Utility room design

The need for a separate utility room is often neglected when redesigning a property or doing a renovation. Yet this is one of the most useful, if least frequented, rooms in the house. Much more than just somewhere to put the washing machine, a well thought out utility room will prove invaluable.

What goes in a utility room / wetroom / mudroom

Every house has lots of things that take up lots of room, are messy or dirty, but need to be part of the house rather than stuck in a shed in the garden.

These will typically include:

Washing machine: Everyone has one. Ideally your utility room will also have space to hang a clothes drying rack, for winter usage (or space for a dryer, if you prefer)

Chest freezer: if you are living in the countryside and growing your own fruit and vegetables you will need somewhere to freeze them in large quantities. Most kitchen designs lend themselves poorly to chest freezers and is usually more practical to keep them in a separate room.

Sports Equipment: Tennis racquets, badminton racquets, jogging shoes, cycling shoes, roller skates and skateboards, skis, the list of things associated with sporting activities is endless. And they all take loads of space.

Dirty Boots and Clothes: When you or the children have been outside gardening or playing you will have dirty boots, wet winter clothes, a mountain of gloves and scarves, and various other things that need to be put somewhere. If you have space to arrange all these things in a utility room, and even better somewhere to wash and clean those old boots, that will prove very useful.

Plants: During the spring and autumn our utility room gets converted into a potting shed and plant propogator. This requires both water and bags of soil, and the ability to make a lot of mess without being overly concerned.

Recycling: Nowadays it is usual (and recommended!) to recycle tins, bottles, papers, plastics and other items. If all are to be kept separately they need a lot of space.

Bins: Since you are doing so much recycling you hardly need a bin, but best leave space anyway. We also like to have a separate bin for vegetable peelings en route to the compost.

Shower: Because we are spoiled and have two utility rooms and also a swimming pool, we have a shower in one of the utility rooms, so that children can have a quick shower after playing in the pool.

Point of this exercise is to highlight that a large space that is reserved especially for ‘not quite clean not quite dirty’ activities is best incorporated in the property design early on. Water and electricity and shelving / storage will all be needed, and quite a bit of space.

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