This is my version of the laundry basket shelf you’ve probably seen before.
I first got the idea from Ana White but her version uses cleats (instead of shelves) and her baskets go in sideways. There are also tons of reader submitted versions on her site as well. For my version the laundry baskets sit on shelves, so I could use them for something other than laundry baskets if I wanted. I needed something very narrow and the same depth as my counter top, which is 24 inches, so I turned my baskets in the other direction and it worked perfectly.
Building the Laundry Basket Shelf
My dimensions were pretty much set by the space I had to work with. There was a maximum of 19″ width between the door molding and a drain pipe. The depth was set by the size of the counter top, which could be no deeper than 24″. The height was somewhat variable, I just had to make sure there was enough room for the baskets to clear the shelves. Ultimately I went with 36″ height because that was the most comfortable height for me to stand at the counter top. This was the general idea…
My first step was to cut out dado joints to attach my shelves. I had never used a router before, but I figured it out. You can find that post here.
You DO NOT need to cut dados, but I was itching to try my router for the first time. The sketch below assumes you are NOT using a router, but simply screwing the shelf boards directly to the side pieces.
Next I attached the bottom to the two sides.
Then I slid the shelves into the dado joints. I added some glue to each side, but it wasn’t necessary. If you didn’t use dado joints you could either screw the shelves in place or use cleats to hold the shelves up.
One regret is that I didn’t use better plywood. I should have spent the extra $10-15 for cabinet grade plywood, but now I know. This was one of the first projects I where I built something out of plywood. My son and his little buddies didn’t seem to mind the sub par plywood.
I sanded it one last time then gave it a good coat of primer before I painted it. It was super easy to do and if you’re thinking of making one, just do it. I originally added a top piece to my unit, but ended up taking it off because I didn’t need it and it didn’t look good with the counter top. There’s also no back on my shelf because it is permanently attached to the wall, so again I didn’t need it. Adding a piece of wood to the back would have taken away from my depth and I didn’t want to spare 3/4″.
Installing the Counter Top
Now it was time to get the counter top ready. I am loving this laminate counter top I got from Home Depot for $82. It’s funny because I HATE the laminate counters in my kitchen, but I guess that’s because those are ugly and falling apart. This I likey. And hello, it’s not like I would put granite in a laundry room, laminate is just fine. Anyway… this is the fabric I plan to use for under the counter. Update: I ended up using a chevron print because I thought the choral clashed with the wall paper too much.
I actually added two pieces, one to fill in the backsplash and one to fill in along the edge of the overhang.
Then comes the part you’ve probably seen on TV before… you iron the laminate on.
The ironing part was easy enough, but then I had to file off the excess, which was pretty annoying.
The counter is not actually attached to anything. It rests on top of the laundry basket shelf on the right side and a 2×4 attached to the wall on the left. I also added that support on the outside left corner. Then I braced the support leg along the floor all the way back to the wall. I also attached a brace to the partition wall, which helps support the counter top. And don’t worry, I painted those brown pieces white. This is what the laundry room looks like at the end of post #4… When am I going to finish this room?! At least in the meantime, my son is having fun playing in there. And it is functional, just not pretty yet.It is ugly under here, so a curtain is a must! I can fit two dirty clothes hampers under there, but we just use one.