Laundry Room Essentials

By Kate Riley September 26, 2013

What makes the perfect laundry room? A washer and dryer are obvious, but beyond those functional appliances, there are design elements and practical solutions that make the daily necessity of washing clothes less of a chore. We all have laundry to do, but if you take the time to plan out your space and include the extra essentials, the space can be a pleasant place to get the job done.

laundry room with white cabinets


Storage. Detergent, fabric softener, bleach, stain removers, and those single socks seeking a mate. You’ve got to have a place for them, so a few cabinets or shelves are absolutely key. Supplementing with baskets and bins or clear containers to hold smaller items keeps the space organized.

storage in laundry room

laundry center in closet

hgtv remodels / better homes & gardens

A Folding Surface.  In my own laundry room, I have a plain white laminate countertop where I do all the folding – just that 2 x 4’ amount of space makes all the difference in the world. It’s not just a few beach towels that hang out there on a daily basis, in our busy home there are many piles of clothing being folded and sorted and sent to their destination. Check out Wilsonart’s many laminate solutions for creating a laundry room folding surface in your home.

cg laundry room

aqua and white laundry room

house & home


If you prefer the stone look, the Wilsonart collection of laminates offers homeowners the beauty and durability of real stone at an affordable price. Inspired by marble and granite from the world’s quarries, their countertops have a realistic look with natural flow patterns and mineral details. See a few examples of their marble choices in this post on laminate kitchen countertops.

Drying Solution for Delicates. I built a drying rack for this very purpose several years ago and it is still one of my favorite and most useful projects to date. If you’re not up for the DIY versions, there are several you can buy or a simple rod and hangers can accomplish the same task.

cg drying rack tank top

ballard drying rack

white laundry room

ballard designs / better homes & gardens

A Sink.  Space and budget permitting, a sink is more of a luxury, but one I plan to incorporate into any future home build. A basin with faucet that’s ready to to rinse muddy or stained clothing is definitely a plus in any active household.

sink in laundry room

 laundry room sink agreatkitchen

style at home / houzz


What features do you consider essential in a laundry room? Have you included any little extras that make your laundry responsibilities any easier? 

* This post is sponsored by Wilsonart, all opinions are my own.


My apologies the site has been down for two days friends, I had to deal with a cyber attack and beef up security, but hopefully all is well! Thanks for your patience!




  1. Whatever happened to laundry rooms being in the dark basement? These look like some real nice rooms and I like the idea of having a folding area in the room.

    • We had a laundry room in the garage when I was a kid Bruce, yep basements are common too. I think in many older homes there was never the calculation of an actual “room” but we’re seeing them as staples in modern construction.

  2. Yay!!! is back!

    Oh, Kate, I am so sorry to hear you had to deal with ‘techno-bullying’, but so glad all is running well now!

    My LR Essentials:
    Drying racks & rods (in case of electricity outages) – rod over sink for ‘drip dries’ plus an IKEA on ceiling (lowers via a string/pulley system for winter use), plus an IKEA folding rack for drying sweaters flat or hanging other items from (4 shelves).
    4′ formica countertop (no maintenance, easy clean, looks like stone yet was inexpensive) for folding/stain treatment/gift wrapping/small household repairs.
    SS sink for soaking/stain treatment/washing dirty outdoor backyard hands prior to entering kitchen.
    Cabinetry above and below countertop/sink area, as well as above washer/dryer for cleaning products, gifting area, etc..
    Under cabinet lighting over sink and countertop for working on those subtle stains!
    Vinyl ‘stone-look’ flooring. Easy cleanup from dirty shoes or from washer mishaps (knock on wood).
    Towel rod hung on wall next sink for drying hands on easy to locate towel without leaving water on floor.
    Laundry 3-bin organizer for dirty laundry (Whites, Darks, Towels & Sheets)
    Open shelf to hold families individual clean clothes baskets (name labels on empty plastic bins). Each person is responsible for getting their dirty laundry into the 3-bin above, then they collect if from their plastic bin when it is clean – ready for them to fold and put away (anything left here more than one week is donated to our local mission).
    A step stool for reaching the topmost cabinets where off-season/seldom used items are store. (Sometimes I use it for ‘hiding out’ when the house gets too hectic! SHHHH! It’s my ‘think tank’ & no one hears me in here when the machines are going.;))
    Natural light, a couple fresh flowers branches from the yard, and my cheerful cushy floor mats in front of the sink/counter, and the washer/dryer. I’m set!

  3. OH, I forgot one thing…on the covered patio, a retractable clothes line. When retracted no one even knows it’s a clothesline! During the winter it is great to have clothes that have that fresh air smell to them. Also, they dry faster that way, even in the midst of the cold winter!

  4. The more I see about Wilsonart the more intrigued I am. I made some fast decisions when building our (tiny) house 6 years ago…and the kitchen counters are laminate that is an OOOGLY color! But nothing fancier than laminate is in the budget, so I’d love to find a much more attractive option for a very attractive price!
    I dream of a laundry room with a window, counter space, and basically its own room! Mine is tucked in the back of our powder room (tiny house, again!). I actually like it…very simple, I do my folding on the couch. Since there’s no place to temporarily store clean clothes except in the open, they do get put away faster than I might otherwise. But with 3 kids now, the laundry is just getting more and more monstrous! That modern one above REALLY caught my eye…white doors and gorgeous wood shelves! Love it!

  5. This post really did not sit well with me. Maybe I’m just having a bad day? Maybe it made me realize how (apparently) crappy my own laundry space is (since I don’t have a “room” for my washer and dryer). My storage shelves/cabinets is called the top of the dryer. My folding surface is called my bed. My drying solution for delicates is to hang them in the bathroom on the shower curtain rod.

