How to Design the Perfect Laundry RoomFebruary 17th, 2016 | Posted in Custom Design, Custom Home, New Home Constuction
The following is an excerpt from Chapter 19 of George Davis’ book, Room By Room. Each chapter covers one room or feature of a home and provides inside information about what things to consider. The book highlights areas to concentrate on if you have a limited budget as well as skies-the-limit options, and everything in between.
LOVELY LAUNDRIES – Chapter 19
The laundry room is all about utility, so the design should maximize its usefulness—but that doesn’t mean it can’t be lovely! Since you’ll 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 of all, this allows you to have a window with natural light. If you’ve ever spent time in a dreary laundry room, you know why this is a bonus. Most people aren’t too excited about this task to begin with and a darker environment doesn’t help. If at all possible, oversize the windows so you can open them and enjoy sunlight and fresh air on a spring day. Windows are a wonderful feature for a room that naturally heats up from washer and dryer use.
Another reason to locate your laundry room on an exterior wall is so your dryer can vent directly outside and heat travels just a short distance within your home. Finally, if lint builds up and the dryer cap needs to be cleaned, it’s easily accessible through an outside wall.
If you are unable to locate your laundry room on an exterior wall with windows for natural light, be sure you 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’re 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 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 out the hoses. Another way to prevent washing machine flooding is to have your builder or plumber 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 until you return.
As an extra safeguard against overflow or flooding mishaps, installing a washing machine floor drain pan makes sense and provides extra peace of mind. It probably won’t 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
This is a space that you want to consider making a little larger rather than a little smaller. An extra 15 to 25 feet can make a huge difference, which you’ll understand if you’ve ever spent a lot of time in a laundry room that’s too small. Adequately sized laundry rooms are a strong selling feature, and laundry rooms that are too small can be negative for potential 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 can’t 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.
Don’t forget about the laundry tub and a pullout sprayer for convenient use. You’ll 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 adequate space. Space is usually a consideration that’s often overlooked when meeting with an architectural designer.
PLATFORM FOR WASHER AND DRYER
It’s economically beneficial to elevate your washer and dryer off the ground about 12 to 16 inches, especially when it comes to back strain. Your builder can install a 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.
The laundry room is a great location for an exterior door. Some people love to hang clothes out to dry in the fresh air. In addition, if you want your pet to have independent access into your home, the exterior door of the laundry room is the perfect place to install a doggie door.
BUILT-IN DESK AREA FOR CRAFTS AND HOBBIES
If you like to sew, wrap presents, or have another favorite hobby or craft, the laundry room is a great location for a built-in desk. Oversizing this room slightly for a specially designed built-in area is a lot less expensive than adding a whole new room to accommodate later.
If your laundry room will be adjacent to a bedroom or family room, you may want some additional sound insulation.
If you’re going to iron in the laundry room, try to design space for a built-in ironing board unit right on the wall. Don’t forget to locate an electrical outlet nearby so the iron’s cord isn’t 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! This is a room you walk in and out with your hands full, so consider using 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.
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