It Doesn't Always Have To Be Pretty: Practical Laundry Room Ideas

February 16, 2016




My laundry room is not pretty. Not even close. Honestly, you can barely even call it finished. 

That would be a generous term to describe its state of...decor. Well, decor might not be the right word either, because there really is none. Truth be told, it's just a small area in my basement that houses a washer, dryer, a cabinet filled with laundry supplies and a few bins for dirty clothes. 

Like I said, not pretty.

But.

It is a very functional space. It's clean and organized with everything necessary to wash and dry our clothes and isn't that most important? 

Well, it should be.

Of course, generally, I am a form over function gal. Visuals play a huge part in my design planning, but honestly, I am not a fan of laundry, this room is not a place I want to spend a lot of time hanging out and it's not room I want to spend any of my precious free time decorating. 

Yes, yes, I know, if I have to be there it's worth making it lovely and that is exactly the mentality that had stopped me from adding a drying rack to the place for far too long. 

For years, I lugged heavy baskets of wet clothes upstairs and draped them over the chairs, doors, knobs and handles. Every few days, my sweet cottage looked like a tenement house from the 20's. 

I thought about adding the perfect drying rack to make my life easier, but the walls needed to be painted first and I needed to add a curtain to hide all the exposed plumbing behind the machines. The old metal cabinet needed to be restored and I needed to replace my plastic bins with baskets and label them with words like "hand wash" and "towels" on chalkboard tags.

Didn't I?

No. 

What I needed was a place to hang the ton of wet clothes that cannot go in the dryer. Everything else was fluff. 

Don't get me wrong, I love decorating and I truly believe that every room in my home, every closet and crevice should be pleasing to look at, but I also know when enough is enough. 

And so I told my husband to grab a piece of wire shelving from the garage and hang it up, over the plain, white, Kmart baskets that I use to sort the laundry. 


I'm not winning any awards for design or originality with this solution, but it works great. It was free and it took him less than fifteen minutes to install and change my laundry life. 

Amazing. 

I could've done all those things I thought I needed to do, the things that my design OCD kept screaming at me to do, but I didn't want to invest in pretty and in the end, it wouldn't have altered much except my bank account. 

I went with practical and sometimes that's all you need.

Here's another practical laundry room idea. Years ago, when my husband partially finished this area, he added motion sensor light switches. 


It was seriously genius on his part. 

In the rest of the house, I have these basic switches...


...and when I'm holding a basket, I have to do this when I want to turn a light on or off. It's rare upstairs, because it's bright. 


In the basement laundry room, however, it's dark all the time and we're always entering and exiting with full hands. So we have these motion sensor or occupancy sensor switches. They automatically detect movement and the lights pop on by themselves. They will stay on as long as the sensor notices some activity in the room. Then they go off automatically after a few minutes of stillness. 


Again, the lights are just plain old hi hats, no fancy chandy in here, but I never have to fumble with switches or pull chains, I never walk into a dark room and best of all, I never have to ask, "Who left the lights on in the laundry room?" 


Fabulous. 

Functional.

And practical. 

The only thing that would make this room better now is someone to do the laundry for me. 

Anyone? 


This post contains affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.

Want to see the pretty part of my basement? I promise, it does exist. Check it out here.




Sharing with:*Between Naps on the Porch*Julie's Lifestyle*Coastal Charm*Cozy Little House*Savvy Southern Style*Share Your Cup*Thoughts of Home*French Country Cottage*The Scoop*
   

73 comments:

  1. You are so funny! I absolutely love your sense of humor! I can relate to the clothes draped over chairs etc! I had to share this with my hubby!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad I could make you laugh today, Lynn! That's always the point. Laundry should not be a weighty topic! ;)

      Delete
  2. Oh my Goodness Kim, I would love to have my laundry area as clean as yours. Who cares if it's not decorated yet? Your clothes drying rack is genius! I am looking for inspiration as we work on our basement living area. Yours is fabulous!! Thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen, you just made my day! Thank you! I just see a big mess, but at least now it's functional.

      Delete
  3. I love functional in the laundry room. I love pretty in the laundry. BUT, when given the choice, functional will always win over pretty for me. I need it to do what I need it to do when I need it to do it. Plain and simple. Now, in my fantasy world, I never have to enter a laundry room because the maid does it all! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My thoughts exactly, Benita!! :)

      Delete
  4. I'm trying to remember if I've ever had a "pretty" laundry room. Let's see. . .nope. I don't think so. My current laundry is stackable units behind sliding doors and I think that's about as pretty as I'll ever get. It sure is convenient, though, right next to the bedroom. I love your motion detection lights, Kim. Brilliant! Hugs, Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Convenience wins every single time, Nancy! Schlepping to the basement is not convenient. The lights help a little bit. ;)

      Delete
  5. Great ideas for a functional, maybe not so fun place. The light switches are genius! I won't even tell you what my laundry area looks like, but I have a drying rack and a clothes line!! I could never let anyone else to do my laundry though and actually have a sign on the washer not to touch the wet clothes in it. I hang most of my stuff!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh AnnMarie, I hear you with the “hands off the wet clothes”…we have had too many shrinking incidents to count in this house. Maybe I need a sign!

