The Laundry Room Design and Planning Guide
Every modern home deserves a laundry room that is functional yet stylish. Our laundry room layout ideas will help you visualize a typical layout including laundry room cabinet layout solutions. Whether you plan to build your own shelves or buy some, shelving plans can help you decide what you’ll need. Mapping out a floor plan is a useful budget strategy – seeing everything you’ll need to purchase and where each item will go can keep your project on track, financially and time-wise. If you’ve been wanting to do something with the “dead space” in the hallway by the back stairs or make the mudroom more useful, you’ve come to the right place.
How Do You Design a Laundry Room?
Whether you’re starting from scratch or doing a makeover, almost any place in your home can be turned into an efficient utility room that saves you time and effort. Start by asking yourself some pertinent questions:
- Who will be using the space – you, you and another adult, everyone in the family?
- What do you want to include – clothesline, table for folding clothes, under cabinet task lighting?
- Where will it be located?
- How much actual space do you have for a laundry room?
The layout should take into account the amount of available space, and in addition to the basics such as the machines and a sink, anything else you want to include. To help you see how everything will work together, try to layout them using free online planning tools. Before you go online, do a little homework:
- Know the dimensions of the laundry room or space
- Measure the washer and dryer (machine sizes)
- Get the cabinet dimensions (depth, width, height)
Laundry Room Layout Tools
A laundry floor plan will help you fit the most items into the space you have. We’ve found these four free online room layout planners that actually work and have the fewest glitches:
- SmartDraw – offers several editable options
- IKEA – not compatible with mobile devices
- FloorPlanner – requests sign-up
- 3Dream – basic account is free
Regarding laundry room layout, there appears that there are no dedicated planning tools, at least we couldn’t find any. So, if you don’t see one in the tool listed, don’t get discouraged. Use the kitchen planner instead – it’s the closest thing.
General Design Tips
Tip #1: Some of the online tools include a generic appliance selection with customizable dimensions. Simply pick that option and apply your washer and dryer dimensions to it. Now you’re on your way to layout your future laundry room.
Tip #2: Make your layout efficient – setup and arrangement – by utilizing every square inch of the designated area.
Tip #3: Maximize storage with cupboards, shelves, and baskets. If you like to be able to see items at a glance choose open shelving or cupboards with glass doors.
Tip #4: Carefully consider the orientation of the floor in relation to the drain(s) – even floor (standing water), slopes away (possible damage to walls), or slopes toward (ideal scenario).
Tip #5: Give some thought to the type of lighting that will make the most of your laundry room setup, especially when there’s no natural light.
Often it depends on whether you’re buying a home or building one. These days, you either buy a home with a laundry room already in place or the architect will suggest the dimensions. Most of the time you have to work with what is already there. Of course, if you remodel an existing room, build an addition, or expand an attached garage, the dimensions will be up to you.
What is a good size for a laundry room?
In our experience, we believe that long and narrow layouts work best. Six feet wide by 10 feet long is plenty of space to fit a washer and dryer, an ironing board, hangers, cabinets, and plenty of counter space, plus a utility sink. And a door at one end.
Create Laundry Room Layouts that Work
The main function of the space is washing and drying your laundry. A typical room should contain:
- a washer and dryer
- a utility sink for soaking clothes or other activities such as cleaning up after working on the car or watering household plants
- storage for cleaning supplies
- counter space for sorting and folding
- lighting, natural or artificial
- laundry room accessories – laundry baskets, iron & ironing board, drying rack, hanging bar, etc.
How do you want to use the space? Take the time to think about what the laundry room means to you. Is it just a place to do laundry? Do you need somewhere to fold or do you prefer to fold clothes and sheets in the room they belong? You need an ironing board, but should it be freestanding, drop-down, or fold-out? No one ever says “No” to storage, but what kind would be most useful to you – cabinets, floating shelves, under-counter cubbies? Should the space be dual-purpose such as a kitchen-laundry combo?
Planning out what you want in the laundry room and how it will look when it’s finished helps you to get the most out of the space. The planning process will give you a clearer idea of what’s realistic and doable. Make a list of everything you need for a functional laundry. Try to fit it all into the space.
Other Questions to ask when Planning a Laundry Room
The utility room isn’t the most glamorous room in a home. But good planning can go a long way to converting a dysfunctional space into a room you might actually enjoy spending time in. To decide on a design that will work best for you and your home here are some other questions to ask when planning one.
Where should a laundry room be located in a house?
