Don't take it from us. Take it from this real-life renovation. 

Tile is a pretty and practical choice for the light-filled laundry room. For interest on the walls, Phoebe used two colors of the same small mosaic tile (Straight Chisai; annsacks.com) in wide stripes.

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Just search Pinterest for “Laundry Room Organization,” and you could virtually scroll forever through the pins touting stacked machines, DIY countertops, detergent dispensers, and hidden cabinets. There’s no shortage of advice on how to make the most of an already hard-working space. So if you’re looking to update a laundry room—whether via a full-on renovation or just a light ousting of some lint covered dust bunnies—don’t take it from us, take it from someone who built their dream laundry room.

Cheri Gowen (laundry room genius and mother to our senior home and garden editor) meticulously mapped out her dream laundry room. When she renovated her 8-by-9-foot laundry room, she didn’t just swap out the machines and roll some new paint on the walls. She measured, plotted, and made the space into a high-functioning “mini multipurpose room.” She swapped a bulky door for a space-saving pocket door, maxed out her storage, and most importantly, made the small room (that used to be more of a closet, she says) work for very specifically for her. If you’re renovating a laundry room, there’s a lot of advice on how to get the most out of it. Here, Gowen shares a few tips you may not have found yet on Pinterest:

1. Get the front-loading, side-by-side machines with the pedestal.

Always go for the pedestal storage (Gowen keeps spare paper towel rolls in one; she says it’s the perfect fit.) and the front-loading option to avoid unnecessary and repetitive bending. “No lifting,” Gowen says. “That is to die for.” Her other piece of advice when it comes to machines? Do your research in advance and get a powerful washer. “You’re either going to pay to get a better washer with powerful spin, or you’re going to pay in power bills, drying it so many times.”

2. Never underestimate the usefulness of well-placed outlets.

Gowen doesn’t call her laundry room, well, a “laundry room.” Instead it’s her own personal “mini multi-purpose room.” In addition to serving as a laundry room, storage space, and mudroom, she has a small desk set up. She has outlets below the counter where unsightly, tangle-prone computer cords can be plugged in underneath, out of sight. But she also had an outlet installed above the counter, for easy charging of small devices and electronics.

3. Plan for the small stuff.

Extra storage is always a good thing. But Gowen advises on how to really capitalize on storage space. “One thing to take into consideration, as far as space goes, is chemicals and cleaning products," she says. "Some are on the taller side, so you’ll need a higher height between shelves so heavy bottles don't end up on the top shelf.” No matter how inconsequential or disposable the item, measure it beforehand.

WATCH: How to Make All-Natural Laundry Detergent

Gowen’s only regret? No room for an “old-fashioned” fold-down ironing board. “If I could’ve changed anything, I would’ve had space to have an ironing board come down,” she says. “I grew up with that and it’s just the dream.”

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