Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
A properly designed laundry room is a valuable addition to any home because it can greatly improve the laundry experience. If you don’t have a designated laundry room, but you have some space that can be converted, you can design yours from scratch.
To convert any room to a laundry room, the first step is to create a design that matches the space you intend to use. Next, you can proceed to purchase the materials required and delve into the construction. You may need building permits for this, and you’ll have to hire a plumber and electrician.
In this article, you’ll learn all the important details for converting any room into a laundry room. We’ll cover spaces such as a bathroom or half bath, a bedroom, a garage, a closet, and more.
What You Need When Converting Any Room Into a Laundry Room
Some of the things you need to have (or consider) when converting a room into a laundry room are covered below:
Converting a bedroom or a bathroom into a laundry room is a major home improvement project which will most likely be covered by the legislation in your local building codes. You need to look at a copy of the codes to see the requirements for a permit on the project. The process may involve some inspection and a fee.
You should have a clear view of how you’d like your laundry room to look. Basics like the position of the washing machines and dryers and aesthetics factors like the color of the walls will all be covered under a proper design. You can create a design from scratch or get inspiration from Pinterest and other similar platforms. If you’re not going the DIY route and hiring a contractor, they will provide you with a design.
The Construction Materials
From lumber to doors and flooring materials, you should ensure you gather all the materials you need for the conversion, in line with the dictates of your design. The cost of the project will also be affected by the decisions you make here. Will you go with standard materials all round, or will you go for the highest-end materials with all the whistles and bells? Some of the materials you should expect to spend on when converting any room to a laundry room include:
- Fiberglass for insulation
- Screws and nails
- Electrical fittings and lighting
- Drains, faucets, and pipes
The materials you’ll need for the conversion will also be determined by the room you’re looking at.
Plumber and Electrician Contacts
You’ll need a plumber to link your new laundry room to your water and drainage system. The electrician will install your lighting, sockets, etc. If you can do the job required, check your local laws to ensure you won’t be breaking any rules. In some places, only a certified plumber and electrician can do the job—which means taking the time to find reputable ones.
Washers and dryers are the most important appliances in a laundry room. Do you have these already? The size of the space will play a role in the models you choose to go with. If height is an issue, you can go with a front-loading machine.
If you can’t construct an exterior vent, you can choose a ventless dryer. You can also choose a 2-in-1 washer and dryer machine to save space even further—as long as you’re willing to wait for longer laundry cycles.
Some accessories you’ll need in a laundry room include:
- A sorting system: You need this in your laundry room to save yourself some time on laundry day. It allows you to separate clothes according to their colors.
- A drying rack: If you’ve got the space, the drying rack can hold some of your washed clothes. These come in foldable variants, but there are also designs you can hang from the ceiling.
- A folding board: You’ll need one of these to fold clothes more efficiently and avoid cluttering the space. A rolling folding board also ensures you can transport clothes in bulk to your wardrobe.
As we’ve mentioned above, what you’ll need for the conversion will vary from one room to another. However, some of the things we’ve mentioned above, like the building permits and design, are almost always given. As we go through the different conversions below, we’ll assume you already have these in place.
How To Convert a Bathroom or Half Bath Into a Laundry Room
If you have an extra bathroom or a half bath, converting it to a laundry room is a good idea. This is especially true where the bathroom is next to a kitchen. However, you should weigh your options before losing the bathroom. How will it affect the value of your home? Do you have other bathrooms that are accessible to guests? If you are sure converting a bathroom or half bath is the best decision, here’s what you should do:
Uninstall the Bathtub and Toilet Seat
This is the first step of the process. You need to uninstall the toilet seat and bathtub to open up the space for conversion. Carefully remove them from the floor to avoid cracks in the materials or damage to the floor. The process should be straightforward if they are held down with screws.
If the bathroom’s flooring isn’t ideal for a laundry room, you should consider having the material replaced at this stage. Ceramic tiles are usually the best fit, but you can also choose to go with vinyl or any other type of flooring popularly used in laundry rooms.
