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6 Steps to a Stylish European Laundry

July 20, 2021 – 4 min read

When you don’t have the luxury of space but still want small laundry design ideas that are a) easy on the eye and b) kitted out with all the essentials, the solution is clear. You need a European-style laundry, the compact choice in homes that won’t stretch to a full-sized laundry room.

This side by side washer and dryer is cleverly hidden behind a curtain.

What is a European laundry?

Also known as a New York-style laundry, a European laundry is one that is designed for a small space and on a single wall. You will find small laundry designs behind bi-fold European laundry doors, tucked under stairs, in hallways or under sloping roofs. Inside are all the usual suspects: washing machine, dryer, storage, sink and bench space. A laundry in every way that matters, they are a fantastic option for apartment or townhouse living where floor space is precious.

“The size of the laundry you create will depend on the amount of space you have to work with,” says Philip Ryder, Design and Product Manager at Kinsman Kitchens. “Small apartment laundries can be maximised through clever design behind bi-fold doors, with creative storage for items like your iron and ironing board.”

Concealing the laundry set-up behind bi-fold European laundry doors is the ultimate design crime – no-one will even know it’s there.

Step 1: Find the right space

For a minimal set-up with stacked washing machine and dryer, sink and a tall storage cupboard, small laundry designs will need an area of about 1.7m wide and 70cm deep.

“This is for the most basic, stripped back laundry,” says interior designer Alisha Bouris of Maytree Studios in Brisbane. “This is purely functional, as in take your washing to be folded on the couch or somewhere else. To add more functionality and space for folding, you just need more space.”

If the laundry appliances will be behind European style doors, be sure they pull back for easy access to everything in the space. “There is nothing worse than sliding doors blocking access to shelves or not being able to open your washing machine or dryer doors,” says Alisha “Consider folding doors, hinged doors or pocket sliding doors.”

Turn down the volume

Think about placing your European laundry away from bedrooms if you are sensitive to noise. “We consider this when locating the laundry in the plan,” says Alisha. “Grouping service areas of the home together allows for these noisier areas to be buffered between walls and storage. Modern laundry appliances are also becoming increasingly quieter, so this helps too!”

Factor in ventilation

Because European laundries tend to be in internal rooms, an exhaust fan is a must to extract the warm, moist air generated by laundry appliances.

“If you have bi-fold doors closing off your laundry, you also need ventilation vents at the top of the doors or have the doors open when using the appliances,” says interior designer Jo Byrom of Brisbane’s Interior Design by Jo.

Alternatively, consider a condenser or heat pump dryer, which does not pump moisture into the room. These dryers don’t require ventilation, so you never need to worry about mould or mildew.

Cleverly hidden behind cupboard doors this full use laundry including a dryer, washer and plenty of cupboards suits a small space perfectly.

Step 2: Work out your must-haves

For a minimal set-up with stacked washing machine and dryer, sink and a tall storage cupboard, small laundry designs will need an area of about 1.7m wide and 70cm deep.

“This is for the most basic, stripped back laundry,” says interior designer Alisha Bouris of Maytree Studios in Brisbane. “This is purely functional, as in take your washing to be folded on the couch or somewhere else. To add more functionality and space for folding, you just need more space.”

If the laundry appliances will be behind European style doors, be sure they pull back for easy access to everything in the space. “There is nothing worse than sliding doors blocking access to shelves or not being able to open your washing machine or dryer doors,” says Alisha “Consider folding doors, hinged doors or pocket sliding doors.”

Person walking past a modern laundry space with built in appliances and lots of bench space.

Step 3: Get sneaky with storage

“If you are not limited to height, using the wall for storage can be useful,” says Alisha Bouris. “Have the everyday items within reach and the less frequent items in overhead cupboards. You might need a step ladder to reach those spots over 2.1m high!”

If your European-style laundry design allows for a side-by-side washer and dryer, with bench space above, consider a hanging rail for clothes. Extend the rail the full width of the wall so you can drip-dry wet clothes on hangers over the sink.

Concealing the laundry set-up behind bi-fold European laundry doors is the ultimate design crime – no-one will even know it’s there.

Step 4: Choose space-saving appliances

Take your European laundry to the next level with these smart appliances that will free up space and keep running costs down:

Step 5: Light up the room

Even if your laundry adjoins a lit area, it will still require its own lighting scheme. Include task lighting directed on the bench top and ambient lighting, such as a pendant or recessed downlights, to get the space glowing.

“LED lights on the underside of overhead cabinets are popular,” says interior designer Alisha Bouris of Maytree Studios in Brisbane. “If your laundry is behind closed doors, consider a sensor light that turns on when you open doors and set the timer for 6pm. You can also get yourself an exhaust and light in one.”

Step 6: Make a style statement

“I often do fresh white cabinetry when the laundry space is not big because it doesn’t close in the space like a darker colour can,” says interior designer Jo Byrom of Brisbane’s Interior Designs by Jo.

Also consider using similar finishes and fixtures in your laundry, kitchen and bathroom to bring a sense of connection to your new home or renovation. “I do quite a lot of work on Queenslander homes and we’ll carry the same Shaker-style cupboard doors through the bathrooms and laundry. The colour might change, but the style will flow through,” says Jo.

Looking for the wow factor? Try vinyl wallpaper, which is impervious to humidity. “You can go for floral, animal prints, slubbed silk or other textured looks,” says Jo. “It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it can add a special touch to a space.”

Visit us instore or online to find out more about the products in this article – and if you’re renovating your home and need some more inspiration or advice, check out our home renovation ideas page.

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