Design Discussion : Stacked Laundry Units

Design Discussion : Stacked Laundry Units - roomfortuesday.comIt has been a fun blog week, so I figure we should keep the momentum going! Ready for another controversial design discussion? If you missed my first two, you can find my thoughts on installing a TV over a fireplace in this post, and my take on installing hardwood flooring in the kitchen in this post. On the docket today? I’m chatting stacked laundry units. Some people love them (hello space savers!) and some people hate them. Click through to read my thoughts and weigh in with your own opinion. 

I’ll start by saying, when I shared my laundry room reveal at our previous house (pictured above), I received SO many negative comments about our stacked washer and dryer. Never in my blogging history, have I received so much negative feedback or criticism than in that specific scenario / reveal. I was honestly pretty surprised, but I figured if that many people are passionate about this topic, it would make a great design discussion post. Ready to dive in? Let’s do it!

Design Discussion : Stacked Laundry Units - roomfortuesday.comIn our current home, our laundry units live side-by-side… and no- it’s not because of the flack I received for our previous laundry room. Haha! When moving into this house, that’s how the washer & dryer hookups were installed. Knowing we will eventually fully demo and renovate this space, it was easier to roll with the existing setup for now. Remember my recent budget laundry room makeover? Ok- now that you’re all caught up on that… I can say I’ve lived with both stacked units and side-by-side units for a solid amount of time. Obviously I have an opinion on each and am ready to share it!

Design Discussion : Stacked Laundry Units -
source : alice lane interiors

Let’s start with stacked units… I really liked having stacked units because of the obvious- they are such a space saver! Even if you have a giant laundry room, I still think stacking your units is a smart decision. It creates more space for pretty cabinetry, a big sink, or more aesthetically pleasing features.

I think what turned many people off when sharing my previous laundry room was the sloped ceiling. Because of the sloped ceiling and crown moulding, the photos almost looked like an optical illusion. Even though I photographed myself doing laundry, most people believed I could never reach the top unit since they were so close in proximity to the crown moulding… either that or they thought I was eight feet tall (I’m 5’6″, FYI). The fact of the matter is this- if you’re an average height human, stackable laundry units are made to be reachable.

Design Discussion : Stacked Laundry Units -
source : the grit and polish

Next, let’s talk about the pros of installing your units side-by-side. The big perk to this configuration is the ability to have a work surface or countertop above the washer & dryer. That’s a pretty nice feature in terms of functionality!

Design Discussion : Stacked Laundry Units -
source : home made by carmona

Moving onto the cons of stacked units. If you’re stacking a washer and dryer, that means they have to be front loading. Front loaders get a bad rep for mildew, mold, odor, and harboring moisture. If you’re on the shorter side, the top stacked unit might also be difficult to reach. Some people opt to include a stool or ottoman (like above) in their laundry space to better access the top unit. That could get annoying stepping up and down.

Design Discussion : Stacked Laundry Units -
source : studio mcgee

Ready for the cons for side-by-side units? They take up more floor space, they often require pedestals for elevated comfortable use, and they look a bit bulkier alongside cabinetry.

Design Discussion : Stacked Laundry Units -
source : the makerista

I’ll end this post by sharing my personal preference. Any guesses? I prefer stacked. Why? Mostly because I hate bending down to use side-by-side units and I think pedestals are kind of ugly (they also make having a countertop or folding surface too high). I also like the space saving look of a stacked washer & dryer that makes room for other features. I guess I just prefer the aesthetic and functionality of a compact appliance “column”. I’ve never had an issue with reaching the buttons, mold, mildew, or stinky front loading units, but I try to run the cleaning cycle as directed.

[yop_poll id=”3″]

There is no right or wrong answer / preference to this design discussion, but I’d love to know where you stand and why! Vote using the above poll and be sure to leave a comment explaining your reasoning. This should be fun and interesting to dissect! Who knows… maybe I can be persuaded to install side-by-side units when it comes time to fully renovate our laundry room (but I doubt it, haha).

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  1. Look at you, stirrin’ up controversy on a Wednesday! Timely also, since I’m knee deep in laundry room obsession. (That’s the very long phase before I actually DO anything.) So, I voted stacked because I definitely prefer the look; the column seems to minimize the giant machine presence. However, I have only ever had a side by side configuration, so I have practical questions about stacked machines. How easy are they to clean around? Or access in case of the dreaded water emergency? I might also develop a strange phobia about them toppling onto me as I pull towels from the dryer. (#weirdo) Wait, negative comments about your dreamy laundry room?! Absurd. Off to ponder more laundry inspiration! Cheers to Wednesday and lively debate!😘

    1. Haha!! I know, I know. I love hearing both sides of the dilemma. I feel like everyone keeps it friendly around here (because you guys are THE BEST). I also prefer the look of stacked. To answer your question, I did have to grab a stool to clean the top of my previous stacked units. Depending on how tight or built-in they are to your cabinets, they can be easier or more difficult to dust. We pulled out the entire column multiple times quite easily to vacuum behind them. In terms of tipping- I have weird phobias like that too. I never had any teetering or scary moments where I thought the top one would topple (ha). They felt really secure and kind of lock into each other. Happy Wednesday!!

  2. I choose side but side only because I’ve had too many problems with the mold issue with a front load. I will say I love the look of the stacking in the right laundry room. But not for me.

    1. I haven’t experienced any mold issues and I’m wondering why… do you think it has anything to do with where you live regionally or the humidity in your home? We’re in Utah so it’s super dry. Not sure, but interesting point!!

      1. Sable Bray says:

        Yeah I don’t have mold issues either. But I do wash my white towels with oxyclean, bleach and vinegar. It cleans them as well as the machine! Also always leave the door open when not in use so it dries properly!

        1. That’s a smart combo, Sable! I might have to adopt that once a month to clean my washer :) Thanks for the tips!

  3. Kristen Lenca says:

    When I get a chance to move and remodel our laundry room, I am currently leaning towards stacking our front-load washers. Do you have a preference on washer-over-dryer or dryer-over-washer (or is there only one way they can be stacked)? I was thinking of washer-over-dryer because I’m thinking it would be easier to bring the heavy, wet laundry down vs. lifting it up to the dryer. Just curious on your thoughts.

    1. Typically they can only be stacked one way, but maybe that was just my units? I’ve only ever had Samsung or Maytag. That’s an interesting question though… I never would’ve thought about top / bottom preference when loading and unloading the units. Great point, Kristen!

    2. Christina says:

      Hey Kristen – my stacked units had the washer on bottom, and I actually preferred that because I could see and reach all the “stuck” pieces on the sides of the washer (which doesn’t really happen in the dryer). I also basically just bent down and handed myself stuff from one hand in the washer to the other hand in the dryer, I didn’t like load a basket and then unload it up top. Hope this helps? I’ve lived with both (currently side by side) and I’m totally Team Stack! :)

      1. That’s how mine were too Christina! It’s true… it was easier to grab the “stuck” pieces. Great point! Team stack :)

  4. OMG Sarah I have some real laundry room envy going on right now as our laundry room is unfinished which kind of makes doing laundry a bummer! This is a great topic of discussion and so many considerations, I personally would just settle for a finished space, however, I’ve had both stacked and side by side. Both had its merits for sure but if space is a consideration stacked is wonderful! We lived in a 640 sq foot condo in the city and had stacked as there was no other choice and it functioned really well. I’ve never had a fancy luxurious laundry room ever as they have all been pretty basic, in our last house we had side by side on a pedestal and I really liked that cause no bending required. It functioned really well for me as I have a few issues with my back. The space wasn’t big but I preferred side by side in that house because of the laundry room layout and location. I do like space around units regardless of stacked or side by side for dust cleaning. I find dust from the dryer a big issue and I need access under and around. I think this discussion can go on for a long time as budget, location in a home (basement, main floor versus bedroom) are also big considerations too. I absolutely loved your laundry mini makeover 😍 I’m honestly unsure of a big investment in a laundry space, is it worth it? I’m debating that right now as I do laundry from possibly the ugliest laundry room I’ve ever had 😩 I’m beginning to think it is…..Lol

    1. Not to mention the pros and cons of front loading versus top loading! Forgot to mention we had front loaders in both stacked and side by side configurations 😉

    2. Crossing my fingers you can finish your space soon :) I know how chaotic and frustrating it is to live with an unfinished / non-usable space. In our first home, we had the units side-by-side and both had pedestals. I just couldn’t reach the top of them very well for folding… that was my only negative concern about that setup. I will say- it made loading and unloading very comfortable with the pedestals though. While I’d renovation a kitchen, master suite, or bath before a laundry room (in terms of resale value)- I do think having an updated, nice laundry area adds value. Hope this helps persuade you. haha :) xo

  5. Susan Sease says:

    I have had and like them both! However I preferred them side by side when my kiddos were younger so they could do their own laundry, which I think is a very important skill to learn. If I had a small closet I might prefer them stacked so I can have cabinets for storage beside them, but again the folding space really is most important to me. I prefer front loading machines, so there is no issue for me there. I do find it strange that people would feel so strongly about the stacked machines, I had no idea!

    1. Such a great point about kids helping! I’m not a mom, so that never even occurred to me. Maybe side-by-side is the best option for families with children. Amazing point, Susan :) Thanks for sharing!

  6. All of my stacked units have been top loaders, not front loaders.

    1. Really? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that. How do you load the bottom one if there is a unit sitting on top of it? I’m intrigued!!

  7. This has been a real discussion between my fiance and I lately. I’m moving in to his house when we get married in May and he’s 6’7″ and I’m 5’3″. Because of our height difference, there are SO many things we’re going to have to change about his house when I move in! I can hardly reach his stacked washer (or his plates on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinets for that matter)!

    1. Congrats on your engagement and upcoming wedding, Anitra! That is going to be a tough transition given your height difference. That’s definitely a design challenge trying to figure out the best function for the both of you. Good luck :) Thanks for chiming in! xo

    2. I feel your pain!! My husband is 6’4”, and I’m 5’5. There are definitely differences in the way we each see fit to organize! My best advice: grab yourself a small kid stool from target, and put it in the kitchen somewhere. Mine is tucked into the space between our fridge and the wall. No one ever notices it’s there, but it’s my little champ when he puts everyday items up high. Also, we’ve made it a joke over the years, that I only use him for his height, haha!! This year we upgraded him to “Alexa”…. “Alexa, get the glassware”, lol. It makes light of our very real situation!!

      1. I love that! It’s hilarious how often I ask him to get things up high for me. And I love the step stool idea. Our kids will probably outgrow me when they’re like 9 so I’ll have lots of tall hands to grab things for me in the future too! haha

      2. Hahah!! That is so funny… “Alexa, get the glassware!” I’m rolling. Thanks for sharing Lauren!

  8. I am a petite girl. Stacked appliances would require, as you said, a step stool. Not my thing. But I like the look of stacked appliances. Also, when I clicked on side by side on your survey, it said invalid data. Hmmm….lol

    1. Sorry about the survey. I see some votes coming through, but not as many as I’d expect. I’m not sure what’s going on. I’ll try to look for a new survey widget for the next Design Discussion post since this one is glitchy. Thanks for weighing in here in the comment section, Deb :) xo

  9. I have stacked now, and have had stacked before- both due to space issues. I’ve also had side by side. I prefer side by side front loaders because of the bending aspect. I can plop on a stool and switch everything. In our next home my dream is to do side by side RAISED front loaders with cabinets above. I dont fold in the laundry room- how else am i supposed to excuse hours of tv *folding laundry*, but I wouldn’t mind a counter near a utility sink for washing flowers/ vases and other larger items.

    1. Haha!! That is such a good point, Justynn. I never wouldn’t thought to multi-task and TV watch while folding. Smart :)

    2. Ha, ha!! I hate folding laundry if I can’t be watching something!

      I prefer side by side and I prefer a HUGE laundry room. LOL! We’re going to have stacked units in a closet in our condo though, so we’ll see if I like these any better, but in the past I’ve disliked the bending and lifting with the stacked units I’ve used – especially full size ones.

      Interesting hearing all the different opinions and why. Great discussion topic, Sarah!

