What is an European laundry?

Two white colored front loading washing machines kept inside the cupboard of a European laundry room.

The laundry room is not the most exciting place in the house, but it can be one of the most functional. Not everyone enjoys doing laundry, sometimes it can be dreadful. However, that doesn’t have to be the case with the right design and layout.

European laundry is widely open to interpretation, but basically this type of laundry is one that is tucked away inside a cupboard. Neatly concealed behind bi-folds or doors that disappear into the wall cavity. A European laundry can be located in the bathroom, kitchen, hallway or in an alcove such as under the stairs.

Like Americans, Aussies like BIG stuff. Big houses, big cars, big TVs, big rooms - big washing machines. Our houses are generally bigger, so it’s quite common to have a separate laundry inside or outside the home. In Europe, on the other hand, the humble washer and dryer are just that: humble. They usually toil away under kitchen benchtops and in bathroom cupboards, barely seen and rarely heard.

However, European laundry cupboards have grown in popularity over the years here in Australia. It’s becoming increasingly popular to incorporate the laundry into cupboards or in the kitchen. Especially in units and apartments where space can be an issue. Depending on whether you have a large or small laundry space, will determine the style of laundry that will work best for your home.

The European style laundry is the most compact and effective space-saving solution for a laundry. Despite being smaller this style doesn’t sacrifice aesthetics or functionality. They are a great solution for smaller houses, or where the laundry may need to be included in the bathroom or off the kitchen.

It’s not just their stick-me-anywhere size that makes European laundries so appealing. According to the Australian Consumers Association, compared with top loaders, front loaders use up to three times less water, roughly half the detergent, are cheaper to run, use less energy, have more programs, faster spin speeds and are gentler on clothes.

What Does An European Laundry Typically Contain?

The European Laundry: The biggest advantage by far to a "laundry in a cupboard" is the space it doesn't require. A well-designed European laundry will save space without losing anything that might otherwise be in a conventional laundry.

There are many ways of designing a laundry, it depends on how much space you have. You can incorporate a separate dryer, sink, washer with bench space and include cabinets and shelves for storage, this can all be disguised behind what would look like a kitchen pantry. However, it all depends on the space available. Where space is limited and every square cm counts then a combo washer dryer is an excellent space saving idea and that can sit close to your sink.

At a bare minimum, your laundry should have space for a washing machine, sink, tumble dryer and some storage space. But if you have the space then incorporating some extra cabinetry, bench space, a broom cupboard and a fold away ironing board would be beneficial.

Key Design Points To Consider

  • Noise reduction: using solid or soundproofed doors will help to reduce the amount of noise from your washer or dryer (providing they are closed during use, of course).
  • Lighting: it’s helpful to have a well-lit laundry for locating stains and focusing on your task at hand.
  • Power points: be practical about the locations of these. Apart from the washing machine and dryer, think about what you will use them for.
  • Plumbing: situating your European laundry near to a kitchen or bathroom will minimise plumbing work and costs.
  • Stacked or side by side: Mounting washers and dryers stacked on top of each other will make the most of vertical space. But having a side-by-side washer and dryer will maximise bench space. Either design works well and will depend on the space available.
  • Ventilation: Installing an exhaust fan should keep any mould issues at bay. Also, a condensing dryer will help to reduce the vented moisture when drying clothes.

Top reasons for combining the laundry with a kitchen or bathroom:

  1. It is very practical and cost-efficient to share or combine plumbing lines.
  2. These are considered wet areas; the spots at home that are subjected to high levels of moisture. Waterproofing will be easier.
  3. Euro laundries don’t take up an entire room, which is fantastic when you live in smaller homes and apartments. It’s one way to conserve space and make your rooms more functional.
  4. If you are building your home from scratch, this strategy can help you save money on construction.