Welcome to the next installment in our Remodeling 101 Series: Laundry Rooms! While they’re not the most common makeover – few projects are as popular as a new kitchen or a new master bathroom – laundry rooms are easily the most overdue and undervalued. Laundry room makeovers don’t just add a modern touch to your home, they change the game! Sibling rivalries, parenting requests, missing homework, lonely socks… all of this gets a makeover when you decide to remodel the laundry room.
According to one statistic, an average family of four washes about eight loads of dirty laundry per week. That’s 416 loads of laundry a year! But, there’s more to laundry rooms than dirty clothes. Here are a few DIY tips for making the most out of your laundry room space.
DIY Tip #1 Color Does It
Just because your washer and dryer are in the basement, stacked in a closet or squeezed into the entry doesn’t mean you can’t have a fully functional, even attractive laundry room. If you’re going to spend so much time in it, you might as well enjoy it. Choose a cheerful, light color to brighten up the space. You don’t have to spend much. Pro Tip: Most home improvement stores have a rack or two of paint that’s been returned because it was the wrong color. These cans of paint are marked down, so take a closer look… you might find a sunny yellow or a seafoam green that would work perfectly in the laundry room.
DIY Tip #2 Sunshine Helps
Dark room? Remove heavy drapes and curtains from laundry room windows and let the light in! Even small, basement windows can get an upgrade with some molding to frame out windows, painted white. No window in your laundry room? Put in a glass door or a door with a glass insert so light from other rooms can filter in.
DIY Tip #3 Get Clever about Storage
Even small laundry rooms can incorporate extra storage. Start by looking up. Add shelving, hanging racks, baskets and bins for laundry detergent, hangers, etc. Put a rolling shelf between the washer and dryer to hold essentials. Galvanized buckets can store cleaning rags or dirty clothes.
DIY Tip #4 Flooring Matters
Let’s face it, spills happen in the laundry room, whether from an overflowing drain, an overstuffed washing machine or a hard-to-handle bottle of detergent. That’s why the flooring you choose for your laundry room needs to be tough, not to mention waterproof. If your laundry room is in an unfinished basement, you might consider leaving the floor as-is, but standing on concrete for hours at a time isn’t easy on the back and feet. Vinyl sheet and luxury vinyl tile are both good options because they resist water and are easy to maintain. They won’t scratch or crack like ceramic tile and are easier on your feet. Plus, today’s vinyl flooring is available in such a wide variety of styles, you can get the look you want without the expense.
DIY Tip #5 Work the Space
With a little creativity, your laundry room can double as a home office. If you’ve got enough space, include a desk or table top work station for folding clothes or even paying bills while you’re waiting for a load to finish. Add a few rolling filing cabinets and drawers to house essential documents. An old dresser can be repainted and used to store everything your kids need (paper, crayons, scissors, tape, markers, glue, calculator, pens and pencils) for homework or even a weekend art project. That work station can also double as a gift-wrapping station, which will really come in handy during the holidays! Purchase a container to store rolls of wrapping paper, ribbon and gift tags, like one of these.
DIY Tip #6 Communication Station
The laundry room is a great place to leave little reminders and important notes for family members. If you have the wall space, use chalkboard paint to create a message board. Tile a wall with corkboard squares for posting important notes and memos. The surface of your washer and dryer might even be the perfect spot to write a note like “Please don’t put white pants in the dryer!” Using a dry erase marker won’t harm the surface and will wipe right off.
DIY Tip #7 Inclusive Ideas
Since everyone needs clean clothes, it’s nice to include a space for everyone’s stuff. If you have room, include a hook and basket for each student in your home so they have a place to store backpacks, shoes and other school essentials. Even the family pet can have a space in the laundry room. Store pet food, treats and even medicine, in a sealed plastic bin, and dedicate space for food and water bowls and a pet bed, so Fido can keep you company while you do laundry.
DIY Tip #8 Sort it Out
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in your home did their own laundry? You can work towards that dream by giving each child a laundry basket of their own. Have them bring their own dirty clothes to the laundry room and sort them. Label three laundry baskets: “Lights,” “Darks,” and “Hand Wash.” Once the clothes come out of the dryer, each child is responsible for taking their clean clothes back to their room to put away (you hope).
DIY Tip #9 Add Utility
A utility sink or tub can be a welcome addition to your laundry room. Deep and wide, these sinks (we recommend Mustee) offer plenty of space for those large, messy tasks, like washing paint rollers and bathing pets, that can make a disaster of your bathroom or kitchen. Learn more about the options available here.
Before you begin, be sure the plumbing in your laundry room is in good, working order. A burst washing machine hose, leaky supply line or overflowing drain could ruin your newly remodeled space. Learn more about what to look for here.
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