  10. Thinking back on it, I have never had stacked laundry.. ever… Though, right now I wish I did. I am in an apartment and the closet for it is big enough for 2 full sized units to be side-by-side, but it does leave me with no storage. I would prefer a stacked at the moment, but if I move and have a huge room with counterspace and cabinets, I would probably like to keep it side-by-side, because I am one of those people who have had terrible experience with mold in a front loading washer. I like opening from the top.

    1. That’s a great point, Emily! I think it totally depends on the size of your home and the dedicated space for laundry. I’m so curious about the mold in a front loader, as I haven’t had the problem. I’m wondering if it’s a brand thing? Or perhaps where you live (regional humidity or something)? So curious!!

      1. Hey Sarah! I’ve seen this mold issue pop up a few times. I’m in SoCal where the water is very hard, and the air is pretty humid, especially during summer. I think this issue is largely regional. But, mine are front load, and I can say that if I had owned one before, I would pay closer attention to the gasket configuration on the door. Mine are terribly hard to get in and clean, even after the clean cycle is ran. I have also noticed that it’s more likely to smell if you use too much fabric softener.

        1. Thanks Lauren! Maybe hard water comes into play for mold as well. I didn’t even think of that. Thanks for weighing in and for the helpful tips :)

  11. Definitely side-by-side because I’m only 5 feet tall! I already have to use a stepstool (or just yell for my husband) when I need to reach anything higher than the second shelf in the kitchen, and I don’t want to have to do that while holding heavy, wet, bulky things like towels and blankets. I’d definitely turn an ankle at some point!

    1. That’s definitely the best option for you Deborah! I’m pretty sure Emmett would get annoyed if I had to yell at him all the time for help. Haha! Your husband must be more patient than mine. lol! I bet you have a great step stool though :)

      1. I don’t mind using the step stool in the kitchen, but every time my husband sees me do it, he says, “you should have asked me to help!”

        1. Aww that is a sweet husband you have, Deborah! :) So nice of him.

  12. You’ve presented some beautiful examples of both. I love the aesthetic of stacked but there’s no way that would function for my 5”4’ frame. Seems like manufacturers could make unit specific for stacking with the controls along the bottom of top unit.

    1. You would think they would’ve figured that out by now, right?! They really should put the controls lower for stackable units. I know lots of them have the option to do both (like my current units)… maybe that’s why they don’t have different controls? It’s a puzzling machine! Great talking point, Melissa! xo

  13. Michelle Schreib says:

    “if you’re an average height human, stackable laundry units are made to be reachable.” :-) This made me laugh.

    Ringing in at under 5′ tall, these are not really an option for me and I’d swear far too much having to get on a stool. We also choose a top load washer still for performance and, well, maybe we’re old school. I’d love to be able to have a folding counter, but I just use the top of the dryer, so no biggie. I’d also love to have a real laundry room, but no room for one upstairs and having a fieldstone foundation makes our basement, umm, “basementy.” Aesthetically if I had to choose, I like the look of the stacked, but I wouldn’t install that in my own home.

    1. Lol!! I think I’m still bitter from all of the mean comments I got from our last laundry room. Haha! I’m like, “I CAN REACH, PEOPLE!” Looking back, maybe that statement was kind of an oops. haha!

      Side-by-side units definitely make the most sense for you, Michelle. My mom has top load units and always has- she swears by them. Everyone has their preference and what works best for them :) No wrong answers or combinations here.

  14. Michelle Schreib says:

    Oh btw Sarah, I can never get the voting to work in your posts. Always says, “Invalid Input”.

    1. That just happened to me too. I tried on both Safari and Chrome.

      1. Thanks for letting me know, Cami! I’m working on setting up a different poll widget since this one keeps glitching. Argh. Sorry about that.

