What are your top three favorite rooms in your house? Did the laundry room make the list? Probably not.
Laundry rooms get a bad rap. For most of us, sorting through dirty, smelly clothes (often dirty smelly clothes that are not your own) isn’t our idea of a good time. While we can’t magically solve the dirty laundry dilemma, improving your laundry room can improve your laundry experience. When you’re ready to give your laundry room a makeover, ask yourself these questions to help plan a beautiful, functional space that will make everyone’s least favorite chore slightly more palatable:
What’s the Scale of My Project? When creating a laundry room, you’re typically either restricted to working with your existing laundry space or starting from scratch with a new construction or extensive renovation. Giving your existing laundry space a makeover certainly limits options like choosing a location (off the kitchen vs. near the bedrooms and closets) however, it will not limit the design creativity you can leverage to craft a customized utility space.
What’s the Most Practical Location? If you have the option to start your design process from the ground up, you want to choose the most practical location in your home. Just because mom had her laundry room in the basement doesn’t mean you have to. If you’re considering placing laundry machines near bedrooms, shop for low decibel ratings and machines that will produce minimal vibration. Installation of premium models with high spin cycles (RPMs >1000) can be adjusted or customized to decrease the disturbance, and soundproofing can be added to practically eliminate noise.
Placing your laundry room in a more traditional location, such as on the first floor near the kitchen or an entryway, has its benefits, too. It keeps the heat and humidity of laundry machines contained to already high-activity areas, and in case of an unfortunate leak, you don’t have to worry about a ground level machine damaging multiple floors of your home as you would a machine located on a higher level.
How Can I Maximize Convenience? Laundry rooms are often referred to as utility rooms, and for good reason—they should be useful! If you’ve ever been resigned to stuffing your laundry machines into a tiny closet, you know what a luxury it is to have counter space for folding and hanging rods for air-drying. Maximize your productivity with a good quality utility sink. Preferably, utility sinks should be 10-12 inches deep with a large gooseneck faucet, making it easy to take care of all your hand-wash items.
Organize your room in a logical fashion based on tasks: sorting, pre-treating, loading/unloading, folding, ironing, etc. Design plenty of storage, placing laundry supplies within easy reach from your workspace, but take care to store harsh chemicals out of reach of curious little hands.
How Can I Maximize the Space? If your space is large enough for an island, that counter space can do double duty as a place for crafts or gift wrapping when not being used for laundry. Many people opt to use their laundry room as mudroom. Include cubbies and hooks for each family member to store their belongings, and make room for a boot tray to leave dirty shoes by the door. Fun, space-saving design elements include expandable drying racks, fold-up or retractable ironing boards, or even stacking your front-loader washer and dryer.
How Can I Make Doing Laundry Fun? Laundry day may never be fun, but there are a few elements you can include to make your laundry room feel more like a welcoming retreat. Start with some entertainment! Including a small fold down television preserves precious counter space and allows you to catch up on the news. Use built-in speakers to pipe in your favorite podcast. Incorporate a meaningful piece of artwork and soothing design elements that reflect your personal style. There’s no reason why the laundry room can’t be just as beautiful as every other room in your house.
For a room that a lot of us tend to avoid, the laundry room has a lot of potential to become a beautiful, functional part of our homes. By asking yourself these questions, you are well on your way to designing a great space. The professional designers at The Cook’s Station are ready to help you get started.