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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

I need help redesigning my Laundry Room

nouschJanuary 10, 2013
It's very narrow as you can see from the photos. There is a step-down. I'm thinking of removing the soffit above the cabinets on the left so they can be taller. There is a weird cutout to allow for the door to open. Where the basket now sits, I was thinking of making that part of a tall cabinet. The bottom cabinets have wasted space so I was going to cut them back about 4 inches. To move the laundry machines below the window, we will have to repipe gas, water etc. Do you think it's worth the extra cost? I was thinking it may look better with the machines there.Doesn't gain me extra space, just looks. The problem is that all the cabinets have different size doors above, because the line up with the bottom two. I'd like that better balanced. If I keep the machines where they are, I was thinking of at least having the counter top being the same height as the machines. Obviously changing the floor and the light as well. And the paint! I'd love some ideas/suggestions to balance this room a bit more out.
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I don't think I'd go to the expense of moving the machines or messing with the soffit. My thought is to start with the door and take it out, replacing it with a slider mounted outside the laundry room, or a pocket door if you prefer. That opens the space behind it for floor to ceiling shelves to hold baskets or laundry products. I'd do a matching one to the right of the window. Don't think they would need doors unless you prefer. I agree with cutting back the cabinet to match the ones beside it and would hope the countertop could be re-fitted to sit on top of the machines. If the cabinets could be raised so the new shallow top on them came to the same height, you'd have a nice look. A lighter color would also add a sense of openness. I'd replace the box florescent lighting with something more up to date.
Modern Dallas Ranch Home · More Info

The Gambrel Roof Home · More Info

Laundry Room · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 9:10AM
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The usual question is "what's your budget?" or are you just collecting ideas? If I was a buyer and looking at your house, I would ask about the location of the utility sink. Do you have one close by? If not, consider adding a sink to your laundry room. A single bowl SS kitchen sink works just fine for this purpose and looks so much better than those all in one plastic laundry tub on a stand.

What's your feeling on the upper cabinets? That door style is very dated, but they look very functional and I don't find them objectionable at all. I also like your idea of cutting back the depth of the lower cabinets. I have done that in a few tight spots and found it to work out quite well. You get a lot of visual impact but at minimal cost and minimal loss of good storage space.

What's the width of the room? It looks sufficiently wide to place the machines under the window. You could build a shallow box either open front or a hinged door to hide the washer hoses and drain. Then just go buy longer stainless steel hoses and turn the washer 90 degrees. That also eliminates the issues involved in having water and drain pipes in an exterior wall. In this scenario you would only need to change the gas line and the dryer vent. If you have access to the underneath of the floor, it would be easy for a plumber to unscrew and remove the current gas line, add in two more pieces and another corner, then put the line up in the new location. Putting in a new vent shouldn't be difficult either since you're already at an outside wall.

Moving those machines under the window and putting a plain laminate counter over the top shouldn't take more than a day's labor and a hundred dollars in material.
    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 10:22AM
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E Klo
Your laundry room seems to have a ton of storage! I'm not sure what kind of budget you have for this.. but if you want to make it look more modern, but not spend a fortune - you could just get rid of the cabinet doors, paint the frames (I like dark.. so maybe a chocolate or a black) and then buy baskets to put on the top shelves to store everything. The open look might make the space look a bit larger too. For the bottom cabinets - I'd do the same thing. Remove the cabinet doors, and make the shelving large enough for 2 laundry baskets each, then just leave open.

For the floor - i'd go with a nice tile (18x24) if you can afford it. If not, a laminate sheet that looks like cork would be cool (that's what we did in ours).

I don't know if I'd waste the money to move the washer & dryer. It doesn't get you additional space, and then you'd have to reconfigure the counter tops as well.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 10:35AM
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A couple of thoughts. Can you change out the door to a pocket door? Then you won't have to worry about the wall.

