How To Build A Hanging Laundry Rack (aka An English-Style Airer)
Have you ever heard of a clothes airer? No? Me either. Of course I didn’t grow up in Europe, where these overhead clothes airers/pulley airers/laundry maids were popular. It took Pinterest to introduce me to these throwback hanging laundry racks. And once I saw one, I knew I wanted one for our Farmhouse laundry room. Of course, being the DIY-kind-of-people we are, we decided to build our own! Read on for our DIY tutorial.
psst: our laundry room reveal (with sources) is coming next week…assuming we get it finished this weekend 😉
What exactly is an ‘overhead clothes airer’ and why would you want one?
Overhead clothes airers originated in Europe back in the 18th-century. They were installed in the laundry rooms of larger estates and built by handy men, before eventually being commercially manufactured and sold. Airers are attached to pulleys so they can be lowered to load and unload and then raised towards the ceiling to take advantage of hot air for drying. Pretty slick! (source)
Airers are still a great way to hang laundry indoors, and the pulleys really are key! Not only do the pulleys take advantage of a home’s warmest air (hot air rises and all that), but they keep laundry out of eye shot. We’re obsessed with this little contraption!
Garrett worked through the design of our clothes airer for a solid week. He played around with one pulley, but ultimately decided on two. In the end, this design cost around $50, which is 1/10th of what they’re selling for on a certain English kitchen website. Not bad!
Let’s talk about how to build one…
DIY // Hanging Clothes Rack (aka English-Style Airer)
Time: 1 Day +
Materials (see notes below)
wood staves (we used 7 42”x1 1/2”x5/8” cedar pieces and finished with poly)
2 2’-long flat steel (we used 1 1/2” x 1/4”)
screws, 2 per stave (we used 1 1/4” flat head, #6)
1/4” cotton cord (we used ~60’)
2 ceiling hooks
cordless drill with bit
file or angle grinder
heavy vehicle if you want to bend metal (optional!!!)
Garrett walks you through the steps he took to build our overhead clothes airer in the video below.
notes / more information
We spaced the slats at 3”, but I think the airer would be more useful with wider spacing (4” +) to allow for hanging bulkier items.
The video shows Garrett cutting our 4’ bar in two pieces, but it would have been easier to buy two 2’ long pieces. We saw the 2’ version at our local Ace Hardware.
Don’t feel like you need to use your vehicle to shape the steel! The hanging rack would be lovely with straight steel as well.
It’s a cool little contraption, right?!
We’d love to hear if you use this tutorial! Tag us on Instagram or wherever you share your project!