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Welcome!

 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

Utility cupboard storage hack: the alternative to a small utility room.

Updated: 13 hours ago


Utility room in a cupboard

Want a utility room but only have a cupboard? You need this money-saving utility cupboard tutorial.


This utility cupboard project came about because I dream of one day having a dedicated utility room (no, really - I’ve planned it all out and everything!), but short of a lottery win (unlikely as I don’t buy tickets!) it wasn’t going to happen in the foreseeable so I needed to get creative. 


A tall kitchen cupboard became free when the fridge it housed was replaced with a freestanding model & DIY fridge surround so this space became the obvious choice for housing my cleaning and washing products. I tried a couple of ways of organising the space, but it was an awkward one because of the largest item (a heated airer) and a hoover to fit in along with various mops, brooms, dusters etc. Adding shelves wasn’t going to work for these tall items but standing them in the space meant they fell over a lot (very annoying). Anyway, time went on and this handy cupboard became a dumping ground for household essentials and general clutter.


At the end of last year, I jumped at the chance to be part of B&Q’s latest campaign and we decided that this project would be ideal for me to demonstrate how to complete a makeover packed full of storage hacks using their products. Full disclosure: This blog post isn’t part of the campaign and I’m not being paid to write it, but some of the product links included are affiliate links which may generate a small commission; this does not affect the price you pay & I only recommend products if they are great deals and/or I'd happily buy myself.  

How to transform a cupboard into a mini-utility room

utility cupboard

You will need

To recreate the magic of my utility cupboard of dreams, you’ll need the following tools and materials. As cupboards vary in size, it’s important to measure yours before buying anything to check if this layout will work for you. Click the underlined items to go straight to the product page on the website.


Tools

Drill

Tape Measure

Screwdriver

Screws (varying size)

Spirit level

Masking tape


Materials

Wall hook

Chalk & string (optional)


Supplies to stock the cupboard

Kitchen rolls


Method

Empty kitchen cupboard for utility cupboard project

Prepare the cupboard

First, empty the cupboard and remove any shelves (even adjustable shelves as you'll want to assess the space before deciding the height). If the walls are in poor condition, you could fill any holes and scratches and give it a lick of paint, but hopefully, a good clean will suffice. I recommend using eco-friendly cleaning products as there’s rarely need for toxic chemicals these days. 




measuring for utility cupboard storage

Measure and plan

To ensure you order the correct products, measure the cupboard’s height, width and depth. The width is a key consideration as you’ll need to have sufficient space to the side of the storage cube once in place in order to store the tall, bulky items like vacuum cleaners or airers / furniture items. 

building a flatpack storage cube

Build the storage cube


The flatpack storage cube provided lots of storage inside the cupboard without adding lower shelves which would have restricted the height and prevented the airer and vacuum from fitting. 

Install the top shelf


The top shelf is useful for storing items like surplus kitchen rolls and toilet rolls and items you don’t need every day. I positioned it as high as possible to maximise the available storage underneath. 

Attaching items to the wall of a utility cupboard

Attach the wall-mounting hooks and screws


Wall-mounting items like mops, dusters, the airer and dustpan & brush means that they all have a designated place, making them easy to find and also ensuring there is space for everything. Raising them up off the floor removes the issue of things falling over (& out of the cupboard) when you open the door.



Items wall mounted in a utility cupboard

Hack no. 2. - You don’t always need fancy products. I used simple screws to hang the airer as anything too hooked couldn’t fit between the rungs. 







Plinth clip storage hack for utility cupboard
Plinth clip as a mop holder in utility cupboard

Hack no. 3. - I used plinth clips (the things that hold the kickboards in place under your kitchen units) 









Attaching a storage cube to the wall in utility cupboard

Fix the storage cube


To prevent it from moving, I recommend attaching the storage cube to the wall. I drilled through the side of the storage cube and made a pilot hole in the wall, then screwed into it to secure it to the side of the cupboard wall.






back of door storage in a utility cupboard

Attach the back of the door storage.


These back-of-door storage units were so easy to attach. They require four small screws, one at each corner to hold them in place. I drilled a small pilot hole to help get the screw started, but take care not to drill too deeply as they are very small so won’t stay in place if the pilot hole is too deep. Also, take care not to drill through the door completely, as that’s the last thing you need!


Painting a back of door chalkboard

Paint a chalkboard


This home organisation hack was a super handy one, as made use of the back of the door and provided a place to write memos and notes without them being on display in the kitchen.





How to paint a chalkboard

It was simple to do; here are the steps

Painted back of door chalk board
  • Measure and mark the chalkboard on the back of the cupboard door

  • Apply painter’s tape along the edges of the chalk board

  • Open tin of chalkboard paint and stir

  • Using a paintbrush or roller apply first coat of chalk board paint (not too thick)

  • Allow to dry

  • Apply second coat of chalkboard paint

  • Remove painter’s tape

  • Allow to dry

Once your chalkboard is complete, you can test it with a piece of chalk. I tied the chalk to a piece of string and knotted the end of the string around the base of one of the back-of-the-door storage containers, so it was always handy when I needed it, and no one could walk off with it!


Stock the utility cupboard


I stocked the cupboard with eco-friendly cleaning products like baking soda and white vinegar which fit perfectly in the back-of-the-door storage containers. I also added natural decorator sponges as they are better than the plastic-filled ones. You can cut the sponges into smaller ones if they are too large for everyday cleaning. 


Utility room in a cupboard - the results 

Finished utility room in a cupboard DIY project

This budget cupboard revamp has made a massive improvement to our kitchen storage. Now that everything has a place, I find it so easy to keep the space clutter-free. The seagrass storage baskets have a surprisingly large capacity, so they can store a huge amount of items. I love seagrass's rustic and natural look and much prefer it to plastic storage. The good news is that you could create this storage haven in a spare cupboard in any room in the house if your kitchen cabinets are jam-packed or in short supply. A living room cupboard or landing storage space could work as fitted storage for your essentials. 


Utility cabinets are perfect for small spaces, and improved storage and home organisation are always a good idea! Tall units are a bonus, but by removing shelves and installing a storage cube you can adapt the available space. 


Tips for creating the perfect utility cupboard or mini-utility room


  • Decide what you want to store - this could be anything from a spillover larder to mini laundry room to laundry baskets, even a washing machine if you have the space available. 

  • Measure the dimensions and identify the tallest items to determine the minimum shelf height to accommodate them. 


This project is just one of a few home storage and organisation DIYs that I’ve completed as part of my DIY kitchen revamp. I’ll list the relevant posts below so you can pop over and check out the other ones. 


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