2021 Ultimate Guide to Laundry Room Cabinets
Laundry is a chore. Few people love to do laundry, and even those that do find that it can be a time consuming and often frustrating experience.
But for so many homeowners, the problem becomes even worse when the laundry room itself is not designed to your usage patterns and design preferences. Many laundry rooms are dark, cramped, and without decoration. The layout of the laundry room can also be hard to navigate and messy. Even if you have a modern laundry room with built-in cabinets, the cabinets might not fit with the way your family uses your laundry room.
Remodeling your laundry room with custom cabinets is the ultimate way to make your laundry room a space you enjoy using. Custom cabinets also open up a world of options. They allow you to:
- Transform a small laundry room into an optimized storage space.
- Add features that let your laundry room double as a mudroom, pantry, or sewing room.
- Create a beautiful space that makes household chores more of a pleasure.
All these available options and design choices can leave you wondering where to start with a laundry room remodel. MacLaren Kitchen and Bath is a design, fabrication, and installation company in Southeastern Pennsylvania. We specialize in custom cabinets and countertops, including those for laundry rooms.
At MacLaren, we offer a showroom containing over 10,000 square feet of cabinetry and laundry room inspiration. We also have a design center with a talented team to assist clients from start to finish in the renovation process. Our designers are experts in customizing cabinets to fit laundry rooms of every size and function, and the preferences of each client. They also know what is currently in style and how to choose the right trends while keeping your space personalized to you.
As you begin planning a laundry room renovation in your home, this ultimate guide to cabinets provides all the information you need. We talk about what to expect from the design process, the pros and cons of DIY versus partnering with a designer, and the trending design options for 2021. Read on to find out how to transform your laundry room into an efficient and beautiful space with custom cabinets.
Are Laundry Room Cabinets the Same as Kitchen Cabinets?
Cabinets are the go to solution for storage in any space in your home. You probably already have kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets.
In a laundry room, cabinets have the same function as in the kitchen. They expand your functional spaces and increase your storage. Cabinets also serve an aesthetic purpose, anchoring your washer and dryer and making the laundry room more polished while also personalizing your space.
Besides their placement in different rooms and the occasionally different choices in style, kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets are otherwise the same. They use the same basic cabinet boxes:
- Base Cabinets – Base cabinets sit on the floor and provide the base for a countertop. They traditionally have a depth of 24 inches.
- Wall Cabinets – Wall cabinets for a laundry room are wall mounted with a depth of 12 inches to provide headroom for those working below.
- Full Height Base Cabinets – Full height cabinets are the same height as your ceiling or stackable washer and dryer. Like base cabinets, their depth is 24 inches.
Laundry room cabinets combine these different cabinet boxes to create the layout. A designer will make custom cabinets that fit to the space where they are installed whether it is a kitchen or laundry room. Since the average laundry room is smaller than the average kitchen, you and your designer will usually prioritize efficiency and capitalize on layouts that maximize space.
The items you store in your laundry room and the work surfaces you need are also different. Instead of cookware and dishware, you need to organize detergents and irons. You will need folding stations rather than cooktops. To meet these needs, there are laundry room specific features available for custom cabinets such as rails and open shelving that you wouldn’t use in a kitchen.
Another question that homeowners often ask is if laundry room cabinets need to look the same as the kitchen cabinets. Unless your laundry room is part of your kitchen, there is no reason you have to match, and even then there are contrasting and complementary options let you bring two styles into one space.
When your laundry room is separate from the kitchen, there are really no limits to the designs you can choose. Many people will opt for similar styles that fit with the home instead of matching the cabinets exactly. For instance, if they have a modern kitchen, they will also install a modern laundry room, but may use different colors or designs.
If you are installing a new laundry room and kitchen at the same time, or are redoing both simultaneously, using the same cabinets for both rooms is more cost effective. This is why you will often see the same cabinets in new constructions, but this is generally for cost rather than taste.
Steps to Start Designing Your Laundry Room Cabinets
The first choice to make when you get ready to renovate your laundry room is to determine what you will do on your own and what you will hire out. Designing laundry room cabinets is one area we recommend hiring a professional for simply because there is much more that goes into the process than picking out colors and materials.
