When purchasing a home, buyers often look at the kitchen space and how many bedrooms there are, while largely ignoring other rooms, including the laundry room. Oftentimes, the washer and dryer are relegated to a dark corner of the basement or garage, and homeowners simply accept their laundry lot.
More and more manufacturers now produce washers and dryers that are both functional and aesthetically appealing. As a result, homeowners and renters need not feel they have to hide laundry rooms like they did in the past. Having the laundry nearby the family action -- and paying attention to laundry room design -- can make the work of keeping clothes tidy that much easier.
Many designers would agree that you need not sacrifice style for function in a laundry room. As with any other area of the house, impart design elements into the room and make it a room in which you want to spend time.
* First and foremost, select appliances that offer the features you need and want. Also, find appliances that fit the space you have. Front-loading appliances have become the latest must-have, but some units may be too big or expensive for your space. Those with a limited area for laundry can invest in a stackable set, in which the washer and dryer are combined into one vertical unit. For those who want to add a pop of color, select among the variety of colored washers and dryers that are turning up in store showrooms. You're no longer limited to white, black and beige.
* Consider cabinetry in your laundry space. Cabinets and drawers are not just for the kitchen. They can hide cleaning products, detergent, dryer sheets and so much more. Fill drawers with stain-removal sticks and items to mend clothes that may be missing a button or have a small hole that needs tending.
* A laundry area also can be much more than just a place to wash and fold clothes. Many people like to turn this spot into a multipurpose zone. By including some shelving and a refrigerator in the laundry room, you can create a food-storage pantry. A large countertop normally used to fold clothes can also double as a gift-wrapping station. Think about merging a laundry room with a craft room where sewing or scrapbooking can take place.
* Remember to leave room for the soiled clothing. Raising hamper bins off of the floor to be suspended from a rod above the washer frees up valuable floor space. Otherwise, keep the hamper behind a curtain or tucked into a cabinet to ensure the laundry room always looks neat, even when you haven't yet gotten to the newest pile of dirty clothes.
* Don't be afraid of adding color and artwork to the laundry space. In fact, embrace it. Here's an out-of-the-way area of the home where you can explore your creativity and have a little fun. Try an eye-opening color, such as apple green or bright yellow to add a sunny disposition to the room.
* You don't have to spend a fortune on a laundry room re-do. Shop in salvage stores or antique shops for custom pieces to add character to the space. You can probably find cabinetry or shelving for a fraction of the cost of new items, and these older items may add more character to the space.
* Save space by installing a counter just above the dryer so you will have a place to fold and stack clothing.
* The bulk of dirty clothes will be generated in the bedrooms and bathroom of the house. But who wants to carry clothes down to a laundry area on a lower level? See if you can tuck a laundry room into an upstairs closet or nook to make doing laundry more practical.
Although a laundry room is often an afterthought, taking time to organize and plan the space can make it both functional and inviting.