14 Practical Drying Rack ideas to dry clothes quickly and efficiently indoors

Save time, money and even space with our round up of savvy drying rack ideas, to get clothes dry, fast

drying rack ideas to get your clothes dry
(Image credit: Magnet)

Drying clothes during the winter months, or if you don't have access to any outside space throughout the year, poses problems for many homes across the country. While those of us with utility rooms can utilise this space to dry our wet clothes, if your home doesn't include this dedicated space, the alternative is to use costly tumble dryers, or use drying racks set up around your home.

A budget-friendly substitute to the tumble dryer, is the best heated clothes airers, which will certainly speed up drying time and save on energy, but if you're really looking to keep costs as low as possible, then the humble drying rack is your answer. 

Drying rack ideas for all spaces

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, to dry clothes fast.

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.

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

1. Swap a rack for a rail

drying rack ideas for getting clothes dry fast

(Image credit: Future Plc)

While a drying rack typically offers more space to dry clothes, it can sometimes mean your clothes end up with creases and drying marks on them. So to avoid these, hang items like shirts and dresses onto hangers and hang from a slim rail in your kitchen or utility space.

Not only will they then dry without big creases, it means they are ready and on hand to iron and you won't be scrambling around to find hangers mid-iron. A hanging rail could also save you space and will ensure a successful utility room design.

2. Work a hanging rail into your utility space

drying rack ideas to get clothes dry fast

(Image credit: Magnet)

Rather than having to move your wet laundry from your utility room to another area of the house, work in a hanging rail above worktops to hang your clothes to dry them. One of the top utility room design mistakes is not leaving room to sort your laundry, but a hanging rail will allow you to hang delicates straight from the washing machine. 

3. Wall mount a laundry ladder

Drying rack ideas wall mount a rack

(Image credit: Future Plc/James Merrell)

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, plus fold flat when not in use to take up minimal space. 

'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.’

4. Extend to maximise drying potential

small utility room idea with extending drying rack

(Image credit: Future PLC/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.

5. Collapse and store out of sight

laundry room with folding wooden clothes horse

(Image credit: Future PLC/Sussie Bell)

A collapsable drying rack is ideal for storing out of sight and this Folding clothes horse, £45, Garden Trading is ideal for smaller homes. There are two height options so it can adjust to fit any living space, and can be used both inside and out.

You could even try throwing a fitted sheet over the rack to help speed up the drying time, as it's a hack that's deemed popular on TikTok.

Once your clothes are dry you simply fold it down to a compact concertina shape then store it out of view under a bed, in a cupboard or in a utility room. 

6. Save space with a suspended clothes airer

utility room with cream cabinetry and black worktops

(Image credit: Future PLC/Clive Doyle)

It's not new or revolutionary, but the Sheila Maid clothes airer, £88, Amazon 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.

7. Look for hotspots

drying rack idea above an aga

(Image credit: Future PLC/Claire Richardson)

Speed up the dying process by seeking out the hottest point within your kitchen or utility room, and 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!

8. Fill ceiling space above work surfaces

drying rack ideas to get your clothes dry

(Image credit: Lifestyle floors)

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.

9. Utilise the smallest of spaces

wooden drying rack

(Image credit: Future PLC/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 small corner that is out of the way, so it doesn't feel too intrusive within the space. I

if you don't have a utility room this solution is ideal for use in any small living space but is great for hanging tea towels and dish clothes in a kitchen.

10. Scent and dry clothes at the same time

laundry basket

(Image credit: TBC)

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

Another way of scenting your laundry is to make a home-made linen spray, by mixing a witch hazel or rubbing alcohol base, with some essential oils and even some fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme. Give your solution a shake and lightly mist over your laundry as it dries.

11. Hang a rack directly above the washing machine

laundry room with launderette sign

(Image credit: Future PLC/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.

12. Double up with pegs

garden trading extending clothes dryer

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Why not add to the drying capabilities of your drying rack, by attaching a sock and underwear hanger, just like this one, £12.99, Etsy, to your drying rack? While drying racks are great for hanging larger items like jumpers, trousers or t-shirts, smaller items like underwear often slip through the gaps, so by using a peg hanger, you can ensure you don't lose anything and your items will dry quicker if they have a little more space to breath.

13. Invest in bespoke built-in solutions

laundry room with bespoke laundry cupboards

(Image credit: Future PLC/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 won't be cheap solution, but it will ensure that doing the laundry is a smooth operation, with everything having a place.

14. Keep pegs to hand

laundry peg bucket on drying airer

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Sounds simple enough, but keeping the pegs hanging on the drying rack will ensure they don't get moved or misplaced, plus they'll be right at hand for hanging up your laundry in minutes.

Find a stylish storage solution to attach directly to the rack to make hanging the washing out a quick and easy chore. Buckets, baskets or peg bags are all great vessels.

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. 

Wall-mounted styles are great for small-space living too, but that said, are great for households of all sizes!

If you're looking for the best heated drying racks, there are lots on the market and are a great item to try and snap up in sales throughout the year.

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.

Chris Michael, Managing Director of Meaco, advises, 'Drying clothes inside is gentler on fabrics than tossing and tumbling in a dryer and prevents static cling.  Before you take them out of the washing machine, use a rinse cycle to keep the amount of water left in the clothes to a minimum.' 

'Place a drying rack away from walls to prevent the moisture from being trapped, and hang items individually and with as much space in between them as possible so they will dry more quickly. Open windows to enable airflow too.'

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.

Holly Walsh
Content Editor

Holly Walsh has been Content Editor at Ideal Home since 2021, but joined the brand back in 2015. With a background of studies in Interior Design, her career in interior journalism was a no-brainer and her passion for decorating homes is still as strong as it ever was. While Holly has written for most of the home titles at Future, including Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Style at Home, Ideal Home has always been her ideal home, and she can be found sharing her expertise and advice across both the printed magazine and the website too.