The laundry — few of us enjoy surrendering our time to it, and few of us like ceding our space to it either. But given its place in the housekeeping trinity next to cooking and cleaning, all homeowners must sacrifice at least some square footage to a laundry area, whether it is confined to its own dedicated room or integrated into another.
Despite both its reputation and its reality as a utilitarian space, there are plenty of surprising ways to fold creativity into laundry room design, making a chore we all hate feel like less of one.
Where to locate the laundry room?
In many homes, especially older ones, the laundry area is delegated to a corner or section of the basement (also sometimes referred to as a utility room).
Pros: Ample space, easy utility access, flood containment, removed from bulk of activity and commotion within the household
Cons: Lugging laundry up and down the stairs can be strenuous for some, greater likelihood of cycle signals going unheard/unnoticed
Locating a laundry space either within or immediately adjacent to a bathroom can be highly convenient if space allows.
Pros: Utility lines already available, clothing and linens have a minimal distance to travel
Cons: Potentially conflicting with the privacy/regimens of other household members, noise factor
The second-story laundry room has become pretty fashionable in recent years, and for good reason.
Pros: Dedicated space for laundry, typical proximity to bathrooms and bedrooms, availability of natural light
Cons: Can be a complicated retrofit if your home is not set up for it
Maximizing small spaces for laundry room designs
It follows that the more space you have to work with, the more laundry room design ideas you will have to play with. We’ve even seen those with larger homes mirror design concepts from popular kitchen layouts, including island countertops. But for those with tighter living arrangements, the focus is on small laundry room design ideas that emphasize economy and efficiency.
Let’s look at the key tasks we need to accomplish in the laundry room and how we can implement clever design features to lighten the load.
Washing and drying
The most essential function of the laundry room, of course, is to wash and dry clothing. As such, our design process has to begin with where we locate the washer and dryer.
Front-loading washers and dryers are far more versatile than their top-loading counterparts for layout purposes, especially in the context of small laundry room design ideas. By stacking the units, we can free up a good deal of valuable wall and floor space for the design elements to be discussed in the sections that follow, such as a sink, cabinetry, shelving, and/or countertop.
When placing front-loading units side by side, we also have the option of sliding them under a countertop so we can fold our clothes fresh out of the dryer. For air drying, we can utilize vertical space for a tension rod or drying rack.
Pre-soaking and stain treatment
Life can get especially messy at times, so it’s highly advisable that your laundry area includes a utility sink for pre-treating stubborn stains (or hand-washing delicate items). In terms of utility sink styles, the cast iron or white plastic tubs are probably the most universal. Although a freestanding metal tub could mesh well in some settings, most modern laundry room designs ideas will include a washbasin inset into the counter, with an attractive fixture to go with it.
If you go this route, you’ll want to ensure the surrounding countertop is composed of water-resistant material such as quartz, porcelain tile, or granite — these are non-porous and thus will not warp or grow mold easily. Likewise for your laundry room flooring — always choose vinyl, stone/concrete, laminate, or ceramic tile instead of carpet as your base.
However, a nice area rug can help add both style and traction underfoot.
Storing, organizing, and sorting
A sensible storage solution can go a long way to making your laundry area less cluttered, less chaotic, and safer. Open shelving and door storage are smart small laundry room design inclusions. But if you have the budget and the space, we definitely recommend installing cabinets to hold all your cleaners, sprays, detergents, mops, buckets, rags, and towels.
While these are pretty mundane items, putting together the right combination of cabinets and pulls can truly elevate your laundry room to a level on par with the rest of your house. Again, some of the more luxurious examples we’ve seen take major cues from modern kitchens — complete with backsplashes and all.
We also have to think about what we’re doing with our clothing pre- and post-cycle. Pull-out baskets and sorting bins are a stylish and subtle way of containing clutter. If your home is old-fashioned enough to have a laundry chute, this might feed directly into your hidden hamper.
Ironing and folding
For a lot of people, ironing and folding clothes look a lot like anarchy — bath towels draped over kitchen chairs, this week’s work fits spread haphazardly over a living room sofa. It doesn’t necessarily have to be this way.
For the most compact of laundry spaces, a countertop built above front-loading machines is probably your best bet for a folding area. If you have more wiggle room to work with, you might consider a small floating countertop projecting from an adjacent wall or a pull-out laundry table that can retract within your cabinetry setup.
There are plenty of nifty laundry room design ideas that pertain to ironing as well — ironing boards that fold out from the wall, can be flipped up like a leaf on a table, or slide out from under a counter. But if you can’t go with an integrated solution, you can hang that clunky ironing board on a wall- or door-mounted storage stand, or find a narrow gap between tall cabinets to wedge it into.
A fresh start with Ayars
Laundry can be a source of high agitation for a lot of us, but there are ways to make things a lot gentler on ourselves. Start a new cycle with Ayars Complete Home Improvements or by incorporating any of these design ideas into your home.