A professional designer will be able to collaborate with you, providing guidance where you are unsure and ensuring that we take care of every detail. After all, these designers are professionals. Our designers at MacLaren have years of experience in creating custom laundry rooms. Even if you have handled remodels before, they assist with design choices, current trends, and details you might otherwise miss.
To design a new laundry room, you and the designer (if you are using one) will take into account the size and layout of the available space, what storage and usage needs you have, and the appearance you want for your new laundry room.
Measure Space to the Nearest 1/16th Inch
Laundry room cabinets are an option for any size space, including rooms, closets, and washers and dryers that sit out in the open. The cabinets will help you take full advantage of the available space, but need to be designed with the relevant measurements in mind from the beginning. Measuring the space where your cabinets will go, as well as any appliances or other items that will fill the room, is the basis for design and functionality.
Upgrading a laundry room is possible for any size space, but the size will determine if you have space for features like folding counters and dog washing stations or if you need to pursue a space efficient design. The measurements will also help you and your designer optimize the cabinet placement.
Determine Necessary and Optional Functionality
Functionality is one area where laundry room cabinets provide enormous benefits. Many homeowners, particularly those living in older homes or smaller homes, are working with laundry rooms that have limited space and storage. Homes with small or nonexistent laundry rooms may have nothing more than a washer and dryer and a cheap shelf. With the right custom cabinets, a laundry room can be a much more work-friendly space.
The type of functionality you are looking for depends on your family. Storage for detergents and cleaners is often a must for laundry rooms, but you can also add built-in space for laundry hampers, clothes organization, sinks, and air drying. Laundry rooms that double as mud rooms, utility rooms, and closets can have features like work surfaces, benches, and designated storage.
There are many sources of inspiration for the different functionality custom cabinets can provide. We provide some laundry room cabinet ideas below in this guide, or you can browse the internet or speak with your designer. Remodeling a laundry room is the ideal opportunity to craft a space that matches your family’s lifestyle and makes housework easier.
Your next choices will center around the look of your custom cabinets and include options in materials, colors, door fronts, and hardware. Cabinets and shelving are highly visible because they occupy wall space. They will likely be one of the first noticeable elements in your utility room and play a defining role in the overall style. Trending design styles for laundry rooms include:
- Mid-Century Modern
Other design elements in your laundry room will complete the style. In addition to cabinets, paint colors, flooring, countertops, and fixtures will create a cohesive design that matches your preferences. If any of these elements are already in place, the extensive range of choices for customization will let you match the existing style.
Homeowners looking to entirely redo their laundry rooms or building a new room in their home can also work with their designer to simultaneously plan for countertops, fixtures, and other aspects of the laundry room, creating a beautiful and cohesive design.
What You Need to Start a Laundry Room Renovation Project
If you are going to DIY laundry room cabinets, these are the steps you will need to take to plan out your new laundry room. Homeowners working with an independent designer or a member of the design team from MacLaren Kitchen & Bath will have assistance in handling this part of the process, but it is worth knowing what to expect.
Taking Initial Measurements of Your Laundry Room
To go the DIY route with laundry room cabinets, you will need to handle all of the measurements yourself. The process can take about one hour depending on the size of the space. You will need a tape measure to determine:
- Room Dimensions
- Door Placement
- Window Placement
- Plumbing Placement
- Outlet Placement
If you do not already have the appliances you will use, take some time to figure out what washer and dryer you will purchase. You should also consider other fixtures like sinks and steamers that you plan on placing in the laundry room. Custom cabinets work around top loading washers, front loading washers, stacked washer and dryers, and all of your fixtures, but you need to know which you are using for measurements.
Using design paper and a pencil, you can create a diagram of your laundry room with any doors, windows, and outlets marked. You will use this to determine the dimensions and arrangement of your custom cabinets.
You will not need the same precise measurements if you are working with a designer, but it is helpful to have basic measurements of your laundry room or utility space before you arrive at your design appointment.
