Where should I locate my laundry room?

Where's the best place for the laundry room?

There are several different options for where to locate your laundry room (or laundry closet) - some obvious and some not so obvious.  Let's take a look at the design considerations and then we'll look at the possible locations and you can figure out what's the best place for the laundry room for you.

laundry room location

Laundry Design Considerations

Over on the laundry room design page we discuss what makes a good laundry and some of the points deal with the location of the laundry room and here we'll look at those in more detail.  The questions we need to ask are the classic why (to have clean stuff), who, when, where and what.  The answers to these questions feed into how to design a laundry room.

  1. Who does the laundry?  They should get to decide where it is.

  2. How often do you do the laundry?  If you're a couple and doing one or two loads per week that's one thing.  If you've six children that's another!  The more often you do the laundry - the more it should be in a very accessible place in the home.

  3. When do you do the laundry?  This question is important because of the noise that laundry appliances make.  In some countries it's cheaper to run appliances at night so you don't want the noise drifting into the bedrooms - from a room to the side or from above / below.

  4. Where do you dry your laundry?  If you want to dry your clothes outside then you're going to need access to an outdoor space - but it could be a balcony off an upstairs space.  Alternatively you could set up a well-ventilated indoor drying arrangement.

  5. What do you wash?  Of course we've all got clothes and bed linen but your laundry might also include heavily soiled or wet items such as rugby gear, pet equipment or wetsuits which might have an impact on where your laundry room should be located.  It might not be ideal to have your laundry upstairs beside the bedrooms if the stairs become filthy and wet carrying dirty items upstairs.

  6. How do you want your laundry to feel?  The location can set the atmosphere of a room.  The location of your laundry room might make it feel very much like a working space, or it can feel like a pleasant room you spend time in to get a job done.  It sounds like both these sentences mean the same thing but you can make your laundry feel like an outhouse or like a luxurious bathroom and much of that starts with the location.

For me, as someone who does laundry on more or less a daily basis, the main compromise to be reached is between the laundry being located in a place where I can just pop by and sort, load or unload, hang up to dry, iron and fold, and not having to ferry laundry hampers and baskets up and down stairs all the time.

In my home having the laundry near the kitchen wins out.  I'm up and down stairs all the time anyway so carrying laundry when I make a trip I'd make anyway doesn't bother me.

I also like my laundry space to have the same creature comforts as say, the kitchen.  I want it to be heated and have decent lighting and be a well-designed laundry.

Laundry Space Options

The laundry room dimensions page explores different layout options for different sizes of laundry spaces

  • Self contained laundry room.
  • Closet laundry room which might face into a corridor or be located within another room such as the kitchen, mudroom, bathroom, walk in closet or maybe the garage or another external space.

Of course it might work better for you to have laundry spaces around the house (appliances, drying, ironing and folding taking place in different locations)

The size and number of people in your household will determine how much space you need for a laundry and guide you to which of these two types of laundry spaces will work best for you.

Laundry Location Options

Once you've made a choice between a laundry room and a laundry closet the next question is where to put it.  It's a mix between which floor the laundry is going to be on and which other spaces in the house you want nearby.

If your home is on one level then the question of which floor doesn't apply.  If you live on multiple levels it makes sense to try and minimize the amount of carrying involved.  Homes come in many shapes and sizes maybe with bedrooms in the basement or kitchens upstairs so we'll base this discussion on the other spaces that should be near the laundry

If you have a large family and a large home it may even make sense to have two laundry spaces.

One of the problems with interior design photos of laundry room design ideas is that you can't tell whereabouts in the home the laundry is located!

Laundry near the kitchen

So if your laundry is to be near the kitchen where might it be?

  • in the kitchen itself
  • in a room or space just next to the kitchen

Near the kitchen pros

You can just see to the laundry as you're seeing to other things in the kitchen.

If you have space for a laundry room the space could do double duty as a butlers pantry.

Near the kitchen cons

Carrying to and from the bedrooms, bathrooms and linen closet.

If your main living area is also near the laundry noise could be an issue.

Laundry in the mudroom / family entrance

On house plans and floor plans you'll often see the laundry room located in a transitional space such as the mudroom or in the corridor next to the family entrance of the home.

In the mudroom / family entrance pros

Sweaty, muddy, wet gear can be ditched immediately where it's going to be washed.  If this is the case in your household I also recommend a shower in the mud room.

In the mudroom / family entrance cons

The mud room or family entrance is often used for pets.  In my opinion pets and clean laundry don't mix.

Most of the laundry has to be carried from and back to the bedrooms and linen closets.

Laundry near the bedrooms

If you've going for a laundry location near the bedrooms you could put it...

  • in the master closet
  • in a corridor, landing or hallway near the bedrooms
  • In the family bathroom

Near bedroom pros

Most of the laundry is generated from undressing which takes place in bedrooms and bathrooms which tend to be located together.  This location minimizes the amount of carrying involved.

A space near the bedrooms would feel very much like being part of the home rather than just a utility space.

Near bedroom cons

If there was a flood there could be more damage but this can be mitigated by placing the appliances in a bathroom.

If some of the laundry is very dirty there might be mess created by getting the dirty laundry through the home to the laundry room.

Running the laundry appliances at night would create a noise issue.

Laundry out of the way

Out of the way

  • In the garage
  • In the basement
  • In an area geared towards home maintenance eg near the staff quarters (for large homes)

Out of the way pros

There's no problem with noise at any time of day.

Flooding likely to be less of an issue.

Out of the way cons

If laundry is done by a householder then there's a bit of a walk to the laundry each time something to do with the laundry needs to be done.

More carrying.

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