Don’t underestimate the importance of a utility room in a home. I say home rather than house as the practical things make all the difference, like having a space to hang washing when it’s raining or a place for the children to leave their boots and sports bags. These practical considerations, if dealt with correctly, can help you to enjoy your house rather than feel overwhelmed by clutter and stuff. Here are some real-life examples of how to incorporate a utility room into your home regardless of how much space you have to play with.
I’ve seen some weird and wonderful home utility room solutions, from a washing machine in a bedroom wardrobe to a fridge under the stairs. These situations are not ideal and can make day-to-day living incredibly difficult. But with some clever thought and a little rearranging, there is often a better solution.
When we first moved into our house, there was a galley-style kitchen with a lobby leading to the garage. The kitchen had very poor storage and the fridge was kept under the stairs. The lobby space was unutilised, so I turned this into a small utility room, with just enough space to take a full-height fridge and provide additional storage for the kitchen.
By doing this, I freed up the space under the stairs. I used this space to store the hoover and mop and create a little zone where the children could hang their coats and school bags. Without extending or reconfiguring, I had almost doubled my storage capacity.
Think outside the box
Sometimes there is not enough space to create a designated utility room in a house. But could you steal some space from elsewhere, like the garden? We worked on a family home a couple of years ago where we created a utility room in the garden.
The utility outbuilding was clad with cedar boards to blend with the fence. This space provided enough room to take a washer and dryer and allowed ample space to hang washing.
Plan the location carefully.
If you have the luxury of choosing where your utility room will go, think carefully about its location. It should be accessible from the kitchen and, if possible, have access to the outside. Access to the outdoors from the utility room is convenient for dealing with washing and bins.
We renovated a terraced house with an open-plan kitchen-dining space. Because there was no side passage, we placed the utility room at the end of the kitchen area to give access to the garden. Its location worked to help separate the kitchen from the dining space, thereby defining the different zones within the room.
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