Accessorize with storage
“Tile is the best pick for a high-moisture environment like a laundry room,” Centella says, “especially a laundry room in a basement where flooding is a more likely scenario. Porcelain in particular is extremely water-durable.”
Patterned floor tile is definitely having a moment. Stone likes porcelain and ceramic tile for floors because they offer a lot of color and pattern options.
Stuart Nordin, a Richmond, Virginia, designer, says you can never go wrong with classic white subway tile, even if it’s just for a backsplash: “It elevates the overall look of a room and adds another layer of dimension and interest.”
Have fun with the walls
Don’t just paint the walls white. Wallpaper can turn a tiny room into pure eye candy. If you worry about the humidity in your laundry space, Nordin recommends Chasing Paper. “They make really cute removable wallpapers that I’ve been using in some laundry rooms and bathrooms,” she says. “They are budget-friendly and easy to take down.”
New York designer Sheila Bridges is a big fan of using wallpaper for impact. “One of my favorite things to do in a small laundry room is to install a bright and cheery wipeable wallpaper,” she says. “No reason to make doing laundry a chore, even if your laundry room is in a basement.” In her own Harlem apartment laundry station, she used a Harlem Toile de Jouy wallpaper of her own design in robin’s-egg blue.
Hildreth sometimes takes a hint from old British manor houses when designing laundry spaces. “Give it a Downton Abbey look,” he says. Such details would include adding traditional beadboard or wainscotting to dress up and protect walls. And look for big wicker baskets, he says, as opposed to using plastic laundry bins.
Bridges likes baskets for detergent and laundry made of various materials including seagrass from West Elm, recycled plastic from Serena & Lily and water hyacinth from the Container Store. She’s also fond of using indoor/outdoor rugs that are washable or wipeable and won’t get damaged if they get wet.
“Go for anything that makes laundry less of a chore,” says Meg Wittman, a Neat Method professional organizer. Wittman says some of her go-to laundry products are the Container Store’s iDesign Linus clear plastic bins, Steele Canvas rolling laundry hampers and West Elm’s Bamboo Butterfly double hamper.
Centella loves using trays to help corral supplies. “Even a bunch of ugly soap bottles can look more contained and pretty on a nice tray,” she says. She often uses a flipdown wall hook (the Stainless Steel Lanca Valet Flip-Down Wall Hook from the Container Store, $29.99), which folds down to
If you have a side-by-side washer and dryer, consider putting a counter on top. If you’re doing a lot of renovating, you might use the same counter material as you have in your kitchen.
For those with stacking units and no extra counter space, Nordin says to try a wall-mounted collapsible table, such Isasar’s Wall-Mounted Folding Table ($179.99 on Amazon). “Put a painting or photo on the bottom so it masquerades as a framed piece of art when not in use as a folding station,” she says.
Make an effort to make your folding area attractive. “Even in an old, dark basement, there are things you can do without spending a lot of money,” Hildreth says. For a nice folding surface, he suggests finding an old farm table at a yard sale or flea market, or painting an old dining table. It’s nice to also upgrade the lighting (especially in a basement): A new fixture, Hildreth adds, such as the retro-looking Rejuvenation Carson or Abigail flush-mount lights, would make the area brighter and cheerier.
Make it multipurpose
When square footage is at a premium, laundry rooms can be multipurpose, combined with an entryway, utility room, home office, gift-wrapping station or petcare area. Build in room for bulk supply storage or places for household basics such as light bulbs or tools. Consider how you can use the space most efficiently.