The 7 Different Types of Laundry Rooms (Design Guide)
If you’re in the enviable position to design and plan a laundry room, it’s a great opportunity to make your life much easier.
These days we pump out a lot of laundry especially if you have kids. Because it’s a high utility room like a kitchen, it’s nice to have plenty of space and some premium laundry room features such as a built-in hamper system, folding station, plenty of storage, loads of surface area and either a built-in ironing board or a permanent ironing board set up.
For far too long the laundry room was an afterthought. In fact, it’s often combined with other rooms, most notably a mudroom or if stand-alone, placed in a closet. That said, a closet laundry room is great for smaller homes such as a townhome or condo.
The mudroom laundry room isn’t ideal because it’s a dirty room. Who wants to produce clean clothes in a dirty space? That said, I can understand how the mudroom became the de facto laundry room… it’s also a place that produces dirty clothes.
We currently have a mudroom and laundry room combo and while we’re fortunate to have this space, it’s kind of small and it’s far from the bedrooms.
In my view, the ideal laundry room is a dedicated room that’s fairly large with plenty of storage and surface area located on the same floor/vicinity of all the bedrooms. Many new houses are designed this way and it makes perfect sense. Baskets loaded with laundry is heavy and since clothes come from and are delivered to bedrooms, it makes the most sense for the laundry facility in any home to be as close to all bedrooms as possible.
Below is our extensive article outlining the 6 types of laundry rooms as well as many other aspects such as awesome features, size, cost and flooring options. Where possible we include pictures of laundry rooms showcasing the particular example.
Table of Content
- A. Type/Location
- B. Features
- C. Laundry Room Cost
- D. Washer/Dryer Configuration
- E. Size
- F. Flooring
- G. Storage
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The dedicated laundry room near bedrooms is best. The bigger, the better. It’s a high utility room that’s used daily and so why not make it fabulous and user-friendly. Here’s an example of an amazing laundry room that’s only a laundry room.
For smaller homes, the closet laundry room is ideal. What’s often great about the closet type is that it’s usually very close to bedrooms. So while it’s not large, it’s situated very conveniently.
Other than the basement, I can’t think of a worse place for a laundry room. It’s cold, dirty and often far from the bedrooms. The only plus side is you can easily deposit filthy clothes in the garage sparing your home from dirt, water, mud, grease and all the other filth clothes attract.
The mudroom/laundry room combo is very popular. One can argue it’s an efficient use of space, but it’s not ideal since it can be a dirty space and often ends up cramped. Mudrooms end up storing a ton of outdoor wear and gear leaving too little space for laundry.
Some smaller homes, especially in Europe, place the washer/dryer in a bathroom. It’s not a terrible thought given it’s usually close to the bedrooms and clothes are removed in bathrooms. The downside is that unless it’s a huge bathroom, the laundry space is very small.
Again, smaller homes sometimes (not often) place a washer/dryer in the kitchen. Frankly, it’s an odd location. It’s not convenient and who wants dirty clothes where food is prepared? That said, it can be efficient for very small homes (i.e. tiny apartments).
Many older homes have the laundry room in the basement. Talk about terribly inconvenient forcing the launderer to hoof it up and down one or even two sets of stairs loaded down with clothes. The plus side, if there is such a thing, is that often there’s a decent amount of space in which to operate. An exception to this being terrible is if your home has a laundry chute. This can be convenient for getting clothes to the laundry room, but it doesn’t help with clean clothes delivery.
Surface area, surface area, surface area! You can’t have enough in a laundry room. If you have space, plan out some countertops which you will appreciate and use. Newer laundry rooms include full cabinetry like a kitchen. Of course, this makes the laundry room very expensive but you’ll love it.
2. Drying Rack
If people in your household avoid drying clothes in a dryer (I do so I know the drill), you will appreciate space for hanging clothes… whether it’s a series of drying racks, built-in drying racks, an indoor clothesline, etc. Not only does air drying clothes prevent shrinking, it saves you a lot of money.
3. Ironing Board (built-in)
I like ironing. I find it relaxing. I like turning wrinkled, unwearable clothes into something crisp and sharp. The one thing I don’t like about ironing is setting it up. Currently our laundry room does not have space for an ironing board so every time I want to iron something, I have to set up the ironing board and the iron. I’d love a more permanent set up.
4. Hamper System
Some people like built-in hamper systems. I don’t. We have many lightweight hampers that are transported to and from the laundry room. It works well. I think a dedicated hamper system is only good for households that don’t produce loads of laundry… although I can see the attractiveness of such a feature for running kitchen rags and other filthy items directly to the laundry room.
5. Folding Station
A folding station or simply surface area for folding is really nice unless you’re like me who folds in front of the TV.
Being a utility room, a properly set up laundry room should have a sink. You never know when you need water for whatever reason. While you won’t use it every day, when you need it, you’ll appreciate having it.
