The Laundry Room: Making it work

October 17, 2013

It’s been a year since I’ve blogged about our basement laundry space when I built the shelf behind the washer and dryer:

When we got the new set I knew I wanted a top loading washer, so the little shelf along the back gives us a spot for some items we need within reach and it hides all the ugly stuff behind the set. :) 

But we’ve made some updates to make this a more functional space over the past year and although the room is still very much in between, I wanted to share some of them!

The room is smaller than we originally planned -- we had to work with beams in the basement so this room get a little tighter. It’s just over eight by five feet, which is still a dream compared to the mud/laundry room space we had upstairs before. A DREAM.

But with the washer and dryer taking up most of that space and a door to the storage room, I’ve had to be smart about storage and any additions in here.

We’ve always used one of those wooden drying racks that you open up on the floor, but this hanging rack from IKEA works just as well (and takes up way less space!):

ikea drying rackdrying rack

I wanted small laundry baskets that would stay in here all the time and last year I found ADORABLE polka dotted ones at the container store:

skinny laundry baskets

One for lights, one for darks. It’s so great to just grab one and just dump it in the laundry. And they’re tall and skinny so they fit perfectly right next to the dryer.

I’ve added some storage in here so the shelf behind the washer and dryer only holds the necessities now. My glass jar for the detergent and a little box hides the dryer sheets:

 laundry detergent in jarbox for dryer sheets

I like the necessities to be cute, alright? :)

We moved the ironing board down here and it hangs next to the door:

laundry room storage

We set it up right outside in the family room and watch TV while ironing. It makes it suck a little less. ;)

You can see a lot of the to do’s in the photo above – I installed that cabinet to use some of the awkward space in here and it needs to be finished up. I have ideas for the wall above it too. The storage room door needs to be painted (it will be black like the rest of the doors) and the trim all needs to be painted too.

One thing I did to help make this room a little bigger when we finished the space was to push it out to the family room area just a bit more than planned (to the right):

double doors to laundry room

That allowed me to put double doors on the room instead of a standard door. I LOVE it – I can easily carry baskets or armfuls of laundry through the door without banging into them. (And yes, they still need hardware. On the list.)

I still love love love the hexagon tile we put in here – it was so inexpensive and looks great. It is chilly on bare feet though so I have small mats in front of the washer and dryer:

laundry storage ideas

I’m always looking for one rug that would be the right size/color but it’s hard to find. These get dirty really easily so I don’t think they’ll stay forever.

And obviously we installed two small cabinets on the wall (that need to be painted) – I didn’t want it to be all cabinets and I didn’t want just shelving (I wanted some of the stuff to be out of sight), so we went with two. Initially I was planning on hanging a rod between them to hang clothes but quickly realized I didn’t want to look at that all the time. (And we really don’t keep clothes down here.)

So now I’m planning a mix of both hidden and open storage – shelves between the two cabinets. I’m also planning on bringing in more color to this space and doing some kind of treatment to that wall. Haven’t decided just what yet.

There’s still so much I want to do but it’s already wonderfully functional and it’s come a long way from how it looked just over a year ago:

hexagon tile floor

Compared to how it looks now:

basement laundry room

And yes…a year later I still LOVE having a laundry room in the basement. It was the right move for us but it may not be for everyone.

Do you have a big laundry room? Is it combined with your mud room or does it stand alone? This one is way bigger than the space we had in our old mud/laundry combo but I’m still always trying to use every bit of it as best as I can.

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  1. Love your added storage and your shelf. The upper cabinets are going to be wonderful too. Love, love, love the double doors. Fabulous. Hugs, Marty

  2. We don't have a laundry room, we have a laundry hallway that everyone has to walk by to get to our bathroom. I HATE it. Everyone sees our dirty clothes! And it's right off the kitchen! We're planning on building an addition upstairs to turn our 1 1/2 story house into a full 2 story house which will (finally) add a second bathroom, and I plan to move the laundry upstairs to that bathroom at that point, which I am stoked about! We do have nice storage in the form of large cabinets installed above the washers and dryers, but I still do a double check every time someone comes over to ensure they don't see dirty underwear or one of my bras hanging to dry!

  3. We have our laundry in the basement as well, but it's just part of the unfinished utility area. Very unpretty. Hoping to add a few helpful upgrades soon, though. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. If there was one room in our house that I could make bigger-it would be the laundry room. Like you have, I want one basket for darks, one for whites and so on, so it is all kept together. We all need a little sorting in our life. Yours is looking great. I got a lovely shaggy rug from Overstock for under $30 that I love. Only problem for my teeny laundry room is that I can't close the door because the rug is thick. Here is the link to the rug:

  5. It's looking great Sarah! I love the tile and the double doors (that open OUT) are so smart, and really such a space saver too. I wish I had a place for those cute little polka dot hampers - perfect!

  6. Looking good! I like the containers for the necessities...I like for everything to look cute too :) I am working on my laundry room but it has 4 doors! One to the garage, one to the yard, one to the office and one into the house. It's taking me forever to figure out how to make the most out of this space.
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Ashley Rane Sparks

  7. I have always had a laundry room but this house has a laundry closet (with a wash tub thankfully - I couldn't cope without that) in our back hallway. Which I try to keep tidy and closed off but, sure enough, when there is laundry all over the floor is when someone drops by. :) My next house will have a laundry room again FOR SURE.

