Outside of the kitchen and bath, another household space is getting more and more remodeling attention. Laundry rooms are very similar to kitchens and baths in that they include and require many of the same elements. From access to water to proper storage, planning and designing your laundry room will require you to consider all the different ways that you’ll be using the space. With this simple guide, getting started on planning your laundry space will be a breeze.
Assessing Your Needs
As with any remodeling project, assessing your kitchen layout needs is key. Before jumping into your laundry room renovation you have to make sure that all of the elements you’ll need will be included. Begin by assessing precisely how this space will be used in order to discern what elements are necessary. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Where will your laundry room be located? Location is of the utmost importance, mainly because of the need for access to a water line, electricity, ventilation and possibly a gas line depending on which appliances you purchase. Many homeowners choose to locate their laundry room near the kitchen because of convenient access and proximity to a water supply, electricity and gas lines already present in the area. This also reduces the construction cost that would come with having to install these components elsewhere in the home.
- Is there adequate space available for a fully functioning laundry room? Your laundry room has to have enough space to hold a number of items, including a washer and dryer, a sink, countertop space, and clearance space for moving around and completing tasks. If you’re also looking to include storage space, or extra accessories like an ironing board, even more space will be necessary. A small closet area simply won’t suffice.
- Who will be using the laundry room? If numerous family members will be using the laundry room, a central location in the home that enables easy access for everyone is important. If elderly or disabled family members will also be using this room, accessible design elements should also be taken into account.
- Will the noise be an issue? Washers and dryers can make quite a bit of noise, so do take this into account when locating your laundry room. Will the noise be disruptive to the household?
- Will the mess be an issue? Laundry rooms can get pretty messy, especially on laundry day. If your laundry room will be in an open, unenclosed area near your kitchen or living room, take into account the fact that guests may see this space.
Planning Your Space
When you’ve chosen the location of your laundry room, you’ll need to assess the space to see how all of the elements will fit. The main elements, the washer and dryer, will need ample space for proper, uninhibited usage. The average American washer or dryer is about 27-29″ wide, 25-32″ deep, and about 36″ high, though there are models that do not fit these dimensions. Clarify the dimensions of your washer and dryer before planning your space. You’ll also need to consider the loading and unloading of the washer and dryer. Are they top-loading or front-loading models? If it is a front-loading model, which way does the door open? All of this information will dictate the ease of access and placement of your machines.
Also be sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications for your appliances for clearance requirements on the sides, front, back, and top of the equipment for proper ventilation and connection procedures. All of this will dictate whether your machines will be stacked one on top of the other or placed side by side, as well as the amount of clearance space necessary. Consider that you’ll need adequate space to bend, turn, and move around while unloading and loading laundry, and that extra space will be necessary for any laundry baskets that will be in use during this time. As a rule of thumb, allow at least 42″ of space in front of any individual or stacked washer and dryer. Allow at least 66″ of space in front of a washer and dryer that have been placed side by side.
Planning the space for washer and dryer placement is just the beginning. You’ll also have to consider the other elements that make doing your laundry more efficient. Here are the things you may want to consider allotting space for when planning your laundry:
- Sink – A sink is a common feature in most laundry rooms and is typically used for diluting detergents, pre-rinsing clothes, or hand washing items. The best placement for the sink is next to the washer in order to facilitate a convenient work flow. If a sink is a major part of your laundry duties, a bigger sink with a deep bowl is probably best. However, if you’ll only be using the sink for minor tasks, a smaller bar sink will suffice. Consider using a pull-out or swivel faucet to make your job easier.
- Hampers or baskets for collecting laundry – Be sure to allot space for any hampers or laundry baskets that are used for collecting dirty clothing. Multiple hampers may be necessary for pre-sorting your laundry.
- Countertop space for sorting and folding laundry – Countertop space is absolutely necessary for your laundry room. Allot space for a countertop that is about 24-36″ deep and and 32-36″ high. The length of the countertop will depend on how much space is available and how much you’ll need for your particular laundry tasks.
- Hanging space for air drying – Not every item will be placed in the dryer after being washed. In these cases, hanging space will be necessary. Proper ventilation is also necessary to prevent mold and mildew. Because these clothing items will be drip-drying, a waterproof surface underneath this area is necessary. A hanging space is also convenient for immediately hanging certain items that have recently been removed from the dryer in order to prevent wrinkling.
- Storage space – Open shelving, cabinets, and drawers are all options for storing laundry items. Whichever you choose, consider the ease of accessibility. Heavy boxes of detergent or other items placed above the head may pose a safety risk. If placed too low, bending and kneeling may pose an issue, especially for older family members. Also consider the materials used for shelving and cabinetry, as they may come in contact with water. Choose shelves and cabinets that can resist moisture.
- Ironing space – This is an optional element in your laundry room. If you prefer to do all laundry tasks in one place, including ironing, then you may want to include a built-in, pull-down ironing board. Ensure that enough space is available to comfortably use the ironing board and that there is space allotted for storing your iron and other ironing elements.
Designing a safe and efficient laundry room can be tricky if you’re unfamiliar with designing spaces. Before implementing your laundry room plans, it is recommended that you consult with a designer to ensure that everything will fit as it should and that your laundry room space will be efficient and easy to use.