How do I maximize the space in a half bath & laundry room combo?

by Deb

I'd like to update the bath to give it more of a "powder room" feel instead of being so utilitarian, but my question here is how to best incorporate a few things to make the laundry more efficient? Stacking the w/d is really not an option, although that would free up the most floor space. Overall room is approx 5' x 8'. There is zero counter space, and nowhere to keep a clothes hamper. This room is off the entryway coming in from the garage. The decorative wire rack (over the toilet) was added as a place to put mismatched socks, as well as a place to hang a few things to dry. The bathroom is not heavily used, as we have 2 full baths. We have some ideas as to how to go about this, but we'd like to hear others (especially if you have the same challenge for space).

This is the "laundry side" of the room. The dryer does need to be set back about 3". The different color on the wall behind the dryer is from having painted that space before setting the new washer in.

This is a "straight shot" of the room.

This is the "bath side" of the room. You really can't see the wire organizer over the toilet very well. It helps to keep stuff off the top of the dryer.

  16 answers
  • Deb Deb on Jan 07, 2019

    I guess you CAN see the organizer! It didn't show up in the preview.... TIA for any ideas!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 07, 2019

    Hello Deb,

    My idea would be to buy equal sized appliances - add a top and curtain to front - Mirror Tile Splashback and pretty Bathroom wallpaper.

    • Deb Deb on Jan 07, 2019

      Thank you for your response! It is the appliances that limit my possibilities. Having both the washer and dryer on the floor without pedestals would make them difficult to use (bending over all the time), although I could then add the counter top. Thus my quandry about that. :)

  • StefanieB StefanieB on Jan 07, 2019

    Agree with adding a floor-to-ceiling curtain using a tension rod or mounted from the ceiling to obscure the appliances.

    Maybe change out the wall cabinets above the machines for open shelving, too - since they'll be behind a curtain, you'd get more storage (even for dirty clothes baskets) and nobody will see it.

    I know you didn't ask for decoration/upgrade tips, but a new vanity, and white-painted woodwork will work wonders - if you go ahead and finish painting the darker color throughout. (Please - no wallpaper!!! lol)

    • Deb Deb on Jan 07, 2019

      Thanks, StefanieB! Some of your ideas are already in the plan! As far as covering the appliances, a curtain could get in the way. I don't mind the w/d being visible.

  • Grace Gleason Grace Gleason on Jan 07, 2019

    Don't worry about the appliances being mismatched. The dryer will die soon enough!

    Yes to the open shelving. No to the wallpaper. Yes to the curtain, unless the unmentioned bifolds cover them.

    Just to save you a little money, paint the vanity - Unless you happen to be a fan of natural wood.

    Put the towel bar on the wall beside the vanity so you don't have to walk over to dry your hands. It looks a little "stranded" over there.

    Also, did you know that anyone can see through one of those pleated blinds at night when the lights are on? Just sayin'.

    • Deb Deb on Jan 07, 2019

      Thank you Grace! The dryer may last longer than I do, lol. It is a Speed Queen. The doorway has a pocket door, so there are no bi-folds. I'm with you on the other items! There are several small updates that will make a difference. Thanks for the tip on the shade! ; )

  • Riva Sue Riva Sue on Jan 07, 2019

    As the appliances are I want to put the washer closer to the window and Dryer closer to the exit door. The height issue this way bothers my eyes.

    I keep a clothes basket on top of my dryer, and yes a curtain to hide the appliances will soften the look of the room. And allows for cheap decorating option, that can be changed frequently, cheaply for new updates. A tension bar can be used to hang said curtains.

    A fancier register cover would give the room a more high end feel. Of course you could just spray paint that cover to a silver or gold or brass color.

    Looking in the mirror it looks like you have quite a bit of space above the cabinets over your appliances that could be used for storage of supplies, Like Laundry Soap or Toilet Paper, especially if you use curtains to hide. That would free the places that you use now for supplies to be redone to use for hamper or ironing area.