      Delete
  6. Hi Kim, wow you created a great and practical laundry room. Just what you need to get the job done and that's always perfect!! My laundry/sewing room is on the first floor right off the kitchen so decorating it to blend is a must for me. I too have to have the hanging rod for wet clothes since so many things I don't put in the dryer either. Love your space and the light switch is great. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A laundry room on the main floor of the house sounds dreamy, Celestine Maria, and I have no doubt that your space is lovely! Someday...

      Delete
  7. Just think of all the simple projects we put off because of things we think need to be done first! And the motion sensors, what a great idea for a laundry room!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dewena, I can’t believe I waited so long. Should’ve done it long ago!! :)

      Delete
  8. LOL! My "laundry room" isn't pretty at all because it's in my master bedroom closet, so it's just.............a closet! But it's one of my most brilliant ideas I've every had:) No more schlepping the laundry all the way through the house, past the kitchen, to a room that's so far away from the closets. I take the clothes from the dryer and hang them in the closet........wet or dry:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that is brilliant, Rhonda and if I had the space I would move ours upstairs, too!

      Delete
  9. Your laundry room looks way better than mine! I love the motion sensor switches. Great idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! The motion sensors really make a difference, Melanie!

      Delete
  10. I have a laundry closet, your laundry room would make my day! The rest of the basement is indeed pretty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Wendy! I see some really fabulous laundry areas out there. Mine is not pretty, but yes, it is spacious. Thanks for the visit! :)

      Delete
  11. Hi Kim.

    Doing laundry beats listening to a teenager who says they don't have any clean clothes despite drawers full of them.

    Beth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Beth that is true...although it would even better if those teenagers did their own laundry. Or at least put it away in a timely fashion! ;)

      Delete
  12. Kim, I don't have a basement, so the laundry is in the house. It is a designated room for laundry but it certainly isn't pretty. Someday it might be but for now it is just a room behind a closed door. The light fixture is quaint and cute and has a pull chain to turn it on and off. Now if you want to see a pretty sight, come with me sometime and watch the arm flailing around in the air trying to turn the light on. Off is not a problem and can't come soon enough!..Happy Tuesday..Judy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a pull chain light in my hallway, Judy. It came with house and is very, very old. I thought it was charming too, so we left it. I look just like you, arms flailing, trying to turn in on!! Oh boy! :)

      Delete
  13. When I was a kid our washer and dryer were in the garage. When it got too cold the washer would freeze up. You are right...we should all be thrilled to have a washer and dryer period.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, Stacey. My mom was born in 1931 and she used to tell us the tales of her mom washing clothes for a family of nine in a vat down in the dirt basement...with a washboard that we kept on a shelf in our own laundry room. Crazy. Now that makes my room look like a palace!

      Delete
  14. I love the rack for hanging clothes...I usually have mine on the shower curtain rod in the bathroom! lol! Our laundry room here is like a dungeon in the basement. I hope to get the whole basement cleaned up soon. At the lake we are redoing everything after the flood. I hope to find neat storage options and the motion sensor light switches are awesome! I don't mind doing laundry at the lake as it's off the mudroom. Hate the one here down two flights of stairs and in the creepy windowless basement. Ugh!

    Love what you've done! :)

    Jane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jane! I've done the shower curtain hang! I get the basement thing...right there with you! Motion lights have helped...a little! ;)

      Delete
  15. Your basement laundry room is positively posh compared to mine. ;) I get in and out as quickly as I can and fold the clothes on my bed. At this point I'm just glad I have a laundry room so I don't have to go to a laundromat. Been there, done that, not fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It’s not a bad space, Kristi, I agree with you. It’s just not pretty. At all! ;)

      Delete
  16. Very smart advice Kim! I have to agree with you totally, in this case function over form! And if you're feeling the need to decorate, I'm sure you can find thrifty solutions - you're so good at that... maybe a shopping bag repurposed as art!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes! I could make a pretty sign and hang it up. That's a start! ;) Thanks Mary!

