Drying rack ideas to dry clothes indoors in kitchens, utility rooms and more

Free your radiators, banisters and doors from being covered in damp clothes on laundry day by trying out our ideas for better drying...
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  • A common problem for many households is a lack of laundry drying space. As we can’t rely on the great British climate to make use of any outside space – with our unpredictable weather, the likelihood is that you’ll need to do much of your laundry drying inside. That’s where savvy drying rack ideas come in handy.

    Of course with many of us living in compact spaces or in house shares, or indeed having to launder for a brood of kids, a lack of drying space can easily become a regular domestic irritation. Before long you may well find yourself with more articles of clothing floating around than the local laundrette, with socks on radiators, sheets hanging from doors and towels lingering on the banisters. A home looking like a laundrette is never a great look when unexpected visitors drop in.

    Style out the laundry: See all our utility room ideas

    To solve the dilemma we’ve found some fabulous drying rack ideas for happily hanging laundry indoors.

    Drying rack ideas for all spaces

    1. Wall mount a laundry ladder

    laundry room drying rack

    Image credit: Sussie Bell

    Smart wall-mounted wooden drying racks are ideal for laundry rooms and bathrooms. A great space saver, simple laundry ladders also look stylish and utilitarian when not in use. Colour coordinated pegs to add a touch of thoughtful styling to this simple solution.

    More ideas: Utility room storage ideas that are practical yet stylish

    2. Extend to maximise drying potential

    small utility room idea with extending drying rack

    Image credit: Caroline Arber

    Choose a wall-mounted drying rack to utilise vertical storage. Go one further by choosing an extendable drying rack design that can be pulled out to offer all the drying capability a full loaded washing machine needs. Utilise every nook and cranny to make your utility as efficient as possible. Use a recessed wall to make even better use of otherwise unusable space.

    3. Collapse and store out of sight

    laundry rack

    Image credit: Sussie Bell

    A collapsable drying rack is ideal for storing out of sight. I personally own this smart wooden clothes horse design and it’s ideal for my small flat. There are two height options, to offer a taller rack with you want it to take up even less space – or perhaps have longer items to dry, such as all trousers. Once the clothes are dry you simply fold it down to a compact concertina shape then store it out of view. I personally have it under a unit in the kitchen, so it’s out of the way but still handy for when I need it.

    View now: Folding Clothes Horse, £40, Garden Trading

    4. Save space with a suspended clothes airer

    Utility room idea in kitchen

    Image credit: Clive Doyle

    It’s not new or revolutionary, but the Sheila Maid clothes airer is a style that’s been popular in Britain for well over 100 years. A great place for it is on the ceiling above your staircase – high up and out of the way. The space-saving solution is simply lowered down using a pulley rope system, making it easy to retract out of the way when not in use – ideal for small kitchens or utility rooms.

    Looking to add shelving? Utility room shelving ideas – organise your laundry room supplies with chic shelf solutions

    5. Invest in a wall-mounted indoor airer

    Garden Trading clothes airer

    Image credit: Garden Trading

    ‘Incorporate a drying rack into your utility space so you’ve somewhere to air clothes when the weather’s bad,’ says storage guru Vicky Silverthorn of youneedavicky.com. ‘Slatted shelves are also handy for storing freshly-laundered linens as slats allow air to circulate so washing won’t get damp.’

    This neat space-saving wall-hung airer has rows of wooden rungs for drying clothes and linens indoors and folds flat when not in use to take up minimal space.

    Buy now: Chalford wall dryer, £110, Garden Trading

    6. Look for hotspots

    Drying rack idea above an AGA

    Image credit: Claire Richardson

    Speed up the dying process by seeking out the hottest point within your kitchen or utility room, placing your airer there in order to make use of the warmth. If your home is lucky enough to use AGA make the permanent heat serve as a hot air dryer for your laundry. Simply hang  a traditional clothes airer above the stove to benefit from the heat below.

    Of course don’t forget to take the washing down before you start cooking tea, because the smells will be absorbed into the freshly laundered washing!

