Good home design solves problems.

Perhaps nowhere in the home is that more evident than in the humble laundry room. For decades, the default location was a combination laundry/mudroom entry from the garage. This may have solved the problem of getting the laundry out of the basement (in basement markets), but it ushered in the problem of forcing you (family, friends, and neighbors) to traipse past the dirty laundry pretty much every time you go in and out of the house. Solution? Separate laundry accommodations from that rear foyer, often located just off the rear foyer and/or near bedrooms. It’s all about convenience and personal preference.

The size of a laundry room is typically proportional to the overall size of the home, yet some home plans still treat laundry rooms as an afterthought, with barely enough space to squeeze in the washer and dryer. Such laundry accommodations speak volumes about the home designer and builder – providing a utilitarian space for a utilitarian task. We can do better.

design-basics-cooking-cleaning-rejuvenating-laundry-roomIs a laundry room sink important to your buyers for hand-wash delicates (or even paintbrushes)? If so, be sure to offer pull-out kitchen faucets that direct where the water goes.

A laundry room folding counter is efficient in minimizing wrinkles and not having to fold clothes on your bed. A portion of the countertop may double as storage. A counter can also top dual front-load machines.

Storage in a laundry room is non-negotiable. At a minimum, storage above the laundry pair can keep detergents, bleach, and other dangerous products safely out of reach for younger children. What about storage for laundry baskets? Common, rectangular laundry baskets are about 18” wide and 24” deep, so a set of 20”-wide open shelves or cubbies could hold multiple baskets – ideal for efficiently sorting the accumulating laundry prior to wash day.

Lighting is another key issue. Natural light is welcome, especially if there is an operable window for fresh air. With interior laundry rooms, can a traditional or tubular skylight be used to bring in daylight? Imagine carrying a laundry basket in and your (electric) light(s) automatically turn on because they are wired to a motion-sensor switch. Now that’s safety and convenience! (photo courtesy: VeluxUSA)

Noise and vibration are considerations, especially if the laundry room adjoins entertaining areas or bedrooms. While primarily related to the newness and condition of the homeowner’s washer and dryer, here’s an opportunity to suggest soundproofing measures and simple anti-vibration solutions, such as washing machine pads, that your customer will really come to appreciate.

Don’t overlook hanging. If positioned over the laundry room sink, a clothes rod or wire shelving avoids wet floors. If laundry room space is at a premium, a collapsible, wall-mounted drying rack may be an ideal solution.

Unfortunately, aesthetics sometimes take a back seat to practicality issues. While doing laundry may never make your “top 10” list, an attractive laundry room can make a big difference. This is an easy area to take chances with regarding paint color or a colorful backsplash. Lighting…hardware…window coverings…all can bring a smile. What is the view into the laundry room if the door is open? Is there a window? If the window is in line with the door, sunlight will pour into the hallway when the door is open!

design-bascis-laundry-room-plan-29527Larger laundry rooms may include a center island with welcome added storage. And some generous laundry rooms are envisioned as flex spaces, serving multiple purposes such as a craft room, pet center, or hobby area where “projects in progress” can be left undisturbed.

A few other considerations:

Floor drain. Washing machine hoses burst, which can be catastrophic, especially if you have a second floor laundry room.

Built-in ironing board. Whether it folds down from the wall mount or out of a cabinet, the laundry room is an ideal location for quick touch-ups with the iron.

Owner’s suite direct access. If the laundry room adjoins your owner’s suite, having a doorway connection makes quick work of hanging clothes up straight out of the dryer.

Venting the dryer. When possible, minimize the length of dryer vent hose for improved drying performance, longer dryer life, and fewer headaches associated with cleaning out the dryer vent. Of course, the new ventless dryers open up a whole new gamut of laundry room possibilities!

See design examples. Learn about more home design ideas.

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