How to create a combined bathroom and laundry

... And they all live spaciously ever after
Doorway to a white and blue laundry.Photographer: Chris Warnes | Styling: Lucy Gough

Combining a laundry and bathroom makes sense in so many ways – both rooms require plumbing, both are wet areas – but the thought of guests seeing the laundry is enough to make most hostesses feel slightly ill. Plus, how do you fit a shower, toilet, vanity, washing machine, dryer and adequate storage into one small laundry space?

Fear not – with a little forward planning, here’s how you can create a dual-purpose space that seamlessly blends function and form.

White laundry with green tiled splashback and external door.

‘Zelij’ porcelain wall tiles and worn, concrete-look ‘Rawtech’ floor tiles, both from Di Lorenzo, spruce up the laundry in this renovated Victorian charmer in Mosman.

(Credit: Photographer: Simon Whitbread)

1. Conceal appliances

The key to forging a happy marriage between bathroom and laundry is mastering the art of concealment. Guests will never guess the true nature of the bathroom with bulky laundry appliances hidden behind curtains or built-in cabinetry.

Most interior designers suggest running floor-to-ceiling cabinetry along one wall to house laundry items, with the bathroom elements on the opposite side. In a compact room, stick to bench-height cabinetry to avoid making the place feel overcrowded, and if you need extra storage, consider open shelves above to maintain the airy feel.

Store the washing machine and dryer side by side or stacked on top of each other in a tall cupboard – if stacking appliances, choose a front-loading washing machine and install necessary plumbing connections in the cabinetry. If space is very limited, a combined washer/dryer will free up room for more storage.

Blue and white laundry with hanging rail above benchtop.

Customised cabinetry doors in Laminex Winter Sky conceal appliances and storage and spruce up the laundry in this heritage Sydney home.

(Credit: Photographer: Dave Wheeler | Styling: Lisa Burden)

2. Sort out your storage

The right laundry storage solutions can make even the tiniest laundry stay tidy and help you tackle mountains of washing more efficiently.


The last thing you want is for guests to spy piles of dirty clothes or yet-to-be-ironed laundry. Stack neatly folded items in labelled baskets to make it easy to clear the benchtops when you expect visitors, and use the space to display guest towels. Try installing a pull-out basket inside cabinetry to hide dirty clothes, and allocating benchtop space for folding and sorting clean items. Hettich make cabinet fittings for all laundry scenarios, including pull-out baskets and ironing boards. If you have the room, a beautiful freestanding shelf unit or ladder is another way to display guest towels that can also add a splash of colour.

Cleaning products

Pour laundry powders and cleaning products into canisters, and store bits and bobs in wicker baskets to keep clutter under control. “In a guest bathroom, less space is needed for toiletries, so dedicate this space to laundry storage instead,” says Serena. If you have open shelving, keep the look fresh and uncluttered by coordinating accessories. “Invest in a collection of matching caddies or colourful trugs to give the space a visual sense of order,” advises Cathy Player from Howards Storage World

White laundry with vase of flowers and colourful artwork.

There’s nothing at all utilitarian looking about this Melbourne heritage home‘s laundry, which proves that practicality can indeed be beautiful.

(Credit: Photographer: Armelle Habib | Styling: Julia Green)

3. Decorate and distract

Distract from the utilitarian aspects of the room by making the bathing area beautiful. You can do this by decorating the room with bathroom-loving indoor plants, an elegant flower arrangement or even a vignette of beautiful bathroom products including soaps, lotions, scented candles and perfumes. The idea is to draw the eye away from the laundry. Plush towels and candles will help to create a soothing environment, while an illuminated mirror is a thoughtful touch for guests.

To up the luxe factor, consider a show-stopping shower for your pamper zone. “We always recommend to have one feature piece – a luxurious shower is a welcoming experience for any guest!” says Karine. Ceiling-hung rain showers have the added advantage of keeping the wall clear. Opt for an enclosed shower so water doesn’t splash on drying clothes that might be nearby.

Ventilated doors in the laundry of a restored 1930s bungalow hide appliances out of sight. (Photography: Chris Warnes / Styling: Lucy Gough)

4. Create zones

Customise your laundry space by including a cabinet where you can hang an ironing board and iron from a rack on the inside of the door, or incorporate a shelf for iron storage. Fold-out ironing stations work well in a combined laundry/bathroom, as do table ironing boards you can use on the vanity top. “If opting for a pull-out ironing board in a cupboard, remember to install a powerpoint inside the unit,” advises interior designer Victoria Waters of Victoria Waters Design.

“Often bathrooms don’t have enough hanging space but there are simple tricks to fix this – try over-door towel racks or even extra rails to hook over the shower screen,” recommends Cathy Player of Howards Storage World. A heated towel rail with multiple rungs can double as a drying rack for small items of clothing. You could also try integrating a drying cupboard into your cabinetry so clothes can dry out of view. “Drying racks in full-height cabinetry above a ducted heating vent create a drying cupboard in winter, and beach towel storage in summer,” says designer Serena Elise of White Chalk Interiors.

modernised federation home mosman laundry
(Credit: Photography: Sue Stubbs / Styling: Samantha Torrisi )

5. Bring in light and ventilation

Natural light is a boon for laundries but problematic for a combined laundry/bathroom where privacy is a concern. Skylights are ideal as they bathe the area in light and also assist with clothes drying.

If a skylight isn’t an option, position windows close to the ceiling to filter light into the room without compromising privacy, or consider louvred windows, which allow you to control light and air flow.

Make sure you have a high-powered fan to absorb moisture and check your dryer’s ventilation requirements – and avoid dryers that require external vents.

ensuite with white wall tiles and grey marble floor
(Credit: Photography: Armelle Habib / Photography assistant: Sara Wilkosz / Styling: Julia Green / Styling assistant: Jade Lee Martin)

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