Big or small, laundry rooms have taken on many roles.
Did you know on average Americans spend 8 hours per week in the laundry room? My clients have actually told me they don’t really need a dining room or a living room, but they simply cannot live without a great laundry room. With the right ingredients, you can have a laundry room that makes washing, drying, and folding fun. Let’s look at must-have laundry room features for creating the ultimate laundry room.
In these days of multi-functional spaces, the laundry room has become the star.
No longer relegated to the basement, laundry rooms have become integrated into the main levels of today’s home. More than just for “airing your dirty laundry” they can [ and now often do ] double as mud rooms, a salon for your fur baby, your family’s arts and crafts space, the home office, and sometimes the potting shed for house plants. With such a wide variety of uses, here are my design tips for getting the most out of your laundry room.
The Ultimate Laundry Room
The Ultimate Laundry Room: Equipment
Washers and Dryers: Laundry equipment like washers and dryers can be stacked or set side by side. Front-loading washing machines provide more design flexibility and can fit beneath a countertop for folding and sorting. They are also available in fashionable colors to coordinate with the design of your home. Some washing machines now come with smart features, too, so you can start and stop your laundry while driving to and from work – with your phone!
Don’t have a lot of room for a large laundry? Don’t worry, a hall closet may just be the perfect spot. New full-size and super quiet stack-able washer and dryers fit right into a closet and are just steps from the bedrooms. LG offers a great stackable washer and dryer. What is the best part? The controls are located between the units so everyone can reach them.
Have you heard about the LG Styler? With this innovative appliance, you can refresh your clothes between cleanings. Do you suffer from allergies? This handy styler removes allergens and can sanitize your wash all with the touch of a button. Perfect for sports equipment or teddy bears, a styler has something for everyone in the family. Since this unit doesn’t need plumbing, you can install one almost anywhere. I am not big on drycleaning so this is the perfect solution to perk up blazers, linen, and my hand-knitted sweaters. Best of all? With the rising cost of gas and food lately, this is a perfect way to save, over time, on your family’s water and dry cleaning bills.
The Ultimate Laundry Room: Storage
Storage and More: Decorative hooks hold backpacks and sports equipment. Add a bench with storage for shoes, hanging rods for drip drying or swimsuits, and hand washables. Limited on space? tall narrow pullouts store cleaning supplies and don’t require a lot of room. You can stash almost everything in wall cabinets.
Drip Dry Area: This was a great idea I saw during my trip to Napa with Signature Kitchen Suite appliances. This concealed drying rack simply pulls out like a drawer when needed and then is easily hidden away. It was built into a drawer located above the washer with just enough hanging room for shirts and work out wear.
Open Shelves: Storing laundry baskets on shelves make it easier to sort and deliver clean clothes to their proper room. Bins for sorting laundry are always handy. The kids might actually help with this task. Brightly colored baskets add a bit of fun.
Ultimate Laundry Room: Materials
Materials: Use durable easy-to-clean surfaces and materials which will hold up to water. You don’t want to have to worry about dripping or splashing water ruining the finishes in your laundry room.
I prefer a thermofoil door ( a vinyl material that is heated and formed onto a solid core cabinet door) for laundry room cabinets. Thermofoil is easy to clean, cost-effective, and comes in a wide variety of colors. There is a lot of moisture and water in the laundry room and painted cabinets do not mix well with water. Dekton by Cosentino, stone, quartz, and all high-quality solid surfacing materials are all perfect choices for laundry room surfaces. These materials are durable, and stain-resistant and spills are just wiped away.
Good Lighting: Bright light is important in every room, especially in the laundry area. General lighting combined with task lighting (under cabinet lights, for example) makes it so much easier to sort between black and blue socks. The right lighting also helps you check to make sure your clothes are stain free. No more descending into a dark dreary basement for laundry chores. Bright and airy rooms are what you need.
Utility sinks: Remember those house plants? Gone are the days of ugly plastic laundry tubs. Utility sinks come in a variety of materials and colors. A deep sink is perfect for soaking out stains or filling a bucket for spring cleaning. A sprayer faucet for lightly misting plants keeps them dust free and healthy.
Activities Area: Budding artists need a space to create. Easy-care surfaces and a sink for quick clean-up are a must. You can tuck a gift wrap center into a closet or hang it under a cabinet that keeps everything organized. Countertops set at a lower height make folding much easier.
Don’t forget your pets
Places for Pets: What better spot for your pup’s crate than tucked under a folding counter. Leashes can be hung nearby ready for a walk. If you can fit a bench, the dog’s bowls can sit underneath. Is there a better place to clean up your pup? Muddy paws are a snap to rinse off with a pet bathing area.
The Ultimate Laundry Room: Added conveniences.
Besides the LG Styler which I mentioned before built-in ironing board centers are a great convenience. You can choose from wall-mounted models (Ironaway is one manufacturer), retractable drawer-mounted models (check out Rev a shelf), and tabletop ironing boards.
The wall-mounted models, store your iron and come with outlets, a light, and a timer to turn off the electricity in case you forget. For super small loads, LG Appliances has introduced the “Side Kick”. This compact washer replaces a pedestal under the main washer and is perfect for small loads like intimate apparel, workout wear, or hand-wash items that need special care.
Don’t forget to have some fun with the decorations. Pretty paint or wallcovering will definitely create an inviting space. Explore your crafty side and make fun signs for the walls. Add some whimsey with a pretty patterned painted ceiling. The ultimate laundry room is a great space to have some fun.
Finally, don’t forget the shut-off valve!
There is nothing worse than coming home from a great vacation to find that you have water damage from a leak. Automatic valves can sense a leak or a broken hose and will cut off the water to the machine preventing costly water damage. More than protection from leaks, they can save you money on your water bills by eliminating drippy water valves.
Love your laundry room? Let us know. Tell us about some of the features you feel every laundry room needs.
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Sharon L. Sherman, ASID, NCIDQ, CID, CKD
Sharon is the founder of Thyme and Place Design, headquartered in Wyckoff, New Jersey. She’s been practicing kitchen and bath design for the past 40 years and is a Past President of the American Society of Interior Designers – New Jersey chapter. She is a current member of the editorial board of KB&B Magazine, the official magazine of the National Kitchen and Bath Association.
Her award-winning designs and editorial comments have been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Design Milk, Bergen NJ magazine, Kitchen & Bath Design News, Woman’s Day, Country Decorating, Design NJ, New Jersey Home Magazine, 201 Magazine, The Best of Bergen, Savvy Living, The Vue, The Record, The Star-Ledger, and Aspire as well as several books.
Her blog “Tips from the Trade” appears in digital form on DesignNJ.com and KBBonline.com. She has also appeared on HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation and episodes of House Smarts with Lou Manfredini. In 2022, she was a featured *Voices From The Industry* speaker at the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s international convention and is available for further speaking engagements nationwide on all topics related to running a successful kitchen and bath design business.