This includes the square footage of the area, the location of any doors and windows, and about where your washer and dryer are located. Independent designers or our design team at MacLaren can also help you with these measurements if you like. We use your measurements during planning, but measure ourselves before final install.
Choosing Your Cabinet Design
Once you have an idea of your measurements, you can start looking for the type of cabinets you want. You may already have an idea from designs you have seen and liked, or you may be searching for sources of inspiration. The web and hardware sources are great places to start.
Homeowners living near West Chester, PA also benefit by starting their search at our showroom at MacLaren Kitchen and Bath. We have over 10,000 square feet of sample laundry room cabinets and custom cabinet design displays to help you envision what will fit in your home.
A designer can also guide you towards options that match your aesthetic and lifestyle. Many designers will be able to suggest options that might not occur to you otherwise or help you select products that remain in style and retain their value for longer.
Additional Requirements for Starting Your Remodel
There are a few other important things you will need as you begin the process of remodeling your kitchen. These include:
- An Open Mind – Upgrading your laundry room is an exciting change for your home and family. When you come into the process ready to consider options, you are guaranteed to end up with a laundry room you absolutely love.
- Realistic Expectations – Custom built laundry room cabinets give you near endless possibilities, but you are still working with a fixed space, budget, and timeline. This guide will help you know what to expect in terms of design possibilities and the process for renovation.
- Budget Consideration – Any renovation has a cost, even when you work with an affordable cabinet and countertop company. Knowing how much you can spend going in can help your designer make a plan that fits your needs and your budget, and avoids any unforeseen surprises.
It is also important to understand the timeline for each part of the project. Finalizing the design is usually anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, depending on the size of the room. Manufacturing the cabinets takes between 1 week and 10 weeks based on the complexity of the project. Securing required building permits, if necessary, can take around 5 weeks.
The timeline for installation depends on whether you do a DIY installation or hire a professional, and if there are also countertops, appliances, and other fixtures to install. It can take a few hours or a few days.
Since a laundry room is a space that most families use at least once every few days, planning your remodel with this timeline in mind can make the entire process less stressful. If you are working with other contractors to replace flooring or change plumbing, you may not have access to your washer and dryer for a few days. If you are only installing cabinets, there will likely be less interruption.
Types of Laundry Room Cabinets & Countertops
The laundry area in every home is slightly different, as is the way your family uses your laundry room. As you start to plan which types of cabinets and countertops you want to include, think about the space you have and the size and arrangement of your washer and dryer. Careful planning can give you a functional layout, but too many fixtures can be crowded.
Consider also how you use your laundry room. Cabinets and countertops can expand its use from just a place for washing and drying clothes. These are some of our favorite customizations for laundry rooms in Pennsylvania.
Laundry Room Wall Cabinets
Wall cabinets are a standard in most laundry rooms. You can hang them over a washer and dryer or over a countertop to take advantage of vertical storage.
How high you hang and their height depends on your laundry room. Lower hanging wall cabinets make it easy to reach stored items like detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets as you are doing laundry. Another option is to install small wall cabinets over a stacked washer and dryer to utilize every possible space for storage.
Additional accessories for wall cabinets include clothes rails and drying lines. You can have these built into your custom cabinets to provide convenient hanging space next to your washer and dryer.
A laundry room sink provides a convenient space for hand washing clothes or giving something a rinse. Laundry room sink cabinets provide the basis for the sink, offering storage and concealing the plumbing beneath.
You will need a countertop in a complementary tone to surround your sink and many homeowners opt for a backsplash as well to prevent any water droplets from staining the wall behind. These are all design choices you can make in the planning process to personalize your laundry room. If you do not currently have a sink, it is helpful to speak with a plumber first about installation, in case there is anything you need to know.
A folding station is a countertop installed above or next to your dryer that provides a convenient place for folding clothes. Between loads of laundry, it is also a handy workspace for sewing projects, countertop storage, or an attractive display.
The laundry room countertop is customized to your cabinet layout, and has several options for materials and colors. Quartz is a currently trending material for laundry rooms. It is an engineered stone that is impervious to water and bacteria, simple to clean, and extremely durable. Quartz also comes in dozens of colors and patterns, such as solids, veining, striations, and speckled, making it possible to match countertops to your choice of cabinets, backsplashes, and paint.
