The “Fully Loaded” Laundry Room

WRITER | CHRISTINA FORD

The dreaded laundry room: a place that practically screams “DO NOT ENTER!” Usually filled with dirty socks and underwear, it is often the catch-all for anything we don’t want visible – coats, boots, craft supplies, and the list goes on. But let’s face it, many of us spend a lot of time in this room, so why not make it a space that invites you to “Please come in”? Check out these dirty little secrets to beautify your laundry room so that it is both functional and enjoyable.

Savvy Storage
A practical laundry room must incorporate ample storage space. Adding cabinetry will provide a place to keep laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and whatever other clutter may collect out of sight. If you have existing cabinets, bring them to life by adding some paint. No built-ins? No problem! Stay on trend by building open vertical shelving. Put your detergent, soap, and necessities in labeled glass jars for accessibility with style.

It’s Sinking In
A critical component of a functional laundry room is having a water source other than the washing machine. A utility sink serves a variety of purposes, such as soaking soiled sports gear, cleaning colorful paint brushes, and so on.

Hangin’ Out
Having a place to hang clean laundry is not only practical but can save you time at the ironing board. Now, that’s a win/win! A hanging rack can be made to conform to any style, from a steel bar screwed into a piece of barn wood to a wooden ladder suspended from the ceiling. A wall-mounted drying rack is another good option for air-drying delicates like lingerie or sweaters.  A simple retractable clothesline will also do the job.

Table It
Counter space is vital for a fully loaded laundry room. It can be used for additional storage, folding, and, with the proper surface, it can even be an ironing board. If the real estate in your laundry room allows for it, create an island by adding a table or a vintage dresser for a more Farmhouse look. If you don’t have the square footage, consider installing a countertop above the washer and dryer, maximizing the usable space.

Raise the Bar
As a space-saving alternative to the traditional side-by-side washer and dryer combo, stackable machines offer a great way to take advantage of vertical space. This is particularly useful in small laundry rooms, allowing for a more organized space overall. Another creative way to arrange a front-load washer and dryer is to mount them off the floor. Raising your washer and dryer eliminates the need to bend over to load and unload them, making it easier on your back. Some washer and dryer manufacturers offer a raised storage unit in a matching finish. Or, if you are a DIYer, create a storage area below the washer and dryer to hold baskets for sorting laundry.

Sorting Station
Unfortunately, the laundry fairy doesn’t visit most homes, so why not share the responsibility of this mundane task with the tribe? Provide each member of the family with their own basket for sorting and folding. If you don’t have space, you may want to consider a narrow sliding cart between the washer and dryer to contain the overflow of dirty clothes.

Seeing Double
Nowadays, convenience is key when designing and renovating rooms. An ideal way to save space is to make your laundry room double as a mudroom, craft room, command center, or even a home office. Adding hooks along an empty wall can be functional and stylish. Including lockers or cubbies for hanging jackets and bags will help keep the chaos at bay.

To Color or Not to Color?
Laundry rooms, by nature, tend to be on the smaller side, so it’s best to keep to a more neutral palette. This will keep the space feeling larger, but I know what you are thinking: That’s boring! Fair enough. Add some wallpaper to jazz it up, or maybe install a stylish backsplash to boost visual interest with pattern and texture. If you have open shelving, use colorful bins to liven up the room.

Lighten the Load
Laundry rooms often occupy dark or windowless spaces, so good lighting is vital. Adding under-cabinet lighting or a large, overhead fixture not only brightens and enlarges the space, but it also helps you find stains to pre-treat before washing. If you’d like to add to the design of the laundry room, consider installing a beautiful light fixture such as a pendant or chandelier.

Sophisticated Space
Just because your laundry room is, well, a laundry room, doesn’t mean that it can’t also be a relaxing and inviting space. Add a throw rug, artwork, plants, and possibly a few favorite books to pass the time between loads.

Even if your laundry room is a glorified closet, you can still create a functional space. With some creativity and cleverness, you can design a room that works better, and where you can enjoy spending time.

Now please excuse me, I need to go revamp my laundry room!