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Create a Functional Laundry Room

Are you looking for ideas to create a functional laundry room? I have several ideas to share with you in this post that won’t break the bank!

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Pinterest graphic for laundry room makeover showing before and after
side view of laundry room makeover creating a functional laundry room

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laundry room sink

Let’s start at the laundry room sink area. We used a 1980’s china cabinet that we transformed years ago. The cabinet was given a fresh coat of paint and a good cleaning.

You might notice I forgot a little detail on this cabinet. Comment below if you can guess what I missed!

1980's china cabinet madeover using Casement Fusion Mineral Paint with show pegs on side and storage inside and above cabinet

DIY shoe rack

The side of the cabinet it outfitted with a DIY shoe rack. This laundry room serves several purposes and one being shoe drop-off.

In order to create a functional laundry room it is important to consider all of the uses of the room.

We come into our home through the back door all the time. Shoe drop-off is a necessity especially when those shoes are work shoes!

You will also notice a small handbuilt bench just inside the kitchen. It’s easy to sit down there and then reach around to put the shoes on the shoe rack.

side view of laundry room cabinet with shoe pegs, basket for scarves and gloves and towel holder

The basket above hangs on a vintage hook and holds scarves and gloves in the winter.

side of cabinet in laundry room with towel hook and basket for gloves and hats

new favorite view

This is my favorite view of the the laundry room. It’s what I see when I walk into this functional laundry room every day.

Even though I only do laundry 2-3 times a week, I am in this room several times throughout the day.

Our pantry is on the left of this image as well as our back door.

full view of a functional laundry room showing washer, dryer, storage cabinet, new checked curtain, small crib for laundry basket

The large window allows lots of light into this space and I didn’t want to hide any of that light with a curtain. A valance was all this window needed.

full view of laundry room that has been made over to be functional. washer, dryer, storage cabinet, shelving with baskets, new rug

simple curtain

The gray and off-white buffalo check valance came two per pack. That allowed plenty of fullness on the curtain rod.

I also hung the curtain rod high enough that the bottom edge of the valance would just cover the top of the wood blinds. That maximized the amount of light that streams into this room most of the day.

close up shot of laundry room window valance in gray and white check also showing vintage style washboard and wish broom

pretty decor

Simple decor is a must in order to create a functional laundry room. So I looked for items that had a laundry theme and I only used a few items that weren’t functional.

This vintage glass washboard has been at our home for awhile so I decided to keep it in the same spot.

You might notice the cabinet just above the washer is a bit messy. This summer I will take time to fix that. I love the hardware cloth on the doors but I don’t like the chaos on the other side.

vintage glass washboard with wisk broom next to laundry room cabinet

functional decor

The chaos on the rest of the shelves and in the other side of the cabinet is mostly hidden with baskets.

Light bulbs, clothespins, doggie grooming supplies, cleaning towels are tucked nicely away in the baskets.

side view of laundry room washer dryer storage cabinet with baskets and decorative items

The pantry is also in this room and that is where I used to store the trash can. But I wasn’t crazy about that idea so I re-evaluated.

The only real need for a trash can in this functional laundry room is for dryer lint. I found this one and it was a perfect size! A cup hook holds it near the dryer lint clean-out.

counter top in laundry room with vintage tool caddy as soap and brush holder. small vintage style can as dryer lint trashcan

We found this sweet little tool caddy years ago at our local junk shop for about $4. That was before farmhouse style was a thing. It is perfect for holding scrub brushes and Lava hand soap for my hubby.

The little lamp is a strange little thing. It has a screw-on mechanism that I am not sure what its function is. But I secured it to the handle on the tool caddy. It takes a little 7-watt bulb and I made a chicken wire lampshade for it.

The light is perfect for the dark area on the transformed china cabinet and it acts as a nightlight as well!

metal tool caddy used as scrub brush and soap holder in laundry room with clip lamp attached on side

laundry room organization

The cabinets were a mish-mash of free cabinets that we put together along with handbuilt shelving and then painted to create a cohesive look. So the area above the unit is perfect for open storage.

top of laundry room shelves for storage of large hat and paper towels

This is one of my new favorite finds. It is a wall-mounted clothes hanger that swings out. I can pull clothing out of the dryer and hang them immediately to prevent wrinkles.

When I am not using it, it swings close to the shelf and adds a bit of interest.

close up shot of laundry hanging hook in a functional laundry room

The swing arm clothes rack is also handy when I am using the clothes steamer to remove wrinkles from our clothing.

They come in a two-pack and I am sure I will find a use for the second one!


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shirt hanging on store bought hook in laundry room

hide washer hook-ups

See that little curtain behind the washer? It serves a purpose. The backside of the washer usually has a visible water connection area that is just plain ugly.

No one wants to see that!

(By the way, did you catch my sweet little cast iron piggy bank? I like to collect spare change from the washing machine! It adds up quickly!)

crock on top of dryer that holds laundry powder. piggy bank on top of dryer also and baskets on shelves

My solution to hide the messy water connection was a simple curtain. It’s short – about 14″ and is the full width of a 6′ wide dropcloth. Also, I used the dropcloth hemmed edge as the hemmed edge on this curtain and the selvage edges for the sides. That way I only had one seam to sew for the rod pocket!

I made two of these ‘valances’ so that it would be full-looking.

