There are many ways to make a laundry room not only functional, but quite lovely as well. Below is an excerpt from Brian Baber’s book InHome, which outlines some fantastic ideas on what to keep in mind when planning your laundry room.
The laundry room is all about utility, so the design should maximize its usefulness—but that does not mean it cannot be lovely! Since you will spend time here week after week after week, why not make it pleasant?
When designing the location of the laundry room for your new home, there are a few reasons to try to place it on an outside wall. First, this allows you to have a window with natural light. If you have ever spent time in a dreary laundry room, you know why this is a bonus. Most people are not too excited about this task to begin with, and a darker environment doesn’t help. If possible, oversize the windows, so you can enjoy sunlight and fresh air on a spring day. Windows are a wonderful feature for rooms that naturally heat up from washer and dryer use.
Another reason to locate your laundry room on an exterior wall is to allow your dryer to vent directly outside, and forcing the heat to travel just a short distance within your home. If lint builds up and the dryer cap needs to be cleaned, it is easily accessible through an outside wall, instead of climbing up to the roof.
If you are unable to locate your laundry room on an exterior wall with windows for natural light, be sure to pay attention to your lighting needs. This room needs to be bright, so consider the generous use of recessed cans on a dimmer or fluorescent lighting.
If you are planning to bring your used washer and dryer into your new home, always, always, always replace your washer hoses! Most floods happen because a washer hose bursts, often when you’re not at home, and you return to serious, costly water damage. For less than $30, save yourself this crisis—go to your local hardware store and change the hoses. Another way to prevent washing machine flooding is to have your builder install easy to operate shut-off valves at the washing machine box. When you leave for a weekend or a month-long trip, you simply turn off the water and then turn it back on when you return.
As an extra safeguard against overflow or flooding mishaps, installing a floor drain makes sense and provides extra peace of mind. This will probably not be needed if you have a competent plumber and new washer hoses; however, just having a floor drain gives you extra protection in case of a leak or flood.
SIZE OF LAUNDRY ROOM
Consider making your laundry larger, not smaller. An extra 15 to 25 square feet can make a huge difference, which you will quickly understand if you have ever spent a lot of time in a laundry room that’s too small. Adequately sized laundry rooms are a strong selling feature, with smaller rooms often a negative sign for potential future buyers.
A closet in the laundry room is a convenient place to store items that need to be easily accessed, such as a portable vacuum cleaner, mops, brooms, laundry detergent, and cleaning supplies. If your budget is an issue, adding a closet can be less expensive now than having your cabinet manufacturer install a tall vertical cabinet later to store these items.
CABINETS AND STORAGE
Most homeowners agree you cannot have too much storage space. Give some thought to your current laundry room storage and how that translates into your new home needs. A few extra shelves and cabinets in this area can be a big help when you move in.
Do not forget about the laundry tub and a pullout sprayer for convenient use. You will be thankful many times over for this feature, when it comes to dealing with muddy boots, cleaning mops, and filling/draining cleaning buckets.
Do you fold clean clothes in the laundry room or somewhere else in your home? If you prefer folding and stacking in the laundry room, make sure you plan for adequate space. Space is usually a consideration that is often overlooked when meeting with an architectural designer.
PLATFORM FOR WASHER AND DRYER
It is ergonomically beneficial to elevate your washer and dryer off the ground about 12 to 16 inches, especially when it comes to the back strain. Your builder can install a tile platform, or you can buy washers and dryers with built-in risers.
MINIATURE SHOWER FOR WASHING PETS
A laundry room is a popular place to bathe pets, and if this is important to you, be sure to include a place for this. An appropriately sized tub or shower with an eight-foot flexible hose makes pet washing a lot easier.
If your laundry room will be adjacent to a bedroom or family room, you may want to add some additional sound insulation.
If you are going to iron in the laundry room, try to design space for a built-in ironing board unit right on the wall. Do not forget to locate an electrical outlet nearby, so the iron’s cord is not stretched across the laundry room.
If space allows, this is another place for an extra refrigerator/freezer combo for overflow needs. A less expensive model may be used, because it is not located in a space where guests readily see it. This is far better than putting an extra refrigerator in the garage, not to mention the energy savings from placing it in a space that is already heated and cooled.
Sometimes people miss the details! Your hands will be full walking in and out of the laundry room, so why not consider adding double swinging doors? In addition, your laundry room will feel much more spacious, open, and airy, instead of closed in with only a single access door.
Excerpt From: Brian C. Baber. “InHome.” Builders Publishing Group, Llc. iBooks.
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