Laundry room shelving ideas – 19 ways to add more function to your washing space

Installing laundry room shelving is a simple way to add both function and that wow-factor to your home laundrette.

A laundry room shelving with towels and clothes on an Ikea JONAXEL storage unit
(Image credit: Ikea)

Laundry room shelving got you in a spin? Look no further as we've got some refreshing ideas to revive your space. The most important thing to think about when installing shelving in your laundry room is ensuring they are in ease of reach, but not too easy to keep little ones out of harm's way.

After all, laundry room shelving storage can house everything from washing powders, fabric conditioners, and far more. So you'll want these potentially toxic and chemically-abrasive products tucked away from tiny hands.

This guide isn't just about finding some scrap MDF and knocking up a few shelves. We take you through how to create a design-led area with modern modular storage, ladder shelving to make the most of vertical wall space, vintage pigeon-holes, and heaps more.

We've even reached out to some industry experts who come with bundles of tips to transform your utility or laundry area to somewhere you'll be excited to carry out your chores.

Laundry room shelving ideas for clean results

'Whilst floor space can be something of a premium, wall space is often a great choice for adding storage in smaller spaces,' says Claire Wilkes, Senior Buyer, Garden Trading (opens in new tab)

'With vertical storage and open shelving having something of a moment, thanks to the oft-trending #shelfie movement, means that storing baskets and other items can add to an overall sense of style.'

1. Build shelving into alcoves

A laundry room with inky blue cupboards, washing machine and wooden shelves in alcove

(Image credit: Future)

If you're not blessed with a large laundry room – don't fret. Because small laundry rooms can still have lots of laundry room shelving... If you're smart about your layout.

In this inky blue modern traditional space, the alcove has been used to its full potential with a rustic wooden shelf to match the work surface, and house homely ornaments including a vase full of floral cuttings and that adorable framed chalkboard which adds tonnes of personality. Wooden crates and ceiling-suspended rails also help to store and dry dishtowels.

2. Add task lighting to find items easily

A blue laundry room with wooden shelves and brass lamp shade lighting

(Image credit: @ourlittlefoxhouse)

Whether you're a working parent or a stay-at-home mom or dad, there's no rest for the wicked when it comes to laundry day. Be it work and school uniforms, sports kits, or outfits for social events – keeping on top of that bottomless load can feel like a thankless task.

So make life easier from morning 'till eve with a pair of lights above your laundry room shelving. By adding additional lighting, you can see exactly where your products are, and won't be searching in frustration for fabric cleaner or stain remover.

Choose a style that suits your laundry room. We love the glamour that these brass fixtures bring to Karrie's (aka @ourlittlefoxhouse (opens in new tab)) home.

3. Hang shirts to dry with a Scandi open storage system

A laundry room with towels and clothes on a white ikea jonaxel open storage system

(Image credit: Ikea)

Swedish design has always been renowned for being clean and cool, so it makes sense to introduce a storage unit from Ikea (opens in new tab) into a room dedicated to washing your clothes. 

This JONAXEL (opens in new tab) open storage unit is not only affordable for everyone, but its modular qualities mean you can hang blouses and shirts in style without making other surfaces soggy. Don't you just love the contrast of white metal and colorful textiles and furniture?

4. Place shelving close to your machines

A white laundry room with stacked washing machines, open shelving and metal black wire baskets

(Image credit: California Closets)

When looking at how to design a laundry room, your layout, including your laundry room shelving is everything. After all, you don't want your best cleaning detergents to be miles away from your washing machine.

'Install built-ins over your washer and dryer for storing necessary supplies such as detergent and dryer sheets,' advises Jill Larue-Rieser, chief merchandising officer, California Closets (opens in new tab).

'If you have stacked machines, place shelving to the left or right of the unit. Having a mix of closed and open shelves allows you to hide cleaning bottles and boxes of laundry soap while displaying photos, collectibles, and other design elements to liven up the room.'

5. Add interest to wooden shelves with wallpaper 

A laundry room with wooden shelves and pink printed floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Lisa Dawson)

One big laundry design room mistake is overlooking the style potential this space has. Just because it's used for chores, this doesn't mean that you can't make it feel chic. And one person who knows how to do that is author, presenter, and content creator Lisa Dawson (opens in new tab).

She says: 'I really wanted to add interest to the room - it’s small so needed a bit of something unexpected - so found a wallpaper from Poodle & Blonde, Money Tree in Valentine (opens in new tab) that was perfect for the back wall.'

'I used ready-made wallpaper paste to paste the wall to put it up, super simple.  Don’t ever be scared by wallpapering, it’s so easy and also I find it hugely therapeutic.'

