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How To Make a Small Laundry Room More Functional

How To Make a Small Laundry Room More Functional

The laundry room can be an overlooked space in the home, and realtors may gloss the laundry room right over during the housing tour. But we know, small or not, a designated spot for laundry is an integral part of keeping your family’s lives functioning. If you want to make your small laundry room more functional, you can do it easily by adopting the right strategies.

Here are 16 tips on how to make a small laundry room more functional:

  1. Plan what you need for your laundry room.
  2. Label everything and give it a place.
  3. Use the available wall space in your laundry room.
  4. Make strategic paint choices.
  5. Remove interior doors.
  6. Use the laundry room door for storage.
  7. Make use of lighting that’s bright and all-encompassing.
  8. Get a small stackable washer and dryer.
  9. Choose an ironing board meant for small spaces.
  10. Maximize the space above the washer and dryer.
  11. Take out what you don’t need.
  12. Suspend an old ladder from the ceiling as a clothes hanger.
  13. Use your machine’s exterior.
  14. Build a countertop for folding over front-loading machines.
  15. Paint your pegboards and put them in your laundry room.
  16. Use the space between the washer and dryer.

By reading the whole article, you’ll formulate some ideas on maximizing the space in your laundry room. If you find yourself dreading the time spent there, these tips may change your tune. Let’s get started.

1. Plan What You Need for Your Laundry Room

You may be tempted to jump in there and try things out. Or maybe you think you’re one shopping trip at your local home improvement store away from a laundry room that’s both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

But heed this advice: if your end goal isn’t clear, you may be creating more headaches down the road.

Create a list of all the things you want this space to encompass. These can include:

  • Ironing board storage
  • Ability to fold clothing straight from the dryer
  • Hanging zone for delicate clothes that cannot go in the dryer
  • Items that need to be stored in the laundry room (including detergents, stain sticks, dryer sheets, and a place to collect lint. Just to name a few.)

Make sure you consider all the functions this part of your home may need to serve. If your laundry room doubles as a mudroom, you want to list out everything you’ll need for a mudroom as well.

2. Label Everything and Give It a Place

The more cluttered the room is, the smaller it looks. Suppose you’re already starting with a small space; it can lead to feeling cramped quickly. However, by giving everything a clear, labeled place to reside, you create harmony and balance.

Talking about your laundry room organization may not seem like a fun part, but this is where your design style can shine. Are you more farmhouse-chic or color-centric? Do you want something that screams modern or a whimsical throwback?

Now is the time you can make the space your own. Choose storage containers that speak to your family dynamic and make you smile upon seeing them. It might mean wicker baskets for some or colorful buckets for others. The sky is truly the limit. Just make sure every basket or bucket has a label, so everyone knows what goes where.

3. Use the Available Wall Space in Your Laundry Room

Your tape measure can determine how much floor space your laundry room has (which isn’t enough). It leaves out some essential square footage that you can use to your advantage.

Not everything needs to have a place on the floor. Many things can be easily transfixed to a wall to keep it out of the way but still accessible.

Instead of decorating your laundry room with painting or photographs, turn your wall space into functional works of art. Many options you can start with. Do the following:

  • DIY a cute container that will hold all your dryer lint and hang it on the wall next to the dryer. 
  • Transfix a reusable tissue box right on the wall and fill it with dryer sheets.
  • Cover your ironing board with a fun pattern that matches your decor. Hang it on the wall to provide a pop of color.
  • Use wood and some clothespins to designate a home for those socks that have lost their match.

Figure out what works for your family and see how you can maximize your wall space. 

4. Make Strategic Paint Choices

Speaking of walls, the color you choose can also impact the visual look of the area. As the people at Benjamin Moore state, there are a couple of ways you can use just paint to make your laundry room expand (or at least feel like it is). The following are  tips to consider: 

  • Use light blues or whites. These colors can help the walls look more expansive. 
  • Consider semi-gloss or high-gloss. Either one is more reflective than an eggshell or satin paint. Doing this will help create the illusion of natural light where there may not be much.
  • Opt for yellow paint. It’s also reflective and can create light in a windowless room.
  • Consider accent walls. They can create depth and provide a focal point.

5. Remove Interior Doors

I’m not talking about the door to your laundry room. You’ll need that to reduce noise from echoing across your whole house. I’m referring to any interior doors in your laundry room. 

Take those closet doors and remove them. Doing so will give the appearance of more capacity while also limiting the elbow room required to operate the door. If you don’t love looking into the closet, try hanging a fun curtain to liven it up.

6. Use the Laundry Room Door for Storage

I’ve just mentioned removing the doors. However, the doors that divide your laundry room from the rest of the house are an available resource that shouldn’t be ignored. Hanging some hooks to help dry or organize clothes frees up territory elsewhere.

You can also use a hanging organizer to keep things out of the way or provide a home for things that don’t get a lot of use, like a sewing kit or seasonal items. I recommend the Misslo Hanging Organizer (link to Amazon) because clear pockets allow you to see the contents. The different-sized pockets can hold more.

