Watching home and garden shows on television or visiting model homes, it’s easy to be jealous of the beautiful laundry rooms some of these homes feature. Countertops and cabinets for days, a nice big sink, and plenty of room left over for a craft table and a dog bed. Who has that kind of room? Worse, why do many organizational articles seem to assume that we’re all working with that kind of luxurious space? Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips for people with ordinary laundry rooms, where space is at a premium and storage is hard to find.
What’s the secret to organizing a small laundry room? It’s making the most of every available space. Get creative, looking for “outside-the-box” ways to use every inch, and remembering to look up and down as well as from side to side.
- Make the appliances part of the solution. Can you make do with a small, stackable washer and dryer set? You can squeeze those appliances into the smallest spaces, and maybe have room left over for a rod for hanging clothes. If you’ve got too much laundry to make this practical, consider front–loading appliances to maximize counter space. You can even put a slab of butcher block or an attractive countertop across the washer and dryer, to make an elegant counter using the tops of your appliances. Another great storage option for a small laundry room is the pedestal drawer, which goes under the washer or dryer. Not only does this provide additional storage, but it also lifts your front–loading appliances to a comfortable height conducive to less stooping.
- Use your vertical space and your nooks. Look up! Can you put shelves all the way up? Can you hang a rod from the ceiling? If you have cabinets, can you use the space above them for storage? You can also use corners for cabinets and shelves. The challenge is to find any underutilized space and figure out a way to fit in another storage element.
- Get creative to make hanging space. If you’ve got cabinets, is there space in between for a closet rod? How about underneath? One clever designer used the foot of space between low hanging counters and the dryer to hang a rod for hangers. If there’s no room for a rod, can you install a folding rack? Take a thorough look at your laundry room, and look for places you can squeeze in some hanging space.
- What’s the door for? If your laundry room is a closet with a louvered folding door, you may not be able to use it for much. With a solid door, however, there’s a wealth of opportunities for storage. If hanging is your issue, an over the door rack may solve your problem. If you need to store bottles, boxes, and cleaning supplies, there’s back of the door storage for that, too. You can even install a fold-down counter on your door, to give you an additional surface when you need it.
- Try an optical illusion or two. Painting your laundry room a light color can make it seem larger, and incorporating touches of a contrasting bright color can make it feel interesting and lighthearted. Do you have wall space for a mirror? Hanging a mirror makes any space feel more spacious. Storage cabinets in a pale color can also make a laundry room seem larger and less cluttered. You might also consider clear, Lucite shelves, which provide your room with an airy feel.
- Storage containers help facilitate organization. Open shelving with baskets or bins creates a tidy, attractive look for your laundry room, and canisters look better than detergent boxes. What’s more, a system of labeled containers works to make your laundry room as functional as it is beautiful. Think of how you’ll use the room. Will it double as a mudroom? Some of your storage elements may need to be racks, shelves, or baskets for shoes, and hooks for jackets.
- Make it yours. No matter how tiny your laundry room may be, you can carry your design sensibilities into the space. Use wallpaper and paint creatively to make areas of contrast, or use some chalkboard paint to create a message board. Hang curtains to divide the space or hide your appliances. Choose artwork or accessories that are striking or bring a feeling of whimsy into the laundry room, depending on your personal style. The laundry room is one of those parts of the house that’s for the family more than it is for guests, so it can be a good place to try some fun design elements that show your personality.
If you’d like some help making your laundry room a workable space, it may be time to call in the professionals. In the Bay Area, Bay Home & Window is your go-to source for highly functional and elegant built-ins, whether you’re in need of highly functional closets designed just for your family or a laundry room that’s easy to organize and a dream to use. Our expert designers will work with you, taking stock of your space and your lifestyle in order to create the perfect configuration to meet your needs. We can create the perfect system, customized to meet your needs, with an emphasis on function, organization, and elegance. Call (925) 264-6746 or contact us for a free in-home design consultation.