Laundry has traditionally been done in a grungy basement. I’m giving myself away here, but I remember my mother doing laundry in a wringer-washer. That means she ran clothes through two rotating cylinders to squeeze out water after it was washed. And then she brought it outdoors and hung it to dry, even in the winter.
Well, those days are long over. She now has a tidy little laundry, with a front-loading, water-saving washer and energy-efficient dryer, a long counter for sorting and folding, a sink with a pull-out drying rack and kitchen-style cabinets to store all her laundry stuff. The walls are covered with water-resistant wallpaper, she has a cushy rubber-backed mat along the tiled floor, and she has little decorations hung all about — maybe not my style but undeniably hers.
Whether you simply want to hum as you do your laundry or you care more about creating a stylish place, here’s some hints to make this oft-neglected area into a functional and great-looking space.
• Laundry is all about cleaning, so keep the look crisp and bright. I love the look of sparkling white subway tiles to accent a wall that has been painted a bright, cheery colour. Use patterned or bright curtains.
• If your laundry is in a multi-use space that includes other functions, or is in a mudroom or kitchen, you may want to keep the look unified.
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• Tiles or linoleum works well as flooring, accented if you wish with a rubber-backed mat to save your back.
• Organization is vitally important. Make sure you have enough shelving or storage to store all your laundry room necessities.
• Use attractive, colour-coordinated metal bins or wicker baskets as hampers. If space is tight, you could also hang labelled bags to hold soiled laundry.
• Consider coordinated bins or baskets labelled with the names of family members to make clean clothing distribution easier.
• Use attractive kitchen-style shelving or cupboards rather than utility shelving.
• Make sure you have a folding surface, whether it’s a table, a counter or a fold-out shelf.
• Use a sink with good looks rather than a plastic laundry tub and include a retractable drying rack for hand-washables.
• Also include a section of closet rod, so that you can hang shirts to dry or prevent wrinkles after clothing comes out of the dryer.
• A fold-out ironing board is a convenient and space-saving addition.
• Make provision for music or install a small TV if you like to watch as you work.
• Last but not least, splurge on beautiful artwork or accessories. Plants also create a softer effect in a space that can seem sterile.
– Sylvia Putz is a journalist with an interest in decor and design. She’s written for the TV show Arresting Design; firstname.lastname@example.org.