Natural stones like granite or marble are also classic and each has a one of a kind design that can make your countertop a focal point in your laundry room. Wood countertops are popular at the moment for their clean and natural appearance that makes a laundry room feel airy, but also run the risk of being affected by any leaks or wet clothes.
Because many laundry rooms are smaller – and therefore will have smaller countertops than a kitchen – it is possible to get a higher end material without a significant cost. This lets you add an accent of luxury to elevate a laundry room from a utility room to a welcoming space.
A more affordable option includes solid surface countertops, also known as Corian countertops. This is another manufactured material that comes in an array of colors. Although somewhat prone to scratching, Corian is durable enough for most laundry rooms and a great option if you want to bring in bright colors.
Dog Cleaning Area
Since many laundry rooms also function as a mudroom, an entry way, or as a potential outdoor exit, one fun addition is a dog washing station. This can be done in a few different ways. Usually, a cut out in the cabinets provides room for an elevated tub with low sides and a detachable showerhead, making it convenient to give your dog a quick rinse after she runs through the muddy yard.
Families with four legged companions can also make their laundry rooms more pet friendly by adding cubby holes for dog beds or shelves for food bowls so you can keep your dog close by while doing housework.
Washer and Dryer Built-In
One look we really like is surrounding appliances with cabinets to create a built-in look. We use full height base cabinets on the sides and wall cabinets above a stackable or front loading washing and dryer. The built-in look is professional and clean. It also provides excellent storage by using all available space.
Favorite Colors and Materials for Laundry Room Cabinets
Natural wood will always be an attractive option for cabinets. Wood tones vary from light to deep brown, and stains can give you additional color choices. The lighter woods can give you a rustic space or a bright and natural feeling. Dark wood laundry room cabinets are more traditional and elegant.
While wood is always available, colorful laundry room cabinets are currently more in style. Color offers endless possibilities for customization, and you can paint your cabinets any color. These colors provide stunning laundry rooms and also have lasting appeal should you sell your home in the future:
- White Laundry Room Cabinets – White or cream is the most popular color for laundry rooms at the moment. It is fresh and minimalist, and will make small rooms look larger. You will also have extensive options for brightly colored countertops, backsplashes, and accents.
- Grey Laundry Room Cabinets – Grey cabinets come in many shades and give your laundry room a cool and relaxing appearance. Like white, grey laundry room cabinets are a neutral color that is easy to match with accents.
- Blue Laundry Room Cabinets – Light blue is another on trend color. It is calming and brings in some more dynamic color to your laundry room. For a more adventurous look, darker blues look elegant and sophisticated.
- Silver Laundry Room Cabinets – With stainless steel washers and dryers a popular option, silver cabinets compliment the color nicely, look bright, and improve the lighting of your laundry room.
You can also choose from more adventurous colors. Pastel yellow, pinks, and greens are a great way to bring in vintage style and bright colors can add vibrancy to what might be an otherwise drab and overlooked space. A bold color palette personalizes your laundry room.
A particular trend that is in style in 2021 is mixing colors. Two tone cabinets use one color on the base cabinets and a different color on the wall mounted cabinets for the laundry room, often combining grey or blue and white. Wood accents, interspersed with painted cabinets, are another option to introduce natural elements and visual interest to the laundry room.
When selecting colors, your favorite colors will likely be a key factor in what you choose. But you will also want to consider the size of the space and lighting. Dark colors, particularly when there are no windows to let in sunlight, we make the room seem smaller. Several colors in a small laundry room, including those on the counters, floors, walls, backsplash, and decor as well as the cabinets, can appear cluttered.
Alternatively, bold color choices can make your laundry room seem like a piece of art, elevating it from a utility space to a well considered part of your home. So although we encourage you to select colors you like – this is your custom laundry room, after all – be sure to consider how cabinet colors will interact with natural light and electric light in your laundry room, the size of the space, and other design elements.
