Easy Updates for a Better Laundry Room

Make wash days easier in a smart, storage-savvy, and resourceful space. Here are 19 easy ways to get a better laundry room.

Basement Laundry Makeover

Give a country-fresh facelift to a basement laundry room with white paint on the walls and ceiling. Add style and color to a plain concrete floor with tan EpoxyShield Basement Floor Coating from Rust-Oleum. Confetti-like chips add pattern and some traction. The finish resists spills and is easy to clean.

Add a Folding Station

Folding items as they come from the dryer saves minutes and can help minimize wrinkles. To give yourself work space, build a counter-height table using 2x4s. Fitting it over side-by-side front-loading appliances is ideal for convenience. Hide the under-table storage area with a fabric skirt.

Fabric Softeners

To soften the walls and make a basement laundry feel like it's above ground, hang floor-to-ceiling draperies made from creamy acrylic fabric. Intended for outdoor use, acrylic fabric resists moisture and mildew so it can stand up to any basement dampness. Fitted with oversize grommets, these panels hang on electrical conduit, a practical and inexpensive alternative to drapery rods.

An Entertaining Laundry Station

With flat-screen TVs making entertainment centers a thing of the past, take that bulky piece of furniture and turn it into a convenient and compact laundry center. Remove and rearrange the shelving to accommodate laundry baskets, and install a clothes rod in one section for hanging clothes as you iron them. (For more, see the next three slides.)

Laundry Station 2: Add the Ironing Board

Attach a wall-mount ironing board like this one from Rockler Woodworking and Hardware (rockler.com) to the side of the entertainment center to handle simple pressing jobs or touch-ups. The ironing board can extend straight out from the wall mount or swivel 90 degrees as shown here to suit left-handed ironers.

Laundry Station 3: Corral Cleaning Supplies

A lazy Susan keeps all of your detergents, stain removers, and laundry supplies in one easy-to-access location. Just spin the wheel to find what you need.

Laundry Station 4: Make a Folding Station

If the entertainment center has a slide-out shelf, keep it intact to use as a pull-out folding surface. Paint the entire piece of furniture and all shelves with high-gloss paint for a durable, washable finish.

Hooks for Hanging

Increase the convenience factor of your laundry room with two rows of old-fashioned coat hooks. If you hang items as they come out of the dryer, you minimize wrinkling and the clothes can go straight to the closet.

Brighten with Paint

Warm the walls with a paint treatment. Painted with a scalloped edge to suggest a tall fence, this wainscot makes the room feel cozy and sunny. Add hooks on the wall to hold your ironing, and if you don't have a folding station, bring in a tall table -- an old baby-changing table is a comfortable height for folding and has shelves for storage below.

Get Organized

Convert an unfinished armoire into a laundry center that keeps everything organized for wash day. Attach wall-mount bathroom accessories to the doors to hold soap, dryer sheets, lint rollers, and other cleaning items. Space the movable shelves to accommodate freestanding laundry bags in the lower part of the cupboard. Shelf stackers (normally used in kitchen cabinets) maximize storage space on the shelves above.

Build a Free-Standing Laundry Center

Weekend warriors can put this piece together from scratch using plywood or laminated shelving from a home center. It's a freestanding unit that fits around a side-by-side washer and dryer and includes a roll-out shelf for the laundry basket, a pull-out clothes rod, and fluorescent lights above the appliances. The ironing board can be stashed inside the cupboard when you don't need it.

Budget-Minded Update

Convert a corner of a room into a tidy and efficient laundry center with a couple of cabinets and a small drop-in laundry tub. If you have a front-loading washer, extend the laminate countertop over it to create more work space. (See the next two slides for details.)

Ready for Ironing

A pull-out ironing board saves valuable floor space -- pull it out when you need it, slide it back into the drawer when you're done. This Kraftmaid version comes as an optional kit with the cabinetry. Rockler (rockler.com) and Rev-a-Shelf (kitchensource.com) offer a fold-away board that can be retrofitted into an existing drawer.

Double-Duty Shelving

Plastic-coated wire shelving from ClosetMaid (closetmaid.com) puts wall space to good use. Keep laundry supplies attractively organized in clear canisters and cloth-lined baskets. The clothing rod is perfectly positioned for drip-dry items.

Repurpose a Drying Rack

If you have limited floor space, mount an accordion-style drying rack on the wall to air-dry delicate items. When it's not in use, collapse it back against the wall.

Cottage-Style Drying Rack

Put the wall behind a door to work by building a fold-up rack for air-drying towels or other small items. Make a simple frame of 1x2s and attach it to the wall. Assemble the drying rack from 1x2s and dowels to fit snugly inside the frame. A catch at the top keeps the rack in place when closed; hinges and a chain allow it to fall open for use.

Instant Laundry Station

Combine a wall-hung cabinet with a laundry-cart-on-wheels to turn a sliver of wall space into a convenient laundry center. An inexpensive iron holder attached to the side of the cabinet keeps the iron within reach, and a space-saving clothes hanger holds ironed items temporarily.

Laundry Room in a Cupboard

A freestanding armoire or cabinet hides hampers, ironing board, and laundry supplies behind closed doors. Look for a cabinet with adjustable shelves so you can leave one side open for a clothes rod and ironing board. Attach a wall-mount ironing board holder at the top of the door low enough to clear the top of the cabinet.

Granite in a Can

Whether your laminate laundry room countertops are damaged or just boring, you can give them the look of granite with this new paint kit. Roll on the primer, sponge on the three coordinated mineral paints, then seal with an automotive-grade clear top coat. The process takes about 4 hours for painting and 16 hours for drying. Visit liquidstainlesssteel.com to order the kits and watch the how-to video to see just how easy it is.

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