Laundry Room Shelf Ideas: The Only 5 Types You (Actually) Need to Know About!

When you have a laundry space, getting a laundry room shelf seems to be the #1 thing people start looking for.

However, DON’T BUY THAT SHELF until you can answer the following questions!😆

  1. Is it just one shelf you want (or more than one)?
  2. Do you know what depth is ideal for your situation?
  3. What exactly do you want to keep on those shelves…
  4. …and do you have a list of their measurements?
  5. Have you figured out exactly how high your first shelf should be?

…and so many more questions you need to answer before buying a thing!

I’m not only a Design Architect; I run an interior design business with my Build Engineer husband and today we’re giving you the only 5 types of laundry room shelf you actually need to know about and choose from!

So let’s figure out the one ideal shelf setup for you!😍

Wood Shelves for laundry room

#5: Floating Laundry Room Shelf (most common)!

floating wood laundry room shelf for laundry room with glass jars and towels
We created this simple design with floating laundry shelves above, as well as a shelf directly above the washer & dryer, which may be the most useful “shelf” of all in this small space!

A floating laundry shelf is probably the #1 type of shelf I see people do in their laundry room, but I’m putting it as #5 because…

…I’ve shared before about my aversion to open shelving and why. 😉

However, there is also something to be said about open shelving in a laundry room, so I can tell you three positives about this option!

  1. Because it’s not a cabinet you have to open, you can grab what you need immediately.
  2. If you’re storing things you use daily (or almost daily) on the shelves, I can get on board with them for efficiency’s sake.😉
  3. They’re cost-effective and easy to install. I get it! 🙂
two wood and metal shelf ideas above a washer and dryer, with baskets, glass jars and towels

Especially if you have a small, narrow laundry room (and you want it dark, as our below client did), open shelving can help give some breathing room to your space!

simple wood floating laundry room shelves above wood counter shelf above washer and dryers

My other thoughts:

  • Make sure they’re the right depth! (Deeper than most!) Laundry machines are deep and standard shelves are literally a pain to your body to reach.
  • If your laundry room isn’t on display, and it’s in a back area you don’t see from the rest of the house, open shelving here is less distracting.
  • Especially if you are focusing on your laundry room not being over-decorated, I salute you and give you approval if open shelving is what you want! But please do read about your other options below…🤗

WOOD SHELVES FOR LAUNDRY ROOM

Similar Styles to “Pure” Floating Shelves!

If you do decide you want to go with a hanging shelf (or shelves) above your washing machine, you do have some stylistic options that vary from a “pure” floating shelf!

#1: Shelf with Brackets

wood laundry shelf with wood supports, with baskets and glass jar organizers

If you can’t do “purely” floating shelves, you can add brackets below each shelf either out of wood…

laundry room shelf with baskets and supplies in jars

Or you could choose shelves with metal brackets if you don’t dig the wood ones…

(I share a number of gorgeous metal + wood options further below!)

two over the washer shelf ideas, wood with metal brackets, baskets and mason jars holding detergent and laundry supplies

#2: Laundry Room Shelf With Hanging Rod!

One of my favorite ideas to suggest (if you love the open shelf look) is to incorporate a wood or metal rod mounted below your hanging shelf.

laundry room shelf with hanging rod, wood butcher block countertop over washer

Whether your laundry room is small or large, incorporating a hanging rod is one of the #1 requirements for people who’re in the habit of hanging hanging all or certain items!

blue and white laundry room with open shelving above washer dryer with hanging rod made of metal, towels and bronze accents, farmhouse sink and window

Even if you can’t find a pre-created laundry room shelf with hanging rod, you can add one yourself! DIY at its finest!😄

laundry room shelf with hanging rod, wood and gold metal
An inspirational concept we created for those who want to keep it super simple! 🙂

You can pre-buy this and this one.

#3: adjustable Laundry Room Shelf

While this isn’t necessarily my favorite option, if

a) you’re not sure what height(s) you want, and/or

b) being able to adjust your shelves is important to you functionally…

wire and wood laundry basket shelf ideas with metal baskets and towels, adjustable wire shelves

…I have to mention that you have this option open to you!

You’ll simply mount metal tracks to your wall, then your shelves can pop in and out of them depending on the heights you want as you use them and decide what you like best! 😊

Laundry shelf

#4: The Freestanding Options!

Ideal for renters or those of us who just aren’t sure about doing something permanent to our walls at this point in time), a freestanding laundry shelf is a fantastic option!

I also like this if you’re in a testing period for your laundry room, seeing what works and what doesn’t!

This could be a cabinet rack that fits over the top, or something like this that can be stored right to the side!

