How to Design the Perfect Laundry Room

How to Design a Laundry Room

Designing your laundry room to be an effective and pleasant work space can take the doldrums out of the mundane task of washing clothes. Whether you're remodeling or building your home from the ground up, there's a lot of factors to consider. Before beginning, we recommend taking a few minutes to ponder what a perfect laundry room would look like in your minds-eye.

 What type of appliances would you have? How much counter space? Do you have cabinets above the counters? on the floor? Is there a sink? Is there a designated space to hang clothes? 

Steps to Design a Laundry Room

Jot down the things that are important for your laundry room to incorporate. As you design your laundry room you may have restrictions that'll prevent the room from matching your vision, but that doesn't mean that you can't work around these obstacles and still have the things that really matter to you.


Step 1 - Appliances

If you plan to purchase a new washer and dryer you'll have less limitations than if you need to work around your existing appliances. As an example, you may prefer to have your washer and dryer stacked, or maybe side-by-side with counter space over the top. In these scenarios, you'd need to purchase a front load washer. Click HERE to learn the pro's and con's between front and top load washers. 

Another consideration is where your washer and dryer will be positioned within the room. If you already have the electrical and water hook-ups in place, your laundry room layout needs to be built around the appliances. If you want to relocate them, you'll also need yo move the hook-ups, which will add additional costs to your project and should be done by a professional.

Washer and Dryer Tips

  • Leave extra space around your appliances. Washers and dryers are not standardized in size. They come in different dimensions and when the time comes to purchase new ones, having a little extra space can make the transition simple. Check out this guide.
  • Front loader vs. Top loader. Consider the pro's and con's and what happens if you want to switch from one style to the other down the road. For example, a front loader can fit under a counter-top, but a top loader can not. 
  • Stacking your front load washing machine uses far less space than having them sitting side-by-side. If stacking is what you want to do, you'll need to purchase a stacking kit designed for your specific appliances.  
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    Placing your washer and dryer on a pedestal will provide additional storage. Be sure the pedestal you purchase is built for your model. 
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    Some manufacturers build their washers with washing pedestals. These give you the ability to wash small loads of laundry or separate delicates into small batches. 
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    If you need to purchase a new washer and dryer these buyers guides should help you make an educated decision. Washer Buyers Guide and Dryer Buyers Guide. 
Laundry Room Workspace

Step 2 - Work Space

Many people find their laundry rooms to be a wonderful space for a mud room; a place to wash the dog or store a litter box; working on craft projects and even starting seedlings for the garden. 

But if you don't have the work space available, you'll find yourself frustrated and disorganized, especially when your laundry room is used for anything other than washing and drying clothes. Having a well laid out work space, with plenty of counter space, will not only help you do the laundry, it'll also open the door to many other uses. Here are a few things to consider:

Count​​​​er Space

Build in as much counter space as possible. Frequently laundry baskets, detergents and other laundry supplies find a home, if only temporarily, on the counter. So the more counter space you have, the better.

If you have adequate counter space you'll be able to easily work on several tasks without the frustration of picking up in between. Keep in mind, that if you don't stack your washer and dryer the top of the appliances can be used to sort and fold clothes as well.

Floor Space

Moving freely in your laundry room can make a big difference in your efficiency. If you're always needing to close the door to the washer or dryer in order to move to the other side of the room . . . well, let's just say, you're not being very efficient and you're probably frustrated.

Some homeowners like to build an island counter where they can fold clothes and do other tasks. Be sure to leave enough space to be able to fully open the appliance's doors, and ideally be able to move freely when the doors are open.

Don't try to cram too many things into your laundry room if you don't have the floor space to move freely.

Sink

If you have the space and plumbing, a sink in your laundry room can really be helpful. Even if space is limited, you might consider finding a cover for the top of the sink to add more counter space when it's not in use.

A laundry room sink can either be a stand alone floor model, like the one on the right, or it can be built into the counter-top with work space on either or both sides. 

In the ideal situation, your sink should be located on the left side of your washer, as this offers the best work flow for efficiency. Clothes can be soaked and then placed directly into the washer with out any wasted steps.


Work Space Tips

  • Counter space is generally 24-inches deep, but if you are short on space it could be cut down to a foot.
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    As a rule of thumb, a side-by-side washer and dryer is designed to  fit within a 60-inch wide space. Where stacked appliances typically use less than 30-inches.
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    48-inches of clearance should be provided in front of a front-load washer. This will allow room to move in front of the open doors.
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    Having a minimum of 18-inches of free counter space for stain removal prep and other pre-wash activities will give you plenty of room to prepare your laundry prior to washing.
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    We recommend installing a deep sink. Deep sinks can be easily used to fill buckets. They are also less likely to splash when dumping a bucket full of dirty water. 
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    More is better than less when it comes to electrical outlets. 
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    The most common flooring material for laundry rooms is vinyl or linoleum.
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    Place your washing machine on a drip pan (or install a floor drain) to as an added layer of protection from a leaking washing machine.
Laundry Room Storage

Step 3 - Storage

 Laundry rooms need storage space. There's the obvious laundry supplies such as detergent, dryer sheets and stain remover, then there's irons and ironing boards. But you'll most likely also find this room to be a handy place to store other home necessity items such as light bulbs, water and furnace filters, brooms and vacuums among other things.

