The laundry room is probably the last room in your home you would think of renovating. It’s pretty much the bane of everyone’s existence. It is, as nostalgia fueled 30-somethings are realizing, the adult version of The Neverending Story. Just like the dishes. But while we’re all too ready to remodel our kitchen to something snazzy (after all, it produces happiness you can eat, so there’s that) giving the laundry room a much needed once over isn’t such a bad idea either. While bathrooms and kitchens have the highest return value on a renovation, laundry room renos can bring upwards of a 70% – 90% return within the first year. So what do you need? What’s worth it? Where to begin? So glad you asked. Allow us.
Function and Location
As with any renovation, you want to not only increase the value of your space, but the function and efficiency of it, too. Older homes typically have laundry rooms shunned down to the basement. Some more modern homes keep their laundry room upstairs where all the bedrooms and laundry exist. Then there’s the also average first-floor kitchen offshoot laundry room. It’s possible to move your laundry room from the basement to a more practical spot. This is going to run much higher in the overall cost as you’re undertaking a major utility transformation, but it’s not impossible. Be mindful of this cost when sitting down to research and create your budget.
Many laundry rooms also double as something else, such as a pantry, mudroom, or en suite. If you’re going the double duty route with your laundry room, your updates should account for how the space will be used. Even how you do your laundry will dictate what features you include. If you have a lot of hand washables/delicates, then a nice, deep work sink and drying rack will be vital. Add a set of accordion doors to close off your machines when guests are over so they don’t feel like they’re going to the bathroom in your laundry room.
If you are still living in the dark ages of non-energy efficient appliances, now is the time to make the transition. A brand new washer and dryer will set you back a few thousand bucks easily. But you do see savings almost instantly in your water and electricity bills. When choosing new appliances, you don’t need all the bells and whistles. But consider the difference between front and top loading washers. The design of a front loader isn’t just a little easier on your back (especially if you spring for the pedestal feature), it also makes it better at spinning out the water so your clothes come out damp instead of wet, which cuts down on drying times. If you’re really limited on space, a stacked washer and dryer can free up some floor for extra storage or counter space, even a work sink.
Storage and Workspace
Whether or not you use your laundry room for extra storage like a mudroom, there’s still some amount of organization you’re going to need for basics like detergents, hampers, etc. Storage and organization can be handled by way of cabinets or shelves above or framing the machines. Similar to the workflow of your kitchen where the fridge, stove/oven, and sink/dishwasher are set up in a triangular pattern, you want storage and workspace (like sinks for removing stains, laundry baskets, and counters/table for folding) and your machines to follow suit. It doesn’t have to be the exact same triangle set-up, but each workstation should be a seamless transition from sorting to washing to drying to folding.
Get creative with it, too. Capitalize on the space you have by installing a counter next to or adjacent to (in smaller spaces) the machines where you can work on stain removal or folding, but keep the space underneath the counters open for laundry hampers. If you’ve space for more than one hamper, cut down on the time you spend sorting by purchasing several hampers and designating each one for the various loads of laundry you do; dark colors, bright colors, whites, towels, and delicates.
Lastly, the decor. Just because your laundry room isn’t going to be seen by every person who comes through your house doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Take your laundry from drab to fab with some bright, invigorating colors like a red poppy on the walls. Hang a bold patterned curtain underneath the counters to cover the laundry hampers. Opt for a decorative canvas or woven basket bins instead of the utilitarian sterilite plastic tubs for storing smaller items. Artwork isn’t simply for bathrooms and living spaces. Hanging a painting or family photo that brings you joy every time you look at it is just what your laundry room needs to fend off the doom and gloom of having to actually do laundry. Make this room as welcoming as possible to bring a little less drudge to the job.