Increasingly we find that we are creating laundry rooms that are as thoughtfully designed as a kitchen or bath. A first-floor laundry room can serve as command central — a nook near the family room, where parents can keep an eye on the kids while folding, or off the back door, where it can double as a mudroom, home office or hobby area. On the second floor, stackable, whisper-quiet front-loaders can tuck into a hall closet. Here are some design ideas to inspire.
Space Planning is Key
Whatever size your laundry room, planning is key to creating an efficient and inviting space for doing laundry. A laundry room off a kitchen can become a family hub. Consider incorporating a computer area for studying or a desk area for keeping organized or paying bills.
If you have the space, a center island or table in the laundry room can serve as a spot for gift wrapping or folding laundry. Corner shelves, cabinets and sinks can make smart use of spaces that might otherwise be wasted.
Newly designed to old and gadgets can make tight spaces even more efficient. An ironing board can be tucked inside a cabinet or hidden behind a false drawer front. Pull-out bins can hold dirty clothes, powder detergent and clothes that need to be taken to the dry cleaner. If you wash pets, or have family members coming in muddy from sports practice, a shower stall can make life easier (and a hanging rod in the shower makes drip-drying clothes a breeze).
Out of Sight
If you prefer your appliances out if sight, install your washer and dryer under a countertop as part of your cabinet design. While the countertop above the washer/dryer makes the perfect folding area, cabinets or open shelves installed above the countertop can hold laundry supplies and other cleaners and household items.
Location, Location, Location
One popular trend is to install a laundry center into a large bathroom or walk-in closet that is part of a master bedroom suite. Families with bedrooms upstairs may choose to have their laundry in a second-floor hallway for greater convenience in putting away clean clothes. New, quieter washers and dryers make running the machines at night less disruptive, although you still don't want them sharing a bedroom wall.
Incorporate a Drying Area
Make sure that you allow space for a sorting and folding table, since there is nothing worse than putting dried clothes into a basket knowing they are going to get wrinkled before you have a chance to sort and fold them. Try to incorporate a drying area in your laundry room. This will cut down on the energy you use to dry clothes that don't generally need a lot of drying power.
Another great design element is having an ironing table either built-in or placed on a center island with storage cabinets underneath. A nice touch is to add a TV or audio system so you can really enjoy the time spent doing laundry, which could be hours.
Robert Frank Interiors is a full-service interior design firm located in San Marino, California. We work in collaboration with our clients to create beautiful, functional spaces that reflect our clients' lifestyles and personalities. Visit us on the web at www.robertfrankinteriors.com.