A 3rd Shower or A More Spacious Laundry Room… Help Me Decide!

posted by Andrea | 05/3/2019

Almost exactly 1 year ago (yes, it’s been a full year already!) I came to you all with a question about what we should do with our current laundry room and “kitchen bathroom” (a.k.a. the fairly awkward full-bath off our kitchen). 

As expected, you shared so much wisdom… and you helped us decide exactly what we wanted to do (at least with the bathroom part of the project).

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, the posts below will help you get caught up!

My initial post with questions and ALLLL your fantastic ideas.

Our 3-Phase Plan (it was supposed to take 10 weeks — HAHA!!)

Phase 1 completemove current washer and dryer to basement as an eventual 2nd laundry area

Phase 2 completetransform our former laundry room into a gorgeous new half bathroom 

Well, I’m back again today with more questions…

This time about “phase 3” of the project (transforming the former full bath into a new main floor laundry room) which we HOPE to start working on in about a month. 

Our question is regarding the washer/dryer set up and the a 3rd shower…

Should we keep a shower in this bathroom and stack the washer and dyer? 

Or should we nix the shower and put the washer / dryer side-by-side with storage cabinets above?

Or do you have a completely different idea!?!?

Here’s a VERY ROUGH (not fully to-scale) bird’s-eye view of the 2 options. 

Dave and I have thought about the various options SO much over the past year (and really ever since we moved into this house 8+ years ago). 

This was originally the first bathroom we wanted to renovate, but we just couldn’t decide with to do with the shower situation… which is where you all come into play! 

Here are a few of the pros for each option.

PROS for a 3rd Shower:

A 3rd shower is ideal for a family of 6 — especially once we have 4 teens in the house!

A 3rd shower would alleviate the need for kids to use Dave and my bathroom and keep the upstairs bathroom available for baths (the upstairs bath has our only tub).

A 3rd shower would help our evening routine go faster as the older kids could take showers while the younger kids are in the bath. 

A shower right off the mudroom could be nice if kids come in from outside and are really dirty (or all wet and full of chlorine from swimming).

An extra shower would be nice if we had guests stay with us. 

PROS for a More Spacious Laundry Room / NO Shower: 

I would have lots more space to do laundry.

I could use a side-by-side washer and dryer, which I prefer, versus a stackable unit. 

I would have room for a laundry hamper to slide in next to the washer and dryer. 

I could put a counter top over the washer and dryer to allow space for folding clothes right in the laundry room.

I would have TONS more storage above the washer and dryer.

I would have one less shower to clean! 

My “problem” is that both options sound good! 

If we didn’t have 4 children, I would almost certainly choose the more spacious laundry room.

However, we DO have 4 children who will all be tweens and teens at the same time (sooner than I care to think!) and I’d like to choose the best option for OUR family, taking into consideration that our children will most likely be involved in sports and other extra curricular activities that might make our evenings busier and require multiple people showering at the same time. 

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A Little More Background Info: 

If you’re still having trouble getting a feel for our space, the photos below should help.

This is what our laundry room and bathroom looked like BEFORE.

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As I mentioned above, the first phase of our project was to move our washer and dryer down to the basement and hook them up so we would have a working washer and dryer throughout the entire project (boy am I glad we did this!)

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The second phase was to transform our TEENY TINY laundry room with no storage into a very spacious half bathroom with TONS of storage

We are THRILLED with how well this project turned out. The half bath functions so much better than the laundry room ever did, we have a huge increase in storage space, and it looks so much nicer! 

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Due to the fact that almost every single part of our half bath project was delayed, we did not stick to our 10-week timeline. In fact, we didn’t fully finish phase 2, until Dave’s first week back at school last fall.

Our goal has always been to keep our home projects between Memorial Day and Labor Day so we aren’t living in chaos during the school year — which meant we had to put phase 3 on hold until this spring.

