Ultimate Guide To Designing A Laundry

November 12, 2020

Ultimate Guide To Designing A Laundry

Every family home needs a laundry. It is a room in your home that you may feel that you spend a lot of time in with both washing and ironing.

Your laundry needs to be functional, well-equipped, and well-organized.


When designing or renovating your laundry it is important that it is both practical and functional.

modern laundry design

One thing you don’t want with your laundry is to feel crowded. Keeping space is important given all the tasks you have to do with washing, folding clothes, ironing and cleaning. 

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, many Aussies spend an average of three hours and 23 minutes a week doing the laundry. This is more than seven days a year, or more than one year of an average lifespan.

So whether you realise it or not you do spend a significant amount of time in your laundry. So for this reason alone you should spend some time planning your laundry.

Let’s look at a step by step process to help you plan your perfect laundry:

1 Location

If possible your laundry should be away from bedrooms and living areas so when you are using your washing machine or dryer their noise does not interfere with the entertaining and resting areas of your home.

If space is tight then having the laundry off the garage is a solution. Alternatively you may think about integrating the laundry in your kitchen, bathroom or within cabinetry off a hallway away from living areas.

Wherever you locate your laundry ensure you have access to a clothesline or an external drying area. 

2 Appliances

Your laundry room should always be designed around your washing machine and dryer. The reason is simple: electrical points and water supply are elements that won’t change without considerable cost. So if you need to move your appliances, you’ll need to move the water supply connections and electrical outlet sockets too.

3 questions to answer when choosing your appliances::
  1. Do I want a front or top loader washing machine?
  2. Will I have a separate washer and dryer or an all in one?
  3. Do I want my appliances concealed in cupboards (this will require adequate ventilation and perhaps mechanical ventilation like an exhaust fan)

It’s vital you choose your appliances before moving onto the next part of your laundry.

Let’s have a look at the important question:

Washing Machine: Top or Front Loader?

Points to consider:

  • Top loaders have faster cycle times than front loaders, and often have larger capacities. 
  • You can easily add garments to a top loader mid-cycle. 
  • Front loaders are gentler on clothes, have higher spin speeds for more efficient drying and are quieter than top loaders. 
  • Front Loaders can cost more initially, but they're built to be more energy- and water-efficient, saving you in the long run.
  • A Front loader can fit under a counter, but not a top loader.
  • Stacking your front-loading machines takes up far less space than making them sit next to one another. If stacking is your choice, just make sure you have a unit intended for stacking purposes.

It is important to leave additional space around your machines. You may decide to buy new ones later on, and having some extra space can make the change much easier.

new laundry with appliances stacked

3 Layout

The next step is to consider how you will use your laundry and what items you will store. 

To design an efficient laundry room that saves you time and effort, think about the tasks involved: sorting clothes, washing, drying, and folding, ironing.

Design your space to reduce double handling, and streamline the washing, drying and folding process to save time.

Consider the workflow and ensure there is enough space to move around safely and comfortably. Make it easy for your laundry to go from the washer to the dryer to the countertop for folding.

Who will be using the laundry? It may be appropriate to elevate appliances to reduce bending or crouching.

Position your washing machine between your sink and laundry baskets, allowing you to transfer clothing directly between these areas. Place the laundry sink and washing machine side by side will streamline plumbing lines and keep wet tasks together. 

Positioning the dryer next to or above the washing machine reduces double handling, and ensures you have bench space close-by so clothing can be folded or sorted directly from your dryer.

Beside the dryer, install a clothing rod to hang items to air-dry. Immediately hang permanent press items to keep them from wrinkling. You might want to reserve space for an ironing board (stand-alone or pullout) close to the clothing rod to facilitate quick touch-ups.

Include a space to store an air dryer if you use one, or a rail to hang wet clothes. 

Shelves above the washer and dryer keep laundry products within easy reach.


Key Points To Consider with Your Layout

Having a well spread out space, with an abundance of counter space won’t just allow you to do the washing, it’ll also open the doors to numerous other tasks and uses. Here’s what you need to think about:


Make Space for Folding

Install a countertop so you have a place to fold clothes as they come out of the dryer. Ideally, it should be right above the dryer to minimize steps. 

Minimize Bending

Front-loading washing machines save on water, but leaning over to load and unload them can be hard on your back. To eliminate that problem, raise the appliances to a comfortable height on cabinetry that also provides drawer storage. 


Worktop Space

Space will be needed for items such as clothing hampers/baskets, laundry supplies, cleaning detergents and other clothing supplies. Having more counter space will add more advantages to you. Invest in more than you think you’ll need.

If you have a satisfactory amount of counter space, you’ll be able to work effortlessly on many tasks without getting frustrated.


Floor Space

The laundry room should have sufficient space so you can move around without any restrictions. Plenty of space and a good layout will have a major positive effect on your productivity. 

Make sure to leave enough space so the cupboard doors can be opened completely.



If you have the space and water supply available, a sink in your laundry room is an added advantage. If space is restricted, you can use the area on top of the sink to your advantage as well, by simply putting a cover over the sink when it’s not being used.

The perfect solution is to place your sink on the side of your washing machine. Doing so will make doing your laundry so much easier, as the soaked laundry can go directly from the sink to the washing machine with very little effort.

4 Storage

Include a combination of cupboards, overheads, drawers and bench top space for the ultimate storage solution. 

Overheads are ideal for storing chemicals up high out of reach of children and the inclusion of a tall cupboard allows you to store brooms, mops and vacuum cleaners out of sight.