Discuss it with your spouse and any other members of the household who will be responsible for laundry duty. Imagine your usual daily workflow – use this as the guiding factor for what would be the most convenient place to drop off and pick up the laundry.
And if you have kids, think of ways to get them into the habit of gathering up their dirty clothes and dropping them off at the laundry room. Make it fun – for utility rooms on the same level use colorful laundry carts or animal/cartoon-themed laundry hampers for when a trip to the laundry room means stairs.
The options are plenty: a separate room, in the kitchen, a mudroom-laundry combo, in the bathroom. Should it be located on the 1st floor or 2nd floor or in the basement or the garage? Every place has its pros and cons.
Kitchen: A laundry room off the kitchen or as part of it is very convenient for multitasking – you can cook, clean, watch TV, or supervise homework and still be able to hear when a cycle is finished or the dryer is done. However, it’s not so convenient if your house is two or more stories.
Bathroom: When there’s really nowhere else, put the laundry room in the bathroom. It is relatively easy to hook up the water supply to the washing machine. The flip side is that bathrooms tend to be wet zones so you’d probably have to take the laundry somewhere else to fold it.
First floor: It’s convenient and accessible and you can do a load of laundry without disturbing people studying, reading, or sleeping upstairs. The downside is dirty clothes can quickly pile up and interfere with foot traffic areas.
Second floor: In one way it’s a real time-saver to be able to fold the laundry, open the door to the bedroom/bathroom/kids’ rooms and put away the clothes, towels, and sheets. But if you’re in the habit of doing laundry at night, even with today’s modern technology quiet dryers and vibration reduction washers, it might be too loud for those sleeping nearby.
Basement: A big plus for having it in the basement is that it’s out of the way. When unexpected guests drop in, you can scoop everything up and take it downstairs. The main disadvantage, however, is the multiple trips you’ll have to make before you’re done.
Garage: The garage is a good alternative if you’re short on options. It maximizes the functionality of an already utilitarian space. The biggest downside is that it’s out of sight: it can become inconvenient when you have to haul laundry back and forth and check on the machine’s progress.
What is the most popular color?
White is the most popular color choice because it makes a room look fresh and crisp.
What color should I paint my laundry room without windows?
With no windows, and therefore no natural light, then white is a must! But, especially if the space is small, select warm whites – whites with undertones of red, yellow or beige – to bring more light into the room and make it feel less cramped.
What is the best floor?
Ceramic tile. Period. It’s easy to clean, long-lasting, and waterproof. If you have the laundry area as a separate room, where you can control the floor type, go with the tile.
What is the best countertop?
That’s an easy one! You need a durable countertop capable of handling water and chemical-based cleaning solutions. It should also be easy to clean. Laminate (more budget friendly) and quartz are excellent choices for countertops. In our experience, granite or marble (marble tile) will work too.
Layout Ideas and Inspiration
In the past, mention laundry room and the “synonym” dungeon would probably spring to mind. But today’s savvy homeowners want more than just a functional space to clean clothes. To help you get started, we offer 55 beautiful and efficient room layouts with pictures to inspire you.
1. One Wall Laundry Room Ideas (single-wall laundry)
Regardless of the location, one wall laundry room ideas are simple and economical, yet very versatile. Most have room for the appliances, a utility sink, and storage. To design a single-wall laundry room configuration that takes into account your family’s habits, consider the basic activities – sorting, loading, folding, ironing, and mending.
There are lots of options to consider when everything is situated on a single wall. Both stackable and side-by-side machines will work. One idea that will maximize the space is to select a front load washer and dryer set so that you can install a countertop above the machines. Don’t be afraid to mix it up – put a sink or standalone cupboard in between the washer and dryer.
2. Vertical or Stacked Laundry Room Design Ideas
Stackable machines are a great way to make the most of your available space since they have a smaller footprint, utilizing wall space rather than floor space. Vertical or stacked laundry room design ideas also have the benefit of allowing you to focus on other components such as a combination of storage solutions (exposed/enclosed cabinetry, open shelving) or a larger sorting/folding countertop or table.
A stacked washer and dryer need to be securely attached to prevent shifting or tipping over. Because stacked machines are so adaptable, they are the favorite choice for the bathroom, the kitchen, a small space, or a narrow hallway.
3. Enclosed Spaces (besides kitchen or in-closet design)
There are several good reasons to convert enclosed spaces into a utility room, including everything you need to clean clothes is behind closed doors. When you’ve always wanted a laundry room but you really didn’t think you’d have room for one, enclosed spaces might provide the perfect solution.