For the last year, I’ve been doing laundry downstairs and our full bath off the kitchen has looked like this — with various tray tables set up as a space for slow cookers to make beans or broth overnight, and as a place to soak my grains and flours for bread and other baked goods! 

The extra “bonus” space has actually been fairly handy!

However, I’m ready for this space to be fully renovated and usable again. 

So… if you were me, would you want a 3rd shower or a more spacious laundry room? 

Or would you do something totally different?

Extra points if you explain your reasoning!

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130 comments

  1. Mom of 4

    05/12/2019

    I have 4 kids also and I am a single mom. We have 5 people using a single bathroom and 3 of them play multiple sports which means ALOT of extra laundry which is just done in the basement with one washer and a dryer plus a clothesline weather permitting. So I can’t really understand your struggle. I would vote for the better laundry having it on my main level would bring me so much joy. Praying you can find peace with your difficult dilemma.

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  2. Sam

    05/09/2019

    I saw someone posted this, but a shower in the basement (or an additional full bath down there) is what I would do.

    I’d much rather have a large and functional laundry room with a long counter for folding or additional space (as you’ve been using it now) for slow cooker, bread etc.

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  3. Blondie

    05/08/2019

    If you are looking for a higher resale value, the laundry room is the way to go. Anything that’s “weird” is a detriment. (I’m not a realtor, but a friend is here on the east side of Michigan.)

    I do think that an outdoor shower or a pool bath in your outbuilding would be a great idea once you have a pool. At our cottage it’s really nice to wash the sand and dirt off before you even get inside.

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  4. Carol

    05/08/2019

    I would vote for the larger laundry room over a third shower. The older children get, the more clothes seem to multiply, partly because the size of the clothes increases! Plus, I agree with someone else’s comment, that showers don’t take that long. We are a family of 7 with only one full bathroom (though it does have twin sinks in the counter), and it is just a matter of scheduling and reminding the kids not to stay in the bathroom forever. An added plus of the laundry room is that of it being on the main floor, especially as you get older. Also, if you have the larger laundry room, you can continue to use that room as your area to soak grains, beans, etc. I love the multi-purpose idea. Keep the laundry tub, especially just off your mudroom! I love that!

    For now, I think you want to keep your basement laundry area too. Many times, I wouldn’t mind having a double laundry set-up!

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  5. Wendy

    05/07/2019

    A large laundry room would be nice. But, your 4 children are close in age, so I guess I would go for the extra shower.

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  6. Bonnie Cummings

    05/06/2019

    Definitely larger laundry room, you won’t regret it.

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    Lisa Reply:

    I have four children and I highly recommend three showers. It makes mornings easy. I grew up in a household with five children. Having a third shower would have been ideal. I feel soooo lucky to have a third shower. It’s also great when you have company. We also had a large laundry room growing up. I prefer my smaller laundry room for a third shower.

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  7. Michelle O.

    05/06/2019

    I vote for the larger laundry area and no extra shower. We have four kids (18,16,11,9) and have managed with one shower/bath for the four of them (my husband and I have a master bathroom). We do have an extra toilet and sink/no shower on the main floor (I think that’s called a half bath?) and that works well for us. I think that you will appreciate the nicer laundry area vs the extra shower in the coming years 🙂

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  8. Leslie Honcoop

    05/06/2019

    Our three kids were all in high school –and sports– at the same time. We did fine with two showers, only occasionally did they need to use ours. Also, we are farmers, and can come in the house very dirty sometimes. A shower by the back door sounds like it will be so nice — but unless it is stocked with clean clothes for everyone, it doesn’t get used. If you have to go to your bedroom to get clean clothes, you use the bathroom by the bedrooms. That was our experience in our first home where the second shower was in the bathroom by the back door.

    I’d vote for a big laundry room, which we did in our second house!

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  9. Amy

    05/06/2019

    I agree that showers don’t take too long…10 minutes total if someone is shaving?? So I love the idea of a large laundry room with room for folding and whatever else you need to do in there like soaking grains, etc.

