Complete Guide to Laundry Room Ideas for Literally Every Situation

Can we first all agree that doing laundry is among our least favorite pastimes? If we can start there, know that by the time you have taken in all these laundry room ideas, we will have equipped you with the inspiration and helpful tips you need to make yours a haven versus piles of "hell, I wish I could pay someone to do this," even when the clothes are clean. (We all know putting away laundry is its own beast.)

Many people don't have their own laundry rooms, so consider yourself lucky, but if do happen to share a laundry room in your building, it doesn't mean you can't try to propose some of these layout ideas. Your neighbors will thank you!

Step one, evaluate the size of your laundry room, noting every possible open area for you to work with.

Wall-mounted drying rack
credit: Helen Milan

This is especially useful for those of you with more of a closet than a room to really expand your vision. Often we are limited to just seeing what we've always lived with, so take a step back and look closely at your space. Take photos of your laundry area and mark the open spaces, or simply write a list with all the areas you can utilize. The walls may be a no-brainer, but also consider the ceiling, a window sill, your cabinet and laundry room door (or doors), and underneath, on top of, or on the sides of your machines, cabinets, and sink. Even look to freestanding items in your room — for instance, if you have a hamper, guess what? There are sides and a top to it to place something over or even hang from it.

Where there is space, there are possibilities.

And you better believe that designers and everyday people have developed creative ways to fill it with something functional: a slim utility cart, door-hanging hamper or drying rack, a pull-out shelf, and the brilliant laundry guard that you never knew you needed until you discovered it.

Next, prioritize what you need from the space to help determine your design.

This time, create a priority list, just considering your needs. Take into account the whole room in thinking about your priorities, from top to bottom: lighting, flooring, countertops, sink, storage, and access — from doorway or lack thereof to how you load/unload your laundry. A sink may not be on your list (because you're happy using your bathtub), but an ironing board and a place for your cat's litter box are. The laundry room may need to be for more than just your laundry.

Here's a look at laundry room ideas for specific size rooms, with smart tips to get you thinking about your priorities, and ones you never thought you could meet!

If you have a hallway nook or closet ...

Los Angeles–based Amber Interiors kept their client's classic laundry nook enviably clean and organized with design choices that are friendly for hallway closet spaces as well:

Consider custom cabinetry (or open shelving) to maximize space: Built-in drawers and cabinets provide plenty of storage while practically filling all open space, including a wall-to-wall counter for sorting and folding. We also appreciate how they chose to raise the machines to have the panel beneath it match the adjacent baseboard. Talk about attention to detail!

Forgo closets or curtains for open access: Closet doors can sometimes limit the area in which you can move about, from inches to feet (depending on how they open/close), so going this route allowed the designers to run drawers and cabinets to the walls with ample clearance for use. Of course, this also means you need to keep it presentable. With this design, you can.

Contrast walls and cabinets with different color tile flooring for interest: Tile flooring is a smart choice for potentially wet areas to resist moisture. We also adore the way the black tile was laid to contrast with the white vertical planks.

Add a fresh element: Keep a tight area smelling fresh with fresh flowers, an oil diffuser, or the like. This addition can also add nice touches of color if you choose to go monochrome for the rest of the space.

If you have a smaller laundry room ...

There are so many resourceful (and lovely) ways Jenna Sue Design maximized one wall to create a picture-perfect, welcoming laundry room:

Utilize a narrow space by adding storage for supplies: The pull-out white cabinet on the side of the machines can hold laundry detergent, drying sheets, or wool dryer balls, a small iron, and more.

Run open wood shelving from wall to wall, even over the window, to maximize shelf space: Having a "wow, I never thought of doing that" moment? Yes, us too. Forget the rule to never cover a window; this installation still allows light in and a view out.

Also have the countertop run the length of the wall versus just over the machines: This too increases your work area for folding and sorting, but also solves the annoying occurrence of things falling off the sides of the machines. Stray socks, undergarments, and pocket change no longer!

Add mobile storage solutions: She also utilized stylish bins for storage (that are also stackable). As your storage needs grow, your boxes can too.

Bring in nature and art: Add plants and art to shelves to warm the space. How many of your needs were checked off with this design? We must also call out the statement floor design: The creative use of mosaic tile injects joy into the space, and is also a smart choice for resisting moisture and preventing slipping.

