Now – you might not consider our next room to be a candidate for ‘the best room…’ but at least you can make it – the best that it can be.
And we’re talking about one of the busiest places in any home – that’s right, the laundry room.
Over the years the laundry room has been downgraded, upgraded, and moved every which way in homes … from garages to basements, to kitchens and closets, and sometimes, to beautiful spacious rooms in the center of a house.
No one seems to be in total agreement about exactly where the laundry room’s place is in a home. But where that laundry room falls in your house may very well impact whether you consider it one of the best rooms or not.
Home owners and builders are paying more attention to the laundry room in recent years, even renaming them “laundry living spaces” for their multipurpose functions. They may boast storage closets, sinks, and fancy, colorful washers and dryers. You might have seen the risers – that lift the machines up higher…making it easier on your lower back.
But no matter how fancy some laundry rooms have gotten over the years … the most important thing remains the same: Convenience.
And for many home owners that has to do with where it’s located in the house.
According to surveys conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, 37 percent of new-home buyers say they prefer a laundry room to be located near bedrooms. Twenty percent prefer a laundry room near the kitchen, 17 percent say the basement and 12 percent say the garage.
Bottom line: there are a lot of opinions on where it should go.
Laundry rooms were traditionally tucked away in a garage or basement. The washer and dryer were loud machines and no one wanted to hear them swishing and sloshing away at the dirty laundry.
But over the years, as washer and dryers have gotten quieter, home owners started to rethink basement or garage laundry spaces. They didn’t want to have to lug all of their clothes downstairs or to the dirty garage every time they needed to swap out a load.
Then, homeowners launched a search for the most convenient spot in a home…
For some, that was moving the laundry room to the main floor but tucked away in a closet. You don’t want anyone to see your dirty clothes and if you have a small home, it seemed like a perfect fit. But then you found yourself tripping over the laundry baskets in the hallway or having to squeeze past that open door whenever it was in use.
So then why not just move the laundry room upstairs if you have a two-story home? Have it near all of the bedrooms where you accumulate the most dirty laundry. A survey by the builder TRADEGROUP showed that many new-home buyers, particularly younger generations, preferred upper level laundry room rather than the first floor because of the convenience.
Which brings us to more experimental spots for laundry rooms … The latest growing in popularity is to have a laundry room added to the master bedroom’s walk-in closet, particularly for masters located on the main floor.
So where oh where does the laundry room really belong in a home? What could help make it the best … or at least better … room in YOUR house?
Well, as you might expect, changing the location of your laundry room can be very, very costly. You’ll need to contact a structural engineer, particularly if you’re moving it upstairs to make sure the floor can support the weight and vibrations. You’ll also need a drain in case of leaks. You’ll need a plumber to add new supply lines and an electrician to install a 240-volt line if the dryer is electric. If it’s gas-fueled? That’s right – a new gas line, PLUS a 120-volt circuit. Wow! And then there’s venting … you’ll need the dryer vent to go outside, plus, because of the room’s high humidity, you’ll need overall ventilation, too. So yes, we are talking a LOT of money.
You’ll need to consult a remodeling contractor to get estimates of costs, but it could set you back a few thousand dollars just for the structural elements.
So besides moving the location, is there anything else you can you do to make the laundry room a better room in your house?
Sure! Swap out those appliances for one of newer ultra-quiet washer and dryers, particularly if they’re located near bedrooms or a main gathering area in your home. You can find a range of prices for quiet models, from four hundred dollars to the upper thousand dollar range.
Also, more home owners are viewing their washer and dryer like a piece of furniture nowadays, choosing stylish models that they want to show off. You can find them in all different hues now: From a dark gray to blue or even a shiny red.
You can also pack a lot in some of these latest models. Supersized washer and dryers even allow you to squeeze in a king-size comforter in one load.
And make doing the laundry easier on your back too if you have a front loader washer and dryer. You can purchase pedestals so they sit higher, and then you don’t have to bend down so low to switch out your loads.
Trying to save room? Stack your front load washer and dryer on top of each other to free up some space. Kind of the laundry version of a double oven.
And with that extra room, you might want to look into adding storage cabinets, a sink, a counter for folding laundry or even for sewing. And there’s no rule that the countertops and the cabinets have to be boring…just like a kitchen you could do granite counters, cherry cabinets and stainless steel appliances.
Then, finish your laundry room off, by painting it a bright cheery color, like a soft blue or yellow.
With a few tweaks, you can make the laundry room look like a million bucks. Maybe so beautiful your spouse will start doing laundry. And if so, it may truly become – the best room in the house!