Laundry Room Style Decisions

Let’s be honest here, unless things go horribly wrong with my life plan, the room in which laundry is done will be the room in which you are least likely to find me spending time. Ever. You want to see this girl, you head out to the garage where the tools are, obviously.

So yes, I do see the irony in the fact that the laundry room is at the top of the priority list for being finished. And even more irony in the fact that I’m excited to finish it, and to do laundry in it— particularly because it means not having to drive 10 miles and spend two hours with some creepy toothless guy gawking at me in the laundromat, but still having clean underwear.

All of my previous laundry experiences consisted of a washer and dryer in the basement, which gave me pretty much unlimited floor space for making mountains out of my unwashed clothes. Having a more confined laundry space on the main level of the house will be a new experience for me so I’m putting a lot of thought into it. If I don’t my clothes could theoretically spew out of the laundry room and effectively barricade two entrances to the house shut… and then next time you seem me it will be on the six o’clock news when they’re digging me out with excavation equipment.

Here’s what I’m working with…

The Blank Slate

The laundry room is a 7×9′ space located off the mudroom.

It currently looks like this:




If you look closely, you may be able to see a donkey out that window. In that respect, the laundry room actually has the most interesting view in the house.

The Uses

I’ve spent a lot of time looking a pictures of laundry rooms over the last couple of days, and what I’ve discovered is that laundry rooms double as craft rooms, TV rooms, rooms to hide from everyone else in the house, rooms with couches, chairs, and wet bar, and very rarely do you actually see the laundry in the laundry room.

Here’s what I know about my laundry room:

  1. It will very often contain dirty laundry. Extra dirty laundry in larger quantities than are generally accepted in polite society.
  2. It will not contain wrapping paper, ribbon, crafts, or a television.
  3. I would like it to contain the cat food and water.
  4. I would like there to be ample places where laundry can be hastily stored when company is coming over.
  5. I would like there to be places for us to hang/dry necessary items.
  6. I would like there to be a ironing board. In all likelihood I will use the iron once every ten months, and the board itself will be folded up and put away approximately never. Easy stowing would be a plus.

Too much to ask out of a 63 square foot room? Probably.

The Inspiration

Here are some images I found that resonated with me.

Like the color and the off-the-floor hanging rack:

Like the tall closet with fold-down ironing board and sink with tray to convert it to more counter space:

Like the open shelves, laundry baskets, and detergent scoop:

Like the subway tile and wood cabinets:

The Layout

I took some of the ideas I liked the most and created possible layouts.

I started with the basics. A freestanding sink, clothes rack, full cabinet, and open shelves:

utilitarianThen I went to the other end of the spectrum, putting cabinets wherever I could to create a more finished “farmhouse” look. One thing I’m taking into consideration is that it will be off of our very rustic mudroom and I don’t want it to be jarringly different, since the door will be open more likely than not.


Then I tried a hybrid of the two, planning for a full counter and some white subway tile for the backsplash, but possible open shelves below. I still tried to work a possible “hanging rack” into this design.


None of these layouts accommodate all of my “wants”, and by turn I like each of them the best, depending apparently on my mood, the number of chocolate chip cookies I’ve eaten (which is way too many, at this point), and the way the wind is blowing. I’m a fickle creature, what can I say?

The Style

I also put some quick style boards together to help me get a better feel for what each layout might look like when finished.

For the first more open, utilitarian style I fell in love with this sterling sink, and the idea of wire baskets for storage:


For the “farmhouse” option, I had to go with a brick red, and a farm style sink. I love the sink, and the color will go well with what’s planned for the mudroom, but I’m not sure about all of those cabinets:


To go with the white subway tile I liked this green, and even though I think the cabinets could go wood or stainless, I think the wood will fit better with the theme of the mudroom.

tile_laundry_ideasAnd this is the part where I give you my pitiful eyes and go…“help?” Because from moment to moment I look at each board and go “yep, that’s definitely the way I should go” and then I look at the next board and change my mind again.

