October 14, 2022 | Updated: November 10, 2022

Home ideas

Utility room flooring and cladding

There’s no reason why doing the laundry at home shouldn’t be enjoyable and accommodated with pleasant surroundings. This article looks at how to style this practical room with beautiful utility room flooring and wall finishes.

The utility room is the area of the house where we keep our washing machines and dryers. It usually has a sink as well. These functional spaces are as worthy of thoughtful design as anywhere else in the home. Indeed, our attitude to practical spaces in the home has radically altered over the last few decades. Nowadays, the single most expensive item we spend lavishly on is the kitchen. Closely followed by the bathroom. Two traditionally secondary spaces at the centre of our homes that are now celebrated. Having a pleasant utility room is the next big thing in design.


Utility Room : @alola_at_home

Credits: @alola_at_home

The utility room as a mud room and dog grooming area

The mud room, or back hall, is often combined with the utility room in UK homes. It’s a question of saving space but also provides valuable access to rear gardens and makes changing shoes easier. For pet owners, especially dogs, the utility room doubles as a grooming area and the choice of utility room flooring acquires even greater importance.


Utility floor tiles

We live in an imperfect world, where leaks happen and mechanical equipment breaks down. So we best start with the floor and work upwards. That’s because, above all else, the utility room is a space where humidity levels and water spillage must be controlled. Get the utility room flooring right and no matter what happens down the line it’s no big deal.


What are the criteria for utility room flooring?

When choosing utility room flooring, there are some functional and design qualities to take into account. The main considerations are as follows:

  • Waterproof. Avoid wood or engineered floors. Utility room flooring must be resistant to spills and humidity, it’s a non-negotiable.
  • Low maintenance. Keeping the floor clean and clutter-free is essential for utility room functionality. To make things easier, we should provide plenty of storage space for laundry and shoes.
  • Hard wearing & anti-slip. Utility room flooring must withstand a lot of foot traffic. Especially if it’s combined with a mud room. Choose tiles with a Ramp Rating of between R-11 and R-13.
  • Bright and cheerful. Do not underestimate the importance of light and good design in utility room flooring. After all, we spend several hours a week here, and we are on our feet while using this space.


Best materials for utility room flooring

In practice, there are two materials ideally suited to utility room flooring, that satisfy the above criteria. They are porcelain floor tiles and vinyl flooring. Both are waterproof, durable, low-maintenance, and can have anti-slip properties if needed. As well as being attractive visually. Either vinyl or porcelain is available in plank or tiles format which also provides a great variety of dimensions and patterns for individual decorative preferences.


Best materials for utility room flooring

Credits: 1. @amaraproperty / 2. @yorkshire.build / 3. @nantbychan


How to style a utility room with tiles

Working up from the flooring, the essentials to a practical and aesthetically pleasing utility room include furnishings and finishes. We also recommend adding a few accessories to create visual interest. The following guide provides some useful tips:

  • Storage. Include as many built-in cabinets or floating shelving as possible.
  • Seating area. For a mud room, seating is essential. Somewhere to take off outdoor shoes and store them while putting on home slippers, or other footwear. The addition of a bench gives a simple utility room a cosy feel while also providing extra seating and storage space.
  • Wall tiles. Wall tiles, like floor tiles, play an important role in protecting surfaces from humidity. Just like the backsplash in the kitchen, match the wall tiles with the floor tiles. You can use the same material on the walls and the floor, or you can mix and match different colours, sizes, materials, textures, or designs to achieve a more eye-catching effect.
  • Lighting for the utility room. Getting the right lux levels or lighting intensity is critical. The utility room is a workspace and it’s important to avoid straining the eyes. Even for utility rooms with natural light artificial lighting is key to its use.
  • The best utility room accessories. Wicker laundry baskets, ceramic plant holders and lush greenery will bring a utility room alive. Organic materials with a tactile feel will help compensate for the utility room’s mechanical functional nature.


Tiles for the utility room

As previously stated, tiles are not only suitable for floors but also make an excellent choice for utility room wall coverings.  Not only for aesthetic reasons but also for practical ones. In this regard, ceramic tiles protect plaster walls from humidity and help to create a more integrated whole when combined with utility room floor tiles. The most important wall area to tile is around the sink, just like the kitchen backsplash. Because the overall area is typically small, you can afford to choose a more decorative tile here. Why not introduce a little designer flourish?


▶ Not sure how to make the walls of your utility room stand out? See our posts on Patterened tiles, Geometric TilesMoroccan tiles, Victorian tiles, Hexagon tiles, Spanish tiles, and Wave tiles for ideas.


Utility room tiles ideas

The following real-world examples show how utility room flooring can inspire an entire décor. There will be no shortage of volunteers for doing the laundry in spaces like these.


Credits: @zokaeestudio

Products: Bottega Acero 59.6×59.6 (Available online & in-store) / Rhombus Navy 15X25,9X0,8 (Available in-store)

#1 Grey floor tiles and blue mosaics for the utility room

A simple grey porcelain floor tile is combined to great effect with a geometric pattern wall tile in midnight blue. The style is contemporary chic with warming touches like the floor rug. The exterior window brings the space to life, converting the utility room into a pleasant workplace. Additional touches like the timber carcass that accommodates the washer and dryer, paired with a mirror and wall rail for hanging plants add visual interest.

Utility room : @in.house.design

Credits: @in.house.design

Products: Carrara Blanco Brillo 59.6×59.6 (Available online & in-store) / Imperia Mix Silver White 29,8X29,8 (Available in-store)

#2 Marble-effect floor tiles and glossy mosaics for the utility room

This high-end utility room is the ultimate in practical luxury. The porcelain marble effect floor tile sets the stage for fitted cabinets, also in light tones. The large format tiles with slim joints illuminate the space and compensate for the lack of natural light. The gorgeous wall mosaic tiles in ivory and gold complement the floor perfectly. Accessories like the contrasting metal ironmongery and faucets underline the opulence of this designer utility room.

Utility room : @homebird_mrsmac

Credits: @zokaeestudio

Products: Oxford Natural 19.3X120 (Available online & in-store)

#3 Wood-effect floor tiles for the utility room

This rustic-style utility room looks effortless on a modest budget. Wood-effect porcelain flooring planks evoke the warmth and organic qualities of timber. In contrast, the walls are left bare, and a Formica worktop provides a practical work surface. To keep the utilities organised, a wicker basket and floating shelving accessories are placed on either side of the sink. With a few added plants the space becomes a nice area to spend time.

Utility room / @hw.interiors

Credits: @hw.interiors

Products: Noa Tanzania Almond 33.3×59.2 (Available in-store)

#4 Textured wall tiles for the utility room

Textured wall tiles in warm timber tones transform a practical pet grooming area with a fitted shower hose. The wall tiles help integrate the laundry equipment, worktop areas and storage creating a unified whole. A mosaic tile is used for the shower tray, contrasted with the larger format grey porcelain floor tile. This humble utility room becomes a glamorous pet spa.

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