Top tips for planning a laundry renovation

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ARTICLE Persephone Nicholas

The laundry is one of the hardest working spaces in the home. Most of us use it every day and couldn’t imagine life without one. Yet when it comes to renovating, we tend to spend the lion’s share of our budget on the laundry’s industrious siblings, the kitchen and bathroom.

Although we may not spend a huge amount of time in the laundry, at Renovate we believe that by investing a little planning and forethought into this often forgotten room, it’s possible to create a laundry you’ll love.

Site it right

If you’re building or renovating and have the luxury of deciding where your laundry will go, try to choose a ground floor room with direct outdoor access. This is also a good time to think about installing a laundry chute.

Chutes are relatively quick and easy to install if you have a clear path between two floors and make it much more likely that the family’s dirty clothes will end up where you want them.

Since laundries generate a lot of moisture, choosing or creating a well-ventilated room with plenty of natural light is important to help minimise the risk of dampness and mildew. It may also be worth installing an extractor fan and ensuring the walls are painted with a mould-resistant paint.

Laundry and more

Once you’ve established the site of the laundry, make a list of all the tasks you’d like to take care of here. Washing and perhaps drying; sorting, folding and ironing are going to be top of the list, but it could also be a great place to set up a sewing machine; store household cleaning equipment and chemicals; keep heavy winter coats and gumboots; house pet supplies and baskets; and store barbecue gear and items for outdoor entertaining.

Thinking of the laundry as a utility room may give you even more ideas; hot water tanks, meters and second freezers can all usefully be housed here if you have the space. Jennifer French, an interior decorator with Inside Out Colour and Design says:  “Space is at a premium these days so it’s great to have a room with a dual purpose. Creating a great laundry is about working out your needs and then seeing if they can be accommodated.”

Save space with slide-out utilities by Asko
Save space with slide-out utilities by Asko

The workhorses of the laundry

When it comes to appliances, it pays to think big. Most families produce a lot of laundry and it’s more economical to do one large load rather than several smaller washes. If you have a large family or need to do a lot of laundry for other reasons, you may want to consider having two washing machines.

Even those committed to line-drying their laundry may want a tumble dryer for wet days or emergencies – remember that these should be vented to the outside wherever possible.

A hanging rack is a more environmentally friendly way to dry clothes indoors, particularly if your laundry enjoys plenty of sunlight and is well ventilated. A ceiling-mounted rack helps keep the floor clear and contributes to a feeling of spaciousness.

A generously proportioned double sink is a wise investment and will give you plenty of space for hand washing, soaking and bleaching. Mixer taps are a good choice too; consider one with a spray option if it’s likely you’ll be cleaning large items, such as gumboots, in the sink. Good-sized draining boards are important and will give you a robust surface for applying pre-wash stain treatments or scrubbing.

If you can’t spare an entire room for your laundry, consider stacking the washing machine and dryer (or choose one appliance that can perform both functions) and house them behind cupboard doors. This not only looks more elegant, but will minimise the noise of the machines too. Remember to check the minimum required distance between water and power sources before positioning your machines.

Fabulous floors

Wherever you choose to site your laundry, think about flooring. A laundry floor should be durable, easy to clean and, importantly, non-slip and waterproof. It should also slope to a waste hole for drainage. Vinyl flooring or ceramic tiles are both great options and available in a wide variety of colours, patterns and finishes.

A laundry room with white tiles

Inside the box

When it comes to cabinetry, it’s important to consider your storage needs before committing. Kitchen style cupboards and drawers look smart and are an easy way to get organised, but you’ll need a variety of sizes to house everything appropriately.

For example, deep, tall cupboards will be needed for storing brooms, mops and vacuum cleaners. Shallow cupboards may work well for detergents and other cleaning products and won’t gobble up floor space.

If you have young children or pets in the house, include a lockable cupboard or add a childproof lock to at least one cabinet where you can store bleaches and other toxic products. If you plan to iron in the laundry, why not save space and incorporate a slide out or flip down ironing board?

Finishing touches

The laundry may be a functional space but that’s no reason not to have fun with the décor. It makes sense to choose hardwearing, neutral, easy clean surfaces – but mix them up with a few colour accents and accessories.

Feature walls or even ceilings are an easy way to add a pop of colour. Distinctive tiles can also be used to bring character to this space.

Laundries usually stand on their own and although part of the main house don’t need to flow from another room so needn’t have the same décor and can be brightened up with colour.

“There’s little scope for soft furnishings other than cheerful curtains or blinds but splashbacks can be given a colour injection to keep the room bright and uplifting. Colours like red, yellow and orange help create a cheerful mood,” says Jennifer.

The art of accessories

Laundry hampers now come in a huge range of sizes, textures and colours; complement your choice with toning detergent containers and other accessories such as soak buckets. A feature artwork is another great way to add life or colour; if your kids love to paint on canvas you could even create a mini gallery here.

fisher and paykal
WashSmart WH856OP1, CleanSmart WL1068P1, AreoSense Dryer DE50F56E
 

You might be interested in reading our case study: The upside of maximising space.
 

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This article featured on page 96 of Issue 009 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.
 

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If you would like a free, no obligation initial consultation to discuss options and ideas for your laundry renovation, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.

*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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