6. Don't neglect your wall space

A laundry room with shiplap wall decor and assortment of laundry room organization products

(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

Want to fully maximize your laundry room shelving? Hang storage onto rail and peg shelves for a dual-impact and uber functional design that offers at least double the space. This Gabrielle Organization System 6-Piece Laundry Set by Pottery Barn (opens in new tab) is the perfect example of how to do this.

Add shelves and wall organizers to keep detergent, dryer sheets, stain remover, and other supplies within reach and off the floor. Wall hooks can be used to hang clothes and accessories like hats, scarves, and gloves too. You could even create a 'lost and found' section for socks that've gone AWOL.

7. DIY or bespoke shelving to suit your space

A rustic country kitchen with laundry area

(Image credit: B&M)

If your laundry room is small or is a particularly awkward space, it might be a good idea to explore bespoke shelving. 

'Won't that be expensive?' We hear you cry. Hear us out. Getting shelving to fit your space, needn't be pricey. It's worth contacting a local carpenter to get a quote. 

Dependent on the space, you might just be surprised by the cost. A bespoke unit may well cost less than the average shelving unit you'd buy, er, off the shelf.

Another budget-friendly idea would be to buy planks of wood and put shelves up with brackets, painting them in whatever finish you so desire. 

Fancy trying your hand at a bit of DIY? Learn how to install a floating shelf yourself with our guide.

8. Fit open shelving on one whole wall

open shelving against wood panelling with grey baskets, white containers and glass jars in a laundry room

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Adding open shelving to cover the whole wall space will not only look neat but will also be easy to get at when you're clambering for the stain remover to get a stubborn stain out of clothing

Of course, you could just store all your products up on the shelves, or if clutter is your enemy, you could consider keeping items in various baskets and bins so they're easily accessible but not on show...

You could go one step further and incorporate other containers like glass jars and bottles to store your laundry detergents, pegs, and various other small items to create a more uniform look and the ultimate laundry room #shelfie setup.

9. Set up ladder shelving 

blue walls in a utility room with wood ladder shelving and open shelving - Garden-Trading-AW20-Utility-Laundry-+-Pet

(Image credit: Garden Trading )

If you're not too sure about mounting shelves along the walls, maybe for fear of bursting a pipe or damaging your walls, a shelf ladder is the perfect option. Ladder shelving doesn't take up lots of floor space or wall space for that matter. 

Make use of the room height by opting for a tall ladder shelf to maximize the storage space. 

Wilkes says: 'For renters or DIY avoiders, shelf ladders are the ultimate compromise. Compact and footprint friendly they simply lean against the wall – and fit in any room of the house.'

10. Mix cabinets and open shelving 

storage combination with cabinets and shelving from IKEA in a utility room with green walls

(Image credit: IKEA)

We all have certain items we don't necessarily want on show or we need hidden away from our curious little people. Mixing cabinets with open shelving is a great compromise. 

You could still have the #shelfie friendly bits and pieces on the open shelving but hide not so neat and tidy items in the cabinets. 

Having all the clutter stored away in a cabinet will also mean you'll always walk into a space that looks tidy, making laundry day a little bit less of a chore. 

IKEA's ENHET wall storage combination (opens in new tab) has a mix of open and closed storage with the added bonus of space for a washing machine and laundry baskets. 

11. Use a freestanding cabinet

a laundry space with bookshelf and laundry accessories

(Image credit: Future)

Turn a corner of your kitchen, bathroom, or utility room into a shelving space for cleaning essentials with a free-standing unit, combining shelving cubbies and hooks. Arrange brushes and dusters into buckets and caddies, and hang peg bags and brooms from the hooks to maintain order.

12. Full height vertical units

shelving in cream fitted inbuilt cabinets with washsing machine and tumble dryer in a laundry room - smeg

(Image credit: Smeg)

If you have the luxury of a large laundry room a great option would be to add fitted units, full height to make use of the wall space. All shelving and bulky appliances could be hidden away behind sleek doors so all that clutter is hidden firmly out of view. Bliss. Or if you don't have a dedicated laundry room, but a room with wall space, you could fit a unit like the one above from Smeg (opens in new tab) to house a neat laundry area.

13. Choose wire shelving

Garden Trading Brompton brass wall rack with various accessories for laundry room on cream wall with white tiles

(Image credit: Garden Trading )

If you don't want to build in wood shelving, wire shelving units are an inexpensive, easy-to-install option for storing laundry accessories.  For a more customized look, you could add a few of these wire shelving units side by side for extra storage capacity.

14. Adjustable modular shelving to adapt to needs

metal string system - white string-Furniture - utilitydesign.co

(Image credit: String Furniture)

Got laundry mountains on the daily? Installing adjustable shelves that can be moved will futureproof your space and meet your family’s changing needs. 

