Benefits of Adding on a Laundry Room
If you are struggling with storage and space in a small or compact kitchen, adding on a laundry room is the perfect solution.
The most common floor plan for a modern home, one built off-plan, does not allow for a separate laundry area and this means that the kitchen usually has to provide space for a washing machine and tumble dryer. In a small or compact kitchen, the space these two appliances take up could be better used for storage or additional appliances such as a dishwasher or extra cupboards.
Since relocating my own washing machine and tumble dryer into a hoekie that was once the entrance to my home, and by relocating the front door, I was able to carve out enough space to fit the washing machine and tumble dryer in the space. This provided me with extra space in the kitchen to put in a sliding drawer to hold my dustbins and add a dishwasher. Not only did I gain extra space, but the kitchen was also freed from the noise and activity that went with laundry days, as well as the fluff floating around from the tumble dryer. Why is it that home builders never consider an outlet vent for a tumble dryer?
The above laundry room is housed in a long, narrow space with a laundry at one end and a guest toilet at the other. Perhaps you have an area in the home that is reasonably close to the kitchen that could be converted into a laundry room, or maybe you have a bedroom where you could steal a little bit of space to pop in a laundry nook. Keep in mind that this would add value to a home and be an excellent selling point should you ever decide to sell up and move on. If you look at the cost savings of ripping out and installing a new kitchen against that of adding a laundry room, there is a significant difference between the two.
What do you need to set up a separate laundry room?
If you have a small area that could be set aside to house a tumble dryer and washing machine, there are a few things to keep in mind to make the area ready and turn it into the perfect laundry room.
• Electrical points
Both a washing machine and tumble dryer pull a lot of power since both have heating elements. You will need an electrician to install a couple of extra plug points for both, and you should also have an inspection done to ensure that the circuit or trip switch that will be added onto can take the extra load, especially in an older home.
If there is space in the room, you may also need an extra plug point if you want to do ironing, so be sure to take this into consideration if you want to have all laundry-related tasks in one area.
Lighting is essential in a laundry room, especially if you also want to do ironing in the room. A single ceiling-mounted light fitting should provide enough lighting for the room if you select an LED light fitting that uses cool blue 6500K that offers as close to daylight as possible.
If you are placing both a washing machine and tumble dryer in the same space, and particularly so for the tumble dryer, the room needs to have ventilation. An easy way to overcome the lack of ventilation is to install a wall or ceiling extractor. This alone will prevent condensation or moisture build up in the room. Alternatively, you could have a ventilation grill installed behind the tumble dryer so that warm, moist air is expelled from the room.
Lack of ventilation in a small room will eventually lead to mould or mildew, so don't forget to include this in any plans.
• Storage space
For the room to truly be a laundry room, there should be space to store laundry supplies and essentials. This can be floor or wall-mounted units or even a couple of shelves on the wall. The idea is to remove the appliances and supplies from the kitchen to free up space, so make sure to allow for this in the laundry room.
A drop-down laundry rack fitted onto a wall doesn't take up any floor space and is ideal for clothes when the weather is wet and rainy.
Do you also want a place to hang washing? Remember those flip-down clothes drying racks that were so popular at one stage? These are still extremely handy if you want to hang up washing indoors, especially when it is raining or too cold. You can even use it for your unmentionables that you don't want to hang on the outdoor washing line!
Floating shelves offer the perfect opportunity to fit a rail underneath as a place to hang washing or ironed clothes.
Just because it's a laundry room and 'out of sight - out of mind', doesn't mean it shouldn't look pretty. It might be a functional space, but you can still decorate the room to make it a place where you love to spend time. Whether you buy new or make do with second-hand cupboards, you can still take the opportunity to refresh these with paint.