The value of a laundry room should never be underestimated – especially one that has its own dedicated space and isn’t just shoved into a cupboard. It is an important asset if you have a family, or are considering resale to this demographic.
From personal experience, I’ve had the pleasure of a full-blown separate room with a cupboard for a kitchen. I can assure you I would compromise on many things to get a separate laundry room! Whatever your situation, make it work. Design the room so it’s functional and you get useful mileage out of every inch – the more user-friendly the laundry is, the less time you’ll have to spend in there. Regardless of where your area is located, it’s likely to be quite a compact space, so consider a layout that is well-suited to the way you use the room. Unless you’re acting out early settler life, then a washing machine is a given, and a dryer can be wall hung to save space, or a combination washer/dryer is the ultimate for tiny spaces.
If you are buying new, keep your eye out for appliance energy ratings and ensure the room is well-ventilated.
● Create as much storage as possible. I recommend cupboards with kiddie locks for cleaning and washing products, and then open shelving for pretty much everything else that you can add boxes, bins and containers to. A benchtop area is a fabulous idea for sorting and folding. If you’re going to splurge, then built-in cabinetry works perfectly in the laundry, with an integrated sink functioning as a tub and a lovely big workspace. A more budget option is to configure a set of freestanding units to fit the space – your local hardware store will no doubt have a variety of options. Storage units intended for the garage works, and will give your room a slightly industrial edge, which is very fashionable right now. Add a couple of decorative wallpaper drops behind the units and you’ll give it real “wow” factor.
● If your room includes a hot-water cylinder, install shelving all around it, and turn into an old-fashioned water cupboard or a place to store towels and linen. To keep your bedding in order, a trick I learnt recently was to fold a sheet set and pop it inside a pillowcase, keeping your sets together.
● Finally, don’t forget to decorate just as you would any other room of the house. This is one space you can really think outside of the square. Patchwork wallpaper off-cuts or gift wrapping paper make a great wall feature, or you could use it to cover plain storage boxes. Cookie jars are great for washing powder, pegs, and other bits and pieces, and like a kitchen pantry, you can’t go wrong with labelling just about everything, so all the members of the household can find what they are looking for.
Watch LeeAnn on the judging panel of Mitre 10 Dream Home, TV2, Tuesdays, 7.30pm.