Irons, mops, brooms, vacuum cleaners need to be catered for. 

Installing a rail to allow clothes to dry on hangers reduces ironing, and the addition of open shelves allows you to display plants, vases, candles, soaps or fresh towels – finishing touches which give your laundry that designer look.

Optimise hanging space so that you have less use of the dryer by allowing room to hang things up and more space for a nice benchtop

Opting for custom, built-in cabinetry is the best way to maximise and optimise the space you have, but is more costly than flat pack or standard storage options. Either option can result in a functional and aesthetically pleasing space, so consider what’s best for you and your budget.

5 Extras

Bench depth

Make sure your bench is deep enough for your appliances and sinks! 

600mm is the standard depth of a kitchen bench, however this is often not enough for a laundry. Remember that laundry sinks are generally bigger than kitchen sinks and you’ll have hoses tucked in behind your washing machine. 

Consider having a minimum 650mm deep benchtop in laundries.


Sinks and taps

There are a variety of both undermount and drop-in sink options on the market. 

If you have the space, opt for two sinks side by side.

Make sure you have enough bench room behind your sink to fit your tap mixer, or you can place it to the side if space doesn’t allow. A mixer with a pull out spray allows for easy cleaning of your sink and washing items.


Ironing centre

Ensure your wall cavity frame is deep enough and suitable for installation and allow for an electrician to run suitable power for this.

Integrated designs that swivel smoothly back into your joinery and fold-out ironing boards are a good idea. They are usually more stable, offer a streamlined look when they’re hidden away and free up tall storage space – no more wrestling with freestanding cumbersome ironing boards.


Pull out laundry bins

A pair of large slide out bins will take your laundry to the next level. The strong plastic bins lift out easily so they can be hosed or washed out occasionally to avoid odour build up. 

If you opt for a stand-alone laundry basket, make sure you allocate space in your laundry design under the bench or in a corner to allow for this.

 laundry renovation

Ventilation, external access

Having a well-ventilated laundry space is an absolute must. 

If you’re designing from scratch, think about positioning yours adjacent to an outdoor space - that way you can leave the door propped open if you’re home, providing fresh air to the room which will help with drying anything left to hang indoors. 

Ideally, you’ll also want to position your outdoor line near the laundry door, thus minimising travel time.

Make sure you include good exhaust fans into your designs - excess moisture in laundries can cause significant damage that’s costly to repair, not to mention the health issues that arise from damp and mould. 

Laundry lighting is important


Squinting to read the care instructions on your new linens? 

Turns out you’re not the only one. Lighting is often one of the most overlooked areas when designing a laundry and finding the balance between over-lighting and under-lighting your space is crucial

Task lighting is perfect for including in laundry spaces. Having lighting above the sink/shelf will mean you can always see what you are doing.

Ensure there is adequate lighting through windows or a skylight and consider installing task strip LED lighting within your cabinetry.

Opt for warm white lighting and make sure that you have more than one light source

If you can, try to make your laundry as light and bright as possible - this will help with drying if you plan to hang your clothes - and think about placing your hanging area next to a source of natural light.



You may also want to consider incorporating a drying cupboard, particularly if you live in a cold area. 

This will speed up the rate at which your clothing will air dry, and keeps drying clothes out of sight. Just ensure you consider ventilation to prevent moisture or mould buildup.


Hide your washing machine taps

Washing machine plumbing taps and power points can be hidden away in a cupboard next to the washer. 

Ask your cabinetmaker or handyman to drill a large hole at the back of your cabinet next to your washing machine, to pass your cables and hoses through.


Flooring and splashbacks

Make sure your flooring is suitable for a wet area and is non-slip when wet. 

If you’re tiling, consider running a short tile band skirting up the wall to prevent damage in case of water leaks. 

Floor Heating may be something to consider. The subtle heat dries laundry when you hang them up and it also gets rid of that murky damp feeling.

Use a feature splashback above your bench top and sink for ease of cleaning, and to give your laundry that designer look.


Laundry chute

If you are building or renovating a double storey home, incorporating a laundry chute is essential! 

It can be installed inside a wardrobe or hidden behind cabinetry off a hallway, directly above a laundry cupboard. 

Always install the chute high enough so that young children cannot climb into it.


Choose drawers over cupboards

A humble ergonomic revolution swept through houses across the world when drawers started to replace cupboards in the kitchen.

It is much easier to open a drawer and quickly locate what you’re looking for than it is to rummage around the back of a dusty cupboard for the fabric softener.


Design landing spaces near appliances

A basket of washing can weigh several kilos so it’s vital to have ample landing space near your washing machine and dryer to rest those heavy loads of wet clothes.

If you have a top-loading washing machine, factor in plenty of landing room to one side (or preferably both). Front-loading washers and dryers at floor level will benefit from landing space above them. 

If your appliances are wall-mounted at chest height, allow plenty of bench room below – your back will thank you for it.

Separate your whites

We all know how much sanity it can take to separate our whites, brights and darks before putting on a wash, so it makes sense to include dedicated laundry baskets for each. 

Not only will you save time sorting through messy piles of dirty washing, you will also save yourself a backache from bending over.

Often the laundry is much maligned because of the work involved in doing the washing. But with a little thought and planning you can make your laundry a very effective room for you and your family.

Take time to plan your laundry as a well laid out laundry will save you heaps of time in the future. 

Other Articles

Must-haves to take a laundry from fine to fabulous (homebeautiful.com.au)

Functionality should be at the forefront of laundry design (homebeautiful.com.au)

Include pull out laundry bins (stylecurator.com.au)

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