an attractive treatment. A Roman shade will add a softer note to a scheme of hard surfaces, hanging in soft pleats.

It can be a good strategy to follow this room’s example by fixing it above the window so it doesn’t obstruct any of the daylight when it’s pulled up and leaves the space brighter.

Interior plantation shutters can be a fabulous alternative. These allow light and privacy to be finely regulated, can block bright sunlight as necessary to prevent the space overheating, and are easy to clean as well.

(Future / Davide Lovatti)
Fit a laundry chute

Weave solutions into your utility room design that will make life more convenient for you.

This one would also make a great laundry room as it has a laundry chute: ‘It runs directly from the boys’ bedroom which is one floor above,’ explains Richard Moore, Design Director at Martin Moore. 'It means that the laundry doesn’t have to be carried through the kitchen.’

The room’s cupboards boost the ease of use of the space, too, with purpose-fitted interiors providing storage for an ironing board, and space for keeping linens pristine.

(Martin Moore)
Introduce pattern at floor level

One of the best opportunities for indulging in a love of pattern when designing a utility room is to bring it to the floor, which provides the largest canvas in a room fitted with cabinets and laundry appliances.

Here the patchwork-style tiles make the space enticing to enter into. They also pick up a warm shade that links to the wallpaper of the hallway beyond for a cohesive feel.

As with kitchen tiles, tiling a utility will prove an easy to maintain finish and will stand up to splashes of water.

(Future / Jody Stewart)
Make a small utility room feel bigger

In a compact area, cabinetry raised up on legs will create a more expansive feel as the floor can be seen from one side of the room to the other. Hiding the appliances by fitting them into purpose-made cabinetry can also make the space feel larger by concealing their bulky shapes behind doors.

Taking this route is also a great way to put the emphasis on the room’s furniture rather than its practical elements, making for a more decorative scheme.

To boost storage in a small utility room where opportunities to add it are few, take a leaf from the designer of this space and fit shelves on the side of tall cabinets.

(Future / Polly Eltes)
Choose warm metals

To give a hard-working room a warmer note, consider a faucet in a warm metallic finish rather than a cool version. This Perrin & Rowe Phoenician mixer has an aged brass finish that will have enduring style, and it’s teamed with tactile porcelain lever handles.

Designed by Humphrey Munson, the utility room has cabinetry handles with the same warm tone, and a Miele washing machine and dryer set behind cabinet doors in a smart symmetrical arrangement either side of the sink.

(Paul Craig / Miele)
Make space for a large sink

It's easy to think you don't need an additional sink in a utility room, particularly if you have a double sink in the main kitchen area. But a large sink is key to well-functioning utility room.

'Alongside plumbing for laundry appliances, a large Belfast style sink is invaluable for all the tasks one would prefer not to carry out in the main kitchen,' says Richard Moore.

'Go as big as you can accommodate to cater for pre-soaking clothes and flower arranging, as well as hiding dirty pots and pans when entertaining!'

(Penny Wincer)
Make space for arranging flowers

If you’re a keen flower grower then why not let your utility room double as a space to cut and arrange home-grown blooms? Often located off a main kitchen or living area with access to the garden, utility rooms are well placed for setting down buckets full of stems, or, if you’re a budding florist, you could even create a dedicated flower room.

When it comes to designing a flower room a large, deep sink is a must for plunging flowers into water to keep them from wilting, as is ample worktop space laying out stems into groups ready for arranging. Rather than opting for cupboard space consider installing plenty of open shelving to store vases – this will make them easily accessible and can make a beautiful display. Think about having hooks for twine and, scissors and secateurs as well as hooks overhead for drying flowers. Alternatively, a pulley clothes dryer could work just as well.

(Vanrenen GW Designs)
Use robust finishes

Fitting tongue and groove paneling finished in a durable, wipeable paint finish can make a practical wall treatment in boot rooms and utility rooms as they can be subject to a lot of spills, knocks and bumps. Opt for an eggshell paint suited for interior woodwork such as Little Greene’s Intelligent Eggshell pictured here in pretty Pea Green.

A handy seat for taking shoes off and on is a brilliant way to make the most of forgotten corners while the space underneath can be used to store boots or picnic hampers. It’s also worth thinking about making the most of the wall space by adding hooks and a tall shelf.

(Dan Duchara)
Opt for bespoke joinery in a boot room

If you're looking to create a practical boot room then it goes without saying that effective storage is key. Bespoke joinery is the best way to get the most from your space as it can be designed around your personal needs providing plenty of space to house everything from coats, boots and bags, to pet care products and outdoor essentials like picnic hampers.

'A boot room should include practical storage solutions such as built-in bespoke shelving and coat hooks,' says Louise Wicksteed, design director at Sims Hilditch. 'Bespoke joinery may cost a little more, but it does mean that the design will be perfectly suited to the space. Do try to combine seating and storage as well as a basket for each member of the family to store items of outdoor clothing.'

(Sims Hilditch)
Consider flooring

Hardwearing flooring is a must in a utility or boot room as they are high traffic areas in frequent use. Durable, and boasting beautiful natural markings, solid stone makes a lovely choice for a period home provided it is non-porous or sealed to protect from staining. For a rustic look, consider limestone tiles which have been ‘tumbled’ to give a rustic flagstone finish such as these Seasoned Buscot Limestone tiles at Artisans of Devizes, pictured in a beautiful utility space by Sims Hilditch.

(Sims Hildtich Interior Design with floor tiles from Artisans of Devizes)
Choose adjustable lighting

Lighting play an important role in any practical space. When designing a lighting scheme take time to analyse exactly what you need to use your utility room for and to factor in enough task lighting to suit. Being limited on space, utility rooms benefit from flexible lighting, says Charlie Bowles, director, Original BTC. ‘Lights that can be moved, adjusted or angled can effectively control the direction or spread of light. Adjustable rise & fall pendants or spotlights help illuminate task areas and supplement natural light.’

(Original BTC)
Add in baskets

Cubby holes are a great storage for keeping utility rooms organized, but left as open shelves they can look untidy. Filling them with rustic woven baskets is a good way to keep the clutter out of sight, plus they make a fitting choice for a country look.

(Paul Raeside)
Make space for faithful friends

If you have a dog then there are plenty of ways you can make your utility room doggy friendly. Why not give your constant companion a sleeping space they deserve with a bespoke bed? ‘In addition to your usual storage solutions, you can design a comfortable nook for a dog bed, a dedicated food station and hooks for leads,’ suggests Tom Howley, design director at the eponymous kitchen company. ‘There is also a trend for purpose-built pet showers, ideal for washing muddy paws after a long country walk,’ he adds.

(Brent Darby)
Be bold with color

As spaces in which we don't spend huge amounts of time, utility rooms can be a great places to be bold with color. For a twist on a the traditional country kitchen colors try a deep navy/charcoal shade on woodwork and cabinetry. To warm up the look add in honeyed natural wood worktops, wicker baskets and finish with burnished brass hardware and fixtures.

(Dan Duchars)

These clever utility room ideas will ensure your space combines practicality and style