    • Deb Deb on Jan 07, 2019

      Thank you for input, Riva! I keep wanting to switch the w/d in my mind too. I had not considered doing anything to the register other than painting it to blend it in.... Maybe a different look for it would work, since the towel bar is going to be taken down.

      There is about 1 foot of space over the cabinets, and it is fairly unusable (because it is not easily accessible). We have a bag of something up there, and I honestly don't remember what it is. It's been up there a long time.

  • Mlle LaFleur Mlle LaFleur on Jan 07, 2019

    I would suggest you replace the cabinets above the appliances with sturdy shelves that are the width of the appliances, to maximize space. Add a curtain on a tension rod first, to see if you like it -- make it the same size at the shelf. A long curtain will look like 'hiding' while a curtain the height of the shelves will look like 'design.' Clean the dryer, believe it or not, a wiping with diluted bleach will spruce it up a lot - use a Magic Eraser for marks. Remove and clean that vent near the floor and when you repaint the walls, repaint it. Remove dated mirror - change it to one on an arm or a smaller framed style. Replace door hardware with chrome. No need to paint the wood, just deep clean and polish, and the mop boards as well. Move towel bar adjacent to sink. Move toilet paper holder to right side, screw into vanity. That scary black thing above the toilet? Paint it the wall color and lose the junk on it. LAST, pick a color you really like, never mind the rest of the house, make this room nice for you. While you're waiting for the clothes to dry, make this a pleasant place to be.

    • Deb Deb on Jan 07, 2019

      Thank you, Mlle! I hadn't considered deeper shelves.... Storage in this house is a lacking, in general (but we have garage space for 5+ vehicles).

      A long curtain is really not possible, as that will not help streamline laundry duties. I will either change out the mirror or add a painted wood trim to it to fashionably "rein it in" a little. I do want for this to be a little room "for me", so thanks for giving me the go-ahead on that!

  • Dalila Oliva Dalila Oliva on Jan 07, 2019

    I love natural wood color. Clean with murphys oil soap. I would switch around washer and dryer if possible since washer seems to open from right to left. Seems more efficient. I would paint the center panels of the cabinet doors with chalk or magnetic paint or both. Put baskets or cubes above cabinets for storage. Change hardware to match shelf over toilet . Move towel bar to left side wall of sink. On window a nice curtain or frosted film. You could also stencil the dryer top and put some great baskets hanging from hooks under the cabinet for more storage. And paint the room a color that makes you happy and that is complimentary to skin tones. For mirror you could frost a design on the edges, or decorative Garland or simply change shades on light fixture. After moving towel rack you can put a hamper under the window. Well got too long hope it helps

    • Deb Deb on Jan 07, 2019

      Thank you Dalila! The washer does open on the right. I initially decided to leave it that way (it can be changed, and is one reason I chose this washer) because the dryer opens on the left. Much of my "issue" seems to be logistics....

      Your post is not at all too long. You mention a couple of things I hadn't considered. I've been giving quite a bit of thought about where to put hanging clothes, drying racks, and creation of another surface. This space just needs to work harder than it does. As it is, when I wash something that needs to lay flat to dry, I walk around the house with the rack looking for a place to put it.... where the cats won't find it.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 07, 2019

    Move the dryer back as far against the wall as possible. Take whatever is making the washer so tall off so it the same height as the dryer. Place a board or something like that over those. Take will give you a place to fold laundry.

    Put a medicine cabinet with a mirrored front in place of the mirror. But recess the medicine into the wall. In a tiny space like this every inch counts. And that will provide a lot more storage too.

    I would put a shower rod or tension rod up so you can pull a shower curtain or material closed and not see the washer and dryer.

    You could add a magazine rack on the wall next to the potty.

    Perhaps a different type of shelving over the toilet. A standard over the toilet metal frame spray painted black would look nice and provide much more storage. We have one in a tiny spare bathroom and it gives us 3 shelves of storage. That is enough for towels, grooming items and a water pik.

