What is a boot room? (and why you need one)

what is a boot room

If you have kids or pets, you’ll understand the stress that mess can causes. A place within the home which create the most issues is the kitchen as it’s often the gateway to the garden. Creating a boot room enables space between the outdoors and your nice tidy home.


A common issue with an open-plan kitchen which opens directly to the garden is no matter you often you clean it, everyone seems to drag something unwanted in!


The dog walks across the clean tile floor leaving dirty paw print, the kid dump jumpers, coats and hat on the kitchen table, and garden tools always seem to end up by the door! Talk about organised chaos!


A utility or boot room creates a physical separation between your pristine kitchen and any dirt, mess and anything else that might be dragged inside. As a boot room typically has it’s own entrance from the garden, people can easily remove dirty clothes and throw them straight into the washing machine.


It’s also a fantastic space for pets, as they can be wiped down, removing any dirt they would have otherwise dragged into the home. Boot rooms are ideal for storing coats, shoes and umbrellas in a single place cutting down the time taken to leave the house in the morning!


Building a utility or boot room only involves a few key elements and can be as complicated and expensive as you want. Plus you can always start with repurposed furniture.



Utility/laundry vs boot room

Before we cover how to design a boot room, it’ wroth explain the key terms. A utility or laundry room as it’s commonly called in the USA is a space to keep a washing machine and dryer. Ideally, there’s be a sink as well, so that you can pre-wash clothes or shoes.


Having a laundry room enables you to have more kitchen space as your washing machine and dryer are removed. Also, having the extra space should allow to hang up some clothes or have an airer up without needing to worry who might see your clothes drying!


Another benefit of having a dedicated room is less noise, even when the washing machine is on a spin cycle. Not to mention, it’s a fantastic space for piling items up when friends or family pop over and the house looks like a bomb site. They’ll never know!


On the other hand, a boot room is traditionally used to store coats, umbrellas, shoes and sports equipment, and even guns! If you have a pooch, they might have their bed and bowls in the boot room.


Some now use the term to mean a combination of a laundry room and storage space. And as it typically connects the house to outside, it’s useful for keeping essential items in one place and keeping dirt and mud out of the house!



Stephen Graver boot room

photo by Stephen Graver



What is a boot room?

Think of a boot room as a buffer and storeroom. Given enough space, you could incorporate enough storage for each family member to have their own space with appliances, a sink, storage and a large built-in bench.


In terms of storage, every family member could have some hanging space for coats and bags, as well as a small shoe rack. You could even use a few large wicker baskets to hold walking sticks, umbrellas, tennis rackets and more.


Just imagine as your children return from a long family walk, they have a bench to sit on while they remove their dirty clothes and shoes. And rather than throwing them anywhere, they have a dedicated space to place clean items. 


Dirty items can be pre-washed in the sink and either left to dry or be placed into the washing machine ready to wash. No dirty clothes or shoes would make it past the boot room, ensuring a clean, tidy home! 



Designing a boot room

Some homeowners like their boot room to mirror the design for their kitchen, while others like to keep things simple. There’s no one size fits all design and really depends on what your goal is and the space you have to play with.


If you like a rustic design, you might want to start with a light wall colour and dark hard-wearing tile floor. Next, add a bench and on the wall above, mark out a section for every family member with a name tag. You’ll want to add some coat hooks to the wall and a shoe rack under the bench.


You might want to add some tall cupboards to store cloth airers, an ironing board, washing products and a washing basket. Enjoy bike riding? Then you’ll want to consider how you can store your bikes as well.


For a more formal look, you might want to have a bench built-in, with shoe storage below and large, tall cupboard either side. All of your shoes will be hidden under the seat and the cupboards can hold coats, bags and accessories. Your boot room will look tidy with every item in its place.


You could on the opposite wall, have a large butler sink complete with storage underneath, a washing machine and a tumble dryer. This will make clean clothes even easier and faster.


If you have a dog or cat, then you might want to design them their own space. It’s worth your pet having a bed and some bowls. You could add a doggy bath with spray tap as it’ll ensure they don’t carry mud into the home!


As with any functional space, think about how you can incorporate plenty of storage. You can always do with more!



Evie Willow cotswold boot room

photo by Evie Willow



Don’t forget to personalise

Even if you can only afford to build a small porch which doubles as a boot room, consider adding art, photos and even fresh flowers. Don’t think of it as a purely functional space, instead see it as an extension of the home. So don’t be afraid to personalise your boot room and make it unique!



Who should I ask to design my boot room?

If you’re currently planning to redesign your kitchen, then it makes sense to ask the designer for ideas and a quote for a boot room. Some of our favourite kitchen designers including Humphrey Munson, Clive Christian and Stephen Graver also design excellent boot rooms as well.


However, if you’re trying to re-imagine a space or thinking about building a small extension, then you’ll want to start research and planning. Don’t discount ideas because you think they’ll be too costly or might not work, instead, focus on collecting inspiring ideas that can influence your project. 


There’s nothing wrong with breaking your idea into a few phrases and completing each as you have the time and money.





Keep on top on your boot room

As with any room, stuff magically starts to accumulate. So to keep your boot room as functional a possible, its worth every month going through every item and having a good sort.


You’re bound to find dirty socks that haven’t quite made it to the washing machine, jumpers that belong elsewhere and of course, the missing glove you’ve spent far to long search in the house for!


By tidying your boot room regularly, you can restore order and calm to the space without it’s seeming like an impossible task.