Easy DIY Laundry Shelf Over Washer and Dryer

March 23, 2021

How to build a shelf to hide the washer and dryer components. 

The mud/laundry room changes continue, and this project is an oldie but goodie. This is the second time I've added a DIY shelf unit behind our top loader washer and dryer -- I love them! 

This room is turning out so beautifully, but it has tested me! I've had problems with almost every DIY project I've worked on in here -- I had to tear half of this one out and do it again. So many of the items I've ordered for the room have been delayed, and items that did arrive on time were wrong or not enough for what I needed. 

It's been SO much fun. 😜 I don't think I've ever had this many problems on a space before. And that's saying a lot considering I've been at this for nearly 20 years!

Thankfully all of them have been worth it in the end! This washer and dryer shelf was something I was really missing in here. As a reminder, this is what we had before: 
white cabinets above gray washer and dryer

Not bad at all! But the cabinets were hung at a height that seemed better suited for front loaders -- there was no room underneath to put a shelf, but it was difficult to reach over the washer and dryer and access the cabinets. 

**I always get questions about that tray under the washer -- it catches small leaks. It was cracked so we had to replace it for now. 

Part of my big plan for this space was to move those cabinets over to another wall in here, with drawer cabinets underneath. I knew as soon as we moved those that it was a great decision!

That created space for the shelf above the washer and dryer -- you can see how I built this shelf to hide the ugly stuff behind the washer and dryer at our old house:
DIY shelves behind washer and dryer

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It gave us better access to things we reach for most. 

I did this one a little different so I could add some more storage space. I started by figuring out the middle spot between the two machines. I hung a piece of scrap wood and drilled it into studs: 

support for shelf above washer

This acts as a support for the bottom shelf -- I like to add a little extra security wherever I can! 

Then I placed some supports at the sides as well -- I used these to secure my vertical boards (nailed into the side of the supports) as I was building: 
building shelf unit above washer and dryer

(Ignore that white scrap on the right, it was just leaning there.) They were purely for support at the beginning, but I'm keeping them there so the vertical pieces won't move around. You can't really see these when you're done. 

By the way, you can also build this elsewhere and then bring it in and install. I prefer to build it in place so there are no issues with fit and size. 

I suggest cutting away your baseboards so the side supports can go flush against the wall: 
cutting baseboard with oscillating tool

This makes everything more secure and looks more custom! I use this small oscillating saw and it works great! 

The bottom shelf was next -- I attached it to the long horizontal support (the first piece I installed) and the side supports. I nailed it with my nail gun first: 
Two shelf unit over washer and dryer

And then secured it from underneath using screws. (I used a Kreg jig to make pocket holes underneath.) 

You can also screw into the sides to support that shelf. Just be sure to use a drill bit to make a hole for the screw to go into first -- this will help prevent the wood from splitting. You'll also want to make sure you can cover the head of any screws with putty or trim. 

The top piece went on last and I mitered the ends so you don't see any rough edges on the side or top of the shelves: 
Building shelves above washer dryer

The whole thing was super secure, except for in the middle of the unit. It was bowing a bit with heavier items, so I added a support in the middle that created two sections: 
DIY shelves above washer and dryer

I used common pine for this project -- the cheapest I could find! I was planning to paint instead of staining. 

I knew stain would look great, but I wanted it to match the counters we put in here, so I didn't want to mess with trying to find a stain match. I also wanted to tie in into the mud room bench unit right next to it: 
Wood shelf unit above top loader

I caulked everything, then gave it a few coats of semi-gloss white paint. I ended up adding a simple MDF trim to the front to cover the irregular edges of the wood boards. 

It turned out SO great! It's perfect!: 
Laundry stuff in jars

I'll share links to all the items on the shelves below. 

I love having everything we need out and easy to access, but also looking really cute. ;) I lucked out and found those cute baskets that fit perfectly on the bottom shelf. I still have more organizing to do, but I just love it!: 
Laundry needs in cute containers

I have BIG plans for that wall -- I cannot wait to get started on that! The item I need is on backorder but I'm SO excited about it! 

Here's where we started: 
cabinets above washer and dryer

And where we are now: 
DIY shelving unit for laundry stuff

Both look great, but the shelf instead of cabinets (we couldn't reach) is functioning so much better for us! I also love how this unit hides the ugly stuff behind the washer and dryer.  

Stay tuned for the final addition on this wall! 

Here are sources for the items pictured: 

Runner is from At Home
Glass spray bottle for stain spray 

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  1. I love the drying rack, clearly you have had it for a while. I don't suppose you know where you got it? The whole thing looks absolutely spectacular. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the fact that while your spaces are amazing aesthetically, function is a top priority for you, because it is for me too! Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much!! I got that from IKEA, but I'm not sure if they sell it anymore. :(

  2. Hi, in case I missed it somewhere, would you mind sharing the dimensions you used? I have the same set up and washer and dryer. I am more interested in what your depth of the shelves are. This is the exact look i am looking for.

    1. The boards I used were 1x10s, which are actually 9 and 1/4 inches. The height and width will depend on your W/D size. I hope that helps!


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