The average lifespan of washers and dryers is less than 15 years these days, although your mileage may vary. While no one jumps for joy at the expense and inconvenience involved in replacing major appliances, replacing your washer and dryer is a great incentive to do a laundry room remodel.
The good news is that by choosing the right new appliances and renovating your laundry room, you can create a space that maps to your workflow. Whether you do laundry on a daily basis or have family laundry marathons once a week, designing a layout that works for you and your family will make this chore less onerous. You’ll also be able to invest in energy-efficient appliances that will save you money over time and may also save you major wear and tear on your clothes.
Here are some laundry room renovation tips to think about before starting your remodel.
Upgrade your lighting
No matter where your laundry room is located, good lighting is almost as important in this area of the home as it is in the kitchen. You can’t pretreat a stain you can’t actually see. This is especially important in basement laundry areas without a lot of natural light.
With so many lighting options out there, get rid of any fluorescent tubes and harsh lighting that can create shadows and glare. Invest in some ceiling pot lights and make sure you’ve got good lighting over your laundry sink and washer area, since that’s where you really need to see stains that need to be treated before hot water and hot air cause them to set permanently.
Get some storage systems
Depending on how you organize family chores, doing laundry may be a centralized or a decentralized chore. Does each member of your family converge on the laundry room with their individual baskets of dirty clothes to do their own laundry? If so, you probably won’t need as much storage space as a family that’s delegated the task to a single person. If dirty clothes are stored in the laundry room before being washed, you’ll need more storage space and some pre-sorting bins to speed up the actual process. Pull-out bins in lower cabinets will help.
If you have the space, a hanging rack for clothes that may not need much (or any) ironing will let you get on with the necessary folding without letting wrinkles set in freshly washed clothes, creating more work for yourself later on. A drying rack for clothes that can survive machine washing but will shrink in the dryer is a great idea too.
And of course, an area set aside for ironing in the laundry room is a necessity unless you iron somewhere else. There are lots of space-efficient ironing board over-door systems available now with racks to hold both the board and the iron.
If you don’t have any cabinets in your laundry room to hide bottles or boxes of laundry detergent, bleach, stain treatments, and dryer sheets and you’re replacing your appliances anyway, invest in under-appliance drawers to store these items. They need to be accessible, but they don’t need to be on display.
Create the counter space you need
Front-loading washers are game-changers in many ways. They use less energy and less water, and the fact that they spin rather than agitate means less wear and tear, and therefore longer life, for your clothes. But they are also amazing space savers. If you have enough space to install your washer and dryer side by side rather than stacking them, a two- or three-sided countertop that fits over your washer and dryer gives you a flat surface for folding.
If space is at a premium and you have to stack your laundry appliances, you can install a folding table that doesn’t take up space or get in the way as you try to get to the washer and dryer.
Make it pretty
For those who consider laundry a thankless task, an undecorated, poorly designed space just makes it worse. And for those who actually like doing laundry, why spend time in an ugly room with no redeeming features? Invest in some bold paint or wallpaper or a piece of art that isn’t going to be adversely affected by heat and humidity and give it pride of place on the wall above your appliances or the one you’ll be facing while folding or ironing. Small quilts, handmade rugs and wall hangings that bring you joy are perfect.
You don’t need to paint or wallpaper the whole room. Think of the area behind your appliances as a feature wall. It’s a small, low-traffic area that can be transformed with a pint of paint and no more than two rolls of wallpaper. And once you’ve finished your laundry room remodel, you may find you don’t hate doing laundry anymore.