    7. Fill ceiling space above work surfaces

    country kitchen with laundry rack

    Image credit: Claire Richardson

    Make your drying rack work within the existing layout of a room. Suspending a rack above a work surface without higher level cupboards provides the perfect place to rest a laundry basket or pile of items ready to hang. On a practical level this means you’re not bending down more often that necessary when hanging the washing out. It also means you are making the most of the space, by utilising the unused ceiling above.

    8. Use a quiet corner

    wooden drying rack

    Image credit: Jan Baldwin

    No matter how attractive your hanging solution (and in the case above it’s pretty good!), no one wants laundry to overtake the house – even in a dedicated utility room. Choose a triangular shaped drying rack to tuck perfectly into a quiet corner that is out of the way, so it doesn’t feel too intrusive within the space. If you don’t have a utility room this solution is ideal for use in a small kitchen, confined to the corner.

    9. Scent and dry clothes at the same time

    Neutral country utility room with drying rack

    Make your drying rack multipurpose by hanging dried lavender, or other fragrant stems, to gently scent the washing while it dries.

    10. Hang a rack directly above the washing machine

    laudry room with launderette sign

    Image credit: Paul Raeside

    Make the laundry even easier by locating your drying rack as close to your washing machine as possible. If choosing a traditional pulley drying rack use the ceiling area directly above your appliances to make it possible to hang directly from the machine, to save having to decant the load into a laundry basket to transport it around the house to hang elsewhere.

    Jazz up the utility with a splash of colour on the walls and a fun sign to add character to the space.

    11. Double up with pegs

    extending drying rack

    Image credit: Garden Trading

    Your utility room can offer much needed drying space with an extending clothes dryer that also features pegs. The extending rails pull out with ease, allowing you to hang out a full load of washing in an instant. ‘It’s also been designed with a shelf and six natural hanging pegs for storing all multitude of household items. Whether you choose to place in the kitchen or utility room, the Extending Clothes Dryer will prove to be an indispensable piece of furniture for everyday use,’ says Garden Trading

    ‘Perfect for apartments and homes without garden space, the dryer folds back when not in use saving you on time and space.’

    Got a small space? Read: Small utility room ideas to organise compact laundry rooms and tiny kitchens

    12. Invest in bespoke built-in solutions

    built-in drying rack idea

    Image credit: Charles Yorke

    If you’ve got a bit more budget for your laundry antics try a fitted cabinet as part of a bespoke utility room. We love the elegance of this one at Charles Yorke, with its concealed clothes airer. Neatly hidden out of sight you wouldn’t even know this airing cupboard was there. Of course if you don’t need to hide it, leave the doors open to aid with the drying time.

    A bespoke fitted utility room will blow the budget but ensure that future laundry is a smooth operation. Everything has a place.

    13. Keep pegs to hand

    laundry peg bucket on drying airer

    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    Sounds simple enough, but keeping the pegs hanging on the drying rack will ensure they don’t get moved or misplaced. Find a stylish storage solution to attach directly to the rack to make hanging the washing out a quick and easy chore.

    What is the best drying rack?

    Determining what is the best drying rack will depend on the property you live in. For a small household where laundry is limited to one or two washing machine loads a week you might say a collapsable drying rack is best – so it can be folded away out of sight.

    What is the best way to dry clothes indoors?

    The best way to dry clothes indoors is with a sizeable drying rack. Also known as clothes airers and clothes horses there are a number of different designs that can help to make drying clothes indoors a breeze. With a freestanding drying rack you have the added bonus to be able to move it around the houses, dictating where you can afford to have clothes out on display – if you have a dining room or spare room that’s not being used, it’s ideal to move to airer in there beside a radiator and close the doors so it’s not on view.

    What can I use if I don’t have a drying rack?

    The alternative for drying if you don’t have a rack is by hanging items over radiators, bannisters and even doorframes. While this solves the problem, it’s not an ideal set up. It makes the house look untidy, and can leave odd drying impressions on garments – if say it’s left over a square edge. There are plenty of affordable drying racks on the market, to make it possible for all budgets to invest in a proper drying solution.

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