Steps To Make Your Windowless Laundry Room Brighter

Having a laundry room in your home is a luxury that many people consider a necessity. Even compact condominiums and bungalow-style homes often make space for washer and dryer sets, though they may be squeezed into inconvenient locations. It's common for tight corners and walk-in closets to be remodeled into small laundry spaces, leaving them windowless and poorly lit for daily use. If you're a homeowner facing this predicament, you should know there are many ways to brighten this dark corner of your home.

Aside from the obvious advice to add a set of windows, you can perform other renovations, alter the decor, and make subtle changes to make these rooms look and feel brighter. Keeping a laundry room well-lit is more important than you may realize. You need strategic lighting to sort, wash, and dry laundry while keeping your room organized and efficient. More light can also be helpful in spotting and pre-treating stains. So, here are a few ways to brighten your laundering space so it can be welcoming and functional.

Repaint the walls

Repainting the walls in a windowless laundry room creates the illusion of a brighter atmosphere. Some paint choices work better than others in brightening a space. Obviously, a crisp white is a reliable choice for lightening a space, but you can also go with a creamier shade for a calm feel. Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams tells Better Homes and Gardens, "Often, our laundry rooms can be some of the smallest spaces in our homes that lack natural light. Warm neutrals like Malted Milk SW 6057 and Cargo Pants SW 7738 are perfect for those who want their space to feel light and organized." 

However, if you'd like to lean into a little more color in your laundry space, you can go for a more vibrant shade while still keeping it airy. Pastel blues are a favorite while a sunny yellow can add a little cheer to your laundry routine. Since your laundry room is likely closed off from the rest of the house, it's the perfect chance to play with color to add personality.

Keep in mind that it isn't just the color that's important. Choosing the right paint finish is also crucial. High- and semi-gloss finishes reflect the most light for a brighter feel. Plus, they are more durable finishes, so they'll stand up better in a humid laundry room.

Redo the flooring or add rugs

The flooring's color can also impact your laundry room's overall design, and swapping this out can also help refresh your space. Since the room typically doesn't have significant square footage, a new floor can be a simple, budget-friendly project. Look for durable options without a lot of detail to visually enlighten your room. Engineered wood floors in light shades with subtle grains are a great choice. Sleek, large format tiles in pale shades can also make a space feel bigger, brighter, and give it a clean vibe.

Maybe you already have a dark floor and replacing it isn't an option. If so, you can always lay down an area rug to hide a large part of the dark surface. Choose a pastel, white, or off-white rug or runner that is solid-colored or features a low-key pattern. Avoid complicated patterns and dark hues that can visually dull a space. Rugs designed for indoor and outdoor use work ideally in laundry rooms as they are durable, stain-resistant, and easy to clean.

Change out the door

Your laundry room may not have any windows or natural light, but what about your adjacent rooms? Replacing the laundry room door could provide the solution you need by allowing light in from connected hallways and living spaces. Consider replacing your laundry room door with a glass-windowed design, such as French doors for a brighter, more open feel. You can also opt for one with frosted glass that allows light in while still keeping your laundry room and its contents private.

You can also remove the laundry room door entirely. Leaving an empty archway that leads into your laundry room will provide sufficient light and create a more open space. Plus, you'll eliminate the inconvenience that a traditional swinging door can create in a tight space. If hiding your laundering area is a concern, you can install a curtain that can be easily pulled down to cover the opening when you're hosting guests.

Lighten up any cabinetry

Most home laundry rooms are outfitted with three primary amenities; the washer, dryer, and cabinets or shelving. Contractors often use the same cabinet style throughout an entire house because buying the same design in bulk is more cost-effective. If you have dark cabinetry that carried over from other rooms into the laundry room, opt for a brighter option for a lighter look.

Refinishing your cabinets can be a budget-friendly project that creates a whole new look. Look for paint formulated specifically for cabinetry. You can go with neutral shades like bright white or dove grey or make a statement with a pretty pastel pink or coastal blue. Sand down your current cabinets and apply a primer to lighten the dark surface and help the paint adhere. Then, apply at least two coats of the new lighter color, allowing for full dry time in between. You can add cabinet hardware for a little extra style and to keep your new, brighter cabinets free of fingerprints. 