    Pocket doors are so nice! We have one and I love it.

    Also, I LOVE the idea of an outdoor shower for the pool. We would definitely use that!

    Ah! We all have different opinions!

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  10. Karlyn Nance

    05/05/2019

    Is there any nook or cranny or closet or part of your landing space UPSTAIRS where you could squeeze in the extra shower?

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    Lindsay E. Reply:

    I was thinking this, too! And then, plot twist, do an almost butlers pantry type room with either an under the counter but smaller euro sized washer and dryer, or the stackable washer and dryer only bc you have the full washer and dryer downstairs. If I could somehow add that bonus shower upstairs, I would absolutely go for it!

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  11. Wendy

    05/05/2019

    I have six children. I would make a larger laundry, but I would plumb and wire for two stacked sets. It is very little cost while you’re already doing the work. When your children get older, you will have lots! of laundry. (Or they will each be doing their own—meaning five of you competing for W/D space.) It revolutionized my life to add a second set. And, in the long run, it doesn’t really cost you more for two sets, because they will lSt you twice as long because you are only using them half as much. So. You could just keep the basement laundry and have plenty of space upstairs, or you could put two stacks upstairs, but if you plan now, you have both options. Also, I would definitely investigate the feasibility of doing an outdoor or garage shower. Having a shower by itself in your laundry is awkward for guests, and I echo the sentiment that you will not too likely need to have three showers going simultaneously. But outside,… now that could prove useful!

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  12. Donna

    05/05/2019

    I would do “both”: shower with small stackable upstairs and real laundry room in basement,
    First, a question: do you have the water pressure/hot water capability to run two bathrooms at the same time? If not, the third shower is pointless. If so, the reasons for both: 1) you are the parents of four kids…you NEED a private bathroom…you only..not kids, not guests, You might not realize this now, but one day you will…a private space. 2) all the pros above..outside dirty kids coming in, guests, bathrooms occupied for other reasons, etc, 3) when your kids start sports…you will be doing a little laundry everyday…the stackable upstairs allow you to keep up with you dishcloths and cleaning cloths, small kid emergency loads (I need my uniform today!) without having to run downstairs everyday. The downstairs allows you the space to do real laundry…you will have several outfits from all five members everyday (sports, cheerleading, Dave being a coach…cause you know he will), linens and towels and gives you room to have stacks and folding area, etc. You need both.

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  13. Marva

    05/05/2019

    I vote to keep the shower. It would get used a lot as your kids get older and minimize the chaos surrounding scheduling 4 teens using one shower! I’m wondering if you could put a fold-down countertop above the laundry sink to use for folding clothes and setting crockpots, etc. when the sink isn’t in use. Frankly, I’ve never had a laundry sink and never once wished I did!

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  14. Nika

    05/05/2019

    Hi Andrea,
    is it possible to move the door towards the shower (where the red chair is)? Then it should be possible to keep the shower AND you can put the side by side washer and dryer along the kitchen wall (where the toilet is right now). Either you choose a pocket/sliding door or the door should open against the shower, so you don‘t see it when entering the room.
    I think that would be option No. 3. 😉

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  15. Carol

    05/05/2019

    My first thought was that those windows are taking up a lot of valuable wall space! I remember you didn’t like the idea of covering them up due to the cost and the look of the house on the outside when you started this project. I went back to look at your post from last year, particularly where those windows are outside.

    My second thought was that the laundry sink is a long way from your washing machine(in the side by side laundry room)! If nothing else, I would reverse your side by side washer and dryer if you go that route to get the washer directly across from the sink.

    I know it would add to the cost, but what about putting in a shorter window, higher up to match what you have over your kitchen sink? That lower expanse of wall on the outside could be minimized with some foundation planting under them. Then put the sink, washer and dryer along that wall under the window with a counter over the appliances. Not sure how opening the washer/dryer doors would work with the door into the room, so you might need to make the entryway door a pocket door. You would have space to keep the shower in the corner where it is and you could still have some cabinets overhead on either side of the windows!

