You won't even believe the "before" photo. 

By Katie Holdefehr
August 20, 2019

For the past ten years, interior designer and lifestyle blogger Anita Yokota has been struggling with one major household inconvenience: a too-small laundry room. And we use the term "laundry room" loosely—if you scroll down to the before image below, you'll see that the space consisted of a washer and dryer hanging out in the corner of a formerly-cluttered garage. As a designer, Yokota collects quite a bit of furniture and styling props that need storing, so the garage fills up before her annual summer garage sale. This year, the designer and blogger decided to take the yearly clean-out one step further, not just decluttering, but also organizing and decorating her would-be laundry room. 

The result is a beautiful, über-organized laundry room, full of ideas to steal for your own home. Find a few of our favorite ideas, below. To get even more of Yokota's expert design advice, keep an eye out for the big reveal of the living room she designed in the 2019 Real Simple Home, featured in the October issue of Real Simple. 

Anita Yokota

1
The Cluttered "Laundry Room" Before

Before the makeover, there wasn't much of a laundry room to speak of. In fact, Yokota's car was typically parked right in front of the washer and dryer, making the cramped space even tighter. With three kids, laundry was a part of the family's daily routine, but the garage made this chore even more difficult. 

Anita Yokota

2
Laundry Room Reveal

After an epoxy floor makeover, wallpapering the walls, adding a countertop, and finishing it all with decorative accents, it's hard to believe this is the same space. What was once a cold garage now looks like a cozy spot where you wouldn't mind doing a couple loads of laundry. 

Maximize Countertop Space 

One of the most functional additions to the room was the decision to install a porcelain countertop over both the washer and dryer. This provides a clean surface to not only stash detergent and supplies, but also a spot to fold laundry while it's fresh from the dryer. If you have front-loading machines in your laundry room, consider installing a countertop above them. 

Make a Soft Landing Spot

If you know you're going to be standing in your laundry room for potentially long lengths of time, follow Yokota's lead and place a cozy rug underfoot. If you have a washer, dryer, and sink all arranged side-by-side, a long runner is the ideal floor covering. 

Add Wow-Worthy Wallpaper 

Why wallpaper? "It’s the most effective way to transform a space besides paint!" Yokota says. On the hunt for a wallpaper that was playful yet muted, the designer found the perfect match in Rebecca Atwood's Dotted Leaves in Gray-Lilac. The effect is a stunning focal wall that collects compliments, but that the designer won't soon tire of. 

Anita Yokota

3
Install Open Shelving

A once-blank wall now serves a dual purpose: Pretty patterned wallpaper and artwork make the laundry room a more pleasant place to hang out, while open shelving sneaks more storage into the room. To keep the open shelving organized, Yokota stashed linens and laundry supplies in a variety or woven baskets and bowls. To maintain the tidy look, Tokota has a recommendation: edit often! "If you find things collecting dust, then perhaps it doesn't belong on a shelf. Things that go on a shelf are items that you use at least weekly, bi-weekly at most," she says. 

Anita Yokota

4
Upgrade Your Cabinets

To hide essentials under the sink and out-of-sight, Yokota decided to hack an IKEA SEKTION cabinet using on-trend cane (sourced from a local supplier) and stylish brass door knobs. A complete tutorial for the IKEA hack is in the works, so be sure to check back on the designer's blog. In your own laundry room, consider switching out the hardware on the cabinets below the sink—this 5-minute makeover can quickly update the room.

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