By Joyanna Laughlin
No longer an afterthought in the home, laundry rooms are making a splash in 2015. In fact, this utilitarian room ranks second from the top on the National Association of Homebuilders Most Wanted List for home features in 2015. That’s no surprise to Kirsten Ederer Lytle, NCIDQ, interior designer and LEED green associate at The Onyx Group in Alexandria, Virginia. “It makes perfect sense to make a place where doing laundry is convenient and pleasant,” Lytle says.
Make the Most of Your Space
Don’t want to dedicate a lot of space to a laundry room but need it to function efficiently? Flexibility is the key, Lytle says. Think of your laundry room as an adaptable, multi-use space. Consider adding charging stations (away from water!), mail sorting with a built-in shredder and recycling area, a dry cleaning drop-off area, message or chalk boards, built-in linen storage, shoe racks, boot drying racks, bins for clothes to donate, or even bins for gym clothes/sports gear that must be washed by a deadline.
Looking to care for your pets in one place? Attractive dog washing stations, pet feeding areas, out-of-sight cat litter box areas and even napping spots are making their way into laundry rooms, providing an alternative to the kitchen, bathroom or garage for these activities.
Stackable washers and dryers, drying racks, and sorting bins make great laundry room space savers and organizers. Make sure that drying racks are retractable or locate them out of the way, so that you can still sort, fold, or wash while clothes are drying. Use sorting bins that are easy to fill and empty (try removable liner bags or light liftable bins that aren’t built in). Remember opening clearances for the washer, dryer, and cabinet doors. Ensure that you have enough space to open doors and still move around or put a hamper where you need it. Locate frequently used items like detergent, bleach, and dryer sheets within easy reach. Consider installing a dehumidifier or an exhaust fan to speed drying times for hanging clothes and prevent mold growth or moisture damage. And try hanging your clothes out to dry in the fresh air, which is the most energy efficient way of drying them.
Where to put your laundry room depends on your home’s layout and whether the room serves another purpose, such as a pantry, mudroom, or kennel. Ask yourself questions like whether it’s more important to hear the dryer buzzer from the kitchen and stay on top of the work or to make fewer trips upstairs with clean clothes. An ideal location is close to the bedrooms with no stair climbing required, Lytle says. However, laundry rooms can add noise and heat to adjoining spaces during hot summer months, and newer, high-efficiency, front-loading washers and dryers are especially loud during spin cycles. Consider including sound attenuation insulation in the walls if you put the laundry room next door to light sleepers or the main family room. In addition, washers require access to plumbing, and dryers require a gas hookup or a 220v outlet and must exhaust to the outside, which can place restrictions on the room’s location.
In many house plans the laundry room is connected to or beside the mud room.
Because laundry needs to gets done all the time, or whenever there is a free moment, it seems logical to have
a laundry room near the center of the home and labeled as a “Clean Zone” that includes storage for coats adjacent to the bathroom, opposite the stairway and not far from the master bedroom.
10 Ways to Add Style to Your Laundry Room
1. Make one place that’s beautiful to look at, such as an open shelf with family pictures, a piece of art, or a decorative backsplash.
2. Utilize closed storage. While perfectly arranged, open storage is popular in magazines, it won’t stay like that in your home.
3. Use an accent color to set off white cabinetry and trim. Color makes the white really pop. Don’t be afraid to be bold with your color and pattern.
4. Add specialty wall finishes like beadboard, wainscot, or wallpaper, to dress up small bits of bare wall.
5. Include space to iron hang ironed clothes, as well as a well-placed outlet on the backsplash for the iron.
6. Add natural texture with woven baskets, stone backsplashes, wood countertops, or rustic accents.
7. Don’t forget music and entertainment! Install a speaker connected to your home’s sound system or include a docking station or little shelf for your iPad or CD player.
8. Add a rug, bath mat, or cushioned floor mat to bring comfort, warmth, color, and texture to the room.
9. Remember task lighting. Have fun by adding extra light with mini chandeliers, lanterns, strings of lights, or decorative sconces.
10. Provide a breath of fresh air with a window, transom, trompe l’oeil, or lit faux window to relieve feelings of enclosure.
With a little organization and a dash of style, your laundry room can become a fun place to enjoy even the most mundane of chores.Joyanna Laughlin Author Google+