Overhead Cabinets

Cabinets that are above the counter are also called upper cabinets and they are a great option to maximize storage space. Using cabinets rather than shelves also helps keep the area looking neat and tidy.

Of course, all cabinets can be custom made to fit any space, but using the standard sizes will save you money. Here are the standard measurements to consider:

  • Depth: 12 inches
  • Width: Varies in size between 9-inches to 48-inches, increasing in 3-inch increments (ie. 9" - 12" - 15" etc)
  • Height: The cabinet height is determined by your ceiling height. Keep in mind that tall upper cabinets will require a step stool or even a ladder to reach the top shelves.
  • Positioning: Overhead cabinets should be placed at least 18-inches above your counter. 

Base Cabinets

A base cabinet is the cabinet that sits under the countertop. Thy offer the most storage since they are twice the depth of overhead cabinets. The standard measurements are:

  • Depth: 24-inches
  • Width: Base cabinets have the same size variations as overhead cabinets
  • Height: These cabinets are designed to fit under the standard counter height of 36-inches
  • Positioning: Leave at lease 42-inches of space between the front of the cabinet and any other cabinets or walls.

Free-Standing Cabinets

These pantry-style cabinets can turn extra wall space into a sharp looking storage area. They can be purchased to match your other cabinets giving your laundry room a rich look and feel, but is likely the more expensive way to go.

A  simple white storage cabinet can be just as effective and easier on the pocket book. Some freestanding cabinets are only 16-inches wide making them ideal for fitting into small spaces. 


Unless you have a definite purpose in mind for your freestanding cabinet, we recommend purchasing one with adjustable/removable shelves. This will give you plenty of options down the road and even allow you to use it as a broom closet if you choose.

  • Keep in mind, that if you are planning on storing your ironing board within a cabinet, it will need to be larger than: 14" wide x 60" tall x 3" thick.

Custom Cabinetry

Whether you want to custom design your entire laundry room or you need  that one special cabinet to finish off your space, custom cabinetry is always an option. It is however, far more expensive than purchasing pre-built cabinets.

Storage Tips

  • Many people find folding clothes on a 36-inch counter uncomfortable and prefer using a table or lower counter that is between 30- to 34-inches high.
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    Laundry supplies such as pods, detergents and bleach can be very dangerous. Store these items out of reach of children. 
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    Top load washing machines should have a minimum of 6-inches of clearance between the bottom of the cabinet and the top of the washer lid.
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    A front load washing machine will generally be about 6-feet high when stacked. 
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    Most overhead and base cabinets are sold as kitchen cabinets and can easily be used in your laundry room.
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    Kitchen and closet storage bins and organizers work well in the laundry room to help you minimize clutter. 

Laundry Room Extras

Step 4 - Finishing Touches

The finishing touches in your laundry room can make all the difference. They not only help keep you organized and productive, but they can also give the room personality. 

The best laundry room designs are those that are built with convenience and enjoyment in mind. Like it or not, you'll spend a lot of time doing laundry, so you might as well make the room a space that's not only efficient, but also someplace you enjoy. Here are just a few things you should consider:

Baskets

Baskets are a handy way to keep your laundry room organized. They not only look fantastic, but they're also very practical and reasonably priced. Whether you like wicker, wire or something different, baskets can really add the "wow factor" to your room.


Sorting Basket

If you have the space, a sorting basket can be a great organization tool in the laundry room . . . especially for large families.


Drying Rack

We highly recommend having a drying rack in your laundry room. You'll likely be surprised how frequently it's used. There are many different types available, this post covers the best of each design. 

Our all-time favorite drying rack is the British Cast Iron Ceiling Airer. It is easy to use and store. This drying rack is sturdy enough to handle the heaviest towels and even bed linens. 


Lighting

If your laundry room is well lit you'll not only be able to easily see the stains that need to be pre-treated, but your workspace will be much more pleasant.

If you have the opportunity, take advantage of windows to help provide as much natural light as possible, and of course, a good overhead light is critical. We've seen homeowner's use a chandelier in small laundry rooms to give the space an uplifting personality.

Installing under cabinet lighting is a great way to not only provide excellent task light to your work area, but also give your laundry room an expensive look at an inexpensive price. It's also easy to install.


Track lighting is an excellent way to illuminate your work space since each individual light can be adjusted.


Ironing

Many people choose to iron their clothes in another room, but regardless, it's a best practice to organize your laundry room to accommodate the task. If possible ironing should be done near a counter or table to increase the work space. You'll also need an electrical outlet nearby for your iron.

Another consideration is where you'll store your ironing board. Here are a few options:

  • wall mounted ironing board holder can be an easy and inexpensive way to store both the board and iron when not in use. 
  • If you have a cabinet large enough, you can mount  a holder inside the door. Be careful that the door and hinges are capable of handling the weight. 
  • Another inexpensive solution is to leave a space between your cabinets.
  • fold-away ironing cabinet can take advantage of extra available wall space.


Television

Many people enjoy watching TV while they're folding or ironing clothes. If you plan on installing a television in your laundry room you'll need both an electrical outlet as well as access to cable or internet.


If you're looking for some ideas and inspiration for your laundry room, you might want to check out this video: