If you find yourself spending more time doing laundry than you’d like, perhaps it’s time to consider a laundry room makeover. Especially when dealing with utilitarian rooms, like a laundry room or kitchen, it’s important for the space to be carefully planned. When a laundry room is well designed, both aesthetically and functionally, the task at hand can be more efficient and the space can be enjoyed. Following are some of the trends we’re seeing in today’s larger, more prominent laundry rooms.
Over the years, laundry rooms have moved throughout the home from the basement to the first floor to the second floor near the bedrooms and back. Today, homeowners are frequently opting for multiple locations – perhaps one on the upper floors, convenient to clothes and sheets, and a second on the lower level for pool towels and post-vacation high volume. Another increasingly popular option is a secondary small, stacked unit in the master suite for quick washes and delicate items.
The advancements in residential washers and dryers in recent years have been significant. Keeping up with the times, most of today’s popular manufacturers are offering feature-rich, energy-efficient units. Because laundry rooms have evolved beyond the dark, gloomy corner of the basement, manufacturers continue to develop quieter and more aesthetically pleasing machines that are more appropriate for higher-traffic areas. And, when a second laundry room isn’t in the plans, some people are choosing to place multiple units in the same room to better manage a high volume of laundry.
While some are choosing to match the high-end cabinetry in their kitchen and baths, homeowners often opt for a slightly more economical choice for their laundry room storage needs. Fine finishes, bright colors and interesting configurations help to make laundry room cabinetry functional and appealing. Well-planned cabinetry may feature drying racks; a combination of open and closed storage; room for bulk items and oversized spaces for multiple hampers for easy sorting.
Many homeowners are opting for the convenience of a folding area in their updated laundry rooms. Whether the solution is counters around the edge of the room, an island in the middle or a combination of both, a clutter-free space dedicated to the task of folding and sorting laundry helps to move the process along. Depending on the location and prominence of the laundry room, many homeowners are choosing granite and other high-end finishes for the counter tops. If space is a challenge, consider adding a flip-down or other type of hideaway counter to serve the same purpose.
Another convenient option is a drying area. Designed with hanging bars, tiled floors and walls and even drainage, this type of space is particularly helpful if you have many items that need to drip dry.
Even drop-down ironing boards have received a facelift in recent years. For years, people have welcomed the convenience, but weren’t fond of the appearance. These days, homeowners are integrating their drop-down ironing boards into their custom cabinetry for a seamless, finished appearance.
Just as with any room a combination of well-planned ambient and task lighting can make all the difference in a laundry room. Small task lights under the cabinet will illuminate the counter top areas, while ceiling-mounted lighting can add to the charm of and improve functionality throughout the room. Also appealing are windows or skylights, which let in the warmth of natural sun light.
As you plan a laundry room makeover, consider what other functions this space could serve. Might a desk double as a homework station for the children and a bill-paying center? Might an island be ideal for crafts and gift wrapping? Or might a counter and storage next to the utility sink serve as a potting bench? By developing a list of goals and priorities in advance, you may be able to tailor the perfect multifunction solution for your family. With a little planning and solid execution, a well-designed laundry room can become a multipurpose refuge of sorts. Imagine saying, “This is my favorite room in the whole house.” Some people actually do! P.S. Whatever your plans may be, don’t forget a basket for those elusive stray socks!