    CG is actually one of my favorite blogs, but this particular post just seems so out of touch with me. Maybe I’m taking the word “essentials” too literally? All of the items listed would be nice to have, but definitely not “essential” or necessary to get my clothes cleaned. I hope this doesn’t come across as rude, but more of constructive criticism.

    • No worries Missy! I’ve lived with tiny closet laundry rooms much of my life, and folded on my bed just like you. It’s not everyone who gets what might be a better word the “luxury” of a room – we all work with what we’ve got. No offense taken, the article is meant to inspire only. Hope you have a better day!

  6. My laundry room (in the basement) is the last unfinished part of my house. We are going to finally finish it soonish (in the next year or two) so I am always looking for inspirations to add to my idea board! Thanks!

  7. A pretty room sure does make the chore easier. Our older home has a large pantry/laundry room right off the kitchen that I just painted aqua with white shelves, the only thing that would really be helpful is somewhere to fold the clothes. I don’t have a front load washer so I’m thinking something on hinges that could be put out of the way when not in use would be nice.

  8. For the first time in my life, I have a pretty nice Laundry room (at 66), proving there’s lots of time for those of you who aspire to one. One of my counter top essentials is a basket of stain-fighting tools and supplies. Eye-dropper, brushes, spray bottle, etc. plus alcohol, solvent, Vanish bar and other chemicals. Oh, and Martha Stewarts stain removing guide, printed out, for reference.

  9. Thank you so much for posting these pics, we are looking at houses as our sold and we have not found anything to buy yet, I was dreaming of a larger laundry room, have a closet (or a bit larger) with front loading stackables now. One older home we looked at had the laundry room right off the garage as you enter the house, just like I grew up with, I love the pic with the curtain hiding the front loaders and now if we decide on a house like that I will not cringe about that room!!

  10. I remember you touched on this topic a couple of years back and I was inspired to spruce up my then laundry room. It was nice for the time being, but we have since moved and the laundry room, while not terrible was certainly in need of a redo. I am actually just finishing up painting it (sherwin williams- Rainwashed) and next week the marble (pinch me) countertops are being installed, along with a new stainless sink and commercial style pull down faucet. I agree, it’s a “luxury” of a room, but our homes should inspire us and make us proud and thanks to your ideas and inspiration I think it is shaping up to be my dream laundry room…if such rooms exist in dreams. :)

  11. As a poster said above, our laundry room is also in our basement. We would love to fix it up a bit in the future since it isn’t the type of dark and dingy as some really old houses, just moreso an unfinished basement. (our house was built in 1987 and is a multi-level) We’re down there daily to feed the cats, so it would be nice to have it look a little brighter and nicer.
    Do you have any suggestions for flooring in basement laundry rooms? it’s below grade and concrete. The sump pump is down there, so it has to be something that can handle water if that were ever to fail at some point (knock on wood).
    I have to say I’ve never quite understood the “folding station”. I guess I grew up bringing the basket of clothes up to our room and dumping out on the bed to fold. :)

    Also, found the Martha Stewart Stain guide

    • Hi Alli, modern laminates are great for basement flooring, that’s what I’d use!

  12. I have been crushing on all the beautiful laundry rooms I see in Houzz, on Pintrest, and now on your post. I love organization, so I think a fresh, organized laundry room epitomizes the “put together” home. The one thing I think these beautiful rooms have in common is NATURAL LIGHT through a window. Do you have tips or inspirational pics for those of us who have bunker-style laundry spaces, whether in a basement, closet, or, in my case, a small windowless room in the interior of the house that also serves the broom closet function? Thanks!

  13. My laundry room looks weird. lol. My laundry space is really small. I am trying to make it look nice. So adopting ideas like this will really be a help for me. Thanks for the pictures.

  14. I have a linen press that goes from my bathroom through to my laundry. The top section holds towels and the bottom half will one day have a shute on one side (bathroom) and the laundry has double doors where I keep my laundry baskets.

  15. I have a folding dryer rack and a closet rod that is near the ceiling (use hangers to hang clothes that don’t go through the dryer, etc.

    I would love a sink (especially with a dog) and I would love a folding area. Most of the folding is done on the couch in the living room.

  16. Hi,
    I finally got my dream laundry room! I love it :) Not only has it got every thing required to be a practical room it also has a TV/DVD, IPOD dock and bench space for my laptop. It is my laundry\retreat
    My husband sacrificed part of his garage and designed and built the whole thing himself.
    I would happily show off some photos to you if you are interested.

  17. When we moved into our house, the dryer was in the basement and the washer was in the mud room which is off the garage in the back of the house. The mud room also contained a large closet located across from the exposed washer. I had the idea of putting the washer and dryer into the closet. The dimensions worked. We added bi-fold doors and still had storage shelves above the machines for laundry supplies as well as lots of other stuff.

    I had to change the machines a few months ago. Old machines were old (dryer30+ years/washer about 15) and configured differently than my new high efficiency machines. This caused a problem because the new machines didn’t fit into the exiting closet space the same way. They stick out more and also required that the frame of the closet be removed on one side. Bi-fold doors no longer fit.

    Now that whole closet area is exposed and I’m not sure what to do about it. I’ve considered a curtain but wasn’t sure if that might get in the way when I’m actually loading and unloading the machines. I considered a half curtain just above the machines to cover all exposed shelving and supplies while allowing the front of the machines to be seen.

    Just not sure. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    CG – I am fairly new to your site having gotten here via a mention in South Shore Decorating. I think it’s wonderful and have gotten such joy from it. Best wishes!

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