Today’s laundry rooms do more than wash and dry.
Story by Tracy Dickinson
Featured in Spring 2023
Along with avocado green appliances, fake wood paneling, and brightly patterned shag carpet, basement laundry rooms have gone by the wayside. And most homeowners were just as happy to see them go as they were to say goodbye to those other trends.
Today’s laundry rooms have moved beyond the dark corner of the basement and have become enjoyable spaces to accomplish many of life’s daily tasks.
One of the most popular trends in laundry room design has less to do with the space itself and more to do with where it’s located.
“People are putting in multiple laundry spaces if they typically have a high volume of laundry to do or if the master suite and other bedrooms are on different levels of the home,” says Rachel Arganbright of Woodharbor.
Kitchen and Bath Company’s Leanne McGoldrick says, “Many homeowners are putting washers and dryers in their master closets now. This is likely due to both the size of the home and the convenience of having more than one unit to serve other areas of the home.”
Multiple laundry areas are more common even in single-story homes. However, the mudroom/laundry room combination remains the most popular.
“So much of the placement depends on the homeowners and their lifestyle,” says Deb Pudenz of AIM Kitchen & Bath. “Some prefer to have it on the same floor as the bedrooms. But the convenience of putting the laundry room in the mudroom allows the homeowner to more easily switch loads while doing other day-to-day tasks on the main level.”
As BMD/Moehl Millwork’s designer Jeanine Weinzierl says, “Multiple laundry rooms are still atypical except in larger new homes, but some of the new plans allow for the laundry room to be adjacent to the mudroom with a second opening into the master suite.”
Even without dual, full-scale spaces, homeowners may include stacking units within the master closet or near the kids’ bedrooms to get the functionality of multiple laundry rooms without doubling the square footage demand.
In addition to appliances, today’s laundry rooms are full-service spaces with lots of amenities.
“Built-in drying racks that pull down are one of the most popular features with homeowners,” says Weinzierl.
Pudenz agrees. “Drying racks are great even when floor space is limited. And having space for rolling laundry carts or for storing laundry baskets has also become more popular.”
“No one likes to enter a cluttered laundry room,” says Arganbright, “so another feature we incorporate in a design is cabinetry storage for the laundry baskets.” She says homeowners love to include bonus items like steamers, built-in ironing boards, and sorting stations, but storage is one of the most coveted features by far.
“I’ve been seeing extra countertop areas for folding and cabinetry for extra storage,” says Kitchen and Bath Company’s Maria Bramer. “The drying racks can also be hung on the wall and fold out to save space.”
“Some of the larger laundry rooms have individual bins for each member of the family, either for dirty laundry or folded laundry,” says Weinzierl.
“I recommend a folding station with an area to hang clothes to dry and a spot for detergents, dryer sheets, pocket items,” says Arganbright. “And a fold-down ironing board is a space-saving and convenient feature.”
Bramer says, “I recommend adding a trash pullout so you have somewhere to put lint, dryer sheets, and other debris.”
By far, the most popular request for laundry room design is multiple purpose use. Combining it with the mudroom is the typical approach. Incorporating the laundry room with the mudroom also contains more of the dirty laundry in one space, where family members can drop off dirty items as they enter the house.
“If there is space to separate the laundry room and the mudroom, I prefer to do that,” says Arganbright. “But with limited space, it can be a good idea. Keeping the dirty clothing and gear and the pet mess in one place is always helpful.”
Pudenz says, “Multipurpose is preferred if size allows. Popular options are including a place for pet crates and dishes, wrapping paper stations, a folding center, and locker storage for kids.”
The laundry room is the perfect location to incorporate all sorts of extra storage. “We can add tall pantry cabinets for things like brooms and mops,” says Bramer. “Just adding extra storage is a plus.”
And dedicated space for storing and charging electronic devices is another common addition to modern laundry room design.
And these multitasking spaces aren’t just functional. They’re attractive.
According to Arganbright, “I always lean into having some fun with color. Whether that is achieved through the cabinetry, tile, or walls, homeowners are more open to playing with color here.”
“People are having fun with unexpected cabinet colors, wallpaper, and unique lighting. They want it to be a cheery space so that it doesn’t feel miserable to complete the never-ending task of laundry,” Pudenz says.
Laundry itself may not be anyone’s favorite task, but the laundry room is certainly becoming more pleasant. •
- Deb Pudenz AIM Kitchen & Bath
- Jeanine Weinzierl BMD/Moehl Millwork
- Maria Bramer Kitchen and Bath Company
- Leanne McGoldrick Kitchen and Bath Company
- Rachel Arganbright Woodharbor