An all too common occurrence is an overflowing laundry basket (or two), assorted linen drying by the heater and never being able to find a pair of socks that match. With a little careful planning you can streamline your laundry space to maximise its efficiency and make washing clothes feel like less of a chore.
Take a load off – here’s four tips for a high-functioning laundry.
1. Think about location
While the laundry doesn’t drive the design of a new home, it still needs to be an allocated space. The first step in planning a laundry is to understand what needs to go into it and how you will use the space.
Perhaps you’ll be hanging out the washing on a rooftop deck so the laundry is better positioned on the first or second floor. Or possibly you’d like to include a laundry chute for your two-storey home so dirty clothes land directly in the basket. You might consider the location of the laundry for easy after-pool access. Or tuck it behind an unobtrusive cupboard. Regardless, plan for your laundry to be in an easily accessible location for your new home layout and your needs. Preferably it should have natural light, have plenty of well-considered storage and be well ventilated.
In the kitchen
It’s often considered a utilitarian space, but your laundry can look as good as the rest of your home.
With the kitchen regularly being referred to as the heart of the home having the laundry in or close to the kitchen makes a lot of sense. The laundry can easily become part of the scullery as there’s already the necessary plumbing and ventilation. As an extension of the kitchen, the laundry is well positioned for daily use. The location ensures doing the laundry becomes a common activity, like loading the dishwasher.
In the bathroom
Combining the laundry and bathroom might sound super practical (wet washing in a wet room), but maintaining a tranquil sanctuary can be tricky. The bathroom is where most of us start our day. We clean away the night and set ourselves up for the day ahead. And at the end of the day it’s where we wash away troubles. But we know it could also easily become an instant dirty clothes dumping station. So how do you combine these two functional spaces and still retain your bathroom’s calm oasis? Clever positioning and considered finishes.
The simplest way of combining the two functions without losing your bathroom’s relaxing vibe is to conceal the appliances. Bi-fold or sliding doors are a great option for tight spaces. Opt for simple doors and they’ll look like a plain, flat wall when fully closed, returning the bathroom to a relaxing sanctuary.
Don’t let your laundry dictate the look of the space. Bold floor and/or wall tiles are a great way of bringing focus to the soothing bathing zone, and will direct attention away from the working area.
Dedicated laundry room
In a busy household with lots of children and animals – cue piles of muddy boots and paw prints – designing your laundry space close to the kitchen and back door makes a lot of sense. As well as being somewhere to stash your laundry out of sight, it’s a close walk to the outside washing line and useful place to let the dog dry off after a muddy walk.
The laundry can become a mudroom and it doesn’t necessarily have to be bigger to work better. Make the most of your walls and nooks – think vertically and use a combination of rails, shelves and baskets on your walls to store everything from coats, detergents and your iron. Including adequate bench space means there’s ample room for sorting and folding clothes.
Building a small inner-city home or a weekender? Perhaps having a dedicated laundry room is not the best option.
European laundries, otherwise known as a ‘laundry in a cupboard,’ are a space-saving hero. White goods can be tucked under a kitchen or work bench, squeezed under the stairs or simply placed in a cupboard in the hallway. Having a laundry tucked discreetly behind doors minimises the space requirement without compromising on functionality and helps to create a streamlined home. Sometimes out of sight, out of mind is best. They work particularly well in single-fronted terrace homes where space is at a premium.
Small laundry room designs should consider stacking the washer and dryer on top of each other to save on space. This obviously works only if you have a front loader washing machine.
Hanging a rail turns the void above the sink into a useful space too.
2. Ensure you have adequate storage
Clutter chaos causes frustration, an organised space keeps you feeling calm. Regardless of whether you have a large laundry room or a small laundry cupboard, having adequate and smart storage solutions will help the functionality of your laundry space.
For maximum functionality consider incorporating a drying rack that tucks away into a cabinet and somewhere to hang your ironing board. Multiple storage baskets or a set of sorting drawers are practical additions if you have the room.
3. Select energy efficient appliances
For a more sustainable home, switch to an energy efficient washing machine. Around 13 per cent of household water use happens in the laundry, but with the right washing machine it could be much less. Selecting a front load washing machine with a 4-star WELS Scheme rating or better and you could use up to 40 per cent less water that lower WELS rated machines. Also front loaders use less water than top loaders – up to 70% less in some cases.
Consider the noise from the laundry appliances – especially important if the laundry shares another room in your home.
4. Make it smart
With the advent of smart technology in the home (cue Alexa and Siri) it’s never been easier to make the laundry technology work harder for you. Smart washers, clever dryers and intelligent pegs paired with high speed internet will make your washing days a breeze.
Once synced with your smartphone, connected washers can let you choose wash cycles, start and pause a cycle, plus send you a notification when the load is done and ready for drying. Whether you’re at home in front of the TV, at the gym or out for a drink on a Friday night, you can use your smartphone to do the laundry work for you.
Did you turn off the iron before you left the house? Rather than having to frantically retrace your steps, connect a wi-fi enabled switch to the irons electrical socket and it’s as easy as glancing at your smartphone to put your mind at ease.
Smart plugs tap into your home’s wireless internet connection so you can turn each connected outlet and appliance off and on using your phone making any appliance ‘smart’. Particularly helpful for the forgetful one in the family.
Upon hearing the raindrops hit the roof it becomes a mad dash to the line to salvage what remains of the freshly-dried washing. Peggy – a smart peg prototype – can eliminate the hectic sprints. The clever peg has built-in sensors monitoring temperature, light and humidity and will suggest an optimal time to put on a load based on local conditions, know when a washing cycle will be finished and ready for hanging, and how long it should take to dry.
Banish washday blues and elevate your laundry above the ordinary – there’s no reason why your laundry needs to be a lacklustre space.