Winter Projects: The Laundry Room Refresh

When it comes to renovation projects, high-visibility rooms like kitchens and living rooms tend to get most of the attention. More intimate areas like bedrooms or bathrooms also get their share of focus. These are rooms that can be refreshed to add more light, depth or interest to daily living.

But what of the lowly laundry room? Hidden away from guests, it’s defined by its utility. Why does it need to look good? Dirty laundry goes in, clean laundry comes out.

Yet, it’s this purpose that should demand a well-designed space. Since laundry rooms tend to be small, their layout becomes especially important to creating a comfortable workspace that offers maneuverability, comfort and ease-of-use.

That’s why a laundry room refresh is a perfect winter project. It’s a chance to reclaim a critical room of the house and give it a renewed purpose as a functional, accommodating space. Keep reading to learn how to make the most out of your laundry room.

Determine Your Needs

Before you start emptying the space and start rearranging things, consider what your needs are. Do you make use of the space when you do the laundry, such as depending on the utility sink or hanging rack? Or is it simply in-and-out between the washer and dryer?

Establishing your purpose for the room early will help keep you focused when making decisions about changes. Drying racks and folding tables make sense if you enjoy working in the room. Otherwise, that space can be better served as storage if your laundry room is needed more for its utility.

Find the Right Room

The most common location for a laundry room is in the basement, or on the main floor near the garage. The tendency is to have it tucked away and out of sight.
Just because that’s the default location, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Think hard about where your needs would be best served. It may be that a second-floor laundry room makes the most sense for your family.

Keep in mind, though, that creating a new laundry room will be more expensive. You’ll need to have new plumbing and electrical work installed to accommodate the needs of your washer and dryer. It’s up to you to determine if the expense is worth the convenience.

Set Your Budget

Speaking of expenses, determine early how much you’re comfortable spending. Knowing your budget will make certain decisions easier, such as whether or not it’s time to upgrade your appliances. But be realistic about how big of a project it will be. Will a mild refresh be enough, or is it time for a complete overhaul of your laundry room?

When setting a budget, establish a timeframe for the project, too. Having a schedule will keep you focused and on track.

Refresh the Space

Having determined where your laundry room will be, you can start refreshing the space. Clear it out and give all the surfaces a good clean.
The space behind a washer and dryer is a mysterious area where long-lost objects can be found. Your sun hat from the beach vacation three years ago? Sure. A hammer? Why not? Clear this space and clean it well. It likely has years of grime built up, so now that you have access, clean it out.

Think, too, about your lighting options. Addressing your lighting needs before setting up the room allows you the freedom to install new lights with everything cleared out of the way. Make sure that you have adequate lighting to make working in the area comfortable. Socks already find a way to vanish in the laundry. Don’t let a dimly lit room contribute to the problem.

This is also the perfect time to paint. Even if you want to keep the room a similar shade to the current one, a fresh coat of paint can brighten up any space. It might be years before you get another chance.

Choose the Right Layout

Knowing how the room will be used will help determine the best layout for it. Unlike most other rooms, however, laundry rooms are restricted by certain needs. Your washer and dryer are limited by their access to feed and drain lines as well as their electrical hookups. Consider which way the doors to your appliances open.

Once you’ve positioned these items in their defined spaces, look at what else is available. Does it make sense to add cabinets or cupboards? Shelving always works well in a laundry room, so think about how to maximize your wall space.

Don’t forget to think about the floor. Laundry rooms are often built on concrete floors, which can be exhausting on feet and backs. Well-placed floor mats and rugs can offer relief if you find yourself spending any significant amount of time in your laundry room.

Enjoy Your New Laundry Room

Once you have everything in space, take some time to personalize. Pictures and paintings add personality and warmth, making the space more inviting.

Then you’re free to enjoy your “new” laundry room, benefiting from the improved layout, better lighting, and updated features. Doing laundry may be work, but it doesn’t have to feel like it.