Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Room of the Month: The Laundry Room

Grandma used to weave some pretty intricate stories about laundry day as a little girl.  The tales involved enormous cast iron pots, tin washboards and stinky lye soap.  Oh, yes...and hours upon hours stirring wet clothes in boiling water.  So, when we got our first house and all of these modern day conveniences were inside and not boiling, I thought how proud my grandmother would be of her granddaughter moving up in this world. That is, until I found out just how fantastic laundry rooms can be in the home.  

Gone are the days when the illustrious laundry rooms are stuck in the gloomy basement or forbidden on the second floor.  The laundry room has officially arrived as the new design frontier. Ironically it's one of the rooms that gets the most usage, yet the least design attention.  To make it handy, the laundry room oftentimes is relegated to the back of the house or next to a bathroom where the plumbing is housed.  But in recent years, the laundry room has taken on a new image with the help of interior design.  Thus, it has been crowned this month's "Room of the Month."

One of my favs..fresh, clean and just begs you to do one more load.

1) Not just for the basement anymore
Efficiency is key to laundry duty.  Just ask any mom.  The thought of running to the far end of the house to do the laundry and then run in the complete opposite direction to put it away (all multiple times in one day, mind you), can make one's stomach rumble.  When re-working your current home or purchasing a new one, take some time to consider where this little room of possible torture is located.  You may want it to be near the dirty clothes.  That usually means near the bedrooms.  Consider utilizing an unused bedroom, a big closet or hidden space behind a wall. 

  Au revoir to this...

2) Bright colors fabrics and rugs 
Most of us do laundry at least once a week, so why not make the room enjoyable and fun?  Remember you are going from dirty to clean so you want to room to reflect CLEAN and FRESH.  The addition of a colorful print, some fun fabric or even a playful rug can speak volumes to your spirit as you serve your family.

3) Consider dual purpose
Consider moving your office to another room with plumbing access to take advantage of space by combining the office and laundry into one.  Think about the aromas wafting your way as you pay your bills.  Delicious!  Mulit-tasking at its finest.  
Check out this office/laundry combo -- stylish, functional and oh so clean!

4) Multiple machines
"These are all great ideas, Carla, but I have a really large family and I love to entertain. Plus, the twins are really into mud pies."  If your machines never get a break, then consider purchasing more than one machine for your laundry room.  Time is money (or in this case, sanity).  Yes, the initial investment is tough to swallow but the time you will save is inexpressible.  Your time is valuable and worthwhile. 

5) Apply the kitchen model 
Consider investing in nice countertops, fixtures and cabinets.  The reward will be spectacular.  Reflect on this room from Tracery Interiors .  It appears to be a kitchen at first.  But upon closer examination,  you will notice the primary indicators of a kitchen (dishwasher, fridge and oven) missing from the picture.  These have been replaced by washing machine and dryer.  By applying the same design basics to the laundry room as the kitchen, you will be able to get your ideas flowing quickly with jaw-dropping results. 

6) Storage Options - Open or Closed?
Whether you decide open or closed with your storage solutions, it's vital that they provide easy access.  Cabinets are a safe solution and certainly not to be dismissed but wouldn't it be fun to have open shelving?  Not only cost-effective, open shelving allows for more panache - especially lined with wallpaper or fabric.  And the paint options are endless as well. 

7) Folding! 
Don't forget to leave some space for folding in your room.  This is much easier than hauling a load to your bed for the process.  This is one of the main things missing from laundry rooms, in my opinion.  Despite storage for all of our soaps and stain removers and even a sink for soaking, the reality is that we don't stop with laundry until the dryer stops.  Folding space can be accomplished by installing some shelving over an existing cabinet or directly over the washer and dryer themselves.  You can even consider supplying a table or fold down shelf in the area.

8) Wallpaper?
If you were ever going to try out wallpaper, this is the room for it.  Most of us love wallpaper but we get a touch shy when we consider it for a main room.  Numerous questions run through our heads - what if you get bored with it?  what if it goes out of style?  Alleviate your anxiety and test your favorite pattern in the laundry room.  Since the space is normally smaller than the other rooms in the house, the cost of installing the wallpaper will be a minimal investment compared to another area.  Plus, it can look just downright cool!

Check out this room from Laundry Room Design

9) Drying and ironing 
Ok, I have to admit.  I rarely iron.  However, I do own an iron and ironing board for that rare moment when the dry cleaners is not possible.  So when I do decide to use my iron, it's a real hassle.  Where will you store your iron?  Wall? Nearby closet?  Also allow some room to hang dry those clothes too.  Even our girlie items should have some space for drying in the laundry room. 

Check out more ideas at digsdigs.com

10) The colorful appliance
Erase the pink bathroom tile, guacamole green toilets and most of the stylish hits from the last few eras.  Colorful appliances are beautiful and in classic colors.  So...use them!  I usually tell my client to avoid the colored appliance.  But...it you get a great deal on one or just have to have red, go for it.  Just be sure to buy accessories to match it and let that be the standout color.  Use white as a backdrop.

If you can't have the red sportscar....why not? From Furniture Design.

10) Folding door dillema
Some of my faithful readers are stuck in a home without the benefit of extra space  Don't fret, just get creative!  With beautiful doors and an organized space leading to the hidden machines, you are sure to be pleased.  Notice below how matching storage boxes and warm custom cabinetry do wonders for this space.  And consider the lighting too!
Bi-fold doors with custom built cabinetry = nice!

Whatever your laundry needs, take comfort in the fact that none of us will ever be seen sweating over a raging pot of water while the kids play near by.  The days of grandma doing her laundry outside are gone only to be replaced by some pretty incredible feats of ingenuity.  So, take advantage of your laundry room's potential.  You're sure to reap some rewards as you happily put together a place for the family's clothes.

Waiting for the spin cycle-

No comments:

Post a Comment