Small but mighty. A home’s laundry room is a workhorse of a space, needing to make the most of limited square footage while being interesting enough design-wise that you’ll actually want to do laundry. Never underestimate the power that a good accent wallpaper or a dramatic coat of paint can have on your inclination to get those chores done.
These five renovated laundry room before-and-afters demonstrate how you can turn a drab space into an organized, stylish one, whether you’re working with a glorified closet, a dark basement, or a small space that could just use a little more attention.
The Cool Blue
Jessica and Tyler Marés’s Los Angeles fixer-upper, whose renovation was documented on their Instagram account, @renovate108, included this canary yellow laundry area that needed a complete overhaul. The couple got scrappy in their new pantry-laundry room, using two slabs of wood from IKEA (for just $350!) as a sleek and budget-friendly countertop. “I’m a big fan of IKEA butcher block,” says Jessica. “It’s an easy way to get an affordable, finished top that you can install and cut yourself.” Tucking the laundry unit into a pantry means there’s plenty of storage and counter space, whether you’re folding towels or checking on your sourdough starter.
The Airy Space
“Renovating older homes is funny—you’re always finding out what people did before you,” says Cathy Poshusta, who along with her husband, Garrett, chronicled the renovations of their Ellensburg, Washington, house on their blog The Grit and Polish. One find was a closed-off space hidden behind their kitchen that the Poshustas speculate was once a porch when their farmhouse was built in 1912. The valuable square footage was repurposed into a new laundry room for just $6,000.
The Poshustas nixed the idea of cabinets, which would have blocked the sunlight from their newly installed window, instead hanging a homemade drying rack from the ceiling. Meanwhile, a new door—custom-designed to match the rest of the home’s historic look—leads outside to a clothesline.
The Tucked-Away Cleaning Center
Even the best of designers, like Emily Henderson, have to contend with uninspiring laundry spaces in their homes. Pre-reno, Henderson’s laundry closet was tucked behind accordion doors that opened to reveal a dingy white-on-white area that lacked style and storage. New doors open to showcase top-of-the-line appliances highlighted with a water-inspired wallpaper by Cole & Son. Organization is key in a small space, so Henderson added shelves to house detergents and supplies, while over-the-door storage holds a drying rack, brooms, and dustpans.
The Basement Transformation
“Our laundry room was part of a larger, unfinished basement, the spooky kind where you find yourself running up the stairs when you turn the lights off,” says Louise Gray cofounder Alexandra Bennett, who worked with Prospect Refuge Studio to design a function-forward laundry room. It had no storage, no counter space, and no organization.
Now Bennett’s renovated laundry room is a textile designer’s oasis, with hidden organizational moments throughout. A wall-mounted drying rack saves space and the environment, while a roll-in compartment in the armoire houses an unsightly vacuum without wasting valuable floor space and a petite hidden ironing board that slides out from a drawer.
The Classic Black and White
Nothing about drab walls, oversize beige tile, and a mismatched sink-and-vanity area excite us to throw in a load of laundry. After renovating other parts of her house first, Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess finally tackled her uninspiring and oftentimes cluttered laundry room—and immediately wished she’d overhauled it sooner. Chapman kept the design simple, wanting it to feel clean and functional but with a touch of style that integrates well with the rest of the house. Green floor tiles add subtle color to the room, while a white subway tile backsplash and an ultra-durable Elkay stainless steel utility sink check the box on functionality.