Interior designer Kathleen Walsh's top 5 tips on making your laundry room stand out from the crowd

The New York-based designer is bringing her skill with nuanced color and texture to overlooked spaces

Laundry room design tips
(Image credit: Kathleen Walsh/Stephen Karlisch)

'After more than 30 years and countless projects across the East Coast, the last two years have brought to the forefront the importance of approaching every space in our homes with a designer’s eye – including laundry rooms

'With clients spending more time at home than ever before, we’ve received so many requests for previously overlooked spaces: laundry rooms, kids' lounges, mud rooms and pantries, especially. Following are some of my no-fail tips to design a beautiful laundry room that you’ll actually want to spend time in.'

Interior Designer
Kathleen Walsh
Kathleen Walsh

New England-raised, New York-based interior designer Kathleen Walsh creates tailored and serene interiors for clients in New York City, Westchester and Fairfield Counties, The Hamptons, New England, and beyond. Kathleen entered Pratt Institute for Fashion but discovered what she really loved was the tactile, three-dimensional qualities of fabric and the transformational qualities of color. Interiors allowed her to combine both with her love of architecture and sculpture. She finished her studies with a BFA in Interior Design and then earned her MBA in Management from Baruch College. Walsh spent a decade working with some of New York's leading designers and architects on residential and commercial projects internationally and throughout the greater New York area before establishing her own firm in 2004.

1. Go bold

laundry room

(Image credit: Kathleen Walsh/Stephen Karlisch)

Don’t shy away from color or pattern in your laundry room, if anything, this is one place to really embrace it. In a recent project, we selected a hand-painted wallpaper by Fromental which served as the inspiration for the rest of the space. 

I suggest choosing something that makes you feel happy and calm. After all, a laundry room that evokes cheery emotion makes the chore of doing laundry feel less daunting, and dare I say – enjoyable.

2. Elevated touches are a must

backsplash in laundry room

(Image credit: Kathleen Walsh/Stephen Karlisch)

Look at your laundry room the way you would any other room in the house. For me, that means never skipping the finishing touches that really bring a lot of character. For example, here, we turned to things like an Artistic Tile mosaic backsplash, the hands-free Kohler faucet, nuanced hardware from Nest Studio Collection and lovely artwork hung throughout.

Pretty lighting that is actually bright when needed (hint- always put lighting on a dimmer), and is well spaced is key to creating a wonderful-feeling space. Thoughtful details are always what everyone notices and they always elevate a room.

3. Leverage odd spaces

Laundry room

(Image credit: Kathleen Walsh/Stephen Karlisch)

Laundry rooms often have all sorts of fun architectural challenges; behind the walls is usually a myriad of ducting, plumbing and electrical that are relegated here for all sorts of valid reasons, but they often leave the designer with a few puzzles to solve. 

We say take advantage of these oddities – there’s always a silver lining to be discovered with a little clever thought. For example, we had a strange-L-shape for this laundry room that wound up working to our advantage once we figured out that the end alcove became a great hideaway and folding corner. We upped the ante by adding a big TV and essentially created a space you can escape to – whether you actually have laundry to fold, or not!

4. Think semi-custom

laundry room

(Image credit: Kathleen Walsh/Stephen Karlisch)

We are quite practical-minded when we work through a design and especially for rooms getting a lot of wear and tear, not every element need be custom. Here we combined custom cabinetry with off the shelf bells and whistles for the cabinet interiors. 

The pull-down ironing board, cabinet organizers, hooks etc were all from Hafele. On the decor side, we worked with The Shade Store to create the sheer shades near the sink. The floor always gets so many compliments and looks custom, but is really a clever combination of stocked 3in x 6in stone tiles that we combined together.

5. Invest in joyful indulgences

laundry room

(Image credit: Kathleen Walsh/Stephen Karlisch)

This is less of a laundry room design lesson and more of a life lesson: sometimes, it just feels good – and is necessary – to invest in small indulgences we don’t really need. Here, it was detergent by The Laundress – at my own home I love their collaboration with Le Labo and use a lightly scented #33 Santal for bedlinens and it was a lovely splurge here too. 

Other times, it’s that indulgent candle, body wash, or box of chocolates. These small moments make everyday life – even doing laundry – a happier experience in my book.

Kathleen Walsh

New England-raised, New York-based interior designer Kathleen Walsh creates tailored and serene interiors for clients in New York City, Westchester and Fairfield Counties, The Hamptons, New England, and beyond. Kathleen entered Pratt Institute for Fashion but discovered what she really loved was the tactile, three-dimensional qualities of fabric and the transformational qualities of color. Interiors allowed her to combine both with her love of architecture and sculpture. Kathleen writes for H&G as a contributing editor.