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The boot room is central to the functionality of any home, regardless of size and occupancy. Once the preserve of grand country houses, the boot room along with that other relic of the past-the pantry now top the shopping list of many a house hunter. This week we walk through the essentials of creating the perfect boot room.
What is a boot room?
Essentially the boot room serves to remove muddy boots, wet coats,and other such detritus on entering the house. Traditionally positioned at the back of the house, it can also act as a storage area and space in which to dry and clean boots and kit. The original boot rooms in large houses would have been solely for the purpose of cleaning and mending boots and hunting kit, but the modern boot room often incorporates the utility and laundry room which has spawned the term bootility.
Designing the boot room
Consider what you require from your boot room and how you plan to use the space, as with any interior design, begin with electrical points and the sink. I use the sink in my (small) boot room more than the kitchen sink and no, that's not because I avoid the washing up! The sink comes into use for rinsing clothes, washing boots, cleaning flower vases and washing the dog. A large Belfast sink is desirable for many of these tasks, particularly washing the dog! Now is the time to site power sockets at points where they will be useful and also wall light fittings if you plan to incorporate these into your lighting.
I would also want to incorporate shelving into the design. Boot room shelving is ideal for storing those items you go to frequently such as dog food, laundry products or for storing boots. Built in cupboards can be chosen to reflect your needs, such as floor to ceiling cupboards for coats and drawers for bits of kit and tools.
Finally a bench is always handy when pulling on boots, depending on the style of your room, a bench can be incorporated into fitted cupboards or a free standing piece added.
A place for everything, and everything in its place
If you boot room is cluttered, then it is not fit for purpose, adding the right fittings to the layout is the first step to creating the orderliness that this room requires. Shelving is a great place to start, open kitchen style shelving offers versatile storage space. At home, I have a single shelf that wraps around one side of the room, the shelf is above the washer and dryer keeping laundry products within easy reach. I am a fan of positioning a shelf towards the top of the room and adding hooks below, this way you are making full use of the space available.
Which brings us to hooks... traditional hat and coat hooks offer maximum capacity for coats. I like a classic hook such as an Oakham coat hook or Acorn hook. Both these designs create an elegant picture when used in a row either against plaster or tongue & groove paneling (another favourite of mine).
If the space is doubling as utility space, you may also want to create storage for such as brushes. I have a collection of dustpan & brushes and such as radiator brushes (handy when the kids have posted matchbox cars behind the radiator!). These reside upon a row of wooden pegs beneath the aforementioned shelf. Our wooden pegs can be painted the same colour as the wall to create a seamless finish.
Sadly I do not have enough height for a pulley maid, like all great design, this Victorian invention is still relevant today and so useful, especially during the colder months of the year.
Boot pulls and boot storage are also essential boot room accessories, wellies without allocated storage soon take over the place!
And finally, an umbrella stand is a great accompaniment for a hallway, or boot room, keeping not only umbrellas handy but also sporting paraphernalia such as cricket bats and hockey sticks.
In recent years there has been a sea change in the perception of the boot room, where once it was a basic room at the back of the house it is now very much a feature and is given as much thought as say the kitchen. And as such the finishing touches are important.
Lighting comes to mind first, where once a harsh strip light (that buzzed annoyingly) was the go to lighting, wall lights and pendant lighting are more in keeping with both the classic country house style boot room and shaker inspired design. Pendant lights can be sited over the sink and work surfaces and combined with spot lights to create layers of light.
And finally to complete the look,I'd recommend selecting drawer and cupboard handles in antique brass or cast iron. The antique brass cup handle transforms the overall look of fitted cupboards, and these together with a lick of paint can transform even the most basic of cupboards. For more information read my blog How to paint your kitchen units like a professional
Best wishes Alex x
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