A recent preference survey conducted by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) found that 95 percent of new home owners request a dedicated laundry room, and 61 percent of these laundry rooms are being built on second levels, not on first floors or in basements. It only makes sense to process laundry where trips back and forth can be minimized. Washers and dryers of old were plain and utilitarian in appearance, and as such, were often hidden away in the recesses of a home. With stylish colors and lines, units today often find space in the main living area of a home, not displayed next to the big screen TV of course, but nicely configured in a room dedicated to their efficient use.
More than a closet
Over the years I have completed a few laundry room remodels, while most of these have been modest, the intent was to improve efficiency and make the space more usable. Aside from some simple storage ideas, floor coverings were improved, with tile replacing carpet in nearly all of them. The added humidity from laundry activities, combined with lint, make keeping a room clean a bit of a challenge. Tile in this sense is far superior to carpet.
If remodeling a laundry space, or designing one from scratch some simple ideas here can improve the workflow and functionality of the space.
- Dirty clothes storage and sorting space. An area in the laundry room to place clothes waiting to be cleaned or a work area that allows proper sorting can be very useful. If space allows, having separate receptacles for lights and darks can eliminate some time prior to starting a wash load.
- Clean clothes folding and supplies storage. Having a work surface to fold clean clothes is very handy, newer front loading washers and dryers can often be installed below a counter, saving some space. Upper wall cabinets can provide storage for detergents and other supplies without reducing work surfaces.
- Ironing board. Many new fashions are requiring the occasional use of an iron. A fold away station can make simple work of this task. Gone are the days of June Cleaver happily ironing away in the middle of the dining room.
- Clothesline and hanging space. Overhead hanging space for delicate items that need to air dry is very handy. These can take the form of a retractable “line” or a sturdy closet type bar. Line drying laundry is an excellent way to save energy.
- Lighting. Lets face it, working in the dark is harder than working in a well lit room. Local task lighting or balanced space lighting are your best options. Your room layout will dictate how best to accomplish this necessary requirement.
- Sewing space. This idea may not appeal to many, but as clothes are handled through the washing and drying process, people often find small areas that need some attention. Having a space handy for quick repairs can lead to timely fixes.
- Windows. Most people prefer working in a room with a view, natural light can brighten your mood for the mundane tasks that may seem to never end. Another benefit to having access to an exterior wall is that venting the dryer can be a much simpler task.
Washers and dryers today are nicer looking and much quieter than what I remember as a kid. Our basement with its concrete floor did however provide a sturdy foundation for the shake and rattling of our washer, and it was nice to have it buried away from the living space. The countless trips up and down the stairs though were something that many homeowners now do not have to experience.