Compact, simple and often poorly lit, the utility room has long been the space the style forgot.
At home to the washing machine, ironing board and crowded supplies of pet food, it is fair to say that no one shared photos of them on social media.
How times have changed. Gone is the Victorian sink and rickety drying rack. Instead, sleek appliances are hidden behind bespoke wood panels in elegant Farrow & Ball shades.
Statement wallpaper, gold faucets, parquet floors, oriental rugs and floor tiles that might look more at home in a boutique hotel are now the order of the day.
The place to be: Sarah Beeny likes to spend time in her specially designed tool
As long as the utility room; hi beauty room. Jools Oliver is the latest to share hers on social media, after transforming the old lamp room in the country pile she shares with her husband Jamie and their five children into an impressive yet functional space.
Before, it was a purely spartan area with whitewashed brick walls and everything from her mop to her washing machine out on display.
But a makeover by interior designers Gemma Lilly and Charlotte Reddington, AKA the Style Sisters, shared on Instagram this week, has taken it to a new level.
I love the floral wallpaper, and the lush green and delicate pink colors used on the paint and flooring that complement it so perfectly.
Jools now has its appliances tucked behind cupboard doors and shelves that hold transparent containers, keeping everything well organized.
BEFORE: Jools Oliver is the latest to share her makeover on social media, after transforming the old lamproom in the pile she shares with her husband Jamie and their five children
AFTER: A makeover by interior designers Gemma Lilly and Charlotte Reddington, AKA the Style Sisters, shared on Instagram this week, has taken it to a new level
Instead of just being a place to take care of household chores, it is now a comfortable place to be.
Other celebrities to give their supplies an upgrade include Martin and Shirlie Kemp.
It’s just as good because the utility room is really the engine of the house. As a mother of four boys, I can confirm that without one, your home will never function as well as it could.
This is especially true given the modern penchant for transforming our kitchens into open-plan socialization spaces that often knock down walls to create spaces of aircraft hangar proportions.
BEFORE: Kemps’ renewed tool features a Belfast sink and plenty of natural light flowing into the room
AFTER: Other celebrities giving their supplies an upgrade include Martin and Shirlie Kemp
No one wants to entertain guests with the washing machine rattling away in the background, or piles of laundry lying across the island.
But with the addition of a utility room, the rest of your house can be freed from the worst of household waste, and provide a place where the dryer and kids can hang their coats up, kick off their dirty shoes and give the dog a hose down .
So I’m glad they’ve become the latest must-have interior feature. I always try to persuade everyone I work with on a home renovation project to incorporate one into their design.
It’s brilliant to see how people have styled them. Just because a room has to be practical does not mean that it has to be ordinary.
It helps that they are often quite small spaces, so it will not break money to put an effort into the decor.
In addition, utility rooms tend to be visited only by the people they belong to, so you can go to town and experiment with fancy wallpaper you may not feel brave enough to hang out in other parts of the house.
When my husband Graham and I started designing our new home in Somerset, getting the right aid was a priority.
We had our first when we expanded our old house in London 17 years ago, and found it invaluable to bring order to the chaos in the upbringing of our four sons, Billy, now 17, Charlie, 15, Rafferty, 13, and Laurie, 12.
They each had their named closet, with their coats, school shoes, sneakers and swim bags neatly stored inside.
This system saved us hours of lost time – no more hunting for stray football boots or a dry swimming towel – but it also looked great.
And the latest utility must-have? A doggy shower
For a good utility room is not just a trunk or a landfill. In our new home, ours is a lovely, streamlined and superbly organized space that flows on from the kitchen with cupboard doors that match.
It’s a room I want to spend time in. So if you have one and have not given it a good spice, do so. You will find lots of inspiration on Instagram, in design magazines or on interior shows.
And if you do not have one but are renovating, consider adding a new wall to create a beautiful tool. Your kitchen may end up a little smaller, but your life will be so much richer.