Wall Treatments for Laundry Rooms

Even if your laundry room is equipped with high-end appliances, a sink and cabinetry, it may seem about as inviting as a utility closet. The walls could be the problem. If you paint your laundry room a bland builder-grade color, you're wasting a design opportunity and also a chance to give the walls the protection they need. Upgrade the room with wall treatments that guard against moisture and damage -- and make you almost look forward to laundry time.

Versatile Tile

Tile is an easy-to-clean option for a laundry room backsplash.

The ceramic tile that beautifies your bathroom also works as a durable, easy-to-clean wall treatment in your laundry room. Subway, square and mosaic wall tiles come in a range of colors and patterns. White subway tiles give a laundry room a clean, classic look, but if you spend a lot of time folding and ironing, you may appreciate walls covered in cheery yellow tiles or a mosaic in shades of soothing blue. Choose tiles with a glossy or smooth finish rather than rough textures, which attract dryer lint and dirt. Tile can be pricey, especially if you have it installed professionally. If cost is a concern, limit your use of tile to the sink's backsplash and the walls that surround your washer and dryer.

Washable Wallpaper

If the word "wallpaper" makes you think of fussy flowers printed on fragile paper, think again. Vinyl wallpaper is sturdy, moisture-resistant and washable or scrubable, making it a smart choice for laundry-room walls. Some vinyl wallpapers can also be peeled off, which makes removing and replacing them a breeze. Choose a palette and pattern that complement your laundry room's style.To give the space a cute, cozy look, choose wallpaper printed with clotheslines, clothing or another laundry-themed motif. Use a bold graphic pattern to increase your laundry room's cool factor -- or at least make it a more pleasant place to sort socks. If wallpaper isn't your thing, dress up painted walls with vinyl decals of clothespins and a suitable laundry-room quote.

Easy-Clean Materials

Wainscoting protects walls from damage and complements traditional decor. In a laundry room, wainscoting made from PVC provides the added benefits of moisture- and mold-resistance. It's also easy to maintain and clean. If you use beadboard in your laundry room, install it at a height that's taller than your washer and dryer. To give your laundry room an industrial look, use stainless steel panels on the backsplash and the walls surrounding the appliances. If you like the idea of metallic walls, but prefer vintage style, use water-resistant pressed tin panels instead of stainless steel. Fiberglass wall paneling is sanitary, easy-to-clean, and available in a variety of colors and textures. Install these water- and mold-resistant panels behind your sink and appliances, or use them as an allover wall treatment in your laundry room.

Walls That Work

Your laundry room's walls should be attractive and easy to clean, but they should also be functional. Depending on the size and location of your laundry room, it may do double or triple duty as a work space and/or storage space. In a small laundry room, increase storage by installing slatted wood wall panels designed to hold brackets and shelves. Pegboard or gridded wire wall panels also provide hanging space for household tools and supplies. Add blackboard or dry-erase panels to your laundry room's walls, where family members can jot down reminders and little ones can doodle. To create a simple, practical piece of wall decor, hang a length of clothesline between two removable wall hooks and hang messages or unclaimed socks on the rope with clothespins.

About the Author

Kathleen Berlew has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years. Her work has appeared in "Crafts 'n Things," “KidsCrafts” and “Crayola Kids” magazines. Berlew’s proofreading and editing credits include the books “A Gardener’s Craft Companion,” “Christmas with Mary Engelbreit” and “The Embroidered Home.”