Do any of these stand out as being the best option? Do you have any features that you love or hate about your own laundry space?

New Feature Alert: So I was having fun with the linky parties for a while so everyone could share their awesome ideas, until I found that the linky code was bogging the site down so bad it was like being back in the early nineties with AOL and dial-up. So I’ve added a feature that allows you to post an image in your comment, just click the link below the comment box that says “You can add images to your comment by clicking here.” Feel free to link back to or include any pictures of your own laundry room styles!

Update: So, as usual, you guys are awesome with ideas. Special shout out to Meryl from Picardy Project (yeah, she lives in a house out of a storybook)  who will some day be a professional organizer. She took the time to do a quick sketch for me that I just had to share…

I love the idea of the glass fronted cabinets, even though I wanted to hide the ugly detergent bottles… I think it might be worth seeing them in something like that.

Meryl has also convinced me that the bar to the left of the upper cabinets is a good idea (I keep waffling between there and to the left of the sink.

The great think about all of your ideas is that I think I can make a lot of it myself. And that means I can procrastinate on picking out tile for the bathrooms!

31 Responses

  1. Delurking to comment on the laundry room (have spent the last month or so reading your archives – love your blog, your attitude, your writing style! Thanks for sharing!).

    Anyway, the best thing about any laundry room is a window, so you’re already ahead of the game there (a window with a donkey view? Priceless!). Have you considered putting the ironing board on the back of the door? That way it will be available for your once-every-10-month ironing schedule, but out of the way the rest of the year. Most importantly, it would not be taking up precious space in the room.

    I think cabinets over the washer/dryer, open shelves around the window. Too many cabinets will close in the space quickly, but you do want a few for storage (of course you will have the opportunity for base cabinets on the counter/sink wall).

    You could have one open shelf below the cabinets above the w/d to put your soap on in glass jars like the one inspiration pic.

    I would put the hanging rod in left corner by sink with floor space below for kitty bowls, leaving room for rolling basket above. Although that could look messy if that’s your first view into the room. Hmmm.

    Sorry for the ridiculously long comment!

    1. I love it when you guys delurk! It was a great comment… everyone agrees about the ironing board on the back of the door, excellent idea.

      I also think cabinets keeping it open around the window is a good idea… it could feel like you’re in a very small box very quickly!

  2. I love having room for 3 hampers for dirty clothes so definitely recommend an option that gives you room for them.

    Obviously they hold a lot more (I’m with you on letting the dirty laundry pile up as long as I can get away with). And it also makes doing the laundry a lot quicker – no need to sort thru a ginormous pile before starting.

    Having a hanging rack is a must – we didn’t have one originally and it was a huge pain.

    And the previous poster had a great idea for hanging the ironing board behind the door – if you only need it every 10 months, don’t waste space on it.

  3. We’re currently marketing a home for sale that has a pretty awesome(in my opinion) laundry room. I can send you the visual tour link and some picture if you like. They’ve got a variety of options that you’re talking about.

    Also, who does the Pale Smoke — that’s the look we’re trying to get for our bathroom — the baby blue is not doing it for me.

    And for what it’s worth I like the third option.

    1. Those are all Benjamin Moore colors! If you get a swatch you can get them color-matched anywhere.

      I’d love to see the virtual tour of a laundry room that has some of the things I’m looking for. Feel free to post a link in the comments, or you can send it to me directly at kstansley(at)gmail

  4. Also, if you have a front loading washer and dryer — could you put a counter top over the machines? That would give you more counter space. Or, I’ve seen people stack their stuff — but only if you have front loading.

  5. For the cat bowls, what if your base cabinet was open on the bottom, maybe with one shelf, so you could put the bowls in there? Or you could put a drawer or pull-out shelf with the cat bowls mounted in at at the bottom. You’re a clever girl, I know you could modify something.