When space is no object ...

When you have so much space to work with, sometimes it's hard to decide how to use it. That's why a priority list of needs is key. Here, Lindye Galloway Interiors incorporated many of the design elements of the previous examples, but was able to play even more because of the large laundry room:

Counter space, counter space, counter space: If you have the space, a wraparound counter means always having a place to sort, iron, and fold galore. The same goes for cabinets — storage for all your laundry needs and beyond.

Place your hamper on wheels: In larger spaces, having a mobile hamper limits lugging piles to and from your machines and other areas of the house.

Going white to utilize natural or installed lighting: Choosing white cabinetry or paint creates a brighter space any time of year to reflect whatever lighting sources you have. It also provides a clean look when your laundry isn't.

Position your sink near a window: Just as in the kitchen, cleaning chores are much more pleasurable when you can daydream at the same time out a window. A little vitamin D and fresh air go a long way.

Now take your two lists and see how all the items or activities on your priority list can find a home in your open space areas.

Also take into account your personality and habits! You may want things out of sight and out of mind, or have to have everything high enough to keep out of your kids' reach.

Laundry organization
credit: Pottery Barn

If easy access is on your priority list, open shelving, a rolling sorter (or clothing rack), and hooks should be on your shopping list. Cabinets and drawers don't work for everyone when having things in sight and within reach saves time on your laundry chores. Pottery Barn's Galvanized Laundry Shelf is a storage and hanging solution in one with five hooks for your drying needs. There are also mobile clothes racks with built-in laundry sorter compartments, such as this Household Essentials design at Bed Bath & Beyond and the Seville Classics 3-bag laundry sorter with hanging bar at Target.

IKEA Storage solution
credit: IKEA

Manage the chaos of laundry and storage by aiming for a monochromatic color palette. Having everything from your walls, floors, and shelving to your bottles, baskets, and machines in one color can be a surprisingly effective way to visually make your laundry room more tidy. This IKEA laundry room idea using its ALGOT wall-mounted storage system perfectly illustrates this. Even using frosted or plastic storage containers for your laundry detergent and fabric softener can instantly make your area more pleasing.

laundry room
credit: Pottery Barn

But if you like texture, let your storage run the gamut. Obviously if you don't limit your color palette, the room laundry room becomes an anything goes adventure! And Pottery Barn's Gabrielle System is ready for you: canvas hampers, rails and drying racks with black accents, hanging baskets, and metal shelving is a mix that works.

Stacked washer and dryer
credit: AJ Madison

Stack your washer and dryer to minimize back strain and effectively utilize a closet space. Yes, stacking the machines can mean more difficulty in servicing them in the long run, but if you're tight on space and want to minimize bending to load and unload your laundry, then do it. We're aware there are all-in-one washer-dryer machines, but know that long drying times (in the several hours) may not be worth the space saved according to many sources.

Personalize your laundry room to bring a smile to your space — include things you love. Accessorize your laundry room with cool items and add personal mementos to make it a destination with meaning and style. There's so much personality in this Henry Lewis Home laundry room: the hourglass, hands down, wins in so many ways for best decor with function. But also see how the framed photo, metallic sink backsplash, yellow shelves, window planter, bright yellow towels, geometric ceiling fixture, and wood bird sculpture make this room unlike any other. And the black accents really tie it all together.

Laundry room
credit: Chango & Co.

Never pass up an opportunity to add a fun element as well. Take a tip from Chango & Co. and the laundry room ideas we've shared from other designers. Including pretty laundry signage, colorful wallpaper, and mixing patterns and tiles can go a long way to making yours one you're happy to visit.

And here's my special tip: Allow a place for your media-binging device of choice. There's no better way to forget what you're doing than adding a distraction, such as a small TV or your favorite streaming device, and even your wireless headset for long chats with family. As you load, hang, or fold, listen to an audio book or podcast, or catch up on episodes of your favorite cooking show, you'll be surprised how much more pleasurable the laundry room will become.


Teena Apeles

Teena Apeles

Author and book editor Teena Apeles is a collector of vintage pieces and untold stories. She founded the Los Angeles–based creative collective Narrated Objects, which released the anthology Dear Seller: Real Estate Love Letters from Los Angeles, a unique exploration of the lives and homes of Angelenos.