Laundry rooms used to be the Rodney Dangerfield of home floor plans: They didn’t really get much respect or attention. But today’s busy homebuyers are demanding designs that deliver convenience and comfort in every room and maximize every inch of square footage. And that includes the laundry room.
In fact, 72 percent of second-time homebuyers rated a laundry room as the No. 1 must-have in their new home, according to a recent National Association of Home Builders survey. And first-time buyers list it second only to the living room.
Thinking about the laundry room of your dreams? Here are some ideas that new home builders and designers are using to put a new spin on the laundry room that takes the drudgery out of wash day.
Storage, Storage, Storage
Perhaps nowhere in the home is organization more valuable than in the laundry room. The revolving load of clothes coming in and out, as well as supplies needed to clean them, can make for an unsightly mess. Today’s new home designs solve that with an array of creative ideas. Tilt-out bins behind cabinet doors keep laundry baskets out of sight, and pullout cabinets hide cleaning supplies. Or you can maximize wall space next to the appliances with open shelving to create cubbies for laundry baskets for each family member.
While planning your space, don’t forget to look up. Florida interior design team Marc-Michaels recently incorporated upper cabinets and floating shelves high above the washer and dryer, with piping attached for hanging clothes to dry. Don’t be afraid to take your upper cabinets to ceiling height.
And since the laundry room is often adjacent to or near the garage entry, it is an ideal drop-off spot for backpacks, coats and muddy shoes. Many home designs are moving mud benches into the laundry room, out of sight of the rest of the home, like a recent laundry room Canadian designer Jenna Cadieux created.
The modern laundry room serves as command central for your clothes care, so make it as functional as possible. Today’s buyers want laundry rooms with deep sinks and plenty of space to work. In addition, says Florida Realtor Chuck Vosburgh, “A large, flat surface to fold clothes on is a must-have. Folding clothes right out of the dryer will save lots of ironing.” Have even more space? Add an island for a folding station and multipurpose workspace.
If you think laundry sinks are relegated to white plastic tubs, think again. Consider a deep stainless or farmhouse-style sink capable of handling an array of chores. “Rather than having to spot treat stains and hand wash your delicates in the kitchen or bathroom sink, make a space that’s designed to play host to it all and more,” says the New Hampshire-based Riverbend Home design team.
If you want even more “wow” features, add a Murphy-style wall-mounted ironing board complete with shelves for the iron and accessories. Or, opt for an under-the-counter pullout ironing board. And don’t forget to include space for a full-height cabinet perfect for hiding the upright garment steamer.
True to the trend for flex spaces, today’s laundry rooms are about a lot more than just washing the socks. All that counter space and storage open up limitless possibilities for other uses, like crafting, painting, flower arranging, sewing, gift wrapping, you name it. Designate a section of countertop where you can sit and work — and make sure there’s sufficient knee space for a desk chair. Include plenty of natural lighting too.
The laundry room also can be maximized for pet care. Consider a doggie shower with floor drain. “If the laundry room connects to the outside, this will prevent your pooch from tracking in mud,” says Redmond, Washington, real estate broker Valerie Burmester. “Plus it will keep your own showers and tubs cleaner.”
Freelance writer and marketer Sue Durio has been writing about construction, design and related products for more than 18 years.