Not all retro laundry rooms were bleak basement affairs
The introduction of washing machines and dryers revolutionized the way we tackled the never-ending chore of laundry. No longer did we need to spend hours scrubbing and wringing clothes by hand. Instead, we could simply toss them into the washing machine, press a few buttons, and let technology do the work.
Since the 1940s, laundry rooms have steadily gained prominence within American homes. What was often a cramped corner in the basement has — in the new builds of today — become a dedicated space designed for efficiency and convenience.
Today’s laundry rooms often feature ample counter space for sorting and folding, storage cabinets for supplies, and even built-in ironing boards. And, often, they look pretty, too!
But would you believe that some laundry rooms of yesteryear could also be charmingly decorated and well-organized spaces of utility? Here we feature 20 retro laundry rooms with decor so fresh they could influence the modern versions!
Retro laundry rooms of the 1940s
Outdoor laundry area from the late 1940s (1948)
Retro laundry rooms of the 1950s
Doing laundry in the 1950s was so simple!
Retro 1950s laundry room and workshop (1951)
Old-fashioned washer and dryer in a 1950s laundry room with counter space (1952)
Vintage 1950s GE Automatic Washer – Laundry (1955)
Old-school washer and dryer in a room off the dining area (1955)
1950s retro laundry room with tilt-out clothing baskets (1956)
Westinghouse Laundry Washing machine & dryer (1956)
Doing the laundry in 1956
Tiled vintage laundry room (1957)
Blue vintage washing machine and dryer (1957)
A 1950s laundry room doubled as a playroom (1958)
Retro 50s laundry room configuration (1959)
Fifties housewife and child doing the laundry (1959)
Vintage pink laundry room with sink, counter space, and ironing board (1959)
Retro laundry rooms of the 1960s
Big aqua retro kitchen from 1960 with washer and dryer island
Simple vintage 60s laundry room with sink (1961)
Vintage laundry room setup from 1964
Vintage laundry room and sewing center (1964)
Color — a vibrant raspberry –sets the pace for you to enjoy this action-packed room every day. The complementary tones of bitter green and sappire blue sparkle like jewels. Day-bright luminous ceiling has additional flood and spot lights.
Easy-care surfaces are everywhere: laminated- plastic work tops and cabinet fronts, vinyl-coated wallpaper, and textured vinyl floor (soft underfoot for stand-up jobs). Plus, a vinyl-covered posture chair you can adjust, swivel, roll around.
Far left. Press while sewing. Board folds out of ready-made steel unit. An electrical outlet for iron built in. Storage below holds supplies.
Left. Giant-size detergent box fits conveniently in tilt-out bin. Roll-around sorting cart, in foreground, has adjustable dividers. Use perforated hardboard, smooth both sides, so cart and dividers won’t snag delicate lingerie. Poisonous laundry aids and medicines are safe from children in upper cabinet, locked with push-button combination.
Right. Four-foot-wide storage unit hangs on wall, roll-around sorting cart parks in space below. Adapt pattern files and adjustable shelves to hold your sewing and hobby supplies. Fold-down shelf is great for pattern cutting and own hobbies. Note light inside.
A craft & sewing room sharing space with laundry duties in a 1960s home
Small laundry room cupboard from 1964
Yellow laundry room with washer (1965)
Simple laundry room with washer, dryer, and cabinets (1966)
Basic washer and dryer cupboard setup (1966)
1960s laundry room with a small work area (1968)
Actress Jane Wyatt with avocado green Sears Kenmore washer and dryer (1969)
Retro laundry rooms of the 1970s
Small closet for side-by-side blue washer and dryer (1970)
Simple 70s laundry cupboard (1970)
Basic old-fashioned laundry room from the 1970s
Retro painted washer and dryer huge super graphics WASH and DRY (1972)
There could be no mistaking which appliance was which in this retro laundry room for the seventies.
Fun and funky, this painted washer & dryer had huge colorful WASH and DRY graphics. But it wasn’t just the machines that were decorated in a wild kind of vintage supergraphics style — the walls behind them continued the theme.
There were embellishments beyond the words, too — boxes or shelves on the wall with arrows, a question mark, and one had 25c written on it (presumably like it was a laundromat). Don’t miss the arrow on the floor, apparently cut out of the orange and yellow shag carpet.
If you’re talented with a paintbrush and masking tape, you could easily recreate these DIY graphics in your home. A decorating job like this would be perfect for scratched or mismatched appliances… or just for any home that wants to give the laundry room a little extra something.