7 Small Utilities That Use Space Brilliantly
What is it about clever utility room storage that gets interiors geeks a bit breathless?
There’s just something so pleasing about a bespoke space for laundry, tucked away from the activity and aromas of the kitchen, where we’ve long tended to plonk our clothes-cleansing appliances.
But if you’re short of space, how can you fit a laundry niche into your home? Let these compact examples inspire you.
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If you choose non-integrated appliances, keeping the colour of the units and walls the same will help the space feel streamlined and spacious.
A complementary worktop and under-counter sink will further reduce visual distraction.
Here, the shades are all close to the white of the machine, but there are now all sorts of options for colourful washers and dryers if you want a bolder scheme.
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Stumped by the feeling that your awkward-shaped potential utility will have no space for cleaning products and cloths? Then think again. If you have the space for the shallowest of cupboards, as here, you can pack it all in.
The extra-useful idea to pinch from this cabinet is the bars, which will stop everything cascading out when you open the doors.
If you can only fit in one appliance, consider a washer-dryer, but install a capacious, ceiling-hung or pull-down drying rack, too, so you only need to use the dryer when you’re very short of time or to finish laundry off.
When we think of an extension, we tend to picture enlarging the kitchen and creating a huge open-plan space with wall-to-wall bifold doors.
But a mini extension – making use of a side return without knocking through, for example – can, arguably, be put to far more practical use, especially if you’re otherwise happy with your ground floor layout. It should cost less, too.
Here, a downstairs loo, a micro utility area and cupboard, and bike storage (see next photo) have been packed into a relatively small space that opens, modestly, onto the back garden.
You could also try reversing this set-up, with the bikes at ground level and the cupboards up high.
Top tip: Use wipeable paint, as this sort of space is prone to wall wear and tear.
Even the smallest and most functional of rooms can benefit aesthetically from having built-in appliances. If your utility has the space for cupboard doors to open, add them, and decorate and accessorise with as much care as you would your kitchen so it’s a joy to use.
Take a cue from this room, which not only has a washer hidden behind grey-painted Shaker doors, but also manages to squeeze in a micro drying rail, open storage (kept tidy with matching baskets), and a built-in composite sink and worktop. Slim mirrored cupboards help to open out the space visually.
Rather than choosing integrated appliances, this arrangement simply tucks standard appliances, as well as a sink, shelving and a chunky water softening unit, behind bespoke doors.
Note the trio of circular holes at the top of each door. Not only is this a pleasing decorative detail, it also provides airflow for the appliances when the cupboard is closed.
These slimline doors are great space-savers, but if you can’t fit even ones like these in and open them comfortably, consider a curtain in a rugged neutral fabric that will blend in rather than look twee.
If you like to dry your washing by airing it indoors, and you have limited space, choose a drying rack you can hoist up or fold out of the way.
There are also designs you can extend from wall to wall that tuck back into a tiny box when not in use. Choose the biggest design you can fit in, or it’ll wind up serving chiefly as a decorative object.
Before committing to buying, picture the rack full of drying clothes or bedding – is there enough clearance? Will it be in the way of doors?
Measure some of the larger items you’d ideally like to be able to air on it and consider one of the alternatives if it’s going to be in the way (see next photo) or it will drive you mad.
Storage space severely limited? Make use of a slim gap between your washer and dryer to install a hidden rack. Here, there’s just enough room for laundry essentials and a few cleaning basics.
Do you have a dreamy laundry set-up? Show us photos in the Comments section – or tell us your idea of the perfect utility.