How to maximize space in a small laundry room, according to experts

Unlock the hidden potential of a small laundry room with these tried-and-tested organizational techniques and layout hacks

Three images of small laundry rooms
(Image credit: Little Greene / Farrow & Ball / Miele)

A laundry room is one of those spaces we are blessed to have in our homes. However, if you find yours is more stressful than streamlined, you might be wondering how to maximize this space to feel all of the benefits that others often mention.

'Mornings are a breeze,' others say. 'Laundry is always fresh and easy to find.' Meanwhile, your space is simply too small to function effectively, and pressing a shirt might leave you feeling frazzled.

It is hardly a secret that small laundry rooms need a little more attention to achieve such organizational heights. But trust us, with the right approach (and a dash of positivity), even laundry closets have a world of untapped potential.

How to Maximize Space in a Small Laundry Room

As with any laundry room, small or not, how you organize and design this space will depend on how you use it. The key is to focus first on facilitating the obvious task of doing laundry whilst maximizing laundry room storage and square footage along the way. Keep scrolling for our expert-led solutions, including many things organized people have in their laundry rooms.

Lean on custom 'strategic design solutions'

small laundry room with yellow painted cabinet, green wall and wall lights

(Image credit: Jon Day Photography / Original BTC)

A well-designed laundry room is as functional as it is good-looking. So, if you are designing this room from scratch, it's a good idea to incorporate clever features that make the space work harder for your home. Interior designer, Kati Curtis, shares some brilliant ideas:

'Maximize your small laundry with strategic design solutions, like custom built-in shelves, retractable ironing boards, built-in steamers, and pedestal drawers underneath the washers and clothes dryers.'

Kati Curtis Principal Designer
Kati Curtis

Kati energizes spaces with a fearless commitment to pattern and texture, color, and motif. That commitment is invigorated by friends, mentors, and clients who share her design passions and passion for design. It’s reinvigorated by Kati’s travel bug, which has taken her around the world.

The best small laundry room storage solutions allow bulkier items to be hidden or slid away for an almost invisible laundry room appearance. The same can be said for smaller but essential items (like detergent or cleaning supplies) that can quickly make the space look and feel cluttered.

'Custom built-in shelves offer efficient storage space for detergents, fabric softeners, and other laundry essentials,' says Kati Curtis. 'While built-in steamers offer dual functionality, not only saving space but also eliminating the need for a separate garment steamer.'

Choose cabinets wisely and take them to the 5th wall

Small laundry room with built-in cabinetry for washer dryer and decorative rug on the floor beneath woven basket

(Image credit: Janis Nicoly for Ami McKay PURE Design)

'The best way to make the most of a small laundry space is to include well-thought-out millwork or pre-made cabinets with plenty of storage and organization,' suggests Ami McKay, founder of PURE Design.

'We always take cabinets to the ceiling to utilize that space,' Ami explains. 'You can use spec kitchen cabinets in a laundry room with no problem, so explore options that will make the most of the vertical pane with less impact on the floor space available.'

Ami McKay headshot
Ami McKay

Ami McKay founded PURE Design in 2000 on the belief that design is found in the art of giving. The work that she puts into each project reflects her personal life experiences and she believes they are at the heart of her business. Today, she is proud to be named one of Canada’s Top Five Interior Designers.

Maximize shelf space with good-looking organizers

Shelves with labeled baskets, linens and towels

(Image credit: Future)

Bespoke laundry room shelving is a great solution for smaller spaces. But when you have a particularly small space to work with – or your budget doesn't stretch to bespoke solutions – you should double down on your room's existing potential.

'I recommend using stackable containers so you can fit the most of items on your shelves,' says Julianna Melamed, Founder of Full Service Living. 'Stackable storage is great because it keeps your items organized and utilizes vertical space.'

Remember to keep laundry organization functional but good-looking. Choosing pretty baskets and wooden boxes will add charm to open shelving, while less beautiful (but still very useful) organizers can be kept behind closed cabinets instead. For inside cabinets, we found this slim pull-out drawer shelf organizer on Amazon, which is adjustable and available in different dimensions too.

Smilling woman with short brown hair wearing V neck orange top and necklace is Julianna Melamed
Julianna Melamed

Julianna Melamed is the founder of home concierge company, Full Service Living, located in New York City which specializes in home organization, move management, and home project management. 

Consider the position of the washer and dryer

Small utility and boot room by John Lewis of Hungerford

(Image credit: John Lewis of Hungerford)

'Consider stacking your washer and dryer to maximize vertical space,' suggests Ami McKay, founder of PURE Design. Stacking appliances can be a great space-saver, and ignoring this option is a common small laundry room mistake to avoid if you can.

If access might be a problem, or if this simply isn't a viable configuration for your household, you have other options. Kati Curtis recommends integrating more hidden storage into your utility or laundry space: 'Pedestal drawers beneath washing machines and dryers provide additional storage while raising the machines to a more accessible height.'

Bring in more valuable 'working' area space

Before you are tempted to squeeze everything into your small laundry room, remember you still need enough space to complete practical tasks such as folding fitted sheets and fresh laundry.

Ami McKay suggests adding more laundry room countertops, if possible: 'If your washer and dryer are side-by-side, place a wood counter over the top of them to provide an additional work area.'

Utilize vertical storage

LArge laundry room with double washer dryer by the fox group

(Image credit: Scott Davis)

'Utilize vertical space with wall-mounted laundry room shelves for detergent and supplies,' says Janelle Cohen, Professional home organizer. 'Floating shelves are great, as are collapsible drying racks on the wall. This way, when they are not in use, they are not taking up valuable real estate.'

Removing unnecessary bulk in every way is also a quick way to streamline the space. You can do this by decanting products into jars (where it is safely advised), using lazy Susans, and using lots of labels for efficiency.

Look for modular solutions, which you can add to if you need to. 'Invest in foldable or stackable laundry appliances to maximize available space.'

Woman with short brown hair smiling wearing blue and white polka dot top on a gray background is Janelle Cohen
Janelle Cohen

Janelle Cohen is a professional home organizer and TV personality known for her work with major celebrities and appearances on top shows like The Today Show and Good Morning America. She is also the author of The Folding Book: A Complete Guide to Creating Space and Getting Organized, available at Amazon  and recently Partnered with Kelley Blue Book to announce the 2024 Best Buy Awards.

'Keep non-laundry items out of the space,' Janelle Cohen reminds us. 'A laundry room is a great spot to store back stock for cleaning supplies and paper goods but a bad spot for food items. Tap into new innovations to max out storage and streamline your laundry routine; you might even make your small space more beautiful in the process. There is always room for a fresh laundry room makeover, after all.

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Contributing Editor

Camille is the former deputy editor of Real Homes where she covered a broad range of topics, including house tours, small space design, and gardens. She studied English language and Italian at the University of Manchester and during a year abroad studying linguistics and history of art in Bologna, Italy she started documenting her adventures and observations in a blog. Camille is always creating and spends her downtime painting, taking photos, traveling, and writing short stories.