Styles of laundry come and go, but piles of laundry seem to remain
Whether you have a Euro laundry, located halfway down your hallway, a washer/dryer all in one unit inserted under the kitchen bench, a washing machine and an old concrete tub sharing the garage space with the car, or stacked appliances and half size tubs hidden behind linen cupboard doors… or oversized rooms with enough space to swing a cat. Whatever size laundry you have, they are not a room you tend to spend a lot of time in by choice.
A laundry has to be practical, easy to keep clean and tidy, and above all functional.
Consider some of the below options when thinking about the design of your laundry.
Raising the washer and dryer off the ground.
This will save bending down and can create handy storage areas under your units.
Putting in a second washing machine
Personally, when I do the laundry, I hate that it can take so long to get through all the loads, 2 washers going at once means that it’s done in half the time.
Add a laundry chute from upstairs
If you are lucky enough to have a linen cupboard, bathroom vanity or area directly above your laundry that can have a void created, then a laundry chute is a luxury that can be added in.
Having a place to throw your towels, tea towels and other odd items until there is a full load keeps the place looking tidy and uncluttered.
Sorting your washing into baskets
And why just have one, when you could be sorting your washing as it accumulates
Clothes basket storage location
A standard laundry basket is a staple in any household, and so often they are left on the laundry floor or bench. If you have a designated space for them, then they won’t get in the way and will look neat and tidy.
Storage space for a clothes horse
There is some great wall hanging solutions for cloth horses these days, options that fold up or collapse down.
But if you’re like me and just have a plastic Ikea rack – don’t forget a place for it to live, or else it was be leaning up against the garage wall and constantly in the way.
I brought my first condenser dryer this year and I will never go back – no more rooms heavy with damp air and filled with condensation despite how many windows are left open or extractor fans you have running.
We also provisioned for a 2nd waste pipe so that the condenser dryer could be plumbed in and not have to have the hose running back to the sink on the other side of the room.
Extractor fan / ventilation
If you haven’t spent all your savings on a Condenser dryer, or prefer to dry your clothes inside on a clothes horse, then consider installing an extractor fan similar to those normally installed above the showers. this way your room has constant airflow to aid in the drying process.
If you have a house design that has a walk-in linen cupboard off the laundry, consider converting it into a drying room. This is fairly easy to do, it just requires a heating vent duct to be installed. With double story houses, this means that the ductwork has to come down via a void in the 1st floor, check out your plans and see what is directly above your WIL and if a 450mm x 450mm void can be carved out. Drying rooms are fantastic spaces and never go out of fashion.
Drying rail for hanging shirts
For those of us that don’t have a drying room, sometimes it’s nice to have an area to hang your delicate items of clothing or odd shirt (either to dry or post ironing so it doesn’t get creased.) A rail above the laundry bench can easily be added in post hand over and is a great use of space. Just make sure its high enough to prevent the cloths from dragging on the bench top – but not too high that you cant reach the hanger.
Power points for vacuum cleaners (wall hung)
Dave does the vacuuming in our house, so when he asked for a fancy new cordless vacuum cleaner – who was I to say no. However I do like things neat and tidy, so with a new v10 Dyson power stick (or whatever they are called) in mind, we provisioned for a powerpoint especially for this unit. Thinking of where on the wall (in the laundry) it would hang and where it would be powered from. And a 2100mm AFL power point was especially provisioned for, so no nasty cords hang down or running around the room.
Powerpoint of ironing
Unless you plan to heat your iron on the fire hearth, spare a thought for where you want to plug your iron in. You want it to be at a handy height and location close to where you will be standing. In my experience, irons never come with very long cords, so don’t tuck the power point away in a corner, behind the washer or under the sink.
Spare fridge or beer fridge
Come Christmas each year, Mum would turn on the old fridge in the garage to accommodate all the drinks and giant Christmas Ham. However having opened my home to Airbnb over the last 3 years, I feel the need for a 2nd fridge more and more, especially now that I will have a 5 bedroom house. We have left room in the laundry to fit our current fridge – soon to be deemed the ‘old fridge’. This will allow space for items that are so often squeezed out of the fridge for lack of space.
