A laundry room that is functional and properly laid out can aid in making a dreaded chore into a chore that does not require as much physical and mental anguish to undertake. Someone, in the average sized family of 2 adults and 2.3 children spends a great deal of time each week in the laundry room.
In the past we remodeled kitchens and bathrooms to make them more convenient and to upgrade their services it has only been recently that homeowners are considering the overall advantages of remodeling their laundry rooms.
A laundry room that is appealing when entered is definitely a selling a strong selling point for the property.
Laundry room considerations
Many laundry rooms are nothing more than corners in a basement or a room that was barely completed if the house does not have a basement. Lighting may only be a bare light bulb housed in a porcelain socket in the ceiling, pull on the string and it goes on! The floor maybe basic concrete or if you are lucky it may be painted or have some inexpensive vinyl tile on it. Water pipes, valves and wiring are visible and vent ducts for the dryer are covered in a light dusting of lint, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 - Does your laundry room look like this?
Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way! A laundry room can be properly finished in the same manner as any other room in the home. The walls and ceiling can be finished with drywall and painted an inviting color; floors can be properly tiled, covered with quality vinyl sheet flooring or even carpeted which will help to keep the stress on the back of the person who is assigned the laundry task from having back pain for days. Wires, pipes and the dryer vents can be hidden in the walls and ceiling and the valves needed for the hot and cold water for the clothes washer can be housed in a plastic receptacle along with the drain, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2 - Clothes washer supply and drain fixture
Proper light fixtures can be added so that the person doing the laundry does not have to squint to see what they are doing, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3 - Well planned laundry room
Laundry rooms are often poorly ventilated, especially if they are located in the basement. Heating and air conditioning are not an afterthought, they are never considered. Having a window in the laundry room can make all the difference to one’s mental state when doing the laundry and if it can be opened to get fresh air into the room, all the better.
Consider what tasks will take place in the laundry room
Having a clean finished floor allows you to actually sort clothes without worrying that they will get dirtier than they were when brought into the room. Consider having laundry baskets, as shown in Figure 4, which will allow you to sort the clothes into different loads, whites, darks and delicates. Having clothing bins allocated to donate, mend and dry cleaning will make the task of sorting the laundry even easier.
Figure 4 - Laundry baskets
Selection of laundry baskets.
Being able to remove the clothes from the dryer and fold them to avoid wrinkles makes the task of doing the laundry much easier. Consider positioning a table close to the dryer to avoid a lot of extra steps. A fold down table will work if space in your laundry room is at a premium, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5 - Folding table
Not all of the clothes that you remove from the dryer will be folded; many will be hung on hangers. Having a garment rack, as shown in Figure 6, will make hanging clothes a breeze. A garment rack on wheels allows you to move the rack close to the dryer and keeps the walking to a minimum.
Figure 6 - Garment rack
Selection of garment racks.
Ironing is a task that no one gets excited about. Placing an ironing board in the laundry room, with proper lighting will make the task a little more palatable. If space is a problem you can purchase a fold down ironing board that folds away when it is not in use, as shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7 - Fold down ironing board
Selection of fold down ironing boards.
Laundry room location
Although it is becoming quite common to see laundry rooms next to the kitchen because of convenience both in use and construction (the kitchen has the water pipes and drainage system), I personally am not a fan of laundry rooms that are next to a kitchen. I find the smells coming from the laundry room of washing detergents, softeners and bleach to be unappealing, especially in the kitchen while I am cooking or eating.
Personally I like to see the laundry room near the bedrooms, next to the bathroom is convenient for plumbing and it is in the bedrooms that almost all of the dirty laundry is created, so why does anyone what to carry it to the kitchen?
In an existing home it may be possible to convert a bedroom walk-in closet into a laundry room or locate the laundry room by sectioning off a portion of garage space and providing an entrance from the home.
Just making the basement laundry area into a livable laundry room will make doing the laundry more comfortable.
Think about it, in many cases it is the little things that can make an enormous difference!