Other Stylistic Elements for Your Cabinets
Color is a defining element, but it is only one choice you will make when designing your cabinets. The door and drawer faces are another highly visual component of cabinets that really determine the style of your laundry room.
Door fronts can make your laundry room appear minimalist and clean, warm and traditional, or vintage and welcoming. Door front styles that are popular for laundry room cabinets include:
- Shaker Laundry Room Cabinets
- Raised Panel Laundry Room Cabinets
- Slab Laundry Room Cabinets
- Glass Front Laundry Room Cabinets
- Beadboard Laundry Room Cabinets
Another option for cabinets is open shelving. Shelving provides all the same storage as enclosed cabinets along with functional and stylistic advantages. Open shelving provides easier access to items stored there and makes the room look larger, a true benefit for smaller laundry rooms. The shelving can provide display space, or a storage space for baskets or hampers. They can also be enclosed by curtains for a more vintage look.
The one drawback with open shelving is that all your items will be on display, which can make it difficult to store cleaning supplies and will require extra organization on your part. For this reason, many popular designs incorporate both open shelves and cabinets with coordinating door facings to provide out of sight storage for some items and keep often used items nearby on shelves.
Another door style compatible with most facings is inset. Traditional cabinets have doors that rest on top of the cabinet box frames. Inset laundry room cabinets are flush with the frames, giving them an elegant and low profile appearance. Because inset cabinets must fit perfectly into their cabinet boxes, they require an experienced cabinet maker to craft them and cost a little more, but they are a great option for high end laundry rooms.
One of the final style choices you will make when remodeling a laundry room with custom cabinets is the hardware. Door pulls come in a variety of styles to complement cabinetry designs. You can select from different metals, finishes, and shapes to create elegant, industrial, sleek, or rustic looks.
You can go beyond just the aesthetics and address certain concerns with hardware. For instance, some door pulls are simpler to open than others. You may also want to avoid sharp corners if you have children in the house.
Between the combination of materials, colors, door facings, hardware, and all of the other design features available for laundry room cabinets, it is possible to create the perfect laundry room for your home. You can design one that is more than simply a place for chores by optimizing space and installing attractive fixtures.
But the variety of choices is what makes working with a designer who understands your vision for your renovation so important. Talented designers focus on the details and the big picture. They can help you envision how your material or door facing selection will look after installation and how they will compliment your overall style.
Choosing the right door facings, colors, and hardware is definitely possible for a DIY renovation project. We recommend searching for many examples of any product and style you select in order to get the best idea of what it will look like when the remodel is complete. Opting for semi-custom laundry room cabinets is also a convenient solution. Although you will lose many of the more specialized options, you will know ahead of time how your cabinets will look and benefit from a lower price as well.
Regardless of who is designing your laundry room, this part of the design phase can be one of the most exciting – and most overwhelming – parts of the process. An experienced designer can help you feel confident that you are designing cabinets you will enjoy for years to come, and are making the most of your financial investment in the remodel.
Ordering and Lead Time on Your Project
After the design is rendered and you have chosen the brand for your cabinets, you will sign off on it. This is the finalized design just as it will look in your home after installation. We submit these schematics to the cabinet maker, along with measurements.
Precision is key when ordering custom cabinets. A small missed measurement, and the cabinets will not fit as they should. We confirm that we have all the measurements exactly right to accompany the schematics we send to the cabinet maker. The measurement process will only take an hour or so, but scheduling a time for our specialists at MacLaren to visit your home for the measurements will be part of your lead time.
Cabinet makers fabricate the cabinet boxes, shelves, door fronts, and other features based on your finished design and the measurements we take of your laundry room. The exact timing depends on the schedule of the cabinet brand you chose. At MacLaren, we partner only with brands that have reliably rapid turnaround times. The exact timing will depend on:
- Size of the Laundry Room
- Design Choices
- Cabinet Maker’s Current Schedule
Usually cabinet makers will have custom cabinet orders ready for installation in anywhere from a week to 10 weeks, and we will always provide a timeline estimate before we finalize your design. This lead time also provides us time to get any necessary permits to proceed with the remodeling process.