Consider your layout with a stacked washer and dryer. Just a thought but it can change your whole way of organizing that space. For one thing, it would give you space to put the laundry hamper on the opposite wall, leaving the right side clear.
    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 10:53AM
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You already have some idea of where you want to go. I like that it is narrow because you can't make it anything else OTHER than a fantastic laundry room. You may want to consider just hiring a closet company to come in and add some shelving with pull out drawers and hampers. Pay for a nice piece of engineered stone for a folding table and upgrade the lighting. Houzz actually has some banging laundry room photos that you can incorporate in to your idea. I would also go much brighter in the paint color a lemony yellow or a crisp blue and then put up some small framed photos of things like laundry on a clothes line, feet in clean white socks, etc. Then your floor looks like its in good condition so just throw a colorful runner on top of it. Then frame a cute quote to put somewhere prominent:

An actress once advised me, 'Make sure you do your own laundry - it will keep you honest.'
Cate Blanchett


"If I don't do laundry today, I'm gonna have to buy new clothes tomorrow."
Anna Paquin

I think the simpler you keep it the more fun it will be. Good luck.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 12:50PM
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This narrow space is perfect for a laundry room. Personally, the cabinets take up a lot of visual weight in the room. If you would like to keep the cabinets, may I suggest one or two long upper cabinets with a door that opens upward. Such as these from Ikea: [houzz=
Laundry Room/Mud Room Makeover (Ikea) · More Info
] If you don't mind exposing your laundry material, may I suggest a shelving system from the Container store such as this: [houzz=
The Container Store > Platinum elfa Laundry Center · ">More Info
I would also raise the countertop so the washer and dryer fit underneath. Then, I would store the laundry baskets and dog crates underneath like this:
Laundry/Mud Room For A Busy Family · More Info
Then I would paint the walls something soft and bright: greens, blues, and yellows are excellent laundry room colors. I love the framed pictures on the wall, so definitely keep them. Maybe a wall-mounted ironing board behind the door would be fantastic.

I would love to have your laundry room :)
    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 1:36PM
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I think you would be better leaving the machines where they are and working around them because the space is so narrow you need to keep everything to one wall . You could either keep them side by side and put a counter top on them and do uniformed cabinets above or (which I think is the better idea) stack them on top of one another and then add floor to ceiling cabinets beside them which would give you tons of space .

What I would do for the other wall is a long counter top maybe even 2 stacked on top of one another to store essentials and baskets . You could also put artwork on this wall to brighten things up.

As for the door I think the pocket suggestion is good or a more simpler one would be to hang the door differently and have it opening outwards if space allows it .

Hope you have fun whatever you decide .
1 Like    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 4:49PM
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Wow, thank you all for your great input!! Really appreciate all your ideas.

Question to Linda: what do you mean by "That also eliminates the issues involved in having water and drain pipes in an exterior wall."? Is it not good to have water/drain pipes in an exterior wall? floor is slab so bummer about your easy fix suggestion for refitting the gas line...
Also, is a utility sink important? I've never had a need for one... do people love them? Not sure if my counter (if I cut depth of lower cabinets) would be deep enough for one (right now it's 25", thinking of going down to 21")

Question to E Klo: do you have a link to a sample of your cork floor?

I think I may cut back on the cabinets above the machines and put just a rod their which I've always wanted/needed. I love the Ikea top cabinets for a more modern look. The ones that open upward, great idea. The idea of the pocket door is not going to gain me anything on the wall behind it: electrical box location. Opening the door the opposite way is unfortunately not an option either.

Seeing the photos of machines topped by one continuous countertop is very helpful, but I was going to cut back the lower cabinets by about 4"... this would make the countertop a lot less deep than the machines if they stay where they are. Would you still run the top all the way through over the machines in that situation? Or would that look weird (with the counter being less wide over the machines and them sticking out so much)?

Don't think I can stack the machines... would block half the window. Or can I?

Thanks again!
    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 5:38PM
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A thought re: your recent plans - We also have front loaders and they're a lot deeper from front to back than our old machines. Ours are also on pedestals, We have Elfa shelving over the machines and I can just barely reach the front of the lower shelf. Even though the height isn't bad, the depth of the machines makes it a difficult reach.

