When space is tight, a compact laundry that utilises every nook and cranny is key. Here’s how to decide where to put yours if you have limited space
The great thing about creating a laundry area in your bathroom is that, since your laundry is already ground zero for dirty laundry (hello used towels and post-shower dumped clothes), you can make the whole space more functional as a cleaning hub. Add in an easy-to-access hamper that clothes and towels can be chucked straight into, and make sure there’s a spot for storing the laundry basket so it doesn’t end up sitting on the floor.
If you have a decent basin, you may not require a laundry sink as well, which frees you up to use lower-cost shelving or cabinet solutions. But if you need a laundry sink installed, give the whole area its own bench space to avoid cluttering up your vanity area.
Kitchen or scullery
The kitchen can be a brilliant spot for the washing machine as plumbing and electrics are already present, and you’re essentially creating one big multi-tasking space. If your kitchen has direct access to the clothesline, even better.
Add in a laundry sink and storage if you have room, but if you don’t, you could set up a laundry cart that doubles as extra workspace – wheel it in when you put on a load, and then wheel it out of sight when the clothes have been folded and put away.
If you have room in your scullery, you could think about turning one whole side into a laundry space, and incorporating storage for tea towels, dishcloths and cleaning products, too. Screen everything behind cupboard doors or cute homemade curtains when not in use.
European laundries are best suited to a hallway or transitional space where they can be closed up and ignored when sitting idle. This is a great way to use awkward or inefficient bits of your home – just make sure there’s enough room for someone else to walk past when you’re in the midst of sorting the colours from the whites!
The trick with a cupboard laundry is to make sure it’s well ventilated, especially if you’re installing a dryer or clothes rack. Otherwise, excess moisture won’t be able to escape outside and mould and mildew may appear.
Remember, if you’re knocking through a wall to create a European laundry, insulate the cavity with sound-muffling insulation so the noise of the spin cycle doesn’t disturb movie night or sleeping children.
First off, have a think about what exactly you would like to get out of your compact laundry. After the basic need to wash your clothes, what’s your next biggest priority? Do you need a dryer for wet days or can you do without? Do you need a shelf for your laundry basket so it can be kept out of the way when not in use? Would you like a bench space for folding clothes? Do you need a decent sink for scrubbing grass stains out of sports gear? Make yourself a prioritised list of tasks and plan your compact space so it ticks off at least the top three.
By creating a functional layout, you can reduce the amount of time spent doing laundry chores. “Simple things such as adding a pull-out shelf beneath your dryer (if it’s wall-mounted) so you can place your laundry basket there and unload washing without trying to balance it on your hip make all the difference,” says Lucy Sargent from Pocketspace Interiors.
Although stacked laundry appliances might seem like an obvious way to save space, Lucy doesn’t recommend it. “If you are strapped for space, having a front-loading washer and dryer side by side is the way to go. By going for side-by-side you can have a benchtop above, which adds functionality and is also nicer to look at.”
Words by: Sally Conor. Photography by: Bauer Syndication.