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Love it or hate it, doing laundry is an inevitable task. It can be time-consuming and sometimes tedious, but reorganizing or redecorating your space can make the difference between comfort and joy, and annoyance.
Emily Henderson, stylist and founder of Style by Emily Henderson, and Marie Flanigan, interior designer and founder of Marie Flanigan Interiors, share their best tips on how to create the best laundry room that functions perfectly and looks even better.
“Our homes inform our experience and how we move through the world, and a well-thought-out space can set us up for success,” says Flanigan. “As a mother of three, laundry is never-ending so creating a beautiful and functional space is paramount to keeping it organized and enjoyable.”
No matter the size of your laundry room, Henderson says it is a hard-working room and should therefore prioritize function over style. Make sure your laundry space does not have bulky decor. Shelving and storage should make it easy for you to access things.
“You can add style by including nice baskets and hooks,” says Henderson. “Don’t be afraid to paint the walls or install bold wallpaper — this is a great room to take design ‘risks.'”
Maximize small spaces
Most apartments, condos, and townhouses will have laundry rooms that are essentially closets. Slim storage carts, hooks, and high shelving can help make use of a smaller space.
“Consider tucking away items like ironing boards and brooms between your washer and dryer, or in the gap that’s to the side of them,” says Henderson. “Hooks are also key so you can take up less precious real estate.”
Consider the lighting
Many laundry rooms tend to have inadequate lighting, so Flanigan recommends brightening up your space — whether it’s through a new lightbulb or a cheery paint color. This will allow for a sense of relaxation in a busy workspace.
“Color and light have the power to influence our mood, so choose a palette and light source that brings you joy,” says Flanigan.
Use a mix of storage solutions
Depending on the size of your laundry room, a mix of closed cabinetry and open shelving with baskets will work best according to Henderson.
“Use cabinets for things like cleaning supplies, bulk items, seasonal goods, and tools,” says Henderson. “Open shelving creates easy access to things you use more often in this space like an iron, detergent, and lint rollers.”
Create hidden storage
Take advantage of your laundry room’s different nooks and crannies to create more storage and save more space. Use over-the-door racks, under-shelf basket drawers, and brightly-patterned curtains to cover your washer and dryer and create a sense of tidiness.
Hanging rods are a must
Hanging rods are perfect for air drying delicates and are even more useful when they can be folded or easily removed when not in use. Flanigan recommends the small yet convenient valet rod, especially for smaller spaces.
“Whether you have one foot of space or five, a valet rod packs quite the punch even in the smallest corners,” says Flanigan.
Add some pops of color or pattern
You probably spend a good amount of time in your laundry room on a weekly basis, so adding some character and personality will make it a space you love being in. Wallpaper, patterned baskets, and brightly-colored appliances, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on those, add a dash of your style to a room that is usually purely functional.
Decide on decor that works
Laundry rooms aren’t typically the place for stylish decor, especially if your laundry area is the size of a closet. However, if you have the space, consider a hanging plant that enjoys humidity, like a fern, or a framed art piece. A nice accent rug can also provide some style and comfort while folding clothes.
Display your most used supplies
It’s tempting to store most supplies to keep your area completely clear of clutter. When it comes to laundry supplies such as detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets, easy access will create a truly functional space.
“Glass containers or jars are a great way to achieve a uniform look for those supplies,” says Flanigan. “Wicker baskets for other laundry room staples like assorted towels and cleaning tools are also a great option.”
Always make sure that your detergent and other cleaning products are out of the reach of children, especially if those items are decanted and therefore missing a warning or instruction label.
Utilize every wall
Using every wall in your laundry room, including doors, will help you create more storage and keep things organized and out of your way.
“Take into consideration open and closed storage options and utilize vertical wall space,” says Henderson. “Consider a built-in drying rack, a foldable surface to fold your laundry, and if you have a larger space, a sink to pre-soak items.”
Use your machines’ exteriors
The majority of washers and dryers will have a steel exterior, making them perfect for magnetized storage solutions. Hang a flat rack or basket, magnetic hooks, lint bin, and even a laundry schedule to keep you on track. If you don’t want to stack directly on top of the machines, a wooden shelf over the top can allow you to take advantage of that space.
Switch up your space if you need to
Decluttering and reorganizing are essential in creating a functional space. If you are doing more or less laundry than six months ago, adjust your storage accordingly.
“If you have built-in cabinets, use a peg system for shelving,” says Flanigan. “The peg system allows you to change the way your space functions over time.”
Multifunctionality is a good thing
Many laundry rooms are also mud rooms, closets, bathrooms, bedrooms, garages, and even offices. Turn this multifunctional space into a productive area to make the most out of its many uses. For example, if your laundry is in the bathroom, choose storage items and decor that are practical for both areas.
Make it a comfortable and enjoyable space
Laundry can sometimes take hours to complete, especially if you’re doing it for a full house. Making your laundry room comfortable by adding a speaker or a cozy chair will allow you to enjoy folding clothes for a long period of time.
Keep your laundry room organized for the long term
When it comes to keeping your laundry room organized for years to come, Henderson and Flanigan point to the same suggestion: labeling.
“Labels take the ambiguity out of tidying, making it easier to stay organized,” says Flanigan.
Flanigan recommends regularly checking for items that don’t belong or serve the space. If your laundry room is on the larger side, don’t let it become a catch-all space for extras, much like a garage.
“I get immense satisfaction from placing an object in the drawers in which it is “‘supposed'” to go,” says Henderson.
Reorganizing or redecorating your laundry room may seem like a pain not worth the trouble, but can help rejuvenate your space in the long run. With a clear plan, the right storage solutions, and just a dash of style and comfort, your laundry room will not only become a place to get your laundry done efficiently, but a room you’ll enjoy spending some time in.
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