    • See 1 previous
    • Mogie Mogie on Jan 08, 2019

      My laundry room is tiny too so understand your situation. Good luck!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 07, 2019

    Hello again, Maybe the answer is to change to a Washer Dryer instead of two appliances....Or Raise both units up to the same height, Or fix Bi-fold doors to close them off or If the arrangement as is is not offensive to your eyes

    and you find the arrangement practical for your needs - Stop worrying about it! and put up a pretty Blind or Picture to distract you from the things you don't like.

    • Deb Deb on Jan 07, 2019

      This room just needs to work "harder" or "smarter", if possible. Aesthetics are pretty much a secondary consideration.

  • V Smith V Smith on Jan 07, 2019

    I have the same setup in my laundry/powder room. Long ago I had thought about a woven wood shade to hide the w & d, but the door and the window say no can do. I used to have open shelves above the w & d, but it just collected everything and everything was always dusty. Today I have 2/3 cabinet 1/3 shelves with an upside down towel bar for plastic coat hangers over the washer. I have abandoned any ideas that would hide the appliances and I accepted that this is one room with 2 purposes. My plan is to paint this space this summer. When I paint it I am going to have a verticle white stripe on the window wall with a horizontal arrow pointing to one side with the words "powder room" and another arrow pointing opposite with the words "laundry room". That way any one who is using the room can decide where they are and what they are doing.

    • See 2 previous
    • Bbunny42 Bbunny42 on Jan 09, 2019

      I like the arrow idea!

  • Robert G Robert G on Jan 07, 2019

    Vanity -Paint the cabinets Black, keep the doors and drawers the way they are wood!

    Paint the wood floor trim white.

    Paint the wood window trim all the way around white.

    Paint the top cabinets Black, remove doors and replace with flosted glass or ribbed doors, wood or black. IKEA has some nice kitchen cabinet glass doors.

    Washer and dryer should be one level.

    Buy contact paper of your choice pattern and redo the face of washer and dryer to match your theme or style. Then you won't have a eye sore looking at the appliances. Now it would be pretty to look at verses hanging a curtain!

    I did this to my bathroom and my cabinets look like yours. Painted black and wood doors, new hardware and transferred it to a wow.. everyone says. I also remodeled my kitchen. My budget didn't include a new stainless steel frig, so I put a pretty pink and gray floral contact paper over it and dishwasher, I absolutely love it!!! Not a eye sore anymore!

    So, now the eye does not focus on the problem, the simple changes enhance the room. Minus major construction of ripping off the cabinets.

    Try it! Enjoy

    PS internet search under images, glass frosted ribbed cabinet doors for ideas. When searching the internet always look under images, you will find all your ideas under images!!!

  • Deb Deb on Jan 07, 2019

    Thank you Luuezz! Are you saying to paint the cabinetry but leave the doors the way they are? That's an interesting idea!

    About painting the window trim... the window and sash are stained too (are not vinyl). It may look weird if it isn't all painted... that may be another can of worms.  Maybe someone can comment who may not have painted all the surfaces involved.

    I will take a look at some images online.

  • Sal3170064 Sal3170064 on Jan 08, 2019

    If at all possible could you remove the cupboard above the washer and put the dryer on top fix to the wall.

    Then I would put shelves under the other cabinate leaving enough space for washing basket. Or if you have a carpenter handy, build in a pull forward dirty linen box in the space the dryer vacated.

    I think paint the cupboards white would also tie everything together.

    • Deb Deb on Jan 08, 2019

      I meant to respond here to your post rather than create another one, sorry.

  • Deb Deb on Jan 08, 2019

    Thank you Sal3170064! The optimal set-up for me is side-by-side (I am 60 yo). Stacking them would definitely open up some options, though. The room does need some paint... everywhere, lol.

  • Sal3170064 Sal3170064 on Jan 08, 2019

    It's not that it needs painting, it's just if everything is white it will blend together more.

  • Deb K Deb K on Sep 02, 2023

    Hi Deb, you could add some nice seagrass baskets to the top of your machines. Also thing about adding a over the toilet storage cabinet rather that just the shelf you have there. You may even want to add in a fold down table to the wall under the window