  6. Who knew so many decisions for a laundry room! I got the same feeling that you mentioned on the second, farmhouse laundry rooom; it feels crowded with all the cabinets. For some reason I am in love with the open sink and the wire baskets. I like the open idea in there. That room will feel so crowded already with two giant machines. I think the more open you can make it, the better. I agree with one of the other posters that having the three sorting hampers will give you a ton of space to stash dirty clothing mountains.

    Also, if you did the over the door ironing board, your closet could fulfill your need for stashing the ugly stuff. Plus, one benefit of having the over the door ironing board is that you have to put it away if you want to move the door. This may be annoying sometimes, but will help keep it a tiny bit more clean looking…you know, in the same way that making your bed makes the whole room look clean even if the rest of the room is covered in cat hair and piles of laundry…not that I would konw what that is like.

  7. I thought you were going to go crazy and do a wine color. What happened to that?

    I’m really digging #3 with a few modifications. I would get a front loader washer and extend the countertop over the w/d. Such a simple way to add space. I also like the small cabinets over the w/d and having some shelves on the wall near the sink. I like the look of the open shelves with baskets you have in #3 but to make it more practical I’d move those baskets to shelves on the wall above and turn that into a large pull out hamper. You can have 3 separate canvas bags that attach to the pull out with heavy duty snaps (so they are washable). Perfect place to stash all those dirty clothes. I plan to do that in our future laundry room.

    The ironing board I’d move to behind the door or better yet get one of those recessed cabinet ironing boards and put it in the big blank wall. Having an ironing board that folds up (not freestanding) is a must for us because it makes it easy to use and put away. Oh and a hanging rod is also a must. I like the one in #3 because it’s not too big (#1 might make the space feel smaller). For the cabinet next to the dryer I’d get one of those nifty pull-out extendo corner cabinet inserts so that space isn’t wasted. I’m loving the white subway tile but I think you should go with light natural wood cabinets like your last inspiration picture so there isn’t too much white. They will hide the dirt that is bound to be in there better anyway. A friend of mine is always having to clean her white cabinets because they show the dirt so well. The kitty bowls can go under the open sink otherwise you could build in their bowls like the Chezerby’s did for their dog and have the farmhouse sink. Are you going to have a litter box in there too?


    1. I definitely went with the wine color first, particularly on that first sample. I haven’t completely given up on it yet, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to have some red (the old barn siding in the mudroom has old faded red paint on it) in the hall and then another close-to-red color in the laundry room. I’m definitely getting a sample to test though.

      Love the pic!

  8. My two cents…
    I have an ironing board that hangs on the back of the door. Perfect for me since I rarely iron.
    And I would recommend putting the sink next to the washer. That way you can wash the mud/donkey doo/construction muck off your pants and throw them straight in the washer.
    Ditto what everyone says about the countertop over the front loading machines…and I’d raise them up a bit.

    1. I want them. I could actually use them in the study, I wired for two wall sconces but haven’t picked them out yet. Do you know where they’re from?

    1. That’s an awesome project. I was thinking I might just get your standard old mechanical washer/dryer instead of a front loader… I had a grand debate about this a few months ago and I was almost sold on the Samsung front loaders, but I keep hearing horror stories about any washer and dryer with a computer ($800 to fix).

      We still haven’t made the purchase, but I wouldn’t mind saving the money for an appliance I like to use better.

  9. I like most Meryl’s plan with the exception of a few things. The placement of the cat’s food, water and litter box. If you were a cat would you want your food right next to where you poop? Anything I’ve read says not to have them too close together. And yes, I have two cats.

    Does your cat eat strictly dry food? The reason I ask is are you going to want to have to go fom the kitchen to the laundry room with food all the time?

    Instead of hanging the ironing board on the back of a door or inside of a cabinet (seems like a lot of wasted space) why not get one of the ones that fits into the wall studs. They have a door just like a cabinet and are paintable so you can make them fade into the wall color if you want.They are smaller than your typical ironing board but if you rarely use one it’s all you need. Home Depot & Lowes both have them. You’ve got plenty of room on the wall opposite the window.