If you can’t find anything you like, creating your own DIY design (like the below) with some simple wood pieced together is another clean, simple idea!

freestanding wood shelving unit over washing machine, green wall and green washer

laundry room shelf ideas

#3: Built-in Laundry Room Shelf!

What I love about built-in laundry room shelves is they can be just as simple as the floating shelf idea people generally think of…

…but it’s immediately upscaled because of the relatively tiny extra effort of making it look built in!

For example, the below is the simplest laundry room shelf with a built-in look that you could do so simply! (Plus, if you have anything loose stored in them, you don’t have the risk of it falling off the left side into your sink!)

white laundry room with open shelving ideas, laundry baskets, towels, and glass jar organizers above washer and dryer

Below is another example, the only difference being the thicker shelves and incorporating molding (if you like a more substantial look than the above)! I’m the Queen of Design Ideas and there are so many options that I want you to be aware of! 🤗

open shelving above washer and dryer in cream and pink laundry room

If you have high ceilings and want to fill your wall space with all your glorious laundry room shelf ideas, while keeping it simple, here’s how it could look! (I’d add a library-style ladder as well, as I’ve done for clients before!)

white laundry room with herringbone wood floors, double washer and dryer with open shelving ideas full of baskets and towels, with window

If building your own shelves seems too daunting, why not get creative and use wall cubes? I created the below concept to show you how this could look upscaled while being something you could so easily get from here!

white laundry room with white herringbone backsplash tile and cube shelf to each side of a window, and a sink with wall faucet
Is a wall faucet for you? (I recommend it!)

Pre-made cubes like these come in all kinds of finishes these days, from classic white to natural woods…

natural wood and beige colored laundry room with open cube shelving above sink and washer dryer

This 3D minimal design concept below I created to show you how you can keep thinking outside the box—your built-in shelves can be any size, any height, and any configuration! (We’ll talk about sizing below!)

Here, the warm wood ties into the warmth of the cabinets and floor (and helps warm up those “cold” white machines, which I talk about in our #1 easy laundry room decor tip).

white and wood laundry room, modern and sleek with washer and dryer, white tile backsplash in herringbone pattern, and open wood shelves above with towels and laundry baskets

Before we move onto the next type of “hidden” laundry room shelf you can do, I want to show you another concept I created for a moody-design-loving client with a small laundry room. This is like simple open shelving but not your everyday open shelves! With the simple addition of a metal accent, extra support is provided as well as some design flair and tying into the other metal accents in the room.

navy or dark blue laundry room with wood and metal laundry room shelf
Another dark laundry room shelf design concept but this time incorporating metal!

Clearly, you do NOT have to stick with boring shelves in your laundry room if you don’t want to, but regardless of your preference, let’s get back to the list with the #2 functional shelf I recommend!

laundry shelf ideas

#2: In-Cabinet (Hidden)

What I like about shelves hidden behind cabinet doors is simple:

  • Zero visual clutter.
  • Never worry about having to make your laundry supplies “pretty” or on display.
  • Automatically looks clean, organized and pulled together!😍

Here, we incorporated both upper shelving and a cabinet for hiding miscellaneous/busy items. (I’d mount a hanging rod in that open space as well, even though it’s not installed yet in this pic.)

cream and pink laundry room with cabinets and open shelf with towels above, and space for a hanging rod

Laundry room shelf ideas

“How do I organize my laundry room without cabinets?”

How do you organize your laundry room without cabinets?  I’m so glad you asked! 🙂

Because that’s exactly what we did in our home!  (You can see it HERE.)

white laundry room wall cabinet with pull out shelves, drawers, hooks and laundry baskets above washer and dryer
woven laundry baskets above white washer and dryer

laundry basket shelves

#1: Pull Out Shelves!

My #1 recommendation to you is not to do simple standing shelves but to make them pull out on slides like these!

Why?

sliding pull-out shelves in laundry room with towels folded
Do these look like typical laundry room shelves to the average viewer? (They’re not!)

Pull-out shelves will maximize your storage and functionality in extra-deep spaces (which is typical when you’re wanting to store things the same depth as modern washers and dryers)!

You can see how we did ours HERE!

pull-out laundry room shelf with detergent, essential oil and vinegar supplies organized

LAUNDRY ROOM OPEN SHELVING IDEAS

“How do I add shelves to my laundry room?”

The simplest way is to add freestanding shelves you don’t have to attach to your wall!

The next easiest way is to do a French cleat for your shelves. (You can see how to do this here.)

The third way is to screw the shelves directly into your wall. You’ll want to locate your wall studs with a stud finder (or even a small magnet, the old-fashioned way that’s making a comeback!) in the area you’ll be installing them, since this will provide much more support than installing directly into your drywall.

