Laundry Rooms, once considered a luxury, are now a necessity as far as most of us are concerned. People looking for a new home today, whether they are a first time home buyer or empty nesters downsizing to a smaller home, usually have a laundry room on their “wish list”, I know I certainly did. We all have laundry to do and whether or not we have a dedicated room for it, we’ve come a long way concerning where and how our dirty laundry gets cleaned.
I have a dedicated laundry room in our new home but that hasn’t always been the case. The washing machine in my first house was located in a cramped storage closet outside in the carport and I dried the wash on a clothesline in the backyard. Over the years, our other homes had small stacked washer/dryer units tucked into a hallway closet near the bedroom. I now have “state of the art” appliances but my laundry room certainly isn’t one of the luxury rooms you might have seen on Pinterest or Houzz. While mine may not be perfect and I think a larger room would truly be a luxury, I’ve maximized every inch and find it works well.
I thought I would share some of the ideas I used to make my basic, standard laundry room a little special.
My laundry room is small, it’s more like a wide hallway than a room. You either enter it through the garage or directly from the entrance foyer so I wanted it to look nice if the door was left open. After all, who wants to constantly open and close a door every time you are carrying a load of laundry in or out of the room.
Washing, drying and ironing clothes are often dreaded chores and I believe a pretty, well organized space can make the time you spend doing them a more pleasant experience. I thought some of the laundry memorabilia that I’d collected over the years would make a nice focal point when entering the laundry room. I also have a large collection of pretty baskets that I only use occasionally displayed on the top of the upper cabinets. I repurposed a beautiful wool carpet into a runner for the tile floor and hung a large painting that came from our summer cottage in Maine on the long wall opposite the cabinets. They both add a pop of color to the room, making it one of the most colorful areas in our home. If you have to spend time washing and ironing, yes…I still iron, then why not have the room be as nice as possible. The warm and vibrant colors throughout the room put a smile on my face every time I’m in there.
I decided on white for the appliances and the cabinetry in the laundry room. All the white gives a fresh, clean look and adds brightness to the windowless room. The optional tall upper cabinets that we had added above the base cabinets when our home was being built provide ample storage in the narrow room with its tall ceilings. The formica countertop is not large but still provides a good place to sort and fold clean laundry. I also use it as a temporary landing spot when my hands are full of grocery bags when I’m coming in through the garage.
I decided on a front loading electric washer and gas dryer. Both had Energy Star labels, which mean they are very efficient. They use about half the water and less energy than standard units. They both have wonderful features including steam to sanitize and stop allergens. They also have lots of options regarding temperatures and speeds depending on the soil levels of the fabrics being washed. They even play a nice melody at the end of their cycle instead of a harsh buzzer. I chose pedestals for the machines that have pull out drawers. They are very convenient for holding large bottles of detergents, stain removers, bleach and fabric softeners and are easily wiped out if anything spills or leaks in them.
While the washer is a huge step up from rubbing clothes on a washboard, there are still times that I wash some items by hand in the deep, oversized utility sink that is part of the base cabinets. It is perfect when I need to soak a stubborn stain over night before the item gets washed. It is also handy for clean up jobs and arranging flowers. I have an antique drying rack next to the sink which is terrific for air drying delicates. I love its simple design and often wonder why similar ones aren’t available today.
You may have noticed one other antique piece hanging on the wall. It is a framed old “laundry rules” I found in an antique store in New Hampshire. If you look closely, you will see remedies for some stains that most of us don’t encounter anymore. While I may not use sour milk, kerosene, ether, chloroform, or turpentine as it suggests to remove stains, I sometimes use cornstarch on oily stains and white vinegar as a fabric softener.
If you are dreaming of the perfect laundry room, it’s probably a large, multipurpose room close to your kitchen or bedrooms. Besides having a washer and dryer, it would have plenty of room to sort and fold your clothes, a sink for doing hand washing and perhaps even a fold down drying rack. It might also have a place where you could hang your jackets and hats, a hobby or craft area, a gift wrapping station, a home office, and might even include wine or beverage refrigerator.
While I don’t have a dream laundry room, I am pleased with the decisions I’ve made to create a functional and pleasant place to do my laundry. If you are planning to redo your own laundry space or just freshen it up a little, something as simple as a new coat of paint, a couple of framed prints or an arrangement of silk or real flowers might make doing the laundry less of a chore.
Tell me my friends, are your dirty clothes flung across the floor of your bedroom or tossed in the corner of your closet? Perhaps you are organized and keep them in a hamper that is divided into darks, lights, and delicates sitting in your laundry room waiting to be washed. I’d love to know what you think, is a laundry room a luxury or do you think one is a necessity. Do you have any suggestions on what makes doing laundry less of a chore and do you actually have a dream laundry?