In the next edition of our “How to Make Your _______ Look Better,” (see here for living room, bedroom, kitchen, dining room, shower) I thought it was time to tackle the laundry room (or closet). I have yet to live in a home with laundry in-unit post moving out of my parent’s home 17 years ago. However, I do remember not loving the visual experience. To be fair it was in our kinda scary and dark garage. Now, I also remember getting to do laundry at Emily’s old LA house while housesitting a couple of times, and let’s just say it was a TOTALLY different experience. I was excited to do laundry because it was so happy in there! And while we may not all have an Emily Henderson-level laundry room, there are some easy ways to make the whole experience prettier and more enjoyable. Let’s start with the most important step…
Deep Clean (And Get Products You Love The Smell Of)
This is a given but it’s a must if you really want that laundry area feeling fresh and new. I think almost everyone has hardened old detergent somewhere on their washing machine. For GREAT tips, go check out Carolina McCauley. This woman has a cleaning hack for everything. This is how she cleans her washing machine filter. As my father (via my grandmother) always says, “where there’s soap, there’s hope.” 🙂 As for cleaning products, sure there are some that may not have your dream scent but they work for the tough stuff. But for the everyday sprays, detergents, etc. Make sure you really love the scent. I know that sounds dumb and grabbing the most affordable or what you grew up using makes the most sense, but I PROMISE it will change the experience for the better. When I started buying this dishwashing soap, I honestly started to enjoy washing dishes more. As for laundry products, I personally love this detergent and for all-purpose sprays, I love this one and this one. Drop your favorites in the comments!
This tip is pure eye candy but makes ALL the difference. While some laundry products can’t be decanted, things like laundry detergent or pods, fabric softener, dryer balls, dryer sheets, etc can and will make your laundry space look less cluttered. Might as well have the items you use most easily accessible and looking pretty. This is also a great opportunity to go to your local sustainable zero-waste refill shop if you have one in your area! That way you can bring in your own container and you’re all set. Decanting also helps you to know when you need a refill as opposed to finding out the moment you really need to wash those jeans ASAP.
Here are some of my favorite options:
1. Half Gallon Glass Pump Dispenser Bottle | 2. Glass Storage Canister with Wood Lid | 3. Glass Vintage Beverage Dispenser | 4. Marie Kondo Large Modular Glass Canister Ink Black Lid | 5. Empty Laundry Liquid Dispenser Set | 6. Extra-Large Glass Canister
Use that wall space! Let this be the push you need to finally just put up a few shelves (especially if you have one or two top loading machines). It’s an easy way to add storage and style. Look at the two laundry spaces below! On the left, you have Velinda’s laundry corner just off of her kitchen. The light wood shelves with the white brackets add a warm modern touch to a mostly white space. And since this area is next to her kitchen they provide useful and pretty storage. Then on the right is Emily’s old Glendale laundry closet. Look at how pretty and sleek that slim white metal shelf is?! It perfectly adds to the wallpaper without competing. Plus the double level for maximum storage space.
BONUS TIP: Get yourself a little trash bin for lint like Em did. Makes life a lot easier in the moment:)
These are a few great options for shelves:
1. Wood Wall Shelf with Reversed L Bracket | 2. Walnut Brown Wood 4 Tier Floating Wall Shelf | 3. Over the Washer Storage Shelf | 4. 3-Tiered Floating Lines Metal Wall Shelf | 5. Rattan Wall Bath Shelf | 6. No Stud Floating Shelf
I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you all about the power of “the basket”. Let this not be confused with the larger laundry basket. Maybe you don’t want to decant. Maybe you have laundry tools you want to not have to look at every day but don’t have any closed storage. That’s when a cute bin or basket will be your best friend. See how cute the ones from the Portland Project look?
My personal favorites:
1. Small Natural Wood Handles Milk Crate | 2. Natural Hyacinth Piper Utility Basket | 3. White Ash Basket | 4. Paulownia Wood Potato Bin | 5. Dark Blue Metal Stacking Storage Bin | 6. Marie Kondo Ink Black Shoji Bamboo Bin With Liner
Drying Rack Or Bar
If you don’t have either a drying rack or bar may I HIGHLY recommend you fix this immediately. I remember the days before my drying rack, with clothes hanging all over my bathroom and bedroom and boy did it bum me out. Plus air drying your clothes will make them last longer! There are a few different options – a wall rack that folds into itself when not in use, a collapsable rack for the floor that you can tuck in a closet or in-between your washer and dryer, and lastly a bar. The bar is in my dream laundry room so if you have the space I highly recommend this one! It will get you the most space for your clothes (plus you can get pretty hangers like these). Of course, if you have a yard and generally have good weather where you live, hanging them on a clothesline outside will really give you space and you can dry everything!