The valance hangs on a tension rod made for showers so it isn’t going anywhere!

close up of curtain behind washer that hides washer hook ups

pantry organization

Let’s peek into the pantry area of our laundry room and especially this view.

See the long curtain hanging besides the doggie dish? That’s a drop cloth curtain I hung to hide the water heater.

The hot water heater was a huge eye-sore and this is the easiest way to cover it up but still have access to it if something goes wrong.

laundry room pantry closet newly painted with organized storage

You might also notice the doors on our pantry. The one on the right had a nice area to paint a chalkboard for messages or lists.

I especially love this quote from a song called, “Please Come” by Nicole Nordeman. It’s a lovely song and this quote from it reminds me that we are better together.

chalkboard idea in a functional laundry room

Back to the pantry.

This little spot is perfect for our Barkly to have his dinner.

Previously, we had a plastic container for his dry food but it just wasn’t cute.

drop cloth curtain hiding a hot water heater in a functional laundry room

I found this one that looks like a galvanized bucket. Hubby crafted a lid from scrap wood so the food stays fresh!


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close up shot of doggie food and water bowl and vintage style food container in laundry room

vintage and functional clothes basket

Before we look at the new rug, let’s take a look at my clothes basket.

It’s a child’s toy crib on wooden casters that I found years ago. It is lite-weight and about the same size as a plastic clothes basket. Perfect for holding the dirty kitchen towels until I’ve gathered enough to wash.

And it makes the perfect clothes basket to take out to the clothesline! Yes, I still hang clothes out on the line! Are you old school like me and love putting laundry out on the line?

full view of Madison Safavieh rug in laundry room that measures 2'x8'

pretty rugs

Now, let’s look at the new rug! The bits of color on the neutral background adds just the right amount of color to the mostly neutral room, don’t you think?

The grays and off-white pick up the color of the walls, the dropcloth curtains and the gray checked valance over the window.

But there’s a slight problem…..

close up of new rug from Walmart called Madison in laundry room

Somehow, I completely forgot to purchase the size I need for the back door!

Agh!! How did I manage to overlook that?? O well, a 4×6 of the same rug is on it’s way as I type!!

The green and neutral rug you see here will be on our front porch when the new rug arrives.

jackets hanging on a vintage coat rack with mirror in a functional laundry room

upcycled coat storage

The coat rack is an upcycled project we did several years ago. I don’t plan on painting it because I like the subtle difference in color it brings to this wall.

It has a shelf area just above the vintage coat hooks that is perfect for keys and spare sunglasses. It also has a lovely mirror with a gorgeous patina for those quick glances as we walk out of the door.

vintage coat hooks with mirror rack

There are several vintage coat hooks leftover from the pantry. I had previously used them to hold bbq utensils next to the hot water heater.

But I didn’t want them hidden behind the new curtain so I switched them out for store bought hooks and hung the bbq utensils on them.

These will hold some vintage style brooms and dust mop I plan on finding and then hanging just about the doggie bowl area of the pantry.

close up shot of vintage coat hooks

plan first and be flexible

Laundry tasks aren’t so bad when the room is as lovely as this one! I’m thrilled with the outcome.

Planning the space first was so beneficial! Even though I made a few changes as I moved along on the project, having the initial plan gave me direction.

side view of laundry room cabinets with baskets and above cabinet storage

But I am not completely finished yet! I have a plan for the floor that won’t come to fruition until the summer.

We have a big event happening in our backyard in the middle of May that needs some time attention!


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cabinets and shelves in a functional laundry room

how to create a functional laundry room

Here are some tips to consider when creating a functional laundry room:

  • consider all uses for the room
  • designate specific areas for specific uses
  • use storage solutions that are also decorative like baskets and vintage pieces
  • utilize storage area above cabinets
  • hide the ugly areas with a handmade dropcloth curtain
  • use narrow shelving in the pantry
  • keep it pretty, but keep it practical
  • keep cleaning items near the area they will be used like laundry soap above washer and lint bucket near dryer lint clean-out
  • hang a chalkboard near the pantry for quick list-making
  • choose a spot for shoe drop-off that is easy to access
side view of laundry room makeover creating a functional laundry room

laundry room process posts:

Here are the other posts about our laundry room refresh! Hope you enjoy clicking through all of them!

thanks for stopping by!

Thanks so much for stopping by today! I hope you found these tips to create a functional laundry room helpful!

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12 Comments

  1. That is one hard working room! You did a great job maximizing the space and making it beautiful AND functional. Also I love your chicken wire lampshade. Also – I have a collection of glass washboards in my laundry room. This post must have taken hours to write! I’m beyond impressed. 👏👏👏👍👍👊👊

    1. Anna, you are such an encouragement!! This laundry room certainly works hard for us and I don’t mind doing laundry 🙂 And yes, the post was a long one as well as the others that go with it! Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

  2. Cindy your laundry room is one hard working multifunctional space and I love what you did with the pantry side too! The cabinet looks so fresh with the new paint. Love it! I’m featuring your post at our Tuesday Turn About Link Party and hope to see you back again this week!

  3. I’m pretty sure it’s the pulls/handles on the doors and drawers, I don’t think you intended to have them two different finishes. I love your laundry room, who wouldn’t love to spend time in this room! You have given me so many ideas for mine, thank you so much!♥️

    1. You are spot on!! I completely forgot to paint the button knobs that I had removed from the doors! Agh!! So glad you are inspired!

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