Clean design: nine ideas for a home laundry

A laundry room helps to unclutter open-plan homes by hiding the big wash


In modern homes the open-plan kitchen living set up-means that the din of the washing machine cycle and dryer's grumbling have been pushed out to another space, rebirthing the idea of the laundry room. With Ikea's Algot, you can customise its shelves, wire baskets, clothes rods, drying racks and boxes to a set-up that suits your household's needs. Here there are two deep mesh drawers, €6 each, which means you can use one for coloureds, the other for whites. A trio of shelves or drying racks costs about €95. For those in compact spaces a very simple drying rack to set above a washing machine costs €42. If you have space you can fashion up its look by investing in statement tiled flooring and using a contrasting colour in simple ceramic square tiles to make it look more alive. Add retractable rails and/or trouser rails and boxes for detergents and softeners.


A laundry room helps to unclutter open-plan living spaces by hiding drying clothes from sight. For a seamless look, invest in laundry room units that are in the same style as your kitchen but save money by using laminates instead of stone on its countertops and laminate or film door fronts instead of solid timber ones. Invest also in as many deep drawers, like these ones pictured by Kube Kitchens, as the space will allow allocating one to each member of the family where their linen can be stowed out of sight until they feel like doing it. If you don’t have the space, buy a laundry basket for each that they stow in their bedrooms.


If you don't have the space for a laundry room, install the washer and dryer in a closet instead. In its recent new development Longstone in Naas, builders Ballymore made great use of dead landing space to build a fully tiled and tanked drying room with built-in run-off unit for dripping clothes. The washer and dryer are stacked atop of each other and the space has also been sheeted out in acoustic board to dial down any noise emissions from the appliances. It's a really smart use of just four cubic square metres of space. The closet, pictured, is designed by London-based Sigmar and its clever mesh door fronts, the kind used in radiator cabinets, allows air to better circulate. Plantation shutter style louvred doors will also work.


An ironing board takes up a lot of space both to store it and to open it when you want to iron. Josh Storm of Design Storms has come up with a stylish solution. In its Illinois-based practice it came up with this set-up for a client where the appliances are stacked one on top of the other to save floor space. Between the washer and the dryer is a pullout shelf that provides a plinth on which to pile the damp, just-washed clothes; acts as a counter-top on which you can iron and also works as a surface on which you can fold garments. It's a simple, retractable idea that can be adapted by any good joiner or kitchen designer to any length you require. Push it back in when it's not in use.



A clotheshorse is one of the only ways to dry a family load of washing in one go. But they take up a lot of floor space and during term time seem to be permanently filled with uniforms and sports gear. If on view, check out Brabantia's coloured designs available at The Organised Store. There's a fashionable black Linn, €169, or punchy pillar box red tower option, €115. Pictured are the more basic ivory models. They include, left to right, an over-door or radiator rack, €39.95; a 23m drying tower, €115; a 20m drying rack, €84.95; and above these is a pull-out drying line offering 22m of hanging, €28.95. The store also sells Elfa shelving systems, which includes counter space, gliding drawers, a pull-down airer and closet pole from €600 for a two-metre space.


This is one of the smartest ways to work a washing drying solution in a small home. Everything in the presses, pictured, rolls out to allow better ease of access.

This includes the clotheshorse, which is ‘stabled’ on a flatbed drawer.

The designers at bespoke kitchen designers Burlanes Interiors even factored in a space behind the clothes rack for an electric heater, complete with wall socket, to help speed up drying times.


There are a myriad of retractable drying racks that can hang on the back of doors and cupboards so you don't lose valuable floor space. Artweger's Ruckzuck, a wall-mounted design that comes in 60cm, 80cm and 100cm wide options and costs from about €36, is one. Pictured is Adis, a compact over-the-door option, whose angled top section pulls out to prevent your laundry touching as it dries. It offers four metres of drying space and comes with a detachable drying net so you can lay delicates flat. It fits doors and costs €13.;


Sometimes you just don't have the space to have laundry close doors opening out into a corridor or landing. In homes with a small footprint you can use curtains instead of doors, the kind your grandmother may have used under the kitchen sink or under the stairs to hive off cluttered spaces. Pocket doors are another option. These open and then glide back on themselves on a mechanism that sheathes them within the cabinet unit, giving you more space to haul damp clothes from the washer and wrestle bedlinen into the drier. McNally Living Kitchens sell a smart range, pictured, that could be used in halls, bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens.


A well-stocked laundry cabinet or room can help streamline family life. One well-organised mother has allocated shelf space to each member of the family for their towels and bedlinen and expects them to do their own; something she trained them to do from a young age. Each bedlinen set is contained within one of its pillowcases to better keep the sheets, cases and cover together and towels are ordered by size. Quick-drying towels come in microfibre or linen options, the latter being far, far better for the environment albeit more expensive. Sustainable cotton towels is another option. Penneys has launched a range of towels and bedlinen with prices for face cloths starting from just €1.50 while a single duvet costs €12.

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher

Alanna Gallagher is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in property and interiors