Will you be able to reach over the machines to hang things on the bar?
    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 5:49PM
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It would look weird if you cut the counter back and extended it above the machines. You can leave them exposed and use them as additiinal counter space just as they are. I rarely used my utility sink when one came with my rental. I never loathed having one, and it came in handy for hand washed items. I don't consider it a "must have" now. However, you have a pet...pets need baths....now that could be handy to throw the towels in the wash when you're done.
    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 6:06PM
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Nousch - I'm in the Chicaoland area and winter temps are a concern here. There have been so many problems with frozen and broken pipes that the local code does not allow putting piping in an exterior wall. We have solved this problem by building a plumbing wall in front of the exterior wall or by running sink piping up through the floor. We rehab 80+ year old homes so plumbing is always an interesting issue

I'm guessing your gas pipe comes through the wall. If so, you could surface mount the line along the side wall and across underneath the window at whatever height it is now at. Then, use 2x2s to fir out the wall above and below the gas pipe and going all the way across the room under the window, then drywall the front of the box, thus shortening your room 2" below the window. Top the box with a piece of 1x trim and you now have a narrow ledge. If you're doing this yourself, you don't have to worry much about the quality of the drywall work since it will be completely hidden by the washer and dryer. Take off the baseboard before putting in the wall and replace it on the outside of the new space.

I have a similar setup in my laundry area, except my ledge is about 10 inches deep because I needed to set my machines that far out from the wall to give room for the surface mounted vent and a standpipe. I bought a $10 laminate countertop and cut it to length and installed it over the machines with the ledge going from the countertop backsplash to the back wall with a large notched out area for the vent piping. The ledge is very handy for detergent bottles, and misc supplies but the real reason for it is to keep from losing things between the countertop and the wall. My first set of undercounter machines slid all the way under the counter but the new set are about 4 inches deeper and don't slide in completely. It doesn't look objectionable to me but some people might mind.

If you really want to know the answer about whether you want to go to the trouble of moving the machines underneath the windows, try it. Turn your washer a quarter turn, disconnect the hoses if they don't reach, and then disconnect your dryer and slide it to the space on the right of the washer. You will be able to see how much different that change makes in the feel of the space. Look at them that way for a day or so and then you will know whether to pursue that layout or just leave them as they are currently placed.

If you don't have a utility sink, where do you wash paint brushes and rollers, dirty shoes, greasy vent covers etc? Just curious since I have a rehab house where I have to do those tasks in the kitchen sink and I hate having to take those things into the kitchen.
    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 8:47PM
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Hi again

I just came across an article online from housetohome.co.uk and they have some great ideas for laundry rooms if you want to check it out .

As for the smaller depth cabinets over the countertop you can see that in one of the pictures they have done just that and it looks fine . Also stacking the machines I meant on the long wall and not under the window. If I was you I would keep that clear if at all possible and just use the side walls.

As for the sink in the laundry room I have one myself and it is rarely used but great when you do need it so you will have to make up your mind on whats the best use for your space . I also have a hanging rail and I find it very good so maybe you could put this on the wall on the right hand side of the room. My rail is actually a shower curtain tension rail which I bought from ikea. There was no bother fixing it and no hassle if I ever need to change its location.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 7:38AM
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Angelo Design
I agree with Linda and the above comments and pictures. I think a well organized laundry room, however that works for you, is often overlooked and underfunded. It is a room that gets alot of use and abuse and yet we are all guilty of not spending money on it. When I see the pretty pictures of the above re-done laundry rooms, doesn't it make you want to do laundry or other chores? My advice is to really think how you want to use the room. Only laundry? A place for all the pet food and cages? Measure and see where it all fits. If you cannot move the washer dryer, I would keep all the storage, etc. on that washer/dryer wall and keep the wall opposite, open. I think the space will open up and you will feel like you have more room. Good luck!
    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 2:23PM
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