Design Considerations of the Utility Area
If you are buying a house, make sure every square foot of it is useable and worth it. Be it the bedroom area, the dining area or the more often neglected utility area. The utility area though small, can make a big difference to your house and living experience. Think of it – the utility room keeps the clutter away from public spaces of the house, reduces the visual bulk and can store the less used appliances such as the washing machine, clothes drying stand and also an extra sink. In an Indian home, hence, a utility area is a must! Now how you make the most of the utility area is a very personal choice. While some use it to place the washing machine, some might prefer hand-washing clothes in the area. Some families intend to place the bulky appliances in the utility area, while some prefer keeping it clutter free with just a couple of overhead cabinets. Reflect upon your own usage style and lifestyle before making the big decision of investing in a home with a utility area, big or small. Nevertheless, all things considered, ensure that you make the most of every square inch of this all-important room.
Plan your utility space right and you will have your entire home running smoothly. For a breezy living experience, make sure the utility area in your potential house satisfies most of the following pointers –
- The possible uses of the utility area are a factor that largely influences the choice of the location, orientation, dimensions of this space. Think hard from the usability perspective. Evaluate your needs and make a list of all that you intend to store or do in your utility area.
- If you intend to use it for storing the large appliances and placing the clothes drying stand, the space should be large enough to be truly practical and useable. The appliance number and the space occupied by them should be taken into account For example, ask yourself – do you need space to store a spare gas cylinder? Will you install an overhead clothesline or will your family prefer a drying stand placed on the ground? Do you want some cupboards to store the everyday essentials, wish for a separate, dedicated area for garbage bins or prefer placing the iron board instead? Would you want to create a small space for your child’s doll room or for your pet’s grooming sessions? Assess all of this thoroughly, think through every aspect and then make the decision.
- Your habits in terms of washing utensils and clothes can be important to decide upon the design of the utility area. If you prefer washing clothes or utensils while standing, a sink and a platform are essential. Whereas, if you want to sit and do the daily chores, a slightly segregated area which restricts water spills and overflow in the adjacent areas is a must. Also, check if customization is possible with no trouble once you start staying in the house.
Agree or not, the utility area is best attached to the kitchen. The nearness can help create a seamless work flow for almost all of your household needs. The easy connectivity can make sure that the utility area is truly functional, while the kitchen is the space for execution. The conversation between the utility area and the kitchen will help you function in a super-efficient and organized manner. Also, the kitchen and utility area being in close proximity separate the rest of the home from the other busy areas. The access to the other areas of the house is controlled and the circulation path from the entrance to the kitchen area and the utility area is well defined for the daily visitors such as the house helps and cook.
Check the dimensions of the entrance before choosing a utility area and finalizing the house. Now, for example, the utility area might have adequate space for the standard kitchen appliances. But what if the entry door is not wide enough to comfortably let them in? Evaluate the possibilities carefully. Consider the turning angle of the equipment for easy across through the utility entrance.
The utility area can double up as an excellent storage space. If you have a lot of stuff that needs to be stored, check if the utility area has the space for accommodating the same in a convenient and systematic manner. The utility area, compact or expansive, can add the much-needed multi-functionality to your home.
ELECTRICAL AND PLUMBING DESIGN
Make sure the utility area has provision for electrical appliances’ switches rightly fixed, with the required voltages. When in-built and well planned, the electrical points and the plumbing design give the home a new definition, enhancing the usability and convenience. The location of the electrical points for easy use by all, the proper planning of the water inlet and outlet for the washing machine, the designated water-draining points can make a lot of difference to the space and add to the utilitarian value.
Please check the flooring in the utility space. The utility area is exposed maximum to the outside and hence is susceptible to a lot of wear and tear from weather conditions and regular use.
- The flooring material should be such that it is not too slippery, is easy to easy wipe and maintain.
- Check the floor slope of the utility area. Do a floor-test to check if the water drains out in the right direction.
- The dado tile height will be a crucial factor if you plan to hand-wash clothes or utensils. The tiles should be placed at a height which is easy to maintain and ready for the soap water splashes.
LIGHT AND VENTILATION
The utility area is used mostly all through the day – frequently in mornings and late evenings.
- The space should be well-lit and well-ventilated to allow the area to breathe free and also allow the kitchen to enjoy the same. The activities in the utility space will be much smoother with enhanced visibility and the right lighting.
- Check the ventilation system. If the opening is in an internal duct or is to the external area. An opening outside will be better for ensuring good ventilation at all times.
Even if the utility space is not your prime focus when buying a house, it does deserve a lot of thought. Attention to details can make a sizeable difference to your house and your lifestyle.