We also have in the back of our minds that this area can have a cupboard built in the fridge space, should we need extra linen storage or a broom cupboard.
Easy access to soap powder and fabric softeners
No one enjoys rummaging around under the sink to find the right product, knocking things over and spilling the laundry powder. Take the time to consider where your products will live and how their location will affect your day to day life, a little extra consideration now will pay off in spades.
Cat (or Dog) feeding location
While we are busy holding 6-course banquets in our new dining room, spare a thought for where you will feed your 4 legged friends. The area needs to be somewhere you won’t trip over the water bowl, not locked away behind a closed pantry door and preferably out of sight. Often this is an afterthought for people, but a little planning now can make the area pet feeding friendly.
Outside door – swing/slide direction
Our laundry outside siding door originally slid right to left on the house plans, we had this changed at Tender stage so it went from left to right, creating a triangle area that would not be in the walkway and purrrrrfect for kitty cats food bowls.
Blind corners in cabinetry
If you are doing an L shaped bench, don’t waste the corner area or create a dead space. Blind corners are an easy way to utilise the area and a handy storage space for items that are rarely used.
Ironing board, mop, broom storage area
We all have tall items that need to live somewhere. When planning your cabinetry, think of where these will hide away but still be accessible. There is no point keeping them in the cupboard by the front door with the coats and umbrellas at the other end of the house if the rest of the cleaning items are in the laundry.
Also, in my current house, there is a very handy little shelf above the ironing board area, to keep the iron, steam filler cup thingie and a bottle of starch. I like that everything has a home and it’s all together.
Insulation, keeping the door closed.
Laundries can be cold rooms, often the door is kept closed to reduce the noise of the washer or dryer. Consider insulating the walls of this room to stop heat and noise transference to neighbouring rooms.
Stuff a strip of foam pipe insulation or a pool noodle into the space between your washer and dryer or along the wall. That way, socks can’t slip into the abyss.
Front loader or top loader – bench top over the top
What type of washing machine do you own? What type do you like to use?
Front loader machines can be costly and some take a much smaller capacity, but perform better and use less water and energy. … Because they use less water, a standard wash cycle often takes longer than a top loader.
Before you commit to running your bench top along the width of your wall, remember that you will be forcing your self into a front-loading washing machine.
Under washer drawer
An item that may seem a little extravagant at the time of planning your laundry fit out and may fall into the “nice to have” column rather than the “need to have” column on the spreadsheet. But boy – do they save your back and make it easy to load and unload the washer and dryer. A small touch that takes the effort out of the chores.
Waste, power and water feeds for appliances – and their heights
Plan out where your bench tops are and if extra power points, water inlets or waste pipes are needed. Remember that you want these around the units but not behind them as they will take up depth and push your washers or dryers out into the room, locate the power point slightly above or to the side so as not to lose the space created by the power point fitting and plug.
Measure your washer and dryer to ensure your bench top depth is going to cover them adequately, you don’t want them poking out and ruining the look of your lovely new laundry.
We have opted to make one side of our L shaped bench 700mm deep and kept the other one at the standard 600mm deep. This is to accommodate 1 of the washing machines and the dryer. They are big units and by the time you allow the minimum clearance at the back, they will sit comfortably under the 700mm deep bench top.
My other washer is a much smaller unit and doesn’t have the same depth requirements, also it can only handle a load size of 4 socks and 2 face cloths, the drum is so small, so it will snuggly tuck under the shorter bench top.
Having enough storage
They say Kitchens and Bathrooms sell houses, but I looked at a Dennis Family display home once and we nearly signed a contract with them – not because of the kitchen, but because upstairs they had 2 lovely big walk-in cupboards filled with shelving, one for linen and the other for all the other things you need shelving for, sports equipment, board games etc. Best yet, one had a laundry shoot. It seems like such a funny thing to fall in love with, but Storage Queen Shaynna Blaze couldn’t have loved it as much as I did!
So…next time you’re in the laundry putting a load on or just hanging out in the space with a cocktail in hand – take some time to think about what you would do to make the tasks, if not enjoyable, then easier on yourself.