C. Laundry Room Cost
Is a laundry room (i.e. washer and dryer) worth investing in?
Let’s crunch some numbers.
First, how many loads of laundry does a family of four do each week?
While this will vary, the average family of four (kids at home) will do 8 to 12 loads per week. Let’s call it 10. This is according to Unclutterer.com. While being an estimate, as a dad in a family of four we definitely do 8 to 12 loads per week.
Next, would you save money doing laundry at home with your own washer/dryer or going to a laundromat?
Obviously, it’s more convenient doing laundry at home, but if you’re on a very tight budget, this is a realistic question.
Fortunately TheSimpleDollar.com did an in-depth analysis.
They concluded that the break-even point is 600 loads. What this means is that you are better off doing laundry at home (i.e. investing in a washer and dryer) at the 600 load point.
Putting it all together:
You will be ahead investing in a washer and dryer at roughly the 1.25 year point. Given that a washer and dryer will last years, it’s definitely worth investing in a washer and dryer.
The next question is how much should you invest in a laundry room?
This is where you can spend a little or a lot.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but laundry rooms, especially those with cabinetry, can be very expensive. Not quite as expensive as a kitchen, but close given 2 costly appliances, the need for durable flooring, large space and often plenty of cabinetry.
That said, I think given it’s an out-of-the-way room unlike a kitchen you certainly don’t need to go high-end. After all it’s not exactly the home’s centerpiece that kitchens have become.
Providing a specific cost is impossible. It really boils down to size, cabinetry options and the appliances you go with. Obviously, the most minimalist laundry room such as a closet will be as inexpensive as you can get… costing you the appliances only.
However, once you add cabinetry, the cost escalates anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000 plus.
D. Washer/Dryer Configuration
This is the most common washer/dryer configuration. If you have a front-loader (as opposed to top-loader) I recommend elevating the units or buying units with the doors elevated slightly.
Also, and this is important because ours is done wrong. You want the doors on each machine to swing to the outside. Currently, our washing machine door swings toward the dryer which is an obstacle to transferring clothes into the dryer.
The stackable washer and dryer system is for space saving purposes. It’s actually quite convenient too. It’s ideal for closets or small laundry rooms.
If you’re really tight on space, you can get a washer/dryer combo. I’ve never used one so I have no idea how good this is, but it’s not very efficient because you can run the washing machine over and over. You have to wait for the dryer to do its thing before starting another washing cycle.
4. 2 Sets
If you’re really keen to handle a lot of laundry in a short period of time, you can get 2 washing machines and 2 dryers. Check it out:
Source: Zillow DigsTM
The size of laundry rooms vary tremendously from tiny such as a washer/dryer combo machine tucked in the bathroom, to a closet to gargantuan dedicated laundry rooms. Some residential laundry rooms have 2 washing machines and 2 dryers. That’s pretty cool.
I think in an ideal, but realistic world, a 100 to 250 square foot laundry room will do the job. Sure you can go bigger, but we’re not all multi-millionaires.
For laundry room flooring you want durable and water proof. You want to be able to dump dirty, wet, muddy clothes on the floor and not worry about it. Vinyl and linoleum are idea. Tile isn’t bad, but not quite as durable as vinyl or linoleum.
Vinyl is an excellent, cost-effective and durable flooring option for laundry rooms. These days you can get attractive looking vinyl so you don’t have to forego aesthetics with vinyl.
Also durable and cost-effective.
While some options are durable, it can be expensive and frankly laminate isn’t very pretty. It has a faux look unless you spend some serious money which isn’t really necessary for a laundry room.
While it looks great, hardwood isn’t great for laundry rooms because the floor will get wet frequently.
Not a terrible option, but I personally don’t care for tile unless in a hot climate. The plus side is it can look fabulous.
Carpet is a terrible flooring option because it will get moldy, filthy and be pretty much disgusting and unsanitary in short order.
Your laundry room quickly becomes a utility room of sorts and can also be the place where you store all kinds of household necessities like cleaners, toilet paper, paper towel, rags, etc. This means having storage is hugely helpful. Moreover, the cabinetry more importantly creates the super important countertops which is a key work space for folding, organizing, storing detergent, etc.
If planned correctly, a sizeable laundry room could be a seasonal clothing storage location too where you keep coats and winter wear during the summer and vice versa. This takes planning and may include a wardrobe or two… but helps keep your closets and mudroom clean.
In addition to the usual cabinetry, you can consider alternative options that can be great for laundry rooms such as:
Plastic hooks can make for a convenient drying system or place for temporarily putting clothing during wash cycles and processes. If your laundry room also doubles as a mudroom, hooks are hugely helpful for storing coats, etc.
Below are some great Pull Hooks by Closet Factory.
The following pull hooks have light sensors that are activated in low or dim light and stays off during daylight.
The following utility hooks are great for laundry room storage as well.
Related: 85 Laundry Room Designs