The Habitat
Making the Most of a Small Laundry Room
Making the Most of a Small Laundry Room

A small laundry room can be a challenge to keep organized and efficient, but there are a number of design options that can make this room just as capable as a larger one. A few simple additions or changes can alter the way that you deal with laundry and make this chore much more pleasant.


Embrace wide open spaces

Open shelving space JazzIRT / Getty Images

Open or exposed cabinetry can make items easier to access on a daily basis. A variation in the cabinetry styles is visually appealing and keeps the space interesting. Try adding a few exposed shelves above or to the side of the machines where you can keep the laundry products that you use on a regular basis. Less frequently used items can be kept in closed cupboards. Open shelving also makes a small space look larger.


Front-loading machines increase shelf space

choose front-loading machines for more storage space

Front-loading washing and drying machines are an easy way to save space in a small laundry area. Add shelves above the machines for extra storage, or keep items directly on top of the machines. Choose a washer and dryer with a modern finish to give an instant update to your room. Matching the machines to the style of the room and surrounding areas can make them part of the decor rather than a space-sucking eyesore.


Contain the chaos with curtains

hide laundry room with a curtain

Sometimes, dividing a room or space with a curtain or temporary wall just serves to make it feel smaller, but if you really want to partition your laundry space to keep a purely functional area out of the designer ebb and flow of your home, hanging a stylish curtain can transform the space and maybe even trick guests into thinking you have more windows!


Think vertical

build shelves to the ceiling

We cover some of these ideas throughout, but it never hurts to look at a space-saving concept as a whole. Whenever you're working with a small area, going higher rather than wider is a useful trick. From narrow shelves that run floor to ceiling (remember to keep most-used items on the easily-accessible levels) to a repurposed ladder hung from the ceiling as a drying or steaming rack, when you stack rather than spread out, you're bound to discover space you never knew you had. Pro tip: install a shelf above the door.


Drying racks are your friends

Hanging rack on shelving onurdongel / Getty Images

A drying rack can be hung from the ceiling or attached to the base of a shelf in the laundry room. These don't have to be standard metal rods; instead, look for a custom wooden rack that adds to the style of the space. Drying racks hung from the ceiling can be moved out of the way when they are not needed using a pulley system, while others can be compressed against the wall.


Expand the space with a new palate

Dark grey laundry room onurdongel / Getty Images

Bright colors can completely change the feel of a room and even small laundry rooms can explode with light and style with the right color choice. Consider a bold color that completely changes the space, or opt for neutrals and purchase machines (or use removeable wallpaper) that match the color scheme. Even adding just a small pop of color on the door or select shelves can instantly update a room.

Not big on painting? Like bathrooms, tiny laundry rooms are great spaces to experiment with bold prints that would overpower a larger space. There are countless wallpapers available online that are decked out with huge florals, safari scenes, landscapes, and more.


Stack your machines to increase floor space

This is a repeated image as I couldn't find another landscape image with stacked machines imaginima / Getty Images

Stacking front-loading machines is an excellent way to save space in a small room. Add a rack for out-of-season clothes and footwear, or build a custom shelving unit for endless possibilities. Think about how you plan to use the space and what will work best for you. If you don't have many laundry-specific items, a new closet for extra linens or camping supplies is a great way to utilize the space.


Put your lighting to task

task lighting in laundry room

Installing task lighting in small, utilitarian spaces is a great way to make the room feel more like somewhere you want to spend a few hours a week — since you have to anyway. Strip lights under cabinets or inside often-used closets will make this must-do chore that much easier, especially if there's no natural light. Permanent and temporary options abound, so you're sure to find the perfect fit.


Decorate with functional products

Laundry with products on display onurdongel / Getty Images

Let your laundry supplies be part of the decor of the room. Transfer your detergent and softener into pretty glass containers and display them on the shelf. Coordinate your garbage bin, laundry basket, and even little additions like lint rollers with the main color theme in your room. Keep clothespins and other items in beautiful baskets displayed on the shelves.


Make the space flow with the room

Laundry in the hallway onurdongel / Getty Images

If your laundry room is in a hallway,  bathroom, or kitchen, let this practical area flow seamlessly with the rest of the space it shares. If guests will walk by your laundry space on the way in the door or trips to the bathroom, keep it tidy and an aesthetically pleasing part of your home. You can even add art and other visually appealing decor to really embrace this shared space. If you hate the idea of your cleaning area being out in the open, though, you can always consider building doors to cover your machines.


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