Organization matters everywhere in a home’s design — but especially in the laundry room. As the space designated for holding, sorting and cleaning dirty clothes, this room has to function well to keep clean clothes in stock and order in place. With that in mind, here’s a look at what goes into a functional laundry room. When you want to create a more efficient, usable, convenient place for staying on top of your laundry piles, here’s what to do:
1. Choose the right appliances. If you’re in the place to choose new appliances, think about the pros and cons of top- and front-loading options. Top-loading washers are higher to reach, but they are more likely to prevent issues with standing water. Front-loading machines can save space and provide easier access, but they can be inconvenient when something breaks down and clothes are stuck inside. Front-loading machines can also be stacked, saving floor space in tight laundry areas.
2. Select water-resistant floors. In rooms with high water use such as laundry areas, spills and splashes are inevitable. Prevent destroying your floors by choosing those that can sustain exposure to humidity and moisture. Porcelain tile, stone, luxury/sheet vinyl and/or laminate floors can all be good choices.
3. Organize your supplies. Rather than treating your laundry room like one large, catch-all space, break it into zones, based on tasks. For example, you need a place for keeping all your laundry supplies such as detergent, stain remover, fabric softener and dryer balls. This is where a custom closet systemcomes into play. When everything is organized and tucked away, surfaces can be clear and open, ready for use. Work in as much storage space as you can through cabinets, countertops, wall hooks, bins, containers and open shelves.
4. Create dedicated laundry drawers or baskets for sorting laundry. When your household members take their hampers to the laundry room, you don’t want them dumping all the contents on the floor. This not only looks messy, but it also obstructs traffic and flow. Instead, create dedicated drawers or baskets where laundry can be grouped as you like. Maybe you have bins for lights, darks and whites, for example. Perhaps all towels go in one basket and all kids’ clothes go in another. Whatever the case, this organization system will save you a step when you’re doing laundry. Rather than having to sort before starting a load, you’ll be able to pull out a drawer or basket and empty it right away.
5. Give yourself a work surface. Another key part of a functional laundry room is workspace. You need an area where you can sort and fold clothes, apply stain treatments, and/or iron as needed. Depending on how you design the room, this might be a countertop next to your washer and dryer, or it could be a flat area above your front-loading machines. Another option is a fold-out table that can be put away when not in use.
6. Incorporate a hanging rack. There are always those special items that need to be hung to dry, rather than placed in the dryer. Having a rack on hand makes it easy to spread delicate sweaters or heavy blankets. Aesthetically speaking, this works best when incorporated into your closet system, but a fold-out rack also works.
7. Add a utility sink if possible. One last feature that turns a laundry room into its most efficient, functional space is a utility sink. This is perfect for handwashing fragile items, as well as soaking stubborn stains. As a bonus, having a large sink in the laundry room adds functionality for cleaning all kinds of household items you don’t want to wash in the kitchen or bathroom: paintbrushes, pet supplies, trash cans, etc.
In addition to all the functionality-building tips above, don’t forget to think about the aesthetics of your laundry room. Good lighting not only ensures you can see what you’re doing, but it also makes a laundry room more inviting and enjoyable. Likewise, pretty touches such as wallpaper, painted cabinets, artwork and a non-slip rug can be perfect for adding personality to your room.
Author bio: Tim Duren is President of Chicago Closets, a company specializing in designing, manufacturing and installing custom closet systems. Duren started this company in his garage and now has over 15 years of experience learning the closet business from the ground up.