    Another option for dirty clothes is pull out bins. Remember when they use to have pull out bins for flour, sugar etc. in kitchens and hoosier cabs? My father built one in our house and that’s what we used as a hamper. You could put 3 of those in the tall cabinet where the ironing board is in Meryl’s drawing.

    I like your 3rd choice with the subway tile and the green. I have white subway tile in my kitchen with a similar green wall paint and they look fabulous together if I do say so myself. But I would agree with you that you need to go with wood cabinets instead of some sort of white so it blends better with the mud room.

    Just a few of my thoughts as I love planning out spaces and finding their maximun potential!

    1. Good point about the cat, our litter area will be far away in the basement. I’ve never kept the food and litter in the same spot — who wants to eat in the bathroom?

      He’s also on a dry-food diet, which occasionally he supplements with mice… but if I don’t have cabinets I’ll have to have some sort of container, since he will rip through a food bag just for the fun of it.

  10. I like your inspiration, but speaking as a current laundry room user, I would skip the wire baskets or bins for storage. It’s just one more thing to pull out and put back, scraping up your shelving all the while. I prefer upper cabinets for my soap, etc. Also, you must have a hanging rack for drying. I love the subway tile and countertop look you’re going for. But, I’m going to be jealous of what you do, either way! I currently do laundry with the sweet aroma of cat turds and the fine company of centipedes, so anything is better than that!

    1. I agree, my last house had open wire shelves and it was such a mess. No matter how clean I am, detergent, bleach, shout, etc bottles are a mess. To me, those need to be in a closed cabinet.

      I have the built in small ironing board & thought I was just going to love it. But, I’ve found it a pain to iron on the thing! Maybe it’s just me. Can’t wait to see the transformation! So fun to see the donkey pen!

  11. Just to confirm what others have said, we have a three-bin rolling laundry hamper for our boys (from Costco) and it is awesome! It holds an enormous amount of clothes, and it is great to just reach in to the pre-sorted piles to do a load. And one of our kitties thinks it’s the best place in the world to curl up and sleep.

  12. I just have a couple of minutes to post this. A countertop will be handy for folding clothes, should you decide to do it in this room. If so, a radio would be nice to have a bit of music going while you’re doing that or ironing. You know you’re not tidy, so don’t use open shelves; you’ll just have that mess on view. Use closed doors throughout. If there arfe items that need to be stored or stacked (I’m thinking of things like towels and the like), drawers are MUCH better than shelves. With a shelf, you have to carefully restack everything. With a drawer, you can pull out the old stuff, put the fresh on the bottom, put the old back. If you use wire drawers, put them in a closed cabinet, so the mess is not on view. If they are drawers you get into a lot, you may want to opt for a stack of drawers. Overlap drawers would do fine for this, and they are very easy to make and to install. If you go with drawers, the easiest glides to use are Blum 230 glides. You can buy them for two or three dollars a pop. Side-mounted drawer glides are FOREVER. The front and back method for these glides can cause them to come out with heavy use. If you go with side-mounted glides, Rockler sells a jig for hanging these that is very easy to use. I can hang drawers in fifteen minutes with it, and you can too. Consider Formica countertops. They actuallyk go faster than tile, will work fine for this purpose, and be easier to keep clean (no grout).

  13. I’m in the middle of a kitchen/bath remodel but due to the proximity of the laundry and pantry, I’m starting on that as well. Unfortunately, all my thoughts have been aimed towards the kitchen (logically) so I haven’t given any time to the laundry/pantry. I’m so glad I came across this page. You’ve done a great job capturing ideas and comments. It’s going to be a big help to me. Thanks!

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  15. Where did you get the wood ironing board hanging on the wall???? I love it and would like to purchase one.

    Thank You

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