From Dull to Divine

Laundry rooms become the epicenter of the home

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Photos and styling by Amy Joyner Buchanan

It may be your home’s smallest space, but it has become the hottest room (and, no, it’s not the kitchen!). The laundry room, that dimly lit utility space where you once merely did your wash, closed the door and quickly left, has evolved into its own beautiful right.

Today’s homeowners cherish their laundry rooms…and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with washing clothes. The burgeoning trend? To turn this much-used but often-neglected space into a stylish, multifunctional mecca.

“Laundry rooms are becoming more than just a forgotten little closet that holds the washer and dryer,” says Brandon Smith, senior designer at Design Elite Architecture and Interior Design Studio in Greenville. Often, the laundry room is part of a large multi-function space that might also serve as a craft room, a home office, or as a “home” for the family pets.

“I recently designed a 300-plus-square-foot laundry room that featured a home office, built-in dog crates, an island that served double duty for folding and crafts, and a ‘drop zone’ that caught all the shoes, bookbags and mail before they could make their way into the house,” he says.

It’s all about using space wisely. “Families need all of those different functions, so why not combine them into one large space that’s nice to be in rather than three or four tiny ones?” he says.

Converting your laundry area into a multifunction space can be money saver, too, since everything can do double-duty. And, as Smith notes, “Putting all of the potentially messy functions together helps keep the rest of the house tidy.”

Infuse style and function into a space, and it becomes somewhere homeowners want to run to (not run from). Perhaps these ideas won’t make you love doing laundry. But having a clean, stylish and multifunctional space in which to do it may lessen the drudgery just a bit.

If you want to create less a space of mere utility and more a haven of function and style, consider some of the following upgrades to your laundry room.

1. Paint! Choose a soothing hue to calm your washday nerves or energize the space with an intoxicating color you wouldn’t put somewhere else. Why not go for Benjamin Moore Baltimore Sky #760?

2. Replace the flooring. Wood-look tile is all the rage. Marazzi Montagna Dapple Gray porcelain gives your laundry room a warm, contemporary hardwood look with the water-resistance of tile (or, for a budget- friendly alternative, paint the flooring. [See our article here]

3. Rethink storage. Install kitchen cabinetry in the laundry room. You can have fun with hardware and color here, too. Ikea’s Sektion corner cabinet features a carousel. It’s like a lazy susan for your cleaning products!

4. Install hide-able function. Remember those old drop-down ironing boards from your grandmother’s house? Hide-Away offers several contemporary, out-of-sight ironing board solutions.

5. Decrease energy use by mounting drying racks that retreat back into a cabinet. Bed Bath & Beyond has many options. Go for the bling! Glass cookie jars can hold safety pins, detergent and fabric softener packs. A quick search on etsy.com offers more cute vintage canisters than you’ll know what to do with!

6. Don’t forget lighting. Lighting sets the mood of a space. Why not add style through a set of pendants or even a small chandelier? Beautiful lighting lightens the washday blues and helps you see stains before washing. A Metal Orb Chandelier from World Market may be just the touch your laundry room needs.

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