The next part of the timeline is installation. Like other parts of the cabinetry design process, the specifics here depend on whether you have a professional installer or want to manage the project yourself. The timeline on a DIY install is based on your skills. The timeline for a professional installation will often range from 1 to 3 days, although because laundry rooms tend to be smaller, they are usually finished quickly.
Some factors that impact this installation timeline – beyond the choice between DIY or a professional contractor – is the size and number of cabinets. Mounted wall cabinets also require more time than base cabinets. There will be additional time for laundry room countertops as well. Homeowners working with other contractors for things like plumbing or flooring should expect extra time as well, although at MacLaren Kitchen and Bath, we can adapt our schedule accordingly to align with your other contractors.
In all, the total time from start to finish for laundry room cabinets, not including any other fixtures, is approximately 2 to 10 weeks.
How Much Do Custom Laundry Room Cabinets Cost?
The cost of laundry room cabinets is always difficult to estimate. Some laundry rooms are the size of a small closet, with only one or two cabinets necessary to complete the job. Other laundry rooms are large spaces. Combine that with the many custom cabinetry options, the cost of installation, the inclusion of countertops, and more, and it is difficult to provide an estimate without more details.
DIY cabinet mounting, typically only completed when someone uses DIY cabinets, is going to be the most cost effective option. In a small space, it is possible to buy build-it yourself cabinets for the laundry room for $300 to $500, and install them on your own for what is essentially free. When you’ve added in the trim, the total is typically within that range for a small space, and as much as $2000 for a larger space.
The math is typically about $50 to $200 per linear foot. This does not include countertops.
Professional cabinetry and installation is more expensive, but also typically of a higher quality and capable of maintaining its value for longer. Including installation the cost can vary considerably between $100 and $650 per linear foot. The wide range reflects the vast amount of choices that homeowners have for their laundry room cabinets. There are also more high quality options for professional cabinet design, which adds to the wide range.
Keep in mind that professionally installed cabinetry tends to last longer and maintain its value for longer when you sell the property. Custom laundry room cabinets are often highly valued, especially for large spaces where the cabinetry is becomes a selling point for the home.
There are those that spend under $2,000 for their laundry room cabinets, and those that spend over $30,000, but utilize numerous special features that make the space more usable and are likely to drastically improve the property’s value. Budget is always a factor, but the total cost is going to be based on your specific design preferences. There are ways to create cabinets on a budget, and ways to have the highest quality cabinetry currently available on your property.
Getting Started with a Laundry Room Remodel
Renovating any room in your home can be a daunting project, and a laundry room is no exception no matter what size it is. But a remodeled laundry room makes a more inviting space and increases your home value. An experienced laundry room renovation company like MacLaren Kitchen & Bath makes the process simple for you, letting you design the laundry room of your dreams at a reasonable price.
For homeowners in Southeastern Pennsylvania, contacting MacLaren is the best way to get started with a renovation. We can help you design and price your laundry room remodel. Use our online form to send us an inquiry or call us at (610) 436-5436 to speak with a designer.
Custom Cabinetry FAQs
Because every item is custom, and the prices can very not only between brands, but between styles and complexity, there is no simple way to provide a cost without a consultation. We always provide the lowest cost we can, so please consider coming to visit our showroom.
We can... We mainly provide cabinets, countertops, and backsplash provider. If you have not yet purchased appliances for your kitchen or bath, we can still plan around the appliances you plan to buy or talk to you about options and steps.
Yes! We can talk about this at your consultation.
Part of being a custom cabinetry provider and working with so many custom cabinet manufacturers is that it is rare to request a style of cabinet that we do not have. Even if you do not see the style you would like in our showroom, our designers can partner with you to look through the catalogs we have on hand and see what options may be available to order.
Yes. Countertops are another service we offer to our remodeling clients, in addition to our cabinets. We also provide fabrication of our countertops, and can install them on site when they're ready. Many of our clients appreciate that they can use us as a single stop for their remodel, reducing the number of contractors they need to hire and manage.
Yes! Even though we are a family owned business, we have an amazing team that is always ready to handle any type of project that may come our way.