Utility rooms have quickly become one of the trendiest places in the house. Instagram feed’s are filled with do-it-yourself cleaning hacks, pantry organisation videos and renovations of the latest laundry room looks. Since when did the laundry room become such a presentable, contemporary part of the family home?
Everyone has a washing machine. Some people have a tumble dryer. Traditionally these appliances are kept in the kitchen, or the bathroom (if you’re French). But if you need extra space in the kitchen, or the washing machine has become too loud, getting a laundry room could be the best step forward.
The laundry room is a fairly recent addition to the American household. As manufacturers started mass-producing electric washing machines in the 1950s, people found that the only place with the correct sockets was the kitchen. Washing machines rapidly became less of a luxury and more mainstream, meaning houses were designed with laundry in mind. Around the 1980s, houses began popping up with laundry rooms.
Having a laundry room saves time and space; you can keep all of the dirty, manual tasks to one room. This means more space for socialising in the kitchen, and less time having to look at piles of unwashed clothes. As laundry rooms have developed, people realised you could save even more time by switching up the location. Some houses had it next to the bathroom, whereas others placed it upstairs to get it closer to the bedroom.
A laundry room does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a great place to iron, fold and hang drying clothes—much better than airing clothes in your wardrobe or ironing in the living room. It keeps mucky chores from mingling with the rest of your home, and you can even add little extras to make your life easier. A sink for delicate washing or a low basin for hosing down the dog. Whatever your preference, the laundry room is a fantastic addition to the modern home.
The utility room is a whole different game. It has a richer history and is more flexible in comparison to the trendy laundry room. The clue is in the name, the utility is designed to be useful. Use it for everything from chores to storage, there’s no consequences as it’s designed to harbor the mess and can be scrubbed clean easily!
The utility room is a descendant of the scullery room: an overflow room for the kitchen. Generally staffed by scullery maids and used from the Victorian era onwards, the scullery was created because of an increased awareness of health issues and sanitisation. Everything that might’ve caused disease and illness was moved to the scullery room. Fast forward 200 years and the scullery has evolved into the utility, and there’s one in almost every household.
What makes a utility brilliant is that it’s completely up to you. Although the chosen appliances generally starts with a washer dryer, people like to add a dishwasher, a deep sink or a second fridge freezer. Use it for the organisation of seasonal coats and dirty boots. A water heater, a pantry or even a toilet, whatever you choose, it’ll fit perfectly into a utility room.
Is there really a difference?
All in all, there isn’t much difference. It’s like scone vs scone; it’s what you decide to make of it. If you look at history, the laundry room term was coined in America much later than the utility room was. But if you look at purposefulness, the utility is more versatile according to your needs, not just laundry. Whether you have a laundry room or a utility room, or if you still have a scullery room, make sure it’s up to date with the best appliances from Appliance City.