These are the ones I would pick:
1. Bridgeport Modular Add-On Folding Drying Rack | 2. Wall / Ceiling Mounted Clothes Drying Rack | 3. Gabrielle Organizer Wood Drying Rack | 4. The Beadboard Drying Rack | 5. Accordion Drying Rack | 6. Rubber Wood and Stainless Steel Drying Rack | 7. Over-The-Door Drying Rack | 8. Greenway Folding Drying Rack | 9. Small Folding Wall-Mount Drying Rack
Hampers are kinda essential in the laundry game. If you have an actual laundry room and/or live in a single-level home, hampers with wheels are the way to go! Being able to roll and not lug feels like the ultimate luxury. Hampers are also another easy way to up the style in your space. We have also been a fan of the Steele canvas laundry baskets you see in the Portland Project but we have some other options (both with and without wheels) for you to check out:
1. Uashmama Modular Snap & Separate Laundry Bag | 2. Bamboo Eco Storage 3 Bag Laundry Sorter | 3. Steele 3 Bushel Canvas Laundry Bin | 4. Steele 2.5-Bushel Olive Vertical Rolling Laundry Hamper | 5. Wire Rolling Laundry Hamper | 6. Rounded Weave Basket
Storage Cabinet (Mostly Standing Ones)
If you have the space may I suggest a storage cabinet? It’s so nice to have both open and closed storage to hide away clutter and just have more places to put things away properly. And not only is it great for laundry products but you can use it for daily household cleaning supplies (even a vacuum if it’s the right kind!).
These have my vote:
1. Mason Pantry Cabinet | 2. Shelf Storage Cabinet | 3. PAX | 4. White Wood Convertible Armelle Kitchen Pantry Cabinet | 5. Gillian Sliding Door Wall Shelf | 6. Narrow Storage Cabinet with Pull Out Cart
Remember when I talked about decanting things like laundry detergent? Well, if you really want to make it look like a designer/stylist came into your home, get a tray. After the tray is purchased, arranged your decanted products on top, and voila, a perfectly styled laundry room! They will instantly elevate the space, I promise. Just make sure they are easily wipable as it’s inevitable that some deterrent will get all over the tray:)
Check these cuties out:
1. Hilo Lava Stone and Resin Tray | 2. Decorative Marble Rectangle Tray | 3. Oslo Wood Tray | 4. Beveled Metal Decor Tray | 5. Acacia Wood Adirondack Tray | 6. Cast Metal Round Tray
Ahhh the power of art does not exclude the laundry space! Look at Allison Pierce’s home below. Those four pieces of art (minus the plates) really make this room unique and look alive. I wish I could do laundry in there too! I also think choosing playful art for laundry rooms and bathrooms is the only way to go. Show your personality and choose art you love looking at.
These pieces spoke to me but if they don’t do it for you check out the sites they come from. I bet they will have something that’s perfect for you!
1. Cotton Candy Leftovers by Cathy Sunu | 2. Shapes and Lines Framed Wall Arts (Set of 2) | 3. Minimalist Fine Art Print | 4. “Good Things Are Coming” Digital Print | 5. Summit | 6. New Day by Alisa Galitsyna
Extra Credit: Wallpaper And/Or Paint
If you want to add a little extra elbow crease, paint and/or wallpaper your laundry area. As you can see in the photo above and Em’s old wave wallpaper it can really make everything come to life. Plus since it’s usually a smaller room those things will be a little more affordable since you won’t need a lot. Win-win.
Is your laundry room better yet? Just kidding. But truly I hope these were helpful and good reminders that any room in your home can be made better. Any other tips from you? Let us know in the comments.
Love you, mean it.
Opening Image Credit: Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: Laundry Closet Makeover
Alison Pierce’s laundry room will always be the goal in my mind. I loved what Emily did with her laundry closet. For a tiny space, that was gorgeous.
I wanted to recommend something about hanging clothes. First, absolutely yes to air drying outside if you can. If you don’t have a permanent drying line outside, you can get a retractable clothesline. Google it. I registered for one almost 15 years ago when we got married and it was one of my most used things at our old house. You just attach it anywhere, we did it across our garage door opening, and you have an instant clothes line whenever you want and then it’s out of sight when you’re done. Also, collapsible drying racks for outside are awesome. We use them all summer long in our driveway. Hopefully you don’t have a horrid HOA to deal with. Luckily we never have. Also, hanging outside keeps the humidity down in your house, which is good in the summer, especially if you use AC (we don’t, but I know tons do) because then your AC doesn’t have to work harder (higher humidity makes it work harder).
Yessss, Lovely…..Yesssssss!!! 🌏
“Lint” not “lent” (although the idea of throwing lent in the trash did make me smile)
Although not linkable, a trip to a local vintage shop is a FABULOUS place to source jars, containers, trays, shelves for a laundry room! Reduce & re-use, baby!
