The laundry room is often not a very fun place to be. That’s mostly because it’s a chore room. And like chores themselves, the design of your laundry room is often an afterthought. But perhaps you should change that. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women spend an average of 16 minutes a day on laundry while men spend close to five minutes. Those minutes add up over the years, and wouldn’t you rather have a laundry room you enjoy being in? How about turning it into more than just a room for washing, drying, and folding clothes? Here are some functional laundry room ideas that you may like.
1. Install a Utility Sink
Think large, deep, and rugged when picking out a utility sink. A utility sink is a great place to clean some filthy items before chucking them in the washer. It’s especially handy when you don’t want to dirty the kitchen or bathroom sink. You can use it to handwash fragile clothing or soak any clothes with stubborn stains. Or scrub muddy shoes and empty out the mop water. The family dog can even get a good cleaning in there too.
An extra large 32-inch x 12-inch wide x 16-inch deep stainless steel sink bowl is great for heavy-duty use. However, such a large size is more commonly found amongst freestanding sinks. If you want to maintain the appearance of your laundry room, adding a drop-in or under-mount sink will also offer you seamless countertop space to work on. A 12-inch deep or more drop-in bowl is perfect for soaking. Two bonus functional laundry room ideas are picking out a double sink and a pull-out faucet..
Consider how you will use the sink and pick a size that works for you. Consider durability too. Stainless steel versions are durable but quite expensive as they often go for more than $500. Polypropylene is inexpensive but can stain, crack, melt (above 320 F) or react with chemicals. It’s also important that you consider your drainage as well. It is a utility sink but throwing dirt, and heavy solids in it can clog up your system. To prevent this, install a removable filter at the upper drain level and a drain strainer to trap such elements. Lastly, place the sink near the washer, so moving clothes from the sink to the washer is less of a hassle.
2. Create a Splash Zone
Like the kitchen, install some backsplash behind your washer, dryer, and countertops to protect your wall from water splashes. This is also an opportunity to add a bit of flair and style to keep your laundry room from looking like the laundromats near you. You can make a statement by raising the backsplash all the to the ceiling. Alternatively, you can have a laundry room color scheme of white and pale gray to create a tranquil, calming effect. There’s a world of backsplash and tile options you can incorporate into your laundry room that will elevate it to being more than just functional. Add some picture framing while you’re at it to avoid being too utilitarian.
3. Be Strategic with Storage Space
One of the most functional laundry room ideas is storage space. These include shelves, vertical closets, cabinets, and walk-in pantries, depending on the space you are working with. If you have children, upper floating cabinets offer safe storage for laundry detergent pods and bleach. Install high-quality custom cabinets that have both function and form. How about using some small woven and fabric baskets to keep assorted laundry supplies such as lint rollers and dryer sheets? Improve your laundry organization by labeling large washing baskets with family members’ names, making them easier to sort through when washing.
4. Water Resistant Floors
There will be a lot of water splashing about, so you need floor and counter materials that will not be damaged by moisture. You surely don’t want your laundry room to be damp and moldy. For your countertop, quartz, granite, and porcelain tile are excellent nonporous and durable materials. For the floor, ceramic tile, laminate, luxury or sheet vinyl, natural stone, and even waterproof hardwood. However, avoid carpeting at all costs.
5. Double it Up as a Mudroom
Make your laundry room uber functional by getting it to multitask and double up as a laundry room cum mudroom. Mudrooms are usually located at the side and back doors, so this is one of those functional laundry room ideas that will only work if your laundry room is located there as well. As your laundry room is already storage-focused, it will work well as a mudroom too. There should be areas where the family can place backpacks, store messy footwear, hang coats or even store sports and hobby equipment. It’s up to you to decide the best way to make it work. Remember, you can call in a cabinet remodeling expert to design the perfect storage area.
6. Add a Faucet
It won’t do to have a large utility sink and a tiny faucet. You need one with lots of reach, so a swivel pull-out faucet is recommended. Go for a model that also offers different streams of water jets, e.g., a splash-free aerated stream and a powerful blast. This will not only allow you to clean dirty items handily, but you will also be able to reach all areas of the sink for easy cleaning. Alternatively, a high arching faucet with a side sprayer can also do the job. Even better, a side sprayer hose is usually longer at about 20 to 28 inches compared to pull-downs which are usually 12 to 18 inches – perfect for filling up a bucket on the countertop. If you need instant hot water, you may consider installing a point-of-use water heater or an on-demand hot water system.
7. Add a Laundry Room Island
The kitchen is an awesome go-to place for functional laundry room ideas. As many kitchens have islands that serve as a workspace, why not have an island in your laundry room if you have the space for it? An island will serve as a neat spot to fold your clothes, sheets, and other garments. Alternatively, a kitchen cart will do the same job, and it will do an even better job if you pick one with storage space underneath. An island increases workspace and provides extra storage. For convenience, you can even keep all your handy home repair tools in the island storage. However, if you have plenty of counter space, you may forego having an island for more space.
8. Install Ceiling Mounted Drying Racks
You may at some point have some wet clothes that need drying, so a hanging rod or drip dry rack is paramount to any functional laundry room ideas list. If you want something easy to set up and have out of the way when not in use, use a foldable drying rack that you can easily tuck into a cabinet. Even a simple tension rod and some hangers will do the trick.
Another solution is to mount your drying racks to the wall or ceiling. This will help maximize space if you have a tight laundry room. You can hang a drying above the sink but make sure it does not butt into your head space. Hanging above the floor is fine if you have waterproof floors though this will also eat into the space as opposed to it being tucked away near the wall. Speak to a flooring contractor if you need waterproof flooring for sale, and you may get a good deal. Wall-mounted ceiling racks can also fold flat against the wall, so they do not obstruct. Other items that can be hung against the wall include hangers, ironing boards, and storage baskets.
9. Double the Load
If you have a large family, waiting for one load to finish before you can do another is time-consuming. Instead, you may want to buy more washing machine appliances. When doing so, you should also consider the efficiency of the machines you’ll be buying and maybe even replacing old inefficient models. According to the department of energy (DOE), energy star-certified washing machine models use 33% less water and 25% less energy than their regular counterparts.
You can also elect to go with the latest and smartest technology in washing. There are some tall fridge-sized single unit washer dryer combos with easy-to-use controls that you’ll appreciate. And of course, with so many appliances, you have to think about the repair cost if something breaks, for example, the drain water pumps. Do you replace or repair it? However, the DOE also states that over the lifetime of an energy star certified washer, you can save nearly $370 on energy costs. Consider your options carefully before purchase and do your research.
10. Stack your Machines
If you lack space, there are two excellent functional laundry room ideas you can use to alleviate the problem. The first is stacking your machines if you have a separate washer and dryer. The other is using a design scheme that creates the illusion of space. White and other light, cool or neutral colors can make a room feel airy, while mirrors do the same by reflecting light and the views. Bringing in lots of natural or artificial light will open up the room.
11. Try Seating with Storage
How about some seating to relax in between loads of laundry? You can go all out and get a bespoke carpenter to craft you a cozy corner seat next to the window or any other convenient location. A clever addition is to have deep bench seats with lift-up storage beneath. Seating is also useful if your laundry room doubles as a mud room. The bench can be used as a respite where residents can sit and pull out their boots.
13. Make it a Bedroom for the Family Pets
Functional laundry room ideas aren’t just for humans. Your pets can have their own room to sleep in. The floor does need to be durable and easy to clean. Stone is a wonderful option, especially if it has underfloor heating to keep the animals warm as well as human feet. You should choose sealed stone for waterproofing and easy cleaning. If you’ve invested in a big utility sink, the dogs can get a wash in there too. If the laundry room is too far and you need a hot water heater replacement, you can install a point-of-use water heater that will make washing the dogs a pleasure.
14. Incorporate it into the Master Suite
A trend that’s catching is incorporating the laundry room into the master suite. This is one of the functional laundry room ideas that may need some remodeling. This idea eliminates the need to traipse back and forth with laundry baskets. You can have it all in one station. Furthermore, you could invest in some custom cabinetry to hide away unsightly machinery.
15. Make it Multi-Functional
The best functional laundry room ideas often add more than one function. A laundry room can be more than just a mudroom. How about an office or even an arts and crafts center. A large island in the middle of the room with a durable countertop can be a surface for creativity for children, e.g., drawing and painting. The countertops by the wall can house an office (though the washing station does need to be distant from computers and paperwork).
Lastly, create a purposeful aesthetic that turns your laundry room into a sanctuary. There are many interior décor ideas to consider – mixed patterns, monochrome, geometric wallpaper, vivid blue wall coverings, indoor plants, country charm, minimalist, etc. Hiring an interior designer can help you create the exact space you want. The important thing is making a space you are happy to be in. Call us today if you need to create a functional room you’ll love.