Focus on what you do have. Be creative. A closet in the spare bedroom or in a hallway and the underutilized areas beside the kitchen or underneath the stairs are ideal locations. Still might not fit? Take the doors off so you can fit in side-by-side appliances.
4. Office Laundry Combo? Why not?
While it might seem counterintuitive, there are some good reasons to put an office inside the laundry room. You spend a lot of time in both places, so an office laundry combo makes sense. Instead of a dedicated space, it increases the room’s functionality and efficiency. It’s also a great space-and-time saver – pay bills or shop online while you wait for clothes to dry.
To reduce the noise of the washer and dryer, select ones with added insulation or include noise reduction features. If the quiet hum of the appliances still is disturbing, slot in laundry and home office times – use a corkboard with colorful push pins for schedules and other messages.
5. L-Shaped Layout
L-shaped laundry rooms are essentially similar in nature to one-wall laundry room layouts in that their design concentrates the main functions on one side. The L two legs, one short, the other long. A combination of side-by-side machines, cabinets, open shelving and custom cabinets can go on either the short or long leg. storage. Save the other part of the L-shaped layout for one task such as soaking clothes, folding, or storing supplies.
When planning an L-shaped laundry room, decide what will be placed on the long leg and what will go on the short one. Take into account where the water supply and drains are as well as electrical (or gas) connections. If the washer and dryer (side-by-side) must go on the short leg, ensure they can be opened and closed easily.
6. Layouts for Small and Narrow Spaces
Small laundry room layouts typically include space-saving machines such as a washer-dryer combo (both in one appliance) and vertical or stacked appliances (one on top of the other). Narrow spaces such as an area by the backdoor or a long hallway can be transformed into functional utility rooms.
How do you organize a small laundry? Use the walls for storage – open shelving, a group of floating shelves, or custom cabinets. Custom cabinets could include things like a pullout drying rack, built-in ironing board, or pullout folding table. Don’t forget the doors: the inside panels of cupboard and closet doors are ideal places to mount hooks, pegboards, or a retractable valet rod.
7. Large Laundry Room Layout
Large laundry rooms present lots of opportunities to really meet the needs of everyone in the household. Do you have two or more athletes in the house? Multiple washers and dryers will be a time-saver. Do you air dry as much of your laundry as possible to reduce your carbon footprint? Install several hanging bars or a couple of drying racks. Is it the last room you want to spend time in? Pick out a backsplash you love, add marble countertops, or use wallpaper or bold paint color to make the space inviting.
Turn a large space into a multiple-purpose room. Create a crafting area, kids’ zone, mudroom, or home office. Large laundry layout ideas can include a center island, pendant or chandelier light fixtures, and a dog washing station.
8. Layout with utility sink
Is a sink in the laundry room necessary? Even with today’s washing machines that have hand wash cycles, we say (a resounding) “Yes!” There are several advantages to a layout with a utility sink. They provide a place for pre-soaking, hand washing. washing pets, coloring hair, dyeing clothes, and watering plants.
Another major advantage of utility sinks is that they are deeper than a standard kitchen sink. When selecting a utility sink, pay attention to the size, material (acrylic, enameled cast iron, steel), and type (with cabinet, undermount, floor mount, wall mount).
9. Bathroom Laundry Room Combo Layout
Including a laundry space in the bathroom better utilizes the wet zones in your home. Bathroom laundry room combo layout ideas can range from out in the open to a custom floor to ceiling cabinet for hiding the appliances to converting awkward corners or empty areas into practical space.
Think of appliances that work “overtime.” Swap out a standard bathroom sink for a utility sink with a cabinet. In addition to increasing storage space, front loaders on pedestals with drawers can help separate bathroom storage from laundry storage.
10. Kitchen Design with Laundry Room
Since we spend a lot of time in the kitchen, it makes sense to expand its usefulness by combining it with another place we spend quite a bit of time. Kitchen design with laundry room functionality makes the most of existing cabinetry, plumbing, and accessibility. After all, the kitchen is a central room on the main floor.
We found the most common objection to putting laundry machines in the kitchen is everything is in plain view. If that’s a deterrent for you, some clever ways to disguise the laundry (so that it’s completely out of sight) include enclosed cabinets, curtains, folding doors, and sliding doors. And the kitchen already has lots of “noisy” appliances so two more shouldn’t make a difference.