Laundry Room Makeover: Tips for Function & Efficiency

appliance, repair, washer, dryer
When an appliance breaks down, it's hard to know if the repair cost is worth it.

Ah, the laundry room…where women sort and men make pink underwear! Or at least that’s the way it typically is before a laundry room makeover. Today, (almost) idiot-proof machines and clever space planning can make laundry day just a few folds away from being completely effortless. The laundry room has become a functional, often used, and well-designed and outfitted space. Some might even say it’s their favorite room in the house, although I wouldn’t go that far.

If functional and well-designed don’t exactly describe your current space, not to worry. A laundry room makeover is generally a DIY-friendly endeavor, assuming you don’t plan to move around electrical and water supplies.

As with kitchens, the decision to replace a washer and dryer is usually the factor that drives laundry room remodels. To make sure your laundry room stacks up, the first thing to consider is whether you have the most efficient appliances for your family’s needs.  Super-smart, energy-saving appliances are becoming the norm, but they can’t work their laundry day magic without the proper connections and venting, so don’t neglect those important concerns.

The second consideration in a laundry room makeover is organization and layout. Does the space work with you, or does it work against you, like your teenagers? Your next-biggest expense will come in storage and organizing solutions. The storage gods have smiled upon laundry rooms, so you’ll want to research options like special shelving, pull-out bins, paper holders on a cabinet edge for gift wrap (if you want a multi-purpose space), built-in ironing boards, etc. The idea here is to create a space that both you and your clothes will be happy to hang out in.

Now, before you get started on your remodel, Leslie and I both have our own laundry room tales to share about how to keep lint under control, and why location really is everything!

Leslie: The Lint Balls of Autumn
We moved into our house in autumn, a time of beautiful and somewhat blustery days. And just about every time I’d pull into the driveway during those first few weeks, there’d be the weirdest tumbleweed of lint rolling across in front of me and my car. At first I was thinking, “Whoa, pretty unusual weather we’re having!” Then I was wondering where in the heck it had come from, and called Tom to commiserate. “My house is coughing up lint balls — it’s the only answer I can imagine.” And he said, “Well, then we need to clean out your entire dryer vent.” We did, and now I do a follow-up cleaning every year…no more roving lint balls, and it’s actually one of my favorite home maintenance activities!

Tom: Moving Laundry On Up
I’m one of the many homeowners who had laundry equipment on the first floor, meaning we didn’t need a StairMaster.  We would truck the dirty clothes all the way down from upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms to get loads going, then carry them right back up again after the wash and dry cycles were over.

Now, the trend is to move laundry upstairs altogether, and that’s exactly we did. We had a laundry room that was off of our kitchen because we had a very old house. When I was renovating my first-floor home office and had the ceiling open, I knew it was prime time to move the laundry plumbing so we could relocate the room to a small, unused bedroom upstairs. Since this bedroom-to-laundry conversion, we can do our stair-climbing workouts separately from our laundry.


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