While previously considered as a bonus by many house hunters, utility rooms are increasingly becoming an essential, sought-after feature of any modern home. As our lives get busier, these multi-functional spaces allow us to run our homes as conveniently and efficiently as possible, with design innovations continuing to save time and space.
If you have a small utility room or are considering adding one to your home, you’ll no doubt want to get the most out of the space you have available. So, in this guide, we’ve compiled some of our top small utility room ideas, ranging from smart storage solutions to combined kitchen and bathroom utility rooms. Below, we’ll cover:
- Small utility room design
- Kitchen and utility room design ideas
- Small combined toilet and utility room
- Storage ideas for small utility rooms
Small utility room design
Depending on what you use your utility space for, the design and floor plan will differ. However, the ideal small utility room layout will generally prioritise storage, be ergonomic and user-friendly, and help keep clutter to a minimum. Below, we run through some of the best layouts, colour schemes, and design tips to help you create the perfect utility space for your home.
When you’re working with a compact house or apartment, it’s generally best to stick to a lighter colour palette in areas like a small laundry room. While you may choose to experiment with fun, bold colours throughout the rest of your home, using paint, flooring, and cabinets in white, cream, or pastel shades will help a small space feel much brighter and less enclosed. Lighter tones will also blend in better with white goods like your washing machine and other appliances and create a smoother, more coherent finish.
The layout of your utility space depends on the space you have available and how you intend to use it. For example, turning your garage or an area of it into a small utility space can be a great way to maximise both the functionality and the value of your property. This way, you can take a room you may not use every day and transform it into a versatile, useful home feature you’ll wonder how you lived without. You may need planning permission to convert your garage into a utility room, so check with your local authority before starting work.
Housing a utility space in your garage can also add some much-needed distance between your main living areas and any noisy laundry appliances. However, if you don’t have a garage or are working with an open-plan living space, we go into more detail about how to incorporate a utility space into your kitchen or bathroom below. Whatever your chosen layout, remember to make your utility room as ergonomic and user-friendly as possible: you can do this by adding plenty of storage space so that laundry hampers, detergent, and cleaning supplies are always within arm’s reach.
Whether you’re soaking stained clothes in the sink, watering houseplants, or scrubbing muddy boots, your utility room will be home to a wide variety of household tasks and will therefore need to be cleaned quickly and easily. So, in terms of worktops and units, it’s important to opt for pieces that are durable, timeless, and most importantly, easy to clean. This makes our Systemo Fenix worktops a great choice for busy homeowners, as they provide a smooth, seamless finish with no gaps in the worktop and no difference in height.
If you’re planning to build a brand new laundry room or are updating your own, be sure to check out our utility and pantry range where you’ll find even more sleek, functional, and durable units from German kitchen manufacturer Schüller.
Most utility rooms will need some kind of ventilation, although this will vary depending on how you intend to use it. A good example of this is a small garage utility room, which will need plenty of airflow if you intend to store gardening or DIY products that contain chemicals, or any glue, oil, or paint for your next project.
If there are no windows or doors that you can leave open for a steady supply of fresh air, it’s important to install other methods of ventilation like an extractor hood or fan to remove any harmful fumes that will build up in a compact space. Similarly, a laundry room or small utility boot room will need ventilation to remove condensation from drying clothes, fumes from cleaning products, and any lingering bad odours.
Kitchen and utility room design ideas
Especially if you live in an open-plan home, combining your kitchen and utility room is a natural next step. However, if you don’t have any dividing walls to separate these spaces, it’s important to invest in ample storage to keep things as tidy and compact as possible. The whole purpose of a utility room is to make your home life as easy as possible, so you want to make sure that you opt for design features that are ergonomic, space-saving, and easy to clean.
This is where vertical storage solutions like high shelving, appliance cupboards, and stackable drawers really come into their own. Here you can store cleaning equipment, laundry detergent, clothes hampers, an ironing board, and anything else you may need to keep up with everyday household tasks. Prioritising storage will not only help your home stay tidy but also ensures that your kitchen and utility areas stay separate from one another, even within a small footprint.
There are a wide variety of possible kitchen and utility room floor plans, and as space is your most valuable commodity, this will depend on the shape and size of your kitchen. For instance, you may have a one-wall or galley kitchen and create a built-in small utility room by simply housing your cleaning supplies, laundry basket, and washer and dryer at one end. Whichever layout you opt for — be that in an L-shaped, peninsula, or island kitchen — be sure to leave enough room between your new utility space and the oven, stove, or any other appliances. This ensures that your kitchen remains as practical and as ergonomic as possible.
