7 Ways to Make the Most of a Small Utility Room
If you’re finding it tricky to carve out space for a laundry zone, take a look at these ingenious ideas
That ‘spare’ spot you’ve located may well be spare for a reason – because it’s tiny! If so, don’t despair – clever design can almost certainly make the diddiest of spaces beautifully functional. Here are some ideas from the professionals.
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When planning some of the most functional spaces in our homes, it’s easy to feel restricted by standard dimensions, such as a floor cabinet must be 600mm deep. Often it takes the confidence and ingenuity of a professional to break with convention – as Lewis Alderson & Co has done in this compact, bespoke utility area.
You can’t get away from a washing machine and dryer needing a standard-depth space, but just because the rest of the room doesn’t allow for that, it doesn’t mean you can’t add meaningful storage. Just look at the next photo to see why…
Next to this clever cupboard is space for a laundry basket to slot in at an angle, while above there’s more slimline storage, hanging racks, an open shelf and a useful pinboard.
Keen to make the most of a small space in your home? Find an architect in your area and see photos of their previous work.
Low-ceilinged, long and skinny, with no natural light… This cellar wasn’t perhaps the most obvious place to put a utility room. But an area like this can make for a great use of space, if done cleverly.
Architect Your Home has turned this tricky cellar into a brilliantly functional utility room. Varied levels have been visually unified with seamless flooring across verticals and horizontals, and storage has been carefully tailored to take in the difference in room height.
The half-height ironing board standing on a strip of raised floor is clever and shows how thinking out of the box can often be about making very simple mental switches.
Cupboard storage beneath the sink is generous, despite being shorter than standard height. The long draining board is a practical touch and there’s plenty of room for ceiling hanging at the far end, where there’s not much space for anything else to go.
The whole room is also brightly lit with well-positioned spots, making the low ceiling almost a bonus.
Apply the established kitchen design trick for maximising slim spaces by slotting in tall, pull-out storage. Here, an ironing board is easily accessible from the sliding unit, while a small rack at the top provides space for the iron.
In addition, the wall-mounted drying rack (handily positioned over a radiator) pulls out, then folds away when not in use.
If your utility is sharing space within another room, the use of sliding doors can be a way to carve out a dedicated zone, improving functionality in both the utility and the rest of the room.
In this bathroom, Somner Macdonald Architects takes the idea and gives it a twist, using frosted glass doors rather than solid panels to keep the sense of a larger bathroom. The designers have also allowed for LED lighting to be fitted at the top of the utility space. This glows through the glass and enhances the bathroom when the doors are closed.
Rather than just having cupboards or shelves in the hope that one size (or at least type) will fit all your utility storage needs, go for a range.
Here, More Space Place has included a closed cupboard, a high-level shelf, hanging space to dry clothes, adjustable-height open shelving and pull-out baskets, making this room super user-friendly.
If you have a washer and dryer but only a small space in which to accommodate them, it could make sense to swerve the side-by-side convention and stack them instead.
In this neatly designed space by Higham Furniture, the non-integrated machines are housed within an open carcass rather than having cupboard doors (yet more space-saving). Storage to their right is also stacked, with streamlined units above and below the small sink.
A nice additional touch is the LED strip above the tap. With a wall unit here, relying on overhead lighting in the ceiling could result in shadows that might compromise visibility.
Where there’s limited space for a utility room, it may make most sense to create the idea of a room, rather than an actual room that’s closed off with a door. Doors can take up space (though pocket or sliding doors can help, as already seen). They can also potentially block light.
In this Sussex cottage, renovated by NK Living, the utility is tucked into a corner on the other side of the back door to the kitchen (from where the photo was taken). It feels like a separate room, yet the kitchen benefits from natural light from its two windows and space is maximised in the utility’s footprint.
An open-plan utility needs to look good, though, and be well-organised, or you’ll simply resent not having hidden this hard-working, functional area firmly behind a door. Ticking that box here is the beautiful cabinetry and the cottage-style drying rack and hooks.
Which of these ideas could be useful in your utility room, planned or existing? Share your thoughts as well as tips in the Comments.