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Renovation Design Group
An unfinished laundry room serves its purpose, but a well-designed laundry room will make doing laundry easier and more efficient.

How do you do laundry? Do you do a load a day keeping the piles small? Or do you wait until heaping piles take over the hampers? No matter what kind of laundry person you are, your laundry room should function for your laundry style.

It's an architectural fact that household facilities that cater to your family's lifestyle make it easier to keep your home clean and organized. The creation of a well-designed laundry room can help you get your laundry done more efficiently, saving you time and energy for things you'd rather be doing.

Before her remodel, Pat's laundry room was "the dungeon." It was an unfinished room in the basement with exposed pipes and a bare concrete floor. "It served its purpose, I suppose," she says. Now, however, her laundry room is a place that truly functions with efficiency.

Pat's approach to laundry is to let it build up forever and then spend all day washing, drying and folding. Her room is now designed for that laundry style. There are bins for sorting, surface space for folding, rods for hanging and shelves for the kids to come get their folded pile of clothes. "This room makes laundry a lot easier because it is well thought out," she says.

Other amenities to consider in a laundry room remodel could be a built-in ironing board, or a large utility sink. A person who does laundry marathons once a week could also benefit from two dryers to keep up with the shorter washer cycle. If you are concerned about how all those appliances would fit in your laundry room, remember front-loading washers make it possible to stack full-size appliances.

Another way to increase efficiency in doing the laundry is to make the laundry room conducive for all household members to pitch in. We like a sign that hangs in the renovated laundry room of one of our clients: "Equal opportunity laundry." Family members can each be given a space for a cubby, basket or bin in which their clothes are placed for them to fold and/or put away themselves.

Including space for a small TV or DVD player will also make it easier to get family members to work in the room — no more excuses of wanting to watch a game or a favorite show — they can watch while they fold! A TV or DVD player will also keep family members entertained while they iron their own clothes.

Finally, choose a location for your laundry room that will be the most convenient for your household. If you do the laundry yourself, you'll probably want the laundry area to be close to where you spend the most time in your home (usually the main floor). If you want the whole family to participate, it is best to have the laundry room situated near the family bedrooms.

We can't promise that your clothes will be cleaner, but we can say that a well-designed and well-placed laundry room will make doing the laundry much more efficient and, yes, even enjoyable.

It has been for Pat. Although she loves everything she did in her remodel, her laundry room is one of her favorite parts. "I told (the architects) what was important to me, and they designed what I needed. Now, I do laundry in a great laundry room."


Architects Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the founding principals of Renovation Design Group, www.renovationdesigngroup.com, a local design firm specializing in home remodels.