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Moving the washer and dryer upstairs, out of the basement

With careful measuring and planning, you can convert

With careful measuring and planning, you can convert a large closet into a small laundry room. Photo Credit: Dreamstime

If there’s one thing that seems luxurious, it’s those beautiful laundry rooms on home decorating websites and in magazines. All that space for taking care of laundry efficiently and attractively is so enticing, especially if you’re doing laundry in the garage or basement or, worse, having to drive to a Laundromat. But a laundry area is not out of the question for most homeowners. If you have a closet at least 28 inches wide, you could have yourself a laundry room in just a weekend.

Closet requirements

A closet-to-laundry room conversion relies on a few important items, namely space and access to water lines. You’ll need to measure that a washer and dryer will actually fit in your closet. This means you’ll need the width and height to accommodate your appliances. Depending on the washer and dryer you choose, the width of the closet will need to be at least 25 to 30 inches. The height should be at least 70 to 75 inches to accommodate a stacking washer and dryer. If your closet is wide and you plan to use side-by-side units, the height won’t be as much of a concern.


The next consideration is access to water lines. If your closet is on the other side of a bathroom, your plumber will be able to access those lines for your washer. You’ll need to check with local building codes, which your plumber should be able to make you aware of, to ensure that the closet chosen will work for you and comply with building codes.

If your closet is near an exterior wall, you may be able to vent a dryer exhaust outdoors. For interior closets, you may need to check other venting options or buy a ventless dryer. Choosing a ventless dryer will require additional ventilation of the closet doors, such as louvered doors or large plantation shutter doors.

Electricity is another requirement for both the washer and dryer. An electrician will be able to add plugs into your closet and install the correct lines for you. If your dryer is electric, it will require a 220 electric line. If the closet doesn’t have any lighting, this is the time to add a fixture in the ceiling or on the wall. After this is all done, it’s time to think about outfitting your closet to start doing laundry.

Finishing touches

Because your washer will be indoors, adding a washer pan to protect floors from any water drips is a wise choice. You’ll also need storage for detergent and other laundry supplies. A simple shelf unit is a good option. Try to find one to fit your width and depth as closely as possible to give it a custom, built-in look. Leave one large open shelf to hold a laundry basket.

For wide closets, add shelves on the side if there’s room; if not, add shelves overhead. A nice touch is to add a countertop over the washer and dryer. This makes a great spot for holding your laundry baskets and for folding clothes.


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