    It’ll be fun to see what you decide!

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  16. Linda T

    05/04/2019

    Larger laundry room! We have a small laundry room which doubles as a backdoor entryway. I would love to have space to fold laundry (instead of my kitchen table). The counter over the washer and dryer sounds great!

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  17. Mary

    05/04/2019

    Larger laundry and put small shower in the basement.

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    Linda T Reply:

    This is a great idea!

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  18. Julia

    05/04/2019

    Do you plan to retire in this home? My parents are all about not having to use steps in their old age. Having all your necessary living spaces on the same floor could be a big bonus in thirty years! But if you’re not planning to stay that long, it may not be as big of a deal.

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  19. Bridget

    05/04/2019

    Laundry. Having the toilet/sink is more important and you already have that. Showers themselves don’t take that much time. We have three and a half baths and I can’t think of a time when all three showers were going simultaneously, even with company staying. I love the idea of having a shower in the outbuilding for a future pool though. Plus making it a laundry room can also allow it to be a kitchen overflow/butlers pantry. For someone that cooks and bakes as much as you do, that seems like a better use of the space in the near and long term.

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  20. Mariángeles

    05/04/2019

    One more shower to clean, definitely NO! Hahaha
    I would have a more spacious laundry room for a better management of all your clothes, you are 6!

    I have a tub and only take quick showers.
    I shower my 3yo while she sits but no bath.
    IMHO, I think you are OK with 2 bathroom, you’re so organized!
    As for the chlorine of the Summer pool, you can put up a portable shower by the pool to leave that chorine outside

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  21. Brooke

    05/04/2019

    If 3 people shower at the same time, will you have enough hot water and water pressure? If the answer is no, I’d skip the 3rd shower. Growing up we showered in my moms bathroom, and one on my kids uses ours. It’s really not a big deal. I’d go with the laundry room, but if you don’t need the storage, skip the overhead cupboards and reduce your cost. Open shelving is easier for grabbing things you need, and you could install a fold down drying rack instead.

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  22. Ron

    05/04/2019

    Not sure of the space but I would try to center the door on the same wall and turn it into a pocket door. Starting to my left (clockwise) shower, stacked washer/dryer then right side of window, the toilet then sink on right side of door.
    Pocket would slide left towards shower.
    No up and down with laundry. As we get older, it gets more tiresome. Another shower will definitely be a bonus now and for resale.
    Good luck!

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  23. Cathy

    05/04/2019

    I would make it a full bath and expand my laundry area in the basement to have two washers and two dryers.

    A full bath would really help no matter the age of your children and you would have plenty of room to make your laundry area large with plenty of counter space and storage downstairs.

    I always had two washers and dryers which really made laundry go fast! …and any house can always use an extra bathroom. It would also add to the resale value.

    You can convert the bath to a laundry room when you are old and can’t do stairs anymore…..if you’re still in that house.

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  24. JoDi

    05/03/2019

    Laundry in the basement. Yeah, it’s a pain to some people, but it’s good exercise.
    Shower on the main floor and counter space where you were going to put the stackables so you have room for crock pots, grain soaking, etc. Where will you do that stuff if you turn this room into a laundry/shower room like you planned to originally? You’ve added a new hobby to your life since you originally decided how to use this space. Might be time to update the plan for your new needs!

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  25. Jodi

    05/03/2019

    Larger laundry room! As a shorter person I’d absolutely hate a stacked washer and dryer. I’d also much rather have extra storage space than an extra shower to clean. Are you planning to stay in your house after your kids are grown up? If you were only planning to be in your house until your kids were adults then maybe the extra shower would win out for me but if you are planning to stay there after your kids have grown up I’d think the larger laundry room would be more useful in the long term.

