Laundry is a time-consuming, endless chore that is never, ever done. You sort, wash, dry, hang, and fold – then repeat. And if you have a large family, you probably spend quite a lot of time in the laundry room. But just because the task isn’t pleasant doesn’t mean the laundry room has to be a dreary, utilitarian space with nothing but the washer and dryer and a shelf that contains plastic bottles or boxes of detergent and fabric softener.
The laundry room is a backroom area — no pretty “face” is required for guests — so it is often neglected in favor of those other more public spaces. But it also means that you can make it your own – be as whimsical or as extravagant as you want to be! Whether you want an elaborate chandelier, mint and cream paint, and bead-board or you want polka-dotted wallpaper and neon green and hot pink laundry baskets, this is the one room where you have the freedom to experiment with color and design. And the room is small enough that if you decide you don’t like it, a redo is fast and easy.
If you have a front-load washer and dryer, consider placing them on a riser – you can purchase one, or you can try making your own (this design has space for laundry baskets underneath – very clever and efficient). Risers are great not only for storage – they also make it easier to get into the washer and dryer. You can also add a countertop over the washer and dryer (be sure to leave about six inches of space depth-wise for the hose connections and dryer vents and at least an inch height-wise between the counter and the washer and dryer).
Paint or wallpaper will add instant charm to your laundry area. Since the laundry room is typically small and doesn’t have a lot of detailing to work around, adding paint or wallpaper won’t take much time at all. You can also add removable wall decals or do some stenciling. Add favorite quotes from a book or find some clever laundry-related sayings. (If you live in an apartment or are otherwise renting, be sure to check with your apartment manager or property owner concerning their rules and restrictions, if any, on painting and/or wallpapering.)
Add a drying rack – the free-standing, collapsible ones are fine if you have the space. If your laundry room is tiny, then a drying rack that hangs on the wall is probably a better solution. Baskets are also great – in addition to laundry baskets, consider adding some small wicker baskets to open shelves to hold small items such as bleach pens, dryer sheets and all of those “found” items left behind in pockets.
Have some fun with your lighting. Instead of the overhead fluorescent, consider an ornate chandelier painted a fun color, pendant lights, or elegant wall sconces. Even if your laundry “room” is more of a closet, lighting is essential to brighten the space and make it more inviting and less cave-like.
Think creatively when looking for containers. Old paint cans washed out and covered in a fun wallpaper pattern make great upcycled containers. Glass jars make great containers for powder detergent and softener. Add a clever chalkboard label by covering the jar with news (or scrap) paper, leaving an uncovered space in the center (or wherever you want the label to be). Tape the paper down with masking tape, making sure the edges of the masking tape forms a nice square. In a well-ventilated area, spray the exposed glass with black chalkboard paint. Peel the masking tape and paper off and write on your “label.”
If you prefer liquid detergent, shop around at garage sales, thrift stores, and discount stores for glass drink dispensers. Fill the drink dispenser with the liquid detergent and you’ll have a functional, much more attractive soap container than the unsightly plastic bottles. Add a decorative measuring cup and you won’t have to worry about lifting heavy bottles of detergent to fill your machine – just hold the cup beneath the dispenser and fill!
Finish your new laundry area with some decorative touches – artwork on the walls, statues and vases on the shelves, pretty yet functional hand towels by the sink (if you are lucky enough to have one in your laundry room). Now that your laundry room is beautiful as well as functional, you may find you actually don’t mind doing the wash so much, after all.