Make sure they’re level! A leveler is the best way to do this, or if you want to go really low-tech, try setting a ball or cylinder-shape object on your shelf and see if it stays put!  If it moves, you’ll be able to tell which way your shelf is tilting and adjust accordingly!

LAUNDRY ROOM OPEN SHELVING IDEAS

“Can I add shelves if I have a window?”

Yes! Even if you’re working with a window in your laundry room, you can do simple built-in shelves to each side…

built-in shelves above washer and dryer in laundry room with white tile backsplash and herringbone wood floors

or just run it right across your window like we did here!

wood laundry room shelf mounted over window above a wood shelf installed above the washer and dryer

You can also work around your window and fit the shelves in where you can, on the wall perpendicular to the window, or in a corner!

simple white shelves in corner of laundry room above white washer and dryer and white countertop
No space is too small! A laundry room shelf can fit anywhere you have even a foot of space! 🙂
simple white and wood wall shelves for laundry room with window and sink

laundry CLOSET SHELF IDEA

“What about shelves in a laundry closet?”

If you have a closet, consider stacking your washer-dryer and putting more easily-accessible shelves to the side…

stacked washer and dryer in closet with vertical side shelves, white

…but stacking washers and dryers is another topic for another day! 🙂

wood shelves for laundry room

“What do you put on floating shelves in a laundry room?”

floating wood shelves in laundry room above washer and dryer with organized glass jars and a basket

Personally, I’m always going for function first! 🙂  And then, if I have space to spare, I’ll go with some décor.  I have ideas for that in my post on laundry room décor!

For function, think about what you use most (and can access easiest!).  This could be:

  • Laundry detergent or pods
  • Dryer balls
  • Fabric softener (see below for hiding these things in prettier containers than the standard plastic they usually come in!)
  • Stain removers
  • Dryer sheets
  • Lint rollers
  • Clothespins
  • Scented sachets
  • Sewing supplies
  • Extra bulk supplies (see below for hiding these things)
  • Extra cleaning supplies
  • Container for lost items (random coins, receipts, etc found in pockets…rocks and shells if you have kids 🙂 haha)
  • Pretty containers holding the above!
  • Baskets full of the above!
laundry room wall with shelf above and below for baskets, pull-out shelves on side for supplies, white with seagrass rug on wood floor

You can see in our laundry room that we used our upper shelves for our laundry basket storage! I found this the easiest for me both ergonomically, and I love the aesthetics of the baskets instead of seeing my laundry supplies!

(I kept my laundry supplies “hidden” in pull-out shelves to the left, as well as “hidden” in drawers underneath that as well!

laundry shelf ideas

“How deep should a laundry room shelf be?”

wood laundry room shelf above washer and dryer with towels in white room

People often ask “What is the best depth for storage shelves” and this is where—as a designer—I really make my clients THINK FIRST!

I make them first prioritize what they use and where they’re going to keep it in the laundry room design, as well as frequency of use and their reach (this is not solely based on your height!). 

The quick answer is “Anywhere from 10”-30!”

For example, if you’re putting something larger—like laundry room baskets stored the long way back—you’ll want them to be more in the 20-30” range depending on your setup!

If, however, you just want simple laundry room shelves that will fit standard containers, it’s usually about 10-14” depth.

blue laundry room shelves and cabinets with white herringbone tile and wood floors

Get your strategy and storage planned out AHEAD of time—and then you’ll be able to answer this question (“How deep should my laundry room shelf be?”) 100% perfectly for YOU and your needs!

We designed THIS for our washer and dryer, ideally suited for my height and reach!

woman pulling laundry out into basket on raised shelf below dryer

Laundry room shelf ideas

“How do I organize my laundry room without cabinets?”

Here are more ideas for ways to organize without cabinets!

  • Baskets
  • Floating shelves or open shelving units
  • Wall hooks
  • Pegboards
  • Tension rods (I love how easy, flexible and non-permanent these can be in a space!)
  • Rolling carts
  • Under-shelf baskets (these can hook underneath or slide in!)
  • Drawer dividers (get our DIY plans for these and achieve instant organization!)
  • Vertical space or over-door organizers
  • Ladder shelf
  • Wall fold-downs for hanging, drying, or even a more accessible shelf for folding!
folding white laundry shelf with towels

Next…

We have 15+ FREE laundry lists, tips & hacks for you!👇

  1. Raised Washer & Dryer: The Genius Hack No One Tells You About!
  2. Our (Secret) Folding Ironing Board Hack!
  3. Get Our Laundry Room Shelf & Cabinet Plans!
  4. Shelf Esteem: The Only 3 Laundry Room Shelves You Need!
  5. Our Laundry Room: The Complete List of Organization, Storage & Design ideas!

PS: You can see all our house projects here! 

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