      Delete
  17. i disagree with you! i think your laundry room is beautiful!
    there is something very scandinavian and fresh about raw blonde wood... and white hangers and ... well... it just looks CLEAN!
    it's YOU. it's simply done and beautifully functional. so there it is. i have spoken. LOLOL!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why thank you, Tammy! It is clean, both literally and spatially, I can say that. :)

      Delete
  18. Great post to read and enjoy, thank you.

    When it comes to laundry practical is the word!

    Enjoy the rest of the week

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jan...and I agree, practical is key!

      Delete
  19. Again, a fun read. :-)
    Our laundry room is in the basement. After our basement wall was replaced we fixed up the laundry room. I have storage, and a utility sink. :-) But I still have a light on a chain. Need to work on that one. Thank you for the ideas.
    Carla

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have an old slop sink in another room of the basement, but I would have to shlep wet stuff across the finished part. Not practical at all! You are a lucky girl, Carla! And I highly recommend those motion lights!

      Delete
  20. I love this. Practical will always trump pretty to me.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I describe my laundry room as like something from the nether world. Terrible old paneling, concrete floor, exposed pipes.......well you get the picture. The room is at the bottom of the 're-do' list, for now. What I DO have is a nice big drying rack that I bought years ago from IKEA, and it makes all the difference. I like your solution, though, for hanging those things that need to go right onto hangers straight out of the dryer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should get a drying rack for the flat stuff, too. Love Ikea!

      Delete
  22. My laundry room is much like yours - in the basement. Three quarters of our basement is finished into a family room (much like yours...and a fireplace for down there has been on my wish list!) and the other part is very dungeon-like with it being a storage area and "laundry room". And I use that term loosely because it's just a space where the washer and dryer are. A few years ago I did buy an indoor clothes rack - it's on a pedestal with spokes that stick out on the top. I use that for hanging certain shirts and delicates.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melanie, I highly recommend the fireplace. I wasn't sure at first, but it has really changed the space and how we live in that room. I hope you get to cross it off the wish list soon! :)

      Delete
  23. That motion detecting light switch is pure genius! Honestly, I should install one everywhere my two girls go. Everywhere. This way I can stop griping about them leaving the lights on all over the house! Can I get motion activated door locks, too? And perhaps a Keurig that fills the water tank itself when empty? Oh wait, I'm back in fantasy land. Sorry. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally understand that…it’s literally the only room in the house where the lights are not left on when no one is in it. Well, that and my bedroom, unless the kids go in there! ;)

      Delete
  24. It's a beautiful thing isn't it when such a simple change makes life easier? Glad it's all worked out so well for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So simple, Ronda. I’m actually kicking myself that I didn’t do it sooner! :)

      Delete
  25. What a great idea for the light switch Kim! I use a laundry rack to dry certain clothes! My mom used to do the same thing as you with drying them over furniture! Lol. Enjoy the rest of the week.
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The light switch has made a huge difference, Julie and the drying rack has helped to pretty up my home! Wet clothes are not my idea of decor!! Haha! :)

      Delete
  26. My laundry room is probably more stark and dismal than most others would have.
    I don't find my laundry just fine though.
    My clothes line dry system works great for washed sweaters . . .
    Pipe lines of different sorts are perfect for hanging items.
    Old washer and dryer keep right on agitating and tumbling.
    There is a place/tub to wash hand things . . .
    Plus this area holds a craft table, old refrigerator/freezer and tons of storage . . .
    Carpet remnants bring comfort to the floor.
    I guess my motto of . . . If it works, why change it . . . fits in here just fine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree Lynne, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Clean clothes are clean clothes...

      Delete
  27. My laundry room (AKA the garage) will never win any awards, but it gets the job done. I wish I could add the light like yours to free up my hands, but we have a cabinet in front of the light and I wouldn't be able to fit my elbow back there to switch the light.

    Thanks for Sharing Your Cup!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A cabinet blocking the hands free sensor probably wouldn't work either, Carol. The sensors need to detect a change in motion. I have to say that if my weather was like your weather, I might enjoy going to the garage to do laundry! Sunshine is much better than the basement darkness! :)

      Delete
  28. I've had a laundry ROOM that also housed the spare freezer, a hanging clothes rack, winter boots and coats , etc....and now a laundry area in the basement. There was a line rigged up for hanging when I bought the place so that's taken care of if I need it. There are some shelves, etc. Other than that, throw clothes in wash, throw clothes in dryer, leave the area. It doesn't need decorated, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like it functions perfectly, Deb!