String furniture (opens in new tab)'s shelving systems option of both open and closed cabinets, hooks and shelving units of various heights tick all the storage for busy homes. 

'Utility/laundry rooms have become a desirable must-have at home but are often compact,' says Peter Erlandsson, co-owner of String furniture.

'The best thing about modular furniture is that it really can be installed anywhere. Make sure your shelving is deep and tall enough to store your belongings but narrow enough that it doesn’t compromise your precious square footage.'

15. Install multi-functional units

laundry room with multipurpose shelving from Ikea, washing machine and storage behind green sliding doors

(Image credit: IKEA)

A busy laundry room needs multifunctional shelving and Ikea does multifunctional exceptionally well.

And where would we be without Ikea storage hacks? Ikea's BOAXAL range (opens in new tab) is adaptable or the open storage solution can be added to as needed. You can add everything from a drying rack and a clothes rail to baskets and shelving. The choice really is yours.

16. Use a pigeon hole wall unit

traditional pigeon hole wooden storage wall unit - rockett st george

(Image credit: Rockett St George)

Have lots of finicky laundry items strewn around your laundry room? A pigeon-hole unit is perfect for tucking away odds and ends that don't have a home. 

This industrial-look wooden pigeon hole wall unit from Rockett St George (opens in new tab) will hide away lots of unsightly clutter and will look even better in a country-style laundry space.

17. Install a multipurpose peg board

peg board with shelving in a small laundry room with blue clothes dryer, shelving and ironing board

(Image credit: IKEA)

Keep surfaces clear of clutter and the things you need within reach, rather than hidden at the back of a cupboard, with a pegboard of hooks, containers, and shelving. Giving everything its own place with Skadis pegboard combination from Ikea (opens in new tab) and the range of accessories should keep everything sorted.

18. Hide shelving behind a door

laundry accessories and cleaning supplies behind sliding doors by Matalan

(Image credit: Matalan)

If you've always got a laundry avalanche on your hands and there's zero time for arranging a #shelfie, let alone said avalanche, it's time to show your laundry room who's boss. Hide the clutter and mess by using a shelf unit with a sliding door. Your guests will be none-the-wiser.

19. Add cube shelving in pockets of spaces

A trio of white cube shelf wall unit accessories

(Image credit: B&Q)

If you've not got a whole wall to play with, why not use cube shelving to maximize storage opportunities, using the top and inside of the cubes?

Choose deep cubes to get the most out of them or why not choose a style you can add a door to, like an Ikea KALLAX shelving unit (opens in new tab), to tidy away items best kept unseen. You've got to love Ikea storage cubes.

20. Utilitarian shelving with brass brackets

a utilitarian, country style laundry room with long single shelf for storage, belfast sink, white shaker cabinetry and glass cabinet

(Image credit: Devol)

If you're wanting to add a level of sophistication to your space, take a leaf out of this DeVol (opens in new tab) laundry room's simplicity and opt for clean lines with a single shelf running the length of the room.

Create the ultimate utilitarian #shelfie with traditional brass brackets and vintage-style receptacles, jars, baskets, and containers for all your laundry accessories.

Where to use laundry room shelves

'Laundry room organization seems daunting since you are working within a small space, but don't be intimidated. Take advantage of wall-mounted shelves in order to save as much floor space as possible' says Matt Cessna, appliances merchant at The Home Depot (opens in new tab).

'If you have a top-load washer and dryer, remember to leave enough clearance for their doors to open.'

Expert laundry room shelving ideas from Home Depot

Sarah Fishburne, director of trend and design at the Home Depot shares her top tips for making the most of your shelving:

  • Add open shelves above your washer and dryer. Open shelves keep detergents, stain removers, dryer sheets, and other laundry supplies conveniently within reach.  
  • Install adjustable shelves that can be moved to meet your family’s changing needs. 
  • Wire shelving is an inexpensive, easy-to-install option. For a more customized look,  install wall-mounted wood shelves. 
  • Take advantage of all your available space with corner shelves. 
  • Repurpose an unused bookshelf in a laundry room that’s low on built-in storage.'
Jenny McFarlane
Jenny McFarlane

Jenny is Senior Digital Editor and joined the team in January 2021. She also works on the homes brands' video show, on the Future Homes Network (opens in new tab), which is packed full of ideas to help you make the most of your own home and garden. Since getting on the property market with her first apartment and then more recently a house, her passion for interior design and gardening has taken on a new lease of life. Jenny's currently on the lookout for a doer-upper to put her stamp on. She loves collecting and salvaging unique items (much to her other half's despair) but sniffing out stylish home bargains is her one true love. When she has a spare minute, she loves to do a spot of crafting, having studied textiles at Uni – although she hardly gets the chance with a toddler who keeps her permanently on her toes.

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