When I’m thinking about laundry room design I use the same type of thinking as I do for kitchen design. Like the kitchen, the laundry is a highly functioning space (I guess that’s why it's often called a utility room in England). Of course we want it to look good (even beautiful) but if you can’t do the activities that make up ‘doing the laundry’ smoothly and easily, the room will be a misery (a futility room - that's what my brother in law used to call it as a toddler!).
Seeing as the laundry is also a space that exists to get a job done it surprises me that laundry room design doesn't receive more attention. There's so much written about how kitchens function, the kitchen triangle and all that. Mmm - the laundry triangle. I'll have to come back to that one day.
So, this pages talks about good laundry room design and how these design
elements support the activities that go into doing the laundry.
Floor plan symbols for washing machine and tumble dryer
Good Laundry Room Design
A good laundry room layout should....
Be designed so that it’s easy to get laundry in and out of the washing machine and tumble dryer, or have easy access to a clothes hanger (inside or outside) if you're drying au naturel. See How to design a laundry room.
Be of a size appropriate to the size of the house. Obviously you’re not going to sacrifice living space for a laundry room in a small apartment but watch out. It’s all too easy to end up with a laundry space, which without proper design thought will be inadequate, even for a single person’s laundry. See laundry room dimensions (includes closets).
Be in a location appropriate to your lifestyle and circumstances. For example, if you’re doing laundry for a family it’s likely you’re doing some form of laundry activity almost every day so you want the laundry space in a very accessible place. If a housekeeper does your laundry you might want it to be more out of the way. See Where should I locate my laundry room?
Be in a space that isn't heavily used for other uses - eg the corridor for the most used entry of the home is not a good place for the laundry.
Be in a location where other rooms won’t be bothered by the noise.
Laundry Room Design Mistakes
Too often floor plans are drawn up with thought for where the appliances will fit but the way that the appliances will be used, how the other equipment needed for laundry will be stored and how the space immediately surrounding the laundry equipment is used isn’t thought through properly.
Make sure your laundry room design will support all the laundry activities...
Laundry Space Activities
Do your laundry design plans support all the activities and storage requirements?
Bring washing to laundry (laundry chute?)
Sort washing into washing loads (colors, whites, delicates, etc)
Carry out pre-wash treatments or stain removal (bleach, stain liquid)
Fill and empty washing machine
Fill and empty tumble dryer or hang washing out to dry and collect once dry.
Fold clothing and sort for different householders.
Identify clothing for mending or special attention
Tools for the laundry
Laundry hampers in the bedrooms.
Laundry hampers in the laundry.
Washing bags for washing delicate items.
A laundry basket or two or three.
Drying rack and hanging bar.
Tumble dryer sheets, tumble dryer balls.
Sprays and detergents.
Buckets and sinks.
Ironing board and iron - and if you're really flash maybe a steamer.
Surface for folding.
Sewing supplies for running repairs.
Are there any other activities you should consider for your laundry room - a double duty laundry?
I once had a laundry room which doubled as the back entry to the house, which naturally was the door that the family used most of the time. The laundry had to compete with coats, shoes (often dirty) and sports equipment. I lost count of the number of time I found a pair of gardening gloves on top of a clean pile of laundry!
Is a 'Laundry Room' your reality?
Let’s take a closer look at the idea of a laundry ‘room’. For those of you with larger floor plans you may indeed have a separate laundry or utility room. For other homes the laundry space might be in the kitchen or the bathroom or in a small closet in a corridor. The laundry room dimensions page has laundry design ideas for each of these situations.
Very often the main laundry activities (washing, drying, ironing, sorting) take place in various different locations within the home - even if you have a dedicated room. Washing, or course, takes place where the machines are. Drying might be on a clothes horse in the spare room with ironing in front of the TV in the living room and sorting on the kitchen table.
However you plan to do the laundry - store the tools for the job near where you plan to do the job!
Double Duty Laundry
Is there an opportunity to make your laundry space do double duty? If your laundry room dimensions are large enough there's plenty of space for storage of other items.
Your laundry room could do double duty as...
an entrance space (as discussed above)
a wrapping room
a sewing room
a butlers pantry (a small second kitchen - great if people are always in the main kitchen at parties)