    2. I’m so sorry about that! I’m seeing some votes roll in, but I know it’s not working for everyone. I’m going to try to find a new poll widget for the next Design Discussion post since this one is glitchy. Argh. Technology and website stuff is not my friend lately! Thank you for letting me know :)

  15. Tracey (From KY) says:

    I’m only 5’2 so I definitely voted side by side. :)

    1. Tracey from Kentucky!!! Hello again :) Another vote for side-by-side. I think I’m outnumbered. Thanks so much for weighing in. xo

  16. I really go back & forth on this. Stacked looks better MOST of the time in my opinion. I’ve not had a real laundry room since I lived at home so I’ve only had stacked for the last 13 years or so. I really don’t mind them. I think that if I had them in a laundry room with their own space and not in the kitchen (old house!) that I would still want them stacked so I could use the other space for storage/cabinets/counters/etc. I don’t mind airing out the front loaders either so they don’t mildew. Things like that just don’t bother me! They do make non-front loading washing machines that stack for those that are that concerned about it. They are super common in apartments here in Oklahoma. Anyway, love these discussions! I’m still confused at why anyone leaves negative feedback ever. Why would they just not close the browser and move on if they didn’t like your last laundry room?! (It was beautiful btw!)

    1. Same! I don’t mind airing mine out either. I had no idea there were top loading stackable units. I’m behind the times! :) Like you, I also love discussions. Construction criticism is even fine by me, because it makes me think outside the box and improves my skillset as a designer, BUT- negativity just to be mean is where I draw the line. That’s when I’d rather someone just close the browser. Thanks for your sweet words, Jana! xo

  17. I definitely prefer side-by-side units, with a top-loading washer. I live in the super humid South and nearly everyone I know with front loaders complain of mold. Also, I have back and balance issues so stackable is out for me. I just had to replace both our units and selected a Consumer Reports recommended LG agitator-less top-loader, without too many bells and whistles, and I absolutely LOVE it! There’s so much room inside without that agitator and my clothes come out clean. The matching dryer also works great. My parents’ home didn’t have a laundry room and they had a stackable top-loading W/D combo in the kitchen. I never liked it because the inside was so small you had to do multiple loads plus it was kind of hard to reach into the washer to remove items. I think all of your laundry rooms are lovely, BTW.

    1. Ahhh that makes so much sense, Kim! Thanks for taking the time to comment and explain. My mom says the exact same thing (she lives in Kentucky). I wonder if the mold is a humidity and regional thing. Hope you’re having a great week :)

  18. Definitely a discussion I hmmm and haaa over!! Short answer is I like both, aesthetically speaking. Love the clean look of the stacked column, but I also love the expansive countertop a side-by-side configuration provides. Personally, I think size of the room itself is the determining factor. To maximize the efficiency of the space, some laundry rooms (ahem, mine) don’t accommodate one or the other. My current space has them side by side, which is great, but the builders cluttered the space with an oversized utility sink right next to it, and due to stairs and HVAC, there is an odd angled wall preventing these from sitting nicely wall-to-wall. So for my space, the way I use it, and ease of renovation, I would definitely stack the units to one far side, and put a countertop between the sink and column, with basket storage underneath (similar to drawers). However, I do dream of removing the sink completely, building my own warm wood pedestals with actual drawers, and having them side by side with a butcher block countertop and open shelving…I guess my official status is “it’s complicated”. Ha!

  19. HI Sarah, I really have only ever had side-by-side units. You make so many pro points as to why stacked is better. I don’t like the pedestals either, they’re ugly, storage space is limited in them and their expensive. Space is always an issue, I currently have side-by-side units and only have 12″ of space left for storage. Strangely enough, I’ve sold both for 12 years, each person is really stuck on one or the other.

    1. It’s true, Pam! People have very strong preferences when it comes to laundry units. This has been such an interesting and engaging comment section :) Thanks for your input!

  20. Emily Patterson says:

    I have a stacked washer dryer in the middle of the kitchen. It sticks out like a sore thumb but I accept it because I’m just grateful to have a washer dryer in my place. It’s not common in downtown Boston apartments.

    1. I’ve seen some beautiful integrated laundry units in kitchens behind cabinet doors. You’re right, Emily… it’s probably just nice to have them! Super convenient for downtown Boston.

  21. So in my next house I would love double washer and dryers. I have been thinking I would choose stacked dryers and then top loading washers flanking them on either side. I LOVE a top loading washing machine (front loaders feel hard to get everything in and out to me…I’m not tall so who knows why 🤷🏻‍♀️). Basically I think you should do what you like and makes the most sense in your house and for your family.