Clear Out the Space and Clean
If you’ve got lots of clutter in the space, you should take them out to free up the space even further and clean it out thoroughly. Removing the clutter will also allow you to see any damaged portions of the floor or wall that may need special attention. If you find such concerns, they should be sorted before you continue the project.
Bring In Your Washer and Dryer and Hook Them Up
Once the bathroom has been cleared out, it’s time to bring in the major appliances. You’ll need a plumber to ensure the washer and dryer are connected to the water mains and drainage. The plumber can also help you create a vent for the dryer, install a laundry room sink, and ensure a good flow.
Add the Finishing Touches and Bring In Accessories
If your bathroom doesn’t have enough natural light, you’ll need to install accent lights to brighten up the space. You may also need to install more sockets and fittings for your appliances. An electrician can get it all done in less than an hour.
Does the wall need refreshing? You can get a can of paint to freshen up the wall. A light color is usually the best fit for a laundry room. With the painting done, it is time to bring in other accessories like folding boards, drying racks, cabinets, etc., to get your new laundry room ready to go.
How To Convert a Porch Into a Laundry Room
A porch is an excellent space to convert into a laundry room. Windows will help you harness the natural light, but you’ll need adequate insulation to ensure your water pipes and appliances don’t freeze in the winter. Converting your porch can save you time and money because you don’t need to create a new foundation or pay for roofing. Here’s what you should do:
Check the Foundation
You need to closely evaluate the current foundation to ensure it is structurally sound enough to serve as your laundry room. If the foundation is made of cinder block, you should confirm that there are no cracks in it. You should also ensure the foundation can take water lines and drains if you intend to have these channeled underneath. If this is your intention, you’ll need to confirm that the framing is airtight so that it won’t freeze.
Construct the Frame
The first stage of the construction is to use 2×4 lumbers to build the room beneath the porch roof. During this stage, you’ll need to build studs ensuring 16-inch centers. You’ll also make space in the framing for windows and an external door. This stage of this process is easy DIY work if you’ve got the right tools.
Fix the Plumbing
Hire a qualified plumber to do the work required to connect your piping system to the new laundry room created on your porch. This stage may be a tad difficult if your toilets and the kitchen are far off. The plumber may choose a surface installation if an underground connection is too costly.
Insulating the pipes in the laundry area is important, so you should consider wrapping them using heat tape. These don’t consume a lot of electricity and can save you from costly expenses.
Finish the Exterior
With the frame construction done, it’s time for you to finish the exterior window spaces and walls. The framed openings for windows can be filled with pre-made windows, using some 3-inch stainless steel screws. The door can also be a pre-made door secured with a heavy-duty deadbolt. You may also need to paint the exterior to match the look and feel of your home.
Finish the Interior
You’ll need to install fiberglass insulation in the room. Staple the fiberglass rolls between the overhead rafters and the studs. Get a qualified electrician to fix your lights and electrical outlets. The wiring will run through the framing board. If you can do the job, you can pay a professional for inspection to save costs. With the plumbing and electrical work done, you should nail drywall on the insides, finishing the installation using a joint compound.
Apply the Finishing Touches
You can paint the laundry room’s interior using semi-gloss latex paint and install ceramic tiles on the floor before bringing in your laundry room appliances. You should also consider installing cabinets for your supplies and shelves to hold laundry items—or your houseplants if you had them on the porch before. A laundry room sink allows you to use the space like a mudroom.
How To Convert a Garage Into a Laundry Room
Converting your garage to a laundry room is an excellent way to put the space in your garage to good use. With this approach, your laundry room can be as big as you want it without converting a more useful space within your home. Here’s what you should do.
Clear Out the Clutter
A garage is a clutter magnet. It’s where items go to disappear. This is worse when the garage is largely unused, and you have converted it to a storage shed. The first step to converting it to a laundry room is to take out everything.
This allows you to look at everything you’ve stored in the space to see what needs to be disposed of and what you can sell in a garage sale to generate some money that can go towards this project. The items that remain can be better arranged in the corner of your garage when you’re done.