7. Make Use of Lighting That’s Bright and All-Encompassing

The brighter your laundry room is, the larger it’ll look. If you have your corners and shelves lit bright, your eye includes that square footage in your mental calculation of how big the room is. 

Recessed lighting will light up the whole enclosure without taking up any space. You can also choose to light up shelves and other nooks and crannies to brighten up all corners.

Remember, people view things vertically. If you want the appearance of openness, make sure you’re using tall lamps and lighting near the ceiling when possible.

8. Get a Small Stackable Washer and Dryer

One of the most straightforward fixes is to make sure your appliances take up as little room as necessary. A stackable washer and dryer will occupy more area vertically, leaving valuable square footage for storage, walkways, and other needs.

I like the Electrolux Front Load Laundry Pair (link to Amazon). The sleep design will make your room look clean while providing all the cleaning modes you need for your laundry. 

Another avenue is a little more European. Choose a machine that can do both! There are combination washers and dryers out there. The pro is that it occupies significantly less floor. However, the con is you can only do one load at a time.

So, you can’t be washing one load while drying another. While this option may be feasible for someone with limited laundry, it may not work for a larger family. 

9. Choose an Ironing Board Meant for Small Spaces

Ironing boards are large, clunky space-fillers that don’t need to be accessible all the time. The beauty is that they’re relatively low-tech. So, you can find one that suits your needs (compact and sturdy) without sacrificing options. 

Choose an ironing board that can do one (or more) of the following:

  • Fold into an existing nook in your laundry room. This method can include the slot between the washer and dryer. 
  • Create an ironing board right on the top of your washer or dryer using just a few supplies. Check out the full tutorial on The Taylor House.
  • Hang or build an ironing board onto the wall.
  • Add an ironing board drawer to your laundry room closet.

10. Maximize the Space Above the Washer and Dryer

The wall above your washer and dryer is the ideal storage place, hanging spot, or any other out-of-the-way space-saving you need. This is the perfect spot to put your hanging bar for damp clothes or store your detergent supplies. 

Combining cabinets and shelves can make the wall look clean, neat, and functional. If you use open shelving, this is the perfect wall for an accent color or wallpaper that can help light up the room.

11. Take Out What You Don’t Need

Laundry rooms can become catchalls because it’s generally a small alcove with a door. While frantically tidying up for unexpected visitors, you may toss some things into the laundry room only to forget about them later. These things add up to a cluttered, cramped void. 

Take everything in the laundry room and put it into a pile. You can do this in the laundry room or a larger room if you have the space. Then, put each item one step at a time in its (labeled) home. This method is easy for clearing out all the clutter that has accumulated.

12. Suspend an Old Ladder From the Ceiling as a Clothes Hanger

Bringing some DIY elements into your laundry room can give you a sense of accomplishment. It’ll make you happier to spend a little time there. Creating your own clothes hanger from an old ladder is equal parts thrifty and easy. 

Hang this ladder from the ceiling and add a couple of clothes hangers to it. Now you’re using up even more empty square footage while also creating a visually pleasant element!

Good Housekeeping has a great example of a transitioned ladder that you can see here.

13. Use Your Machine’s Exterior

If your washer or dryer is magnetic, that’s more space you could utilize! Adding magnets to small baskets to store stain sticks or dryer balls will free up other spots. 

If your machines aren’t magnetic, you can do the same thing with command strips and hooks. These Command Large Utility Hooks (link to Amazon) are a great place to store shed keys, dust, or other items.

14. Build a Countertop for Folding Over Front-Loading Machines

If you’re handy with tools and wood, you can create a counter space right over your front-loading machines! Doing so will provide a flat area for folding clothes immediately out of the dryer. Or use the countertop for sorting laundry before you wash it. 

This element is eye-catching and will certainly have your guests saying, “That is a great idea!” Stain the wood to match your desired look or create your design using other materials.

15. Paint Your Pegboards and Put Them in Your Laundry Room

If your laundry room is tiny, you may not have the capacity to put in a lot of shelving without reducing headspace. That’s where something easy like a pegboard comes in. Paint it to match your laundry room aesthetic, and then add the prongs to hold up any cleaners, tools, or drying clothing. 

16. Use the Space Between the Washer and Dryer

There are a couple of ways you can utilize the space between your washer and dryer:

  • Keep the space small and slide things like step ladders or ironing boards into the slot.
  • Increase the space between the machines and build shelves to hold your laundry products.

If you have the room, the space between your washer and dryer is a great place to fit in a couple of shelves to fit in laundry hampers. That way, you can quickly move the already sorted clothing into the washer once the hamper is filled. 

Key Takeaways

Your laundry room may not be the most glamorous in your house. But with a little bit of ingenuity and organization, you can transform it from a cramped room into a beautifully elevated home for your laundry.

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