Upstairs laundry room: why you need it and how to have one

Is an upstairs laundry room a novelty or a necessity? While it may seem slightly strange to have your washing machine and tumble dryer upstairs, it is common in Europe and across the pond. Here is how you can design one…

It was our first trip as a family of three – a weekend away in the Cotswolds. We picked a cottage that had a beautiful kitchen with stone flooring and a large island, and a sitting room with cosy sofas and a log burner. But as we walked around, getting our bearings, we discovered something incredible that wasn’t included in the enticing images on the website: an upstairs laundry room.

“Ooh,” exclaimed my husband and I as we opened the door. It wasn’t exactly glamorous – it had a tumble dryer stacked on top of a washing machine. A few blue Shaker-style cupboards, a white quartz worktop and a sink. And yet, we were impressed. But why? Looking back now, I imagine it was because it was such a novelty. Ever since then, all I’ve wanted is an upstairs laundry room. And I’m not the only one…

dressing room with laundry room upstairs
This dressing room with laundry space, created by Sigmar Interiors‘ creative director Ebba Thott, ensured the owner’s daily routine would flow better. Photography: Petr Krejci.

Why should you have an upstairs laundry room?

Hayley Robson co-founder of Day True, explains: “All of us in the team are big fans, for many reasons. Why would you want to take laundry from upstairs – where bedrooms and bathrooms are – to the kitchen downstairs and up again?”

Richard Moore, design director at Martin Moore, also takes a similar view. “Historically, utility or laundry rooms have been located close to the kitchen to allow easy access to washing lines and for practical plumbing reasons,” says Richard. “But there is no reason this should be the case now. In fact, if the utility is used predominantly for laundry, I often site it upstairs near the bedrooms.”

upstairs laundry room with washer and dryer, sink and tap
This is Martin Moore’s New Deco collection, painted in Martin Moore’s Chalk, with a Quartzite worktop.

How to design an upstairs laundry room

So, where do you start if you want to create a new laundry room upstairs? First, you need to decide where to put it. “You can turn any under-used space – such as in the eaves – into a dedicated laundry room,” Hayley suggests. “Or you could expand or borrow floor area from your bathroom, as your washing machine can easily be plumbed in and these spaces provide the heat to make sure clothes dry through. Just remember to install heated towel rails.”

Bear in mind that building regulations state you can’t fit plug sockets in the bathroom unless they are at least 3m from the bath or shower. Talk to your bathroom or interior designer, or an electrician if you’d like to do this. Also, check with the manufacturer if the appliances are suitable in the space. Or, if you have a dressing room, you could integrate the appliances in units there.

extra room with wall cabinets, clothing rail, appliances, sink and tap
Convert a box room to create a laundry room. This neat space is painted in Benjamin Moore‘s Regal select pearl paint in Simply White.

Wherever you put your laundry room, there are a few must-haves. “You’ll need accessible plumbing, with a cold feed connected to the washing machine if it heats the water – otherwise a hot-water line, too. You’ll also require a waste outlet and ventilation,” says Hayley. Think about the humidity of the room – good airflow is essential, either through a window, extractor or dehumidifier.

upstairs room with blue cabinetry with extra sink and tap
A laundry room was included on the first floor of this renovation project by Trevor Brown Architect. Photography: Darren Chung.

Lastly, consider storage. Have a dedicated place for clean and dirty clothes, plus compartments for lights and darks. Practical drawers or cupboards for storing washing powder and cleaning products are also essential. And, why not include a clothes dolly that can be pulled up to the ceiling? This is a great space-saving hack if you are a bit short on space.

compact blue cabinetry with washing machine and dryer and wall shelves
If you decide to go for an upstairs laundry room, remember to pay special attention to installing the right storage. Utility room by Rotpunkt.

Enjoyed this post? Here are 5 clever ways to boost your utility room’s practicality

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