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  9. Our Laundry room was in the Kitchen when we moved into our house! YUCK!!! We removed a wall in our front hallway to make it go straight to the living room & built a laundry room there. It looks like a double closet as you walk in. It is temporary-10 years now, lol but eventually we will tear out that whole wall & open the space up even more. It works for now & I don't have to wash clothes in my kitchen. BTW-My house was built in 1907 & has been in my family since the 1960's & I'm the first one to have an issue with laundry in the kitchen??? LOL. LOVE reading your blog-it gives me sooooooooooooo many ideas. My husband commented how pretty my new soap dispenser was on my sink.

  10. I have a small laundry/mudroom combo right off the garage. It is little. But the upside, it has a walk in closet. When we moved here 9 yrs ago, I ordered a metal basket system that has pull out baskets. They are about the size of a square laundry basket. It has 4 big, deep baskets and a shallow one on top that I put all of our vacuum accessories/bags/attachments in. We just recently had the floors tiled and replaced the hollow core flush door with a 2 panel solid core. We added hickory cabinets and a drop in laundry tub. Funny how those little disagreements you have when building a house come back and bite you (this case my hubby). :) He said we didn't need it (laundry tub) then... guess who was cutting open walls to add plumbing for a laundry tub the beginning of this year.. ;) Next up is some beadboard on the walls and I need to order the crown molding for the cabinets. (I still need another door for the closet too, but it is too cold to be varnishing now, so that will have to wait until spring).

  11. Love your space! When we moved, we went from laundry on the 1st floor (which sucked since all the laundry-making was happening on the 2nd floor!) to having the laundry on the 2nd floor with the main bathrooms and all of the bedrooms. And, though it's tiny, it's an ACTUAL ROOM, with a door and two double-cabinets.

    I do have some plans for this space, time and $$ allowing. Since we have 12-foot ceilings upstairs, I'd love to stack the two cabinets and make use of that wasted space up above. We currently have suitcases hanging out up there, and that just isn't pretty. I also need a drying rack - we've been using the pony-wall on the landing for a year! Not cool. I also need to relocate the iron & board hanger to behind the door, or possibly next to the washer (since the attic door is right there too).

    I can see a pretty color on the walls, and I'd love to have a chandy in there, just because I can. The light sucks anyway, so, why not? We also really need to put down some plywood in the attic space, so we can use a bit of that for storage. Even a couple square feet would alleviate SO many issues!

  12. Ours is combined with the mud room. And the dogs room. And it is small! We stacked the washer & dryer to add more space & DIYed some storage. Its working out well for now!

  13. Our laundry room is in the basement and although I would prefer to have it up on the 1st floor - we just renovated it and made it prettier...unfortunately though it also shares space with our furnace and hot water tank...

  14. I have a laundry room but it is also a furnace room, hot water tank room, tool storage room, the electrical panel room, the water shut off room and it has unfinished drywall but not everywhere. It is very functional but not pretty and we can't do much but load and unload and get out. I so envy all these lovely laundry rooms! The best part of my laundry room is it has a nice door that is always closed. I love how you've set your room up AND it even looks great with the door open! ;-)

  15. My laundry room is in our basement and it is combined with the mechanical room so it has the furnace and the hot water heater in there. It isn't large but I do have room for a large capacity washer and dryer that is side by side. Recently I put up drywall and painted it off- white, hung two shelves, put a rug on the cement floor and put up a place on the wall for the ironing board to hang along with brooms etc. I want to put cabinets down there but just don't have the room. Yours is really nice! Victoria

  16. a wonderful space, for sure! love the progress you've made. our's is upstairs near the bedrooms, which is nice, but really really needs an update!

  17. The changes you've made look great! They almost make you want to do laundry. . . almost..
    Erin @ House Envy

  18. I LOVE your laundry room. I have eight children so I do a fair bit of laundry. I would love to fix my laundry room up more. There are some great ideas here. I love the "hidden" shelf behind the machines and your laundry baskets.

  19. We have a seperate laundry room in our tri-level home. It is in the lower level. It was cement block walls and an open ceiling with wires running everywhere! We added beadboard to the walls and my husband put in a white drop ceiling. (Not a fan of dropped ceilings but trust me...a great change!) Two canned lights were added in the drop ceiling also. One wall has the front load washer and dryer with a very small utility sink between them. My favorite part of the laundry room and must haves that are SO EASY...a cute skirt around the utility sink and a folding table. EASY way to make one: Purchase two unfinished 24" cabinets from Lowes/HD and situate a distance from each other (3 ft?), then add a pine top (stained), and a tension rod between the cupboards with a cute curtain. Paint cupboards, cute knobs, beadboard on side of underneath and folding table above! LOVE IT!

  20. Love your laundry room! What color are your walls? So pretty!

  21. Our laundry room is the utility room (furnace and hot water heater), pantry, large appliance storage, craft crap storage, recycling center, party supply overflow, and for the last three months, the utility sink has been my only "kitchen" sink for dishes. So I'm TOTALLY jealous of your dedicated space.

  22. Hey Sarah! Where is that tile from? Have you seen any like it at Lowes or Home Depot? Thanks :)

  23. Looking good! Our new house will need LOTS of updates in the basement laundry room. It's unfinished & the space is creepy! Question about the area between the you need extra storage or could you put up a mirror or artwork for extra color?? I'm sure you'll think of something fun either way! :)

  24. I have laundry room envy!!!! So nice!

  25. Such sexy black doors. Love! And I can relate on the pantry clear containers. . . issue with things getting stale if you don't eat quickly too as they trap in too much air. Major bummer. Have a good weekend, my dear.

  26. Love the blog and shared with folks on my site I got an idea from your laundry room photo, which is similar to mine, to put area rugs in front of the machines--nice touch! Also, like those decorations at your doorway on the wall.


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