Kitchens. They can sort of steal the show in our downstairs living spaces. Probably because they’re the room that works the hardest in your entire home, and that also has the potential to be the one you actually want to spend the most time in too. It’s all back to form and function. But, kitchen design isn’t all about the one room. Quite often, you’ll have an adjoining room, particularly in new-build homes. Or, maybe it’s one close by that can be used as a playroom, a downstairs study or as kitchen spill over space. Utility and laundry rooms are your kitchen’s helpful neighbour, and while you’re unlikely to want to spend more time than necessary in them, they deserve the same level of thoughtful design and clever detail as the star of the show. But what exactly is the difference between the two?
They’re a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. Utility rooms are places to put anything that you either don’t want or can’t fit into your kitchen. They’re secondary spaces that are all about being useful – hence utility – and to make your kitchen function better. For example, a utility room is a great place to store kitchen appliances that you don’t want cluttering up your worktop or filling up valuable cabinetry space if you don’t use them every day. The less cluttered your kitchen cabinetry, the more enjoyable it’ll be to live with.
When designing, or re-designing, your utility room, you can go about it one of two ways. Give it a dedicated role.This generally works better when you have space in other parts of your home to store the bits that just don’t quite fit anywhere ideal. If you do, then consider making your utility room all about cleaning – you could put the dishwasher in there, an extra sink, all of your cleaning lotions, potions, cloths and mop. By making it almost a ‘back of house’ space, it’ll really change the feel of your kitchen because all of the chore-related activity happens in a separate room. This works especially well if you’re having a supper party, because everything can be cleared out of the way to deal with later. Or, keep it multi-functional. If your utility room needs to be a real multitasker, be sure to create clear zones so it stays well-ordered and easy to use. With some thoughtful design, this can work excellently because you’re essentially turning a few mini rooms into one – pantry, wine cellar, laundry room (more of that in a moment), and even boot room if there’s space to have a section for storing shoes, coats and dog leads, and a bench for pulling off and putting on footwear.
Yes, there’s a difference, but there are a lot of similarities too. A laundry room does what it says on the tin. It’s a space where you keep as much to do with washing your clothes as possible. The washing machine, the tumble dryer, the detergents, the laundry baskets, the ironing board, the pegs, the iron – you get the gist. Many of our European neighbours can’t get their heads around the British tendency to keep anything laundry-related in the kitchen. For example, the French are more likely to keep theirs in their bathroom. It all comes down to available space, but if you do have a room to spare, a laundry room is a lovely thing to include, and again, frees up more space in your kitchen. Because, you really can never have too much storage.
Many people use the term laundry room as another word for utility room however. It comes back to what we touched on above – if you choose to give your utility a defined role. Plus, laundry room just sounds a bit nicer, doesn’t it?
The bottom line is, both are related to your kitchen, both are about making your home easy to live in day by day, both are about storage, usefulness and most likely, chores. A utility room can be used as a laundry room, and a laundry room can be in addition to a utility room, and whichever you choose, they’ll make chores that bit easier to bear.