Great read with lots of fun and helpful suggestions. Could you please recommend some drying bars, especially once with a top (vs side) mounts? Thx!
It really does make a difference, doesn’t it? Lots of nice ideas!
Haha🤣🤣 My ‘laundry room’ is colloquially called a “wash house” as they were @ 100 years ago. It’s down the bottom of my back garden. I even still have the old “copper”, complete with tinder tray and chimney, so if I ever decide I need to boil my clothes (yes, that’s what they did 100 years ago!!!), I’m all set!
My upright Fisher & Paykel also lives in my wash house i the back garden.
I don’t gave a dryer and I choose to not have one. The climate in Western Australia is similar to LA, so I dry my clothes on the outdoor clothesline. When it’s rainy (like now = winter), I choose my washing day when it’s best and/or hang clothes in the actual wash house on lines and racks.
I’m keen on adding a cute recycled wooden shelf in there and my art is currently blu-tacked wrapping paper on the walls. It’s cute, with blue ceiling and door and butter-yellow walls.
Buuuut….it could be a whole lot cuter, so the eye candy is inspiring!
Thanx, Jess! 😊
Only thing missing for me is good looking clothes pegs that last!!!
Vintage wooden clothes pins are the best! They are made well and haven’t broken in 30 years.
Great ideas! Here’s my contribution: I have a very small laundry room, about the size of a smallish walk-in closet, with no countertop space for folding. When we moved in, I installed a folding shelf that attaches to the wall and collapses flat against it when not in use. It’s not particularly pretty, but having a place to fold when my laundry is still warm from the dryer makes the experience much more pleasurable-and helps avoid wrinkles too!
Yes! Our galley style laundry room is only 12’ x 5.6’ (with a fullsize second fridge and laundry sink in it), and the thing used the *most* is a recessed, fold-down ironing board which makes the *best* folding/laundry table. Ours is from Hide-Away https://hideawayironingboards.com/products. Make sure you find one where the ironing board “swivels” when down to increase space in the room.
If you need a large collapsible drying rack (like #6 up above but much bigger) that will fit a lot of clothes, try to find one at an Amish store if that’s an option where you live- I have a big wooden one (it fits so much more than the little ones they sell in stores!)- my parents have had theirs for probably 20 years. They aren’t super cheap, but they should last pretty much forever.
This one is bigger and sturdier than the average, and pretty affordable too! https://www.vermontcountrystore.com/collapsible-wooden-drying-rack-in-2-sizes/product/54181
If you’re space limited, look for “folding umbrella” style drying racks, often sold at Amish stores as well. You don’t need much wall space to mount one but they have a lot of space when open.
My laundry is in my creepy, dark, 100- year old, unfinished basement…but if it wasn’t, I would totally use these tips to make it nicer (I’m afraid none of these are going to be enough to improve my current set up). Maybe someday!
Last year, I switched from liquid detergent to laundry strips to reduce plastic packaging and it also cuts down on clutter as 30+ strips come in a small paper envelope. I’m using the Tru Earth brand, made in Canada and I like the fragrance-free, hypoallergenic options. The only downside is cost. I can afford it but if I had a house full of kids and a tight budget, probably not.
I use these too – they’re awesome because they eliminate laundry mess – No spilled laundry powder, no congealed laundry liquid on bottles or counters. Not as cute as pods in a glass jar but take up much less room. Plus I didn’t do the math properly on how often my small family washes when, after testing them out, I bought ‘ a year’s supply’ – two years later there’s still plenty left so that’s one less thing on the grocery list. Worth checking out!
Thank you for commenting about these. I have been thinking about trying them out as I don’t use a lot of detergent as it is just me. I thought I would like to try something that takes up less space in my laundry room and had less waste to be recycled. I have asked several people if they had tried any of these and every one says the same …..they are still using the laundry detergent they have used for the last ten years or more. I can honestly say I switched to pods over 7 years ago but I am ready to try something else just to see how well it works.
I use a different brand of strips and they also work great. Most of us use far more detergent than needed (and it’s hard to get the surfectants out of waste water!) so better to use half a strip – still works fine and gets things clean. They’re also so light and easy to store, plus fantastic to bring along for travel. Make the switch, you won’t regret it!
The article is very useful. thank you
Any leads to pretty and functional laundry baskets that’s a step up from the utilitarian, but uninspiring plastic ones? I’m still using the one from college, and that was half a lifetime ago.
I have used all these suggestions (except decanting cause my husband draws the line at that). My contribution is probably only useful to a very small minority–those with high ceilings. We have a house built in 1894 has 12 foot ceilings–even in the laundry hall. I installed a Sheila Maid for my air dried clothes. I love it. You see them in old English houses (I love spotting them in English dramas). Not applicable for the closet situations, but for me where wall space and floor space is an absolute premium, but vertical space is there for the taking it’s a fabulous solution.