What to include when designing a family laundry...
I find the kitchen the hub of the home and the laundry the workroom; that hidden space rarely seen but well-designed makes family living a breeze. Today laundries are receiving more and more attention. No longer just for placing a washing machine, dryer and sink, the focus is how these appliances are integrated with clever functional storage, making the most of small spaces and beautiful fittings that make the room a joy to use.
Discussion on how to design the ultimate laundry factors high in our community group and I’ve popped together the top 14 design tips and decisions I see time and time again. It doesn’t matter if you have Ikea, Bunnings or custom-made laundry cabinetry, with careful planning you can create the laundry of your dreams (and who knew how important a great laundry would be before kids?!).
Renovating Mums top list of things you must include when designing your ultimate laundry:
1. Adequate bench space
Washer and dryers are typically deeper than your standard oven so if you have the option available then increase the depth of your benchtop to a minimum of 650mm so these appliances don’t stick out.
Front loader washers give you the opportunity to have bench space above that give you room to sort and fold clean clothes.
2. Sufficient powerpoints
Ensure you have enough power points allowed for in your design;
- Above the benchtop allocated for additional phone charging stations, ironing etc
- Under the bench located for washer and dryer
- Inside the tall cupboard for stick vacuum charging.
If using a pull-out iron board or ironing station include a power point located for ease of use.
3. A practical sink
Ensure the sink is large enough to soak items as needed; bed sheets, cushion covers as well as clothing items. Locate close to the washer so you can quickly throw pre-rinsed items into the drum without splashing the floor.
The laundry sink can even function as backup for the kitchen sink if space is limited in the kitchen – offering you the ability to scrub and soak those large roasting / baking trays.
If you have a dog consider dual purpose with the sink large enough to wash the dog!
4. Mixer tap with pull-out hose
A mixer tap with pull-out hose will make rinsing large items easier – you can even use this to wash the dog.
5. Deep drawers instead of cupboards
We love them! For ease of access and using all of the space available.
6. Pull-out laundry baskets
These can be integrated into your cabinetry and allow you to sort whites from darks.
7. Storage for wash basket
You know that big basket you use to take your washing to the line? Make sure you allocate a cupboard or shelf large enough to store this out of sight when not in use.
8. Built-in ironing board or ironing station
There are many options out there now to integrate an ironing board into your cabinetry or even build into your walls in a flush cabinet. We love this amazing Ironing Center by Robinhood where the iron is in a built-in cupboard in the wall or you there are many options where you can have your iron mounted in a drawer like this one by Hafele.
If you are using a standalone iron, and love doing the ironing in the living room watching the kids make sure you allocate space in a tall cupboard or wall hanging rack to store this.
9. Drawers or baskets for all those little items...
- Shoe polish essentials for all those school and sport shoes!
- Cleaning cloths, chamois, sponges and of course magic eraser
- Spare keys, batteries (think height away for little fingers), home maintenance or indoor plant essentials
10. Laundry Chute
Double storey home? Consider a laundry chute that deposits clothes directly into the laundry. Make sure the size and access adheres to building standards and restricts children from climbing into it.
11. Hanging Rails + Clothes Airers
Hanging rails are becoming very popular for good reason; they offers you extra drying space when the weather is not ideal, and they are also fabulously useful for drying swimmers or a school shirt that was forgotten overnight. Make sure you locate them ideally over the laundry sink for drips, and ensure the rail is high enough above your bench top to hang work shirts (60cm minimum).
If you have a high ceiling consider a clothes drying rack on a pulley system.
12. Storage for brooms, mops + vacuums
Allocate space for tall bulky items in your tall cabinet. Measure the width of your mop head so you know it can easily fit along with your broom, vacuum and any other tall bulky items.
12. Storage for clothes airers
If you use a mobile clothes airer; on your balcony or deck to follow the sun, allocate space to store the airer when not in use.
12. Spot for the kitty litter tray
Yes you read this right! A low slide out draw with false cupboard door above with cutout can be a great spot to place your cat’s litter tray so it is out from under your feet.
13. Direct external access
My favorite! Yes, its nothing fancy however it makes your laundry space function so much better if it has external access located close to the washing line.
I also love having a door from the garage into the laundry then through into the house. The laundry can then double as a mud room and become the dumping ground for bags, wet swimmers, sports gear, gumboots and all the other items that get dragged into the home. These items can then be sorted – swimmers hung on the drying rack, dirty clothes into baskets, bags hung on hanging hooks, shoes tucked under a bench, keys into the top drawer under bench….ohhhhh the list goes on!
14. An additional toilet
If you have the space then this is a great opportunity to increase the value of your home and add an additional WC. If you have an external door then this is great for trades or if you are working in the garden and don’t want to walk dirt through the house.
Now this list above is pretty extensive; not all will be relevant to your family and how you live, let alone the space you have available or your budget. I suggest measuring your room, determining your absolute must-haves to make your life easier and then designing your layout to make these flow on how you will use them. Then add in any extras.
For us, our laundry needed to be relocated and made bigger to serve a dual purpose. We currently enter our house through the front door direct into the living room. This means I am constantly battling bags and shoes all around the door in our living space and as we are on acreage dirt is always being tramped inside.
We cannot easily change this at this time and for us it made sense to design a combined laundry / mud room off our garage connecting to our new hallway and extension that we are currently building. This then gives my family a utility room where all jackets, bags. dog leads, swimmers, hats….essentials for us can be hung, along with boots + bench seat and a laundry facilities with long bench space. Whilst a ironing station sounds fabulous, for my family it is quite simply not needed as I only pull it out a couple of times a year 🙂
So there you go, 14 fabulous must-haves to include in your ultimate laundry design!
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