Add storage space to your laundry room with this affordable makeover. Learn how to install cabinets and shelves yourself in the laundry room to store detergents, cleaning supplies, and other laundry room items for a bright, clean, and organized space.
Whether you have a small laundry closet or a dark basement, installing closed cabinetry adds a sleek style while open shelving is a convenient workspace. Even better, including a mix maximizes storage space to it’s fullest potential.
Truthfully, laundry room cabinets boost function in your washer-dryer space while providing streamlined organization and a polished look. I am thankful to anything that makes laundry day feel like less of a chore.
We often get questions about our design builds. So, I thought I would take your though our design process, step-by-step of how to install cabinets in a laundry room, and answer many of the questions we have received about this affordable makeover.
Before the Laundry Room Makeover
Let’s start with the “Before”. This is the condition in which we purchased the house:
We have a small laundry closet with shelves we built before this. This space is so small that I am literally standing inside that tiny 2×2 closet to get this photo.
I’m not sure if there is anything I hate more than cheap wire shelving. Stuff falls off of it or tips over constantly, it often bows from weight, and it is very unattractive. The absolute worst is that these builder-grade wire shelves never utilize the space well.
Cabinet Options for Laundry Rooms
This makeover utilizes stock cabinets you can find at most big box home improvement stores. Kitchen cabinets are the same as those used in laundry rooms. We used a 30-inch cabinet for our DIY laundry room makeover, but standard widths for double hanging cabinets include 24, 30, 33, 36, and 48 inches. Single cabinets are usually 12 or 18 inches wide.
Here are a few new cabinets ideas to get started:
Material Recommendations for this Project
First things first, make sure you have all of the right tools with you to make this process move more efficiently. You will also, most likely, need someone to help you lift up and position the cabinets while hanging them.
- Stud Finder
- Laser Level or a regular level
- Tape Measure
- A straight board to use as a ledger – 4-6 feet at least and very straight.
- Wood shims
- Padded Clamps
- Electric Drill and Bits for installing screws
- 2 ½ inch Cabinet Screws
- Filler Bar – if a gap exists between the wall and the end cabinet.
Reader Note: The following instructions for installing your own wall cabinets are meant for walls with studs. This is not a “how to install wall cabinets without studs” tutorial. Thats a whole
How to Install Wall Cabinets
If you are new here, I set up my tutorial posts much like a recipe blogger where there is a printable how-to card at the bottom of the post. All of the step-by-step instructions are there.
However, readers are on a variety of skill levels and many scenarios. I include many tips and useful notes in these sections to help everyone through the process and to answer questions. If you just want the straight tutorial, hit the “Jump to Tutorial” button at the top of this post.
Tips for Planning and Marking the Wall
- There is no specific height that wall cabinets should be. However, I would suggest at least 18 inches of clearance above a worksurface but keep it convenient to reach shelves.
- Use a stud finder to locate the wall studs. The studs are crucial to properly support the weight.
- Try to plan out the cabinets with at least two studs for support on each cabinet. It can be done with less, particularly if you are attaching multiple cabinets together and the entire unit will cross multiple studs.
- Make a reference line across the wall where the bottom of the cabinet will be. Mark your stud locations here so you don’t cover up your marks when hanging the cabinet.
- If you don’t want to mark up your walls, use painter’s tape to make this reference line.
- Pay careful attention to the position of all electrical lines and plumbing.
What is a Ledger Board?
Basically, a ledger board is just a straight board that the cabinet sits on while you attach it to the wall. I use this technique all the time for large tiling projects to ensure a perfect starting point.
We hung a ledger board for shelves in a closet. The cabinet or shelf sits on top of this board to help temporarily while you make sure the cabinet is level and plumb.
Why use a ledger board? This is not 100% necessary. However, a ledger board makes it easier to hang a cabinet perfectly level. Cabinets are heavy and you will have to support them on the wall until installed.
A ledger board isn’t meant to hold the weight entirely. Instead, it keeps the cabinet steady side to side. That way, you aren’t supporting the weight while trying to level the cabinets both side-to-side and front-to-back.
The negative of using a ledger board is that you remove it after the cabinet is installed and patch and paint the holes you made.
Hanging Multiple Cabinets
If hanging multiple laundry room cabinets, screw the cabinets together before attaching them to the wall. To do this, clamp the first cabinet to the second cabinet together how you want them to match up and secure them with screws where the cabinets meet.
It is usually best to hang the cabinets without the doors to lessen the weight and pull forward while hanging.