Examine the Environment
The floors and walls of your garage may not be in the best condition after years of neglect. Even when you’re not worried about the aesthetics, you still need to look around to ensure there are no structural issues to be worried about. Are there cracks in the concrete floors? You have to repair the cracks and seal the floor against the inevitable spill from laundry sessions. Once all repairs are done, move to the next stage.
Clean the Space
After all, repairs have been completed; it’s time to clean up thoroughly. If you want to improve the garage’s look with some paint, this is the time to get it done. If you are adding vinyl or other flooring types over the concrete, it should come after you’ve cleaned the existing floor properly.
Connect the Garage to the HVAC
If you don’t intend to spend much time in the laundry room when you’re done, then the climate inside it shouldn’t be much of a problem. Otherwise, you need to call in a professional to ensure adequate climate control in the space and also protect the walls and floors from the moisture generated during the laundry process.
Your garage will be hotter or colder than your home on average without proper climate control, and the air quality will be a lot worse on average. The HVAC professional will most likely extend your heating and cooling systems to the garage after properly insulating the space—including the garage door. They may also recommend a dehumidifier, which will keep the air dry when you’re using the room in hot weather.
Start Your Construction
This stage of the process isn’t really necessary as you can decide to set up your laundry equipment in the corner of the garage without building an actual room for the purpose. However, if the garage is to be used for other purposes (such as a home gym) alongside the laundry, it may be a good idea to create a special room.
You’ll need some lumber and pre-made windows and doors. The construction process is a lot similar to what we’ve described above for other spaces. You just need to draw up a plan that accommodates everything that makes up the room, including your appliances, shelves, folding tables, hanging rack, ironing board, etc.
With the plan and materials on hand, the next step is to measure, cut, and construct. An important tip here is to set up on the side of the garage closest to your plumbing. This means near the wall next to the kitchen or a bathroom, to make the plumbing process far less demanding.
Install the Lighting and Fittings
Your handheld lamp will not work great when you have to scrub off stains. A garage doesn’t have windows, so you need to install some lighting to ensure the space is properly illuminated when you’re in the room. You’ll need an electrician to connect the lights neatly.
Consider going with an automated motion-based system so you won’t have to grope in the dark for the switch when you’re holding lots of clothes. While at it, the electrician should connect multiple outlets for all your appliances.
Install the Appliances
With everything ready, it’s time to bring your washer, dryer, and everything else you’d like to see in the laundry room. If you have mapped out adequate space as you should, then your choice of washers will come down to preference only. This is another reason why your design stage should take everything into account.
Once your appliances are installed, do a test laundry to ensure everything checks out. If you find a fault, such as with the plumbing, you can call in the plumber again. If there are no such issues, however, your laundry room is ready to go.
How To Convert a Closet Into a Laundry Room
Do you have a sizable closet that you’d like to convert into a laundry room? You can complete the conversion on your own easily as you don’t need to tear up or demolish any large structures. However, just as we’ve seen in other cases above, you’ll need to hire a licensed plumber or electrician at some stage of the project. These trades will take care of the most difficult work, but everything else isn’t challenging. Here’s what you should do:
Choose the Right Closet
If you have two closets, you should choose the one nearest to the kitchen or the bathroom for the reasons we’ve talked about above—nearness to your existing plumbing and electrical architecture. If the closet is also conveniently located in relation to your bedroom, the choice makes even more sense. Still, you should prioritize nearness to your plumbing systems to reduce the overall cost of the project.
Get the Dimensions
Before you start the project, you should first confirm that the space can indeed take your washer and dryer. If you don’t own these already, the measurements should guide you when purchasing new ones. For existing appliances that don’t fit, however, you should consider selling them or swapping them (if you can find such a deal) for models that will fit the space. You should also remember to consider going with a washer and dryer combo.
Clear Out the Closet
If your initial measurements show that the closet has adequate room, it is time for you to clear out everything inside. Remove shelves, drawers, and anything else that may be in the way, and you’ll have a bit more space for your appliances and other laundry-related accessories you may want to bring in.
