DESIGN INSPIRATION: LAUNDRY ROOM
As the structure of our new home is continuing to take shape, we have started thinking more about the interior and what the individual spaces are going to look and feel like. One of these spaces is the future laundry room. We wanted to address this room first maybe because of the "dungeon feel" of our current laundry room or the fact that we need to haul our loads down to the basement...
Getting The Basics Right
First and foremost, a laundry room is a highly functional space. Work needs to get done here, efficiently. There are a few key features to think about when planning the layout and designing this space: Appliances, fixtures, storage, and counter space.
Next, we want to think about what needs to get done in the laundry room:
Ironing, if there is enough room, and your space is welcoming enough for you to spend time in it
Storage, certainly for laundry supplies, but maybe also for other household cleaning supplies or a linen closet.
This certainly covers our list, but depending on your family, household, and space, you have other tasks to add, like using the utility sink as a pet bath or grooming station or creating a kid crafting area.
Our Floor Plan
Our floor plans currently have a designated laundry room on the second floor near all the bedrooms. We can't tell you how exciting this is to us. As a matter of fact, it was one of the key features we specified as a firm requirement to our builder in the very beginning.
In terms of layout, the room itself is quite basic, with dimensions being roughly 5 feet by 6 feet, a door opening outward into the hallway, no window or natural light. With these parameters, we definitely need to think about the best use of tight space and having good lighting.
When looking at a layout, it's important to understand what you can and cannot fit in it. For example, a full-size appliance is 27 inches wide. A washer and dryer combination will therefore be 54 inches wide, or 4.5 feet. In our room, this would make up the full length of one wall. Clearly, this is not optimal as it uses up a lot of the available space. But, we have a few options here:
Use smaller appliances to maximize the space and put a full-height cabinet to one side;
Use front loader appliances instead of top loaders and have a countertop running across the top of the appliances for folding;
Use a stackable washer/dryer combination to maximize floor space;
Push one wall out to add more square footage to the room by stealing a foot of the adjacent bedroom's walk-in closet to make the laundry room more functional overall and to add a sink.
Unless you have an all-out laundry room with plenty of space, it is important to really think about maximizing the use of the space and to make it work best for you.
Our Design Inspiration
The aspiration for our design is to achieve a look that is timeless, modern, clean, and bright. For inspiration, we turned to online resources and thought back to some of the open houses we have been to in the past. There are plenty of sites or forums to draw inspiration from, like Instagram, Pinterest, or Houzz to name just a few.
Below, we have collected a few pictures we came across that really spoke to us (all of them from Houzz).
Inspiration photo #1
We like the combination of gray and white colors. This will look great with either white, gray/silver, or even colored appliances. Things that stand out positively for us here are the backsplash with the staggered tile pattern. It's a classic style, with oversized subway tiles but in a slightly different touch with the gray tone. For the floor, tiles are a must, and we like these gray tiles with their movement/pattern a lot. It also helps in having them look clean for longer. Other positive features are the metal sink with the high faucet (you want to be able to fill a bucket for mopping the floors) and the drying rod. For the cabinets, we prefer flat-panel fronts, but we do like the hardware.
Inspiration photo #2
At first glance, this is very similar to the first photo and we like the combination of gray and white tones with the overall clean finishes. Here, the cabinets are flat-panel fronts which are our preference, and the hardware is a little bolder and edgier. The countertops in this photo are gray instead of white. Either tone would work for us, but we would like to see some color variation within the countertop and the floor tiles.
Inspiration photo #3
In this photo, we really like the floor tiles a lot; they pretty much have a polished concrete look. The backsplash in this case is more intricate and detailed which is pretty cool, too. We appreciate the addition of the wooden shelves as a mix and match of materials and the plants. Both things bring in some of those natural elements we are also looking to integrate ourselves. Since we won't have any natural light, we may need to revert to art pieces instead of real plants.
An important feature visible in this image is the floor drain, which all laundry rooms require in case of leaks from e.g. appliances failures.
The hampers are obviously staged in this photo where the appliances will go later, and those really belong in the bedrooms.
Inspiration photo #4
This picture has a lot of practical features we didn't see in the other photos. Power outlets come in really handy --- think about ironing, vacuum charger, or steamer. The under-cabinet lighting provides the required work light for the countertop. Water shutoffs above the countertop provide quick access without having to pull out the heavy washing machine in case of an issue. Again, we see the high faucet and the hanging rod which are super practical.
In terms of style, we like the countertop and the format of the floor tiles, even though we would prefer the tiles in a matte finish.
Inspiration photo #5
This one is clearly a bit more fun with the flooring. The tiles are in a stylish hexagon form and have different patterns. We also like the taller overhead cabinet in a wood tone, with all cabinets being flat-panel and sharing the same hardware. It looks like a glass backsplash which provides yet another textural contrast to the room and will help in reflecting some of the daylight coming from behind the photographer. The hanging rod, sink, and power outlets round out the functional setup of this space.
In contrast to some of the other pictures above, this setup features a countertop of the same height all the way across, which is nice. It looks like it comes at the expense of having more compact size appliances, but it's still a nice feature over the other solutions.
Function rules over form in the laundry room. Many practical features need to be taken into account. However, if planned correctly, they can all come together in a really nice and welcoming space.
For our laundry room, we will need to find a way to integrate a sink (by enlarging the room or using stacked appliances) and having a full-height cabinet for things like an ironing board, broom, mop, vacuum, etc. (may be located in a corner opposite of the appliances).
From a style perspective, photos #1 and #2 spoke to us the most, but that is a personal preference. Adding some color to a wall and some natural elements will need to be added to complement the white and grey color palette.
You can really make it your own style, bring in some fun elements and color. The good thing about a laundry room is that you can close the door and your guests don't need to see it. So it doesn't necessarily need to flow with the rest of your design in the main living areas if you so choose.
In terms of practicality, we also like the hanging rod, but don't feel that we have the space for it or would always need to have it available. But we found some clever space-saving solutions that may provide us with the answer.
There are either wall-mounted drying racks or clothing valets such as these
Or these nifty ceiling-mounted laundry lifts
Or we simply stay with the trusty old standalone fold-out drying rack, but realistically this takes up a lot of space when opened, whereas the other solutions allow you to continue using the space while also using the rack.
There are plenty of other things to be thought of as well, in particular the appliances. Ease of use, accessibility, water, and energy consumption, front-loading versus top-loading, stacked or side-by-side --- there are many facets to be chosen from, and not everything will work with the room you may have to work with.
We will let you know how our laundry room finally comes together. It will certainly be a welcome upgrade to our current basement dungeon, which's already guaranteed.
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