      Delete
  29. Enjoyable post for sure! I agree with your premise that this space needs to be functional! I don't have a laundry room per se, just a space in the hallway. I like your idea of the motion sensory there too! Have a wonderful day :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would love to have a washer and dryer on the main floor. There are only a few steps in this tiny cottage, but even a few stairs with a heavy basket is a workout! ;)

      Delete
  30. First of all, you had me at the word "basement." I so wish we had one! We're way too close to sea level though. Anyway, I had to chuckle because we're so much alike...we did the same thing to hang up all the clothes I don't dry. Except since we don't have a big enough laundry room, we added the wire shelf in our bedroom closet. There's an air vent right above it, so the clothes dry pretty quickly too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are super close to the beach, but we’re on a hill, so we have a basement! Although truth be told, a washer and dryer on the main floor would be a dream! Lucky girl!! :)

      Delete
  31. How funny... I was just contemplating on whether or not to decorate my laundry room. It's the same grey-green and white that it was when I moved in. All I did was hang some pictures, because it was so dreary. It's amazing what the power of pinterest can do to make you feel guilty, isn't it? I don't have a decorated closet in my house either... shame on me LOL

    Thank you for being the first to admit they have a functional room in their house, besides me with my pantry. We're truly rebels, my friend ;)

    hugs to you,
    rue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can always make me laugh, Rue, thank you! And yes, it is all Pinterest's fault. Ps- my pantry and closets are not decorated either. Although there is contact paper on the shelves. Does that count? Am I still a rebel? Gosh, I hope so. ;)

      Delete
  32. I love practical. We remodeled our laundry room a few years ago. I love it. We re-cycled the old kitchen cabinets and bought a few more. It is glamour now with some blingy ceiling lights. Handfree lights are the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No bling is this basement, but that would fun, for sure!!

      Delete
  33. My laundry area isn't pretty or practical. I guess that it is practical in that they put the washer near the water supply and the dryer across the basement near a convenient place to vent the dryer. Not so practical when you are trying to use it. I am guessing that it was added to the existing basement as technology improved. Probably started out as a wringer washer and a clothesline...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My grandmother had a wringer washer...it was very cool. It probably wasn't great to wash with, well, better than a bucket and a washboard, but fun to check out as a kid!!

      Delete
  34. Good for you, Kim, on speaking out for the lowly, well-used, hanger-laden, cleaning solutions storage space that we call "laundry rooms!" My laundry room is more like an over-sized walk-thru closet....door from front hallway meets door to garage. Mine is a little pretty, because we replaced the stand-alone laundry tub with a sink and cabinets above and below. We painted all the cabinets the soft gray color that we used on all of the other oak cabinets in our home. I try to keep it clutter-free as this is our main entrance and exit to the garage and car....wouldn't want to trip over laundry with our hands full of groceries! The Man has installed several hooks that each hold several hangers of wet clothes and for clothes coming out of the dryer. We have the sensor lights in our master closet, but I never thought about having them in the laundry room. We need better lighting in there anyway, so maybe adding the sensor would be a good thing to do. Thanks for speaking out, Kim!

    Warm hugs,
    Carol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, one of my friends in the neighborhood lives in a new home (very rare here) and her laundry room sounds just like yours. She also has spruced it up, as it is in plain view. Not only is it a pretty place, but it’s a very convenient location. I have to constantly run up and down the stairs. Not fun at all! ;)

      Delete
  35. hurrrummmpppfftttt.......your laundry room looks like a palace!! MY laundry room shares space with the car, the yard tractor, everyone's left over junk, tools, hardware, small appliances that are use once or twice a year, the freezer, the shop vac, a small refrig and microwave that we use on holidays and which travel with us to state parks, etc., the 50' ladder, etc. Do you want to know more????? Oh yes, I forgot to mention the 12' tall angel who graces the yard at Christmas.
    Every week I look at this mess and think "there has to be a better way", but so far none has popped into my spacey brain. I DO have a hanging rack for wet clothes though. Two unmatched curtain rod brackets and a stick of wood that I swiped from hubby's shop. I screwed them to a rafter and call it a "drying rack" :^)
    See how GREAT yours looks to me???
    Hugs to you,
    J

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can picture your room, J, I think it's more common than the decorated laundry rooms you see all over blogland. I know people in my own neighborhood who still have to climb down a bulkhead to a dirt basement to do laundry. I am lucky that my washer and dryer are in the house and in a designated space. The room is bland though, especially when compared to those pretty Pinterest washrooms! I think Pinterest is the problem!! ;)

      Delete
  36. Motion sensor lights in the laundry room, yes please!
    It is such a joy to have you join the gathering at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. You really help to elevate it to something very special.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really do make a difference, Laura and thank you for the kind words and the party! :)

      Delete
  37. Some great ideas here! :)

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

    ReplyDelete

Hey~ before you go, let me know what you think! I love comments and respond to them all. Thanks so much for visiting! *Please note that if your comment contains a hyperlink it will not be published.