Install the Plumbing Bits and Floor Protection
Call in the plumber to connect the water supply to the space and also create a drain line. Depending on the configuration of your existing system, the plumber could recommend some changes to the overall configuration. This will increase the cost of the project, but it is also the only way to ensure the space works in the first place.
The machines working and potential leaks can damage your flooring. You should consider installing more sturdy protection on the floor to prevent damage. Rubber flooring material installed at a slightly slanted angle will ensure leaks don’t go past the closet before the water is sucked down the drain. Your plumber can also help here.
Install the Power Outlet
Even if the closet had outlets originally, you should call in a licensed electrician to go over the connection again to ensure it can power the appliances. Install new outlets that have the latest safety ratings to prevent quick burnout.
Install a Vent
Where possible, you should install a vent to minimize the heat generated by the appliances when working and keep the dryer air away from the home. If this isn’t realistic, you need to find other ways to keep the room cool while doing laundry, such as turning on your exhaust fans, leaving doors open when washing, etc.
How To Convert a Bedroom Into a Laundry Room
If you have a spare bedroom, converting it to a laundry room might be an excellent decision. However, just as is the case with the bathroom, you need to ensure your home’s value won’t be affected negatively if you lose the room. If you’re sure that it is the right idea, you can proceed with the conversion. Here’s what you should do:
Clear Out the Room
Clearing out the space is the first step in this project. This will allow you a clearer view of what you’re working with. If you’ve not used the room in a while, there could be a few repairs to be done. Are the walls dirty or flakey? Has the floor chipped in some corners? Go over everything to be sure the room is in the right shape.
Touch Up the Space
If the room hasn’t been used for a while, you’d likely find some aesthetic concerns. This is the time to do repairs, change the flooring (if necessary) and paint the room. The flooring is an important consideration because standard bedroom floors are not equipped to handle washers and dryers, and moisture common in a laundry room. Consider changing the flooring to a more accommodating material.
Get the Plumber
The bulk of the work in this conversion happens in the plumbing stage. If the bedroom has a bathroom or half bath, the process won’t take too long as the plumber can easily run water lines and drains. If there is no nearby bathroom or kitchen, he may have to dig up the floor. In this case, you should complete this stage before the previous one.
Install the Electrical Outlets
Your bedroom may have an old wall socket. This won’t be enough to power your appliances. Call in an electrician to install more powerful outlets. You’ll also need to install adequate lighting in the room, to help on days when you have to do laundry late at night. During the day, the natural lighting from the bedroom windows will suffice.
Install the Vent
You can leave your bedroom window open when using the room, but if it is insulated and you live in an area where the weather doesn’t allow for open windows, you’ll need a vent going from the bedroom to the outside. Don’t leave the vent in the attic as the warm, lint-laden, and moist dryer exhaust fumes should go outside to avoid having toxic fumes circulating in your home.
Your plumber or HVAC expert can help here. When the vent is installed, test it by turning on the dryer and checking for an open flap on the exterior channel.
Converting any space in your home to a laundry room is often a straightforward project. If you have any of the spaces we’ve discussed thus far, you can follow the recommendations to make it the perfect laundry room.
Remember, the bulk of the project can be completed using the DIY approach, but you will most certainly be bound by law to use a licensed plumber and electrician for plumbing and electrical tasks.
- Money Pit: How to Convert Spare Bedroom Into Laundry Room
- Houzz: Convert bedroom to laundry room?
- Brick Underground: Will converting my half-bath into a laundry room hurt my resale value?
- Chris Loves Julia: BEFORE AND AFTER: A BATHROOM TURNED LAUNDRY ROOM
- The Spruce: Finding a Space for a Home Laundry Area
- Washington Post: What to think about before building a home laundry room
- This Old House: How to Design a Laundry Room
- Junk Garbage Removal: How to Convert a Closet into a Laundry Room
- The Good Stuff: How to Build the Perfect Laundry Room
- The Little By Little Home: Our Half Bath and Laundry Room Makeover
- E How: How do I Enclose a Porch for a Laundry Room?
- Coastal Garage Doors: How to Build a Garage Laundry Room
- Bob Vila: How to Make Any Room Into a Laundry Room
Share this Post