Friday, April 22, 2005
Good laundry room design can ease laundry task
By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon
Does it seem like your laundry piles are usually more like mountains than molehills? Is getting family members to pitch in and do laundry harder than getting out grape juice stains?
If so, it doesn't necessarily mean that you or your family members are lazy (or messy eaters). It might simply mean there's a problem with your laundry room design.
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. A good laundry room design can help you get your laundry done more efficiently, saving you time and energy for things you'd rather be doing.
If you live in an older home, your laundry "room" or area probably consists of a washer, a dryer, and a small cabinet or two. In contrast, think of the convenience of a laundry room designed with a large utility sink, plenty of cabinets for storage, generous floor space for sorting dirty clothing, ample counter space for folding clothes, a built-in ironing board, cubbies or bins for each family member so they can do their own laundry, and even a TV or DVD player.
Your needs and lifestyle should drive your laundry room design. For example, do you do a "laundry marathon" once a week, or just one load a day? The more laundry you do at one time, the more floor space or clothes bins you'll need for sorting and the more counter space you'll need for folding and stacking.
Also, if you typically do a lot of laundry at a time, you could cut your laundry time in half with a laundry room designed with two dryers to keep up with the shorter cycle of the washer. (If you're concerned about how all those appliances would fit in your laundry room, remember that today's front-loading washers make it possible to stack full-sized appliances.)
Another way to increase efficiency in doing the laundry is to ensure your laundry room design makes it easy for all household members to pitch in. We like a sign that hangs in the remodeled laundry room of one of our clients: "Equal opportunity laundry." Your laundry room can be designed so that 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.
A laundry room designed with a 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. Speaking of ironing, a built-in ironing board that comes right out of the wall conserves storage space and saves the hassle of constantly setting a board up and taking it down.
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 room 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 good laundry room design that is well-placed in your home will make doing the laundry much more efficient and yes, even enjoyable. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.