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  26. Allison

    05/03/2019

    I would choose side by side washer and dryer over a third shower. Growing up in a family with 5 kids (all within 7 years), we managed with one bathroom in the house. You get used to it. If you need a third shower in a few years, you can add a shower in the basement. We had a cement shower in the basement of our last house the owners before us called the “man shower.” It was used when someone was really dirty. The bonus was it only required cleaning occasionally or after it was used. Since you have running water in the garage, you can always add pool house type shower for Summer too.

    You will use the laundry room several times a week. With a long counter, you can set up crockpots, soak grains, whatever and keep the kitchen tidier. I also love having space for a laundry basket and an area to hang clothes.

    In my opinion, I wouldn’t rely on a separate shower room for guests. When I travel, I would prefer a bathroom that has a toilet, shower, and an area to get ready all in one space. It is just more comfortable and convenient. I would not want to shower in one room then have to cross the hall to use the toilet. Having the shower in the laundry room would only be my preference if you had a dog that you needed to clean. So if you could do a pocket door and fit the side by side washer/dryer, a laundry sink, and a shower, that would be the ultimate in functionality.

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  27. Lori

    05/03/2019

    I would do the 3rd shower. It is a little unconventional to be in a room without toilet but I think it would work well for your family. If it was walk in would also be a good dog washing station. You are already well set up with 2 laundry areas and it seems like you already wash/dry and put away laundry all at once – no need for elaborate set up for folding. Maybe you’ll give each kid a basket and they’ll fold and put away their own laundry? As your kids grow older, I see a possible convenient set up as having the upstairs bathroom be the “girl” bathroom and the boys get the downstairs. Plus you already have the shower. Also basement bathrooms are harder to put in because they are below grade so I wouldn’t consider that to be a better option than what you already have. I would be strongly in favor of the 3rd shower option. Definitely would make things easier than 4 kids competing for one bathroom!

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  28. Traci Smith

    05/03/2019

    Laundry room! Stackables don’t work as well, and as a family of 6 you need to maximize laundry efficiency. You don’t have many more years of baths, and when they’re teens some will want to shower at night after sports, some in the morning, etc so it works out but laundry is FOREVER

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  29. Katie

    05/03/2019

    Are you going to keep the laundry room downstairs as well? If that’s an option I would keep the shower and the smaller laundry situation upstairs. Given your girl boy mix I think it might be helpful to have an extra shower and privacy as they grow. My only caveat, if the shower/toilet situation in the upstairs bathroom can be separated from the sink /mirror situation then I think the third shower is less important.

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  30. Meg

    05/03/2019

    I vote for a bigger laundry room. Older children equal bigger clothes, so more loads of laundry to get everything through the wash. We recently renovated our whole house, and my favourite things about my laundry are: 1/ the washer and dryer are both built in under a bench, so lots of bench space with a clean minimal look, and 2/ A clothes rack so I can take delicates straight from the washer to a hanger to hang dry, or pull clothes straight from the dryer onto a hanger so they don’t crease.

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  31. Karen

    05/03/2019

    Third shower, hands down! Adds important functionally to the space. Imagine your house on the market, what would most buyers want more of? Ho-hum laundry space, or another useful bathing option for adults, kids, pets, plants, whatever. That’s a no brainer!

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  32. Molly

    05/03/2019

    I would do the stackable washer and dryer with the 3rd shower and I would leave your side by side unit in the basement. I fold all my laundry in the living room or on our bed. I’d also look at getting a laundry sink with storage under it. Can’t wait to see what you choose!

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  33. Rita

    05/03/2019

    Bigger laundry room!

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  34. Lynn

    05/03/2019

    I would vote for having a nice, roomy laundry room! I think you would really enjoy that space, especially having the extra counter space. We have three kids close in age (they’re all grown now -23, 21 and 19) and they always shared one bathroom. No one ever used our shower or the guest shower downstairs. I think your kids will learn to manage just fine. You could always consider putting in an extra bathroom in the basement or an outdoor shower. I can’t remember your upstairs space, but is there room to put in an extra bathroom upstairs?

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