Hang up mirrors

When a glimmer of light hits a mirror, it is reflected at all angles, spreading energy and brightness around a room. Even if your laundry space doesn't have a window, a mirror can help make the most of the artificial light the room does have. This creates the illusion of a brighter, more open space while adding a thoughtful, stylish look. 

However, it's important to be careful in selecting a mirror as they aren't all ideal for laundry rooms. Keep the typical moisture level of the room in mind and avoid mirrors with delicate materials. Mirrors designed for use in bathrooms will hold up to humid conditions and the toasty temperatures of a laundry room.

If your laundry room is especially small, be mindful of the design you choose as well. If not, you could select a mirror that backfires in your goals. HGTV host Vern Yip explains to Apartment Therapy, "Yes, mirrors are the cheapest way to brighten up a dark room or give the sense of more square footage, but you really have to know how to use them if you're trying to achieve these goals." He recommends using as large of a mirror as possible for the space but keeping the frame sleek and simple.

Invest in glossy appliances

The washer and dryer typically take up a majority of the space in most laundry rooms, and if you're due for a new set, you should look for options that help illuminate your space. When browsing units, look for colors that can add brightness to your space. Washers and dryers with metallic and shiny finishes like stainless steel and glossy enamel fit this purpose and are popular choices. These are highly reflective, making them efficient in brightening a dark room. 

But, this doesn't mean that you should splurge on new appliances just for aesthetics. If you currently have a set that works great but is a dark color, you can give them a makeover for a new, brighter look. All you need is self-adhesive vinyl, a measuring tape, and a pair of scissors. Unplug your washer and dryer and carefully measure each side. Then, cut a sheet of vinyl to match and apply it to the unit's surface while smoothing out any bubbles. 

Add more light sources

Adding additional lighting to your room can be both cost-effective and add to its functionality. Plus, it will add to the overall brightness of the space. When selecting lighting for your laundry room, be strategic about placement. In a cramped space, the last thing you want is your lighting to get in the way. Under cabinets is a perfect, tucked-away place to add illuminating LED lights. If you'd like to add a decorative pendant light or flush mount fixture, just make sure you leave plenty of space to move about the room comfortably. 

And remember, as a functional space, laundry rooms benefit from lighting that is both thoughtfully placed and stylish. As Charlie Bowles, director of lighting brand Original BTC, explains to Livingetc., "Often limited on space, laundry rooms require flexible lighting. Lights that can be moved, adjusted, or angled can effectively control direction or spread of light."

Change out the lightbulbs

If your laundry room is already outfitted with copious lighting fixtures, you might just need to swap out your current bulbs for brighter ones. Just make sure to check what level your light fixture is rated for before purchasing new bulbs. Then, buy and try out a few levels of brightness in the correct range to find the ideal level of light.

The temperature of the light in your laundry room is also important but is also a personal choice. Interior architectural designer Whittney Parkinson tells Livingetc., "I prefer laundry room fixtures to be a warmer incandescent, to make the space feel warm and inviting, as laundry is not the most enjoyable task." However, senior lighting designer Estefania Marquez prefers fresher, more task-oriented lighting saying, "Consider using a whiter light, around 3000K," for cooler lighting that's visually brighter.

To find the just right laundry room lighting for your needs, consider using smart LED bulbs. These are designed to fit nearly every light fixture and can give you a wide range of flexibility. With your app or smart assistant, you can change the temperature and brightness to your needs — a perk when you're lugging around loads of laundry.

Store away clutter

It's true that the more cluttered a space, the more cramped it can look and feel. Having objects scattered around a room blocks light and casts more shadows, which amplifies a dark effect. By storing your items away in cabinets and shelving, you can avoid a shadowed and cramped space and make your laundry room look more open and inviting.

If you don't have cabinets, purchase wall-mounted shelves for out-of-the-way storage. Floating shelves are an awesome way to add more surface area while keeping a room open and airy. Then, use bins and baskets to group items together for easy and accessible organization. You can label each one so you can designate a home for each. Make sure there are ample hampers to keep dirty laundry off the floor as well. Remember that the cleaner you keep the space, the brighter and less overwhelming it will be.