Laundry Renovations

Laundry renovations that will change the way you do the washing forever

Professional renovation tips that will hang a lousy laundry out to dry.
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Well-considered laundry renovations can turn a bleak, poorly planned room (kept hidden behind a closed door) into a beautiful space you may actually want to show off to your visitors. A renovated laundry will also help you get the job done quicker, keep clutter at bay and make the whole experience so much more pleasant. 

It doesn’t matter whether you have a small laundry or a large laundry, a big budget or a tiny budget – there is always something you can do to improve both the functionality and appearance of your laundry. This roundup of renovated laundries as well as professional tips from Three Birds Renovations co-founder Lana Taylor, will inspire you to find clever ways to turn a drab laundry into a stellar space. 

Beige, white and marble laundry by Three Birds Renovations
Three Birds Renovations designed this laundry for a family. A bank of multiple washers and dryers lightens the load of wash day. (Image: Three Birds Renovations)

Where to start

Three Birds Renovations are currently working on House 15 – so it’s safe to say that they’ve designed and renovated their fair share of laundries. “The best place to start is either with how the room looks, or how it works. Every decision is interlinked. It’s not a linear sequence and you need all of the elements to work together,” says Lana.

Here are three things you need to think about before you start renovating a laundry.

1. Budget

According to HiPages, a laundry room renovation in Australia can cost anywhere from $5000 to $25,000. “Tiles, benchtop, cabinetry and tapware choices could take your reno into the tens of thousands, or you could do it on the cheap for under $5000,” says Lana. 

Ways you can save money renovating the laundry: 

  • Flat pack cabinetry – Flat pack cabinetry has come a long way over the years. For a custom look on a budget, opt for cabinets that can be painted a colour that matches your laundry design aesthetic. The main players in the flat-pack space are: Kaboodle, IKEA, Freedom and Kinsman.
  • Keep existing appliances – While it’s nice to have a matching set of appliances to go with your shiny new laundry, keeping existing appliances is a great way to shave hundreds (and potentially thousands) of dollars off your renovation.
  • Simple tiles – “Don’t waste your budget on tiles if you’re strapped for cash,” says Lana. “You can use simple 60x60cm porcelain marble-look tiles on the floor, with a tile skirt and painted walls. Subway tiles always look great for a splashback and there are some very affordable choices around.”
Blue laundry with marble benchtop and subway tile splashback
Keep tiling choices simple if your budget is tight, says Lana. This laundry gets its wow-factor from cabinetry painted in Dulux Shadow Blue. (Photography: Suzi Appel | Styling: Beckie Littler)

2. Layout

Another way to save money on a laundry reno is to work within the existing footprint (i.e. keep all of the plumbing and electrical in the same spots). Doing so will reduce your plumbing and electrical costs, and you can reserve more of your budget for fun things like tiles, benchtop materials and tapware. 

It’s important to think about the way you use your laundry before you settle on a layout. Would you like your laundry to be a multi-purpose space with enough room for sorting and folding laundry? In that case, prioritise bench space. Do you have pets that need to be bathed indoors? Then consider opting for an extra-large sink and a tap with a retractable hose. Do you want a laundry that always looks tidy? Then save space for pull-out laundry hampers and plenty of storage. 

The appliances you choose can also impact your laundry’s layout, says Lana. “We love a front loader because we prefer how they look and they can also be stacked or placed underneath a bench to save on space.” 

Narrow laundry with l-shaped layout
It may be a narrow space, but this L-shaped laundry has plenty of storage and bench space. Stacking the appliances also helps maximise floor space. A pocket door conceals the laundry and helps to block out noise. ( Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Corina Koch)

3. Style

Finally, think about how you want your laundry to look and feel. “Create a moodboard to ensure that all your laundry elements complement each other,” says Lana.

“Continue to revisit your decisions but don’t actually buy anything until you’ve decided on all elements. 

The basics

Once you’ve settled on a budget, layout and style, it’s time to prioritise the essentials. 

If you’re working in a small laundry and aren’t quite sure what you need to prioritise, think of a European-style laundry, which includes only the absolute essentials. They often include:

  • Vertical space for stacked laundry and dryer units
  • Soaking tub with under-basin storage
  • Upper cabinetry for storing cleaning supplies and linen
  • Exhaust fan
White and marble laundry with tiled terracotta splashback
Selecting simple cabinetry can allow you to splurge on items such as feature tiles and tapware. (Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Jessica Bellef)

Laundry storage solutions

Now it’s time to create order. 

Aside from piles of washing, what else tends to create clutter in the laundry? If, when planning your laundry renovations you don’t make a ‘home’ for things like washing detergent, softeners, stain remover sprays, general cleaning supplies, washing baskets, soaking buckets, clothes hangers, clothes airers – the list goes on, you could end up hating your new laundry just as much as your old one! 

To prevent this from happening, take stock of items you use regularly and take full advantage of both under-cabinet storage and above-cabinet storage. Don’t forget to include a tall storage cupboard (if space permits) for stowing away the ironing board, broom, mop and vacuum cleaner. 

Large combined laundry and mud room with in built storage
This modern country laundry features plenty of storage, which helps the space stay tidy all day, every day. (Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Lighting for laundry renovations

One area of laundry design that is frequently overlooked is lighting. The ideal lighting set up will not only brighten the room, but provide enough task lighting so you can easily spot stains, lint and creases. 

Take your needs into account

It’s one thing to configure a laundry layout based on the space and budget you have available, but there are other things you should take into account when designing your laundry. Raising appliances off the ground, for example, is one way to reduce strain on your back as you tackle the weekly washing.

If you’re keen to get the kids involved in household chores, but they claim they ‘don’t know how to use the washing machine’, smart appliances that have AI-load detection technology can take the guesswork out of selecting a wash setting. 

White and blue Hamptons style laundry
Placing the washer and dryer on a pedestal can reduce strain on your back. (Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Heliconia)

Nice to have in laundry renovations

Feature tiles “Because the laundry is a small room, you can actually get away with adding more design features for less,” says Lana. “Invest in those fabulous feature tiles from Sardinia for your splashback – because it’s such a small area you get more impact.”

Built-in laundry hampers Keep dirty washing out of sight by installing built-in laundry hampers. If you have the room, consider installing two or three for sorting items as you go.

Access outdoors Consider adding an outside door to your laundry if your budget and home layout permits. This will make hanging washing on the line so much easier. A door with a window will also add plenty of natural light to the space.

Drying cupboard If you live in a cooler climate, a drying cupboard could be a fantastic investment. 

Hanging rail Another alternative to a drying cupboard is to install a hanging rail. A good position for a rail is over the laundry sink (to catch any drips from handwashed items). There are also suspended laundry drying racks that can be raised and lowered when required. 

Energy-saving appliances – Investing in energy-saving laundry appliances will save you money in the long run. 

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