For more layout inspiration, be sure to check out our kitchen design guide as well as our detailed guide to open-plan living.
Small combined toilet and utility rooms
Another great way to introduce a small utility room to your home is by incorporating it into a pre-existing bathroom. If you already have a large downstairs bathroom or shower room that doesn’t make the most of the space, you may choose to section this in two with a dividing wall. As you already have plumbing and ventilation in place for your bathroom (whether this is an extractor fan or a small window), this makes it a great place to add appliances like an extra sink, a washing machine, and a tumble dryer.
There are strict rules in place concerning bathroom electrics, however, so always check with a qualified electrician that your plans are viable.
Alternatively, if you’re planning to build your own utility room from scratch, you may choose to incorporate a small toilet. An extra bathroom is always an effective way to add value to your property and is also a convenient feature you’ll appreciate next time you’re doing a load of laundry! So, once you’ve installed a sink, appliances, worktops, and plenty of storage, all you need is a small, cupboard-sized space that comfortably fits a toilet and cistern. If you’re particularly short on floor space, remember to make the door open outward into the utility space rather than inwards.
If you’re looking for more tips and advice on designing a space-saving bathroom, our detailed small ensuite guide breaks down everything you’ll need to know, ranging from floor plans and layouts to the best lighting and colour schemes.
Storage ideas for small utility rooms
Once you’ve decided on the layout and overall design ideas for your utility room, the most important thing to consider is storage. This is because, when you’re working with limited floor space, smart, high-quality storage solutions are invaluable. Having a small utility room doesn’t mean it has to feel cramped or cluttered: it just means you need to be more creative with how you store appliances, clothes, and cleaning equipment. Done the right way, it makes the world of difference to its usability.
Certain appliances are essential to a functional utility room, such as a sink, washing machine, and tumble dryer. The first way to save space is therefore investing in a combined washer-dryer, as this means you only need to make room for one machine rather than two. Secondly, if you’re incorporating a small utility room into your kitchen or bathroom, you may decide to keep your appliances within large cupboards or fitted cabinets. This way, when you’re not using them, your white goods are hidden away and don’t interfere with the overall aesthetic of the room.
As well as the appliances themselves, don’t forget to include features that make your life easier. For example, why not position a drawer underneath the washer-dryer where you can rest a clothes hamper and easily load or unload your laundry? Or include separate compartments within your cupboards and shelving, so that you always have smaller items like towels, pegs, and detergent within arm’s reach. Appliances built into cabinetry at waist height, for example, also reduces the need for continued bending to floor level.
Vertical storage solutions
Another tried and tested method for saving valuable floor space is to utilise as much vertical storage as possible in your utility room. Tall, slim cupboards allow you to keep things like ironing boards, mops, step stools, and vacuum cleaners tidied neatly away until you need them, which keeps corners and walkways free of clutter. Within these tall cupboards you can install clever features like shoe hooks on the inside of each door, which could double the amount of storage in a small utility boot room.
Another great feature to add is a clothes rail or drying rack, where you can hang delicate items like shirts or knitwear that need to air-dry. In fact, installing these vertical storage solutions high up in your utility room doesn’t just free up valuable floor space: as hot air and condensation rises, this will also help your laundry dry more quickly.
Don’t forget that you can also maximise the capacity of a tiny utility room by making better use of the wall space. Start by installing plenty of high shelving, as you can store things you use less regularly up here and keep everyday items in more easily accessible cupboards. Just be sure to keep a few of those step stools handy for when you need to reach the top shelf!
Finally, while they might seem small, something as simple as a set of wall hooks can also be incredibly useful in keeping clothes, cleaning supplies, and handheld appliances off the floors and out of fully stocked cupboards. This can range from a wall-mounted vacuum holder to a basic hook to hang up a basket of clothes pegs — no matter how high-tech the storage solution, in a small utility room, every little helps.
We hope this guide has inspired you with some helpful small utility room ideas. If you’re planning on refreshing the rest of your home, we have a huge range of premium kitchens designed by German manufacturers Schüller and their statement brand next125. We’ll help you find high-quality Systemo worktops in everything from ceramic and solid wood to quartz stone and glass. Browse our living room range from Italian brand Colombini Casa and our stunning Pelipal and Leonardo bathrooms, and we’ll help you bring all your interior design dreams to life.
For more expert advice and home inspiration, be sure to check out our blog. Here you’ll find detailed articles like our German kitchen guide where we explain all the benefits of this popular European kitchen design. If you like what you see, use our online portal to find a retailer near you or come and visit our impressive showroom in Hexham.