This is How Designers Make the Most of a Small Laundry Room — 6 Tricks to Try

Small laundry rooms don't have to sacrifice on style. Leading designers share their tricks for maximizing a smaller space

A small laundry room with aubergine cabinets
(Image credit: Justin Thomason Photography. Design: West of Main)

A beautifully put together laundry room can make doing chores more joyful, so these corners of a home are well worth investing in. 

Smaller laundry rooms can more easily lead to clutter and wet-clothing chaos, so they do require a little thinking-through. But with the right tricks up your sleeve, you don’t need a huge amount of space to create a room that’s both functional and chic. 

1. Choose an expandable drying rack

A small laundry room with a fold-out drying rack and pale green/gray cabinets

(Image credit: Compass Studio)

There are a number of clever clothes drying products out there to help you maximize on space, especially in a small laundry room. In this design by Compass Studio, the drying rack folds to the wall, but you can also find designs that slide between cabinets. 

‘When approaching the design of a small space, it is key to focus on the desired functionality first,’ says Jordan Mollé, Interior Designer at Compass Studio. ‘The objective of this laundry room was to maximize the storage through cabinetry and include plenty of working counter space.’ 

When it came to decorating the room, Mollé incorporated subtle textures to create a sense of depth. ‘The finish palette is light and airy with a punch of visual interest through the use of textural tile and warm notes of wood,’ adds Mollé. ‘All of this allowed the room to resound in a fresh open aesthetic.’ 

2. Think vertically

A small laundry room with stacked machines and full-height cabinetry

(Image credit: Sarah Baker for Design Directions)

Perhaps the hardest part of designing a small laundry room is the bulk of its key components. When it comes to placing appliances and laundry room storage, one answer is to look upwards. 

‘In order to reveal the potential of this small laundry porch we had to think vertically,’ says Valerie Helgeson, Principal and Owner of Design Directions. ‘Our clients had big dreams for their cluttered laundry porch, but the footprint was small and wall space limited as an entire wall was taken by windows.’ 

She continues: ‘Our solution was to build vertically. A full size stackable washer and dryer with a cabinet above, and an additional lower storage cabinet to the left allowed just enough room for counter space on top for folding. The end result was the answer to the clients’ cluttered nightmare.’

3. Include abstract patterns

A small laundry room with wooden cabinets and minimalist abstract tiling

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco for Swivel Interiors)

Once the functionality of the room has been optimized, there are various design tricks to make your space feel bigger—such as incorporating abstract tiles. 

‘Abstract tile patterns make small areas so much more interesting to spend time in,’ says Kathleen Glossa, Founder at Swivel Interiors and designer behind the small laundry room above. ‘We covered the backsplash and adjacent end wall with a geometrically engaging mix of black, gray and white diamond tiles. The abstract pattern changes from hexagons, to diamonds to cubes, as it takes on a 3D pattern.’

When it comes to your storage, Glossa warns that too much closed cabinetry can risk overwhelming a small space. ‘We left one under-cabinet bay open, allowing a pair of laundry hampers printed in a fun black and white pattern to break up the bank of cabinetry,’ she says. 

4. Try a neutral palette 

A small laundry room in white and gray

(Image credit: Molly Culver for Mary Patton Design)

Using a neutral color palette can help a small room feel more airy, while bringing a welcome sense of calm to a space that’s dedicated to housework. 

‘We wanted to keep the room very neutral and soothing with a few black punchy accents in the hardware and window treatment trim,’ says Mary Patton of Mary Patton Design. ‘We used a soothing gray marble for the counter, gray and white tile floor and tied it together with white cabinets and subway tile.’

On a more practical note, the hanging clothes rod demonstrates another clever way to make the most of a small laundry room storage. ‘We wanted to create as much countertop space and storage as possible,’ says Patton. 

5. Create a sense of luxury with dark cabinetry 

A small laundry room with aubergine cabinets

(Image credit: Justin Thomason Photography for West of Main)

A neutral palette isn't the only option for a small laundry room. And the colors you choose don't have to be light and bright either—as this small laundry room by West of Main demonstrates. Darker, moodier tones can bring a sense of luxury to a small space. Sticking to colors found in nature, like this rich plum, will keep the look calming. 

'In character homes, you'll often find moments of coloured cabinetry—and there's such a charm to them!' says Sascha Lafleur, Co-founder and Principal Designer at West of Main. 'In this Dutch Revival remodel, we wanted to play into the home's original personality. So we selected plum cabinetry which adds richness to the space. Accented by warm wood countertops, slate tile, and the smell of fresh linens, the plum colour enhances the experience in this small laundry room.' 

6. Add floor texture

A small laundry room with textured checkered floor tiles

(Image credit: House of Rolison)

We’ve covered the importance of building upwards in a small laundry room, but the right flooring can also make your space feel more expansive. 

‘Floor texture adds dimension to a small space,’ says Amanda Leigh of House of Rolison, who added texture to the laundry room above with a checkered floor. ‘Meanwhile, moody wall colors and wall art will ground the space and make it feel warmer,’ she says. 

‘Finally, adding fillers in between the sides of the units will create a more finished look,’ adds Leigh—a tip that will elevate a laundry room no matter what size it is. 

Kate Hollowood is a freelance journalist who writes about a range of topics for Marie Claire UK, from current affairs to features on health, careers and relationships. She is a regular contributor to Livingetc, specializing in reporting on American designers and global interiors trends. Based in London, Kate has also written for titles like the i paper, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan and It’s Nice That.