An open layout and hardworking accessories brighten a cramped laundry room.
Q. My laundry room drives me crazy! It's too cramped and I need more space for folding and ironing. We never use the side door, so I thought I'd leave the dryer where it is and swing the washer around beside it and top both with a counter, then install new cabinets along that entire wall. I'd also like a stainless-steel sink.
— R.C., via email (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)
A. Your laundry room is definitely an awkward space! To make the layout more efficient, I think you should remove the side door (after checking with your municipal building department that this does not interfere with building codes) and install a window to let in natural light.
To freshen the space, paint your walls a lovely light blue, like Pratt & Lambert's Copenhagen (24-6) (shown at top), and install honed limestone floor tiles (shown at top) from Ciot. Your space is small, so you won't need too many.
I'm a big fan of symmetry, so I suggest replacing your current dryer with a front-loader that matches your front-loading washer. Then, place the new dryer where your old one is and put the washer in the opposite corner with a sink in between (see floor plan at top) and a length of counter on each. Although this will split the counter, it'll deliver strong visual impact. If you prefer an unobstructed counter, place the washer beside the dryer and the sink in the corner, as in our inspiration shot.
I'd consider a white cast-iron sink instead of stainless steel to match your appliances. The Tandem utility sink (shown) by Kohler is perfect for your space; it comes with a soaking pan for treating small batches of laundry and a tray for spot-cleaning.
Upper cabinets might crowd the room, but open shelves will keep things airy. A pair of Ikea's Ekby Järpen/Ekby Valter wall shelves (shown at top) on either side of the window will give you plenty of storage, and the black finish will contrast with the new lighter elements. Ikea's textural Byholma baskets (shown at top) will give you stylish storage on the shelves.
Finally, a striped runner, like the Starboard (shown) from Dash & Albert, would complement your new wall colour and bring a hit of pattern.
1. Paint, Copenhagen (24-6), Pratt & Lambert. 2. Tandem utility sink, Kohler. 3. Starboard runner, Dash & Albert. 4. Ekby Järpen/Ekby Valter wall shelf, Ikea. 5. Honed limestone tiles, Ciot. 6. Byholma basket, Ikea.