    1. I’ve been seeing those a lot in larger homes with big families. I think that’s a great solution if you have a bunch of laundry to do, Emily! I like your “do what you like and what is most functional for your fam” philosophy. My thoughts exactly :)

  22. I love the idea of stacked but was too lazy when I moved in to my place to get the extra dryer duct needed to make it happen (water is on one side of the laundry closet, duct vent is on the other). Then our washer died so we have a mismatched set that can’t be stacked. What do you do when the washer inevitably dies before the dryer? Hope to get another of the same brand/size? I love my front loader, bought another after that first one died. I always leave it open to dry and do the cleaning cycle, plus I use Oxiclean every load and have no problems. I’d love to see your styling/organizing ideas for a laundry closet (if you haven’t shared already)! I dream of a whole room someday… Thank you for your beautiful inspiring ideas!

  23. Voting not working for me – guess it’s comment time!

    I generally prefer side-by-side but have no problem with stackable if that works better for the space. I’ve had both and as you pointed out there are pros and cons to each. Luckily at 5’4″ I’m short enough to use front loaders side-by-side without pedestals and tall enough to use stackables without a stool. Currently I’m just loving having an indoor laundry – for the past thirty years our laundry was in one end of the garage (very common in FL) and it was nearly impossible to keep the area clean.

    1. Thanks for weighing in, Cheryl! In our first home, the laundry was in the unfinished basement and it was always so cold and gloomy down there. Like you- I’m thankful to have a cozy and warm place to do laundry these days :) Way to put it into perspective! xo

  24. We had side by side on pedestals for four years and thanks to your design, decided to stack them when we got our puppy to make room for a crate. It’s worked out wonderfully to give us more space and I really like the lion and functionality. I’m in the short side, but can still reach the dryer in my tip toes. It’s definitely worth it!!

    1. Awwww yay!! I love hearing about your new puppy and super functional laundry room, Emilee! Thanks for sharing :) xo

  25. I’m 5’2″ and I have stacked front-loaders, and don’t have a single issue reaching the dryer controls or the top. Maybe I have a smaller unit than standard? (The washer/dryer conveyed with the condo and were pretty new, so I’ve never had to shop for them.) I need a step stool to clean the top, and maybe I’m telling on myself here, but I don’t clean it often enough for it to be a hassle (the w/d live in the hall closet with the water heater so it’s not like anyone sees it if the doors are closed).

    However, as a short person, I do find it much easier to get clothes out of a front-loader than a top-loader. My parents have a top-loader and it’s definitely a stretch to reach down into the tub to get out wet socks or whatever. I leave the washer door ajar between uses and routinely use vinegar in lieu of fabric softener and I’ve never had a problem with mold. My two cents!

    1. I was surprised to hear that so many people had trouble reaching because I can reach easily. Maybe our units are shorter than most? I’m not sure! I don’t clean the top often either. Haha :) Thanks for weighing in!

  26. Sheesh, people can apparently be very passionate about surprising things. I don’t have a preference myself. I say to each their own on topics like this one. I’m sorry you got some much slack about your prior set up. I had no idea.

    Anyhoohow, have a lovely weekend, mamlet. Cheers, Ardith

    1. I agree, Ardith! To each their own :) Hope you had a great weekend too mamlet (I still think that’s a very fun word you invented!!).

  27. Prefer side by side, front loaders with a counter above! We actually just took down our stacked to have them side by side. We have a small laundry closet and this is a better use of the space. I am 5’3″ never had issues with getting things in and out of the dryer. Yes, I had to get a stool to clean to the top (but how often do we do that!). The mold with front loaders is an issue in the South. We have to leave our washer door open until it 100% drys out. I do dream for a walk in laundry room, someday!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing and for the great talking points, Amy! xo

  28. I’ve had side by side and our current set up is stacked front loafers in the kitchen behind bi-fold doors. I am almost 5’5” and have no problem reaching the drier controls on top, but agree it would make sense if they were lower. I’m actually planning to keep my layout stacked in our new laundry/sewing room so I can have more space for drier racks (I don’t like to over dry most of our clothes) shelves, linens, storage, and of course sewing!
    PS: I always fold laundry while watching TV so folding space isn’t a priority.