If using C-clamps, I generally recommend sandwiching a thin board or padding between the cabinet and the pressure plate of the clamp. Too much pressure on the c-clamps can put a dent in your flat cabinet surfaces.
***Pro Tip: It is extremely important to pre-drill holes inside cabinets before hanging. It is much more difficult to drill and hold the cabinet in place, plus you risk splitting the wood. You don’t have to predrill the walls, just the cabinets themselves.
Add Crown Molding
We decided to add molding to the tops of our frameless cabinets to give them some added flare. I have a full tutorial on how to install crown molding on cabinets here.
We recommend doing this after the cabinet installation is done. However, you can also install the molding before you drill the cabinets into the wall, if desired.
How to add Laundry Room Shelves
You can also add shelves very easily on the sides of the cabinets or between them. Shelves help in awkward spaces that may not fit another full cabinet or add a different type of function.
In our room, we use the shelves to hold easily accessible items like laundry detergent bags and cannisters for recycling dryer lint, but you could add bars for hanging clothes or create a drying rack.
The shelves themselves lay on top of painted pieces of trim that are nailed to the walls.
In our laundry room, the open shelves on either side make the room feel a little bigger too! The shelves are supported by a small piece of trim. All of these were cut from white melamine sheets meant for shelving.
Another is added shelf above the washer and dryer. The center support is just an extra board wedged behind this slim drawer organizer. This smaller shelf is great since it hides cords and gives a cleaner look. It easily comes out in case we need to work behind the washer and dryer.
I put together a huge list of useful ways to organize your small laundry room that gives more way to use these areas!
Caulking for Built-Ins
Caulking around the edges where the wall meets the shelving is completely optional. While it does give a more built-in appearance for painted cabinetry, it won’t add anything to the structure or rigidity.
If this is something you are interested in, we have more tips and a video in our post on caulking baseboards here.
We purchase it years ago and I love it so much! This slim unit is very similar, and it goes on sale fairly often so watch for that.
Add items you reach for most on lower shelves. We also have lot more ideas included in our post on Small laundry room organization ideas here.
You can purchase stock cabinets at a big home improvement stores like Home Depot. Another option is a local installer or a kitchen cabinet specialty store. While stock size cabinets are going to be the most affordable option, you can order custom sizes at most stores.
Base cabinets are 24 inches deep, not including any countertop overhang. Hanging wall cabinets are usually 12 or 15 inches deep.
The size of your cabinets depends on how much wall space you have to work with. Stock widths for double hanging cabinets include 24, 30, 33, 36, and 48 inches. Single cabinets are usually 12 or 18 inches wide.
I have shared how I added the trim at the top of the cabinet here in a post. It’s a relatively simple project and the detail give the room a much more polished look.
Yes, generally kitchen cabinets are the same as those used in laundry rooms.
If you have a few inches gap, the easiest way is to place a wood filler strip flush with the front of the cabinets. Before securing the last cabinet, measure, mark, cut and secure this piece to the side of the last cabinet. These strips are sometimes included in a cabinet kit. You can also use a solid piece of matching wood.
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How to Install Laundry Room Cabinets
- Use a stud finder to locate the wall studs. Measure the height and width of the cabinets and mark their placement on the wall. Try to have at least two studs to bear the weight of larger or multiple cabinets.
- Prepare the Wall. With a level, draw a horizontal line across the wall where the bottom of the cabinet will sit. Mark the studs above and below that line so you don't cover it. Also, mark the top where the cabinets are likely to end. Check to make sure that the wall is plumb and shim if necessary.
- Put up a ledger board. Nail or screw a straight board into the studs under the level line you just drew. The cabinet will sit on the ledger board while you screw it into the wall.
- For installing multiple cabinets, you can attach them together before putting them up on the wall. This makes lining them up easier if you have to shim. However, only attach as many cabinets as you can support.
- Prepare the cabinets. Remove the cabinet doors if desired and pre-drill holes for hanging your cabinets in order to prevent wood splitting. You do not have to pre-drill holes into the wall itself.
- Fill gaps. If there are gaps between the wall and last cabinet, use a filler bar to close the gap. Before securing the last cabinet, measure, mark, cut, and secure this piece to the side of the last cabinet. Alternatively, you can add open shelves after the cabinets are mounted.
- Mount the Cabinets. Lift the cabinet and place level on top of the ledger board. Double check that the cabinets is level both side to side and front to back. Secure the cabinets to the wall at the studs with screws.
- Finishing up. Reattach the doors and hardware after all the cabinets are in place. Remove the ledger board. Patch and paint the wall if necessary.