Renovating a kitchen laundry room can seem like a daunting task, but with careful planning and attention to detail, it can be an extremely rewarding project. A well-designed kitchen laundry room not only provides functionality but can also improve the aesthetics and flow of your kitchen. In this article, we will explore the key details and considerations for successfully renovating your kitchen laundry space.
Layout and Design
The layout and design of your kitchen laundry room will depend on the existing space and your needs. Here are some tips for an optimal layout:
- Strategically place appliances and countertops to create an efficient workflow. Group the washer, dryer, sink, folding area, and storage together.
- Allow for enough space around appliances to open doors fully and move laundry baskets. At least 30-36 inches clearance is ideal.
- Include a retractable drying rack or fold-down ironing board to save space when not in use. Wall mounted options can work well.
- Designate part of the countertop as a folding area with storage for laundry supplies nearby.
- Install a sink with both hot and cold water to pre-treat stains and wash delicates.
- Optimize lighting and ventilation. Windows, skylights, and exhaust fans help keep the laundry room bright, fresh, and moisture-free.
- Incorporate organizational features like shelves, cabinets, and bins to neatly store supplies. Open shelving can double as display space.
- If possible, make the laundry room accessible from both the kitchen and garage/entryway for convenience.
- Choose durable, water-resistant flooring that can handle moisture. Tile, stone, and vinyl are good options.
The cabinetry you choose for your kitchen laundry room should maximize storage while fitting the available space. Consider these tips:
- Opt for cabinetry with adjustable shelves and drawers to customize storage.
- Include closed cabinets with doors to conceal laundry essentials.
- Use cabinets specifically designed for laundry rooms, with features like venting, rod inserts, and ironing board storage.
- Choose moisture-resistant cabinets with durable finishes that will withstand the humidity of the space.
- Incorporate a dedicated cabinet with a fold-down door to use for folding clothes.
- Install slide-out hamper cabinets to neatly store dirty and clean clothes.
- Opt for large drawers to hold bulkier items like detergent bottles. Drawer dividers keep everything organized.
- Consider open shelving for frequently used laundry, cleaning, or folding supplies that you want readily accessible.
When selecting countertops for your renovated laundry room, opt for materials that are highly functional and easy to maintain:
- Quartz and granite resist stains, scratches, and moisture well while providing a smooth, flat folding surface.
- Stainless steel, although prone to fingerprints, is durable and easy to disinfect. An affordable option.
- Tile or stone countertops offer heat and water resistance, but grout lines may trap dirt. Use a sealing treatment.
- Solid surface materials like Corian are nonporous, making them ideal for laundries. Seamless installation with minimal grout lines.
- Look for countertops with built-in sinks for a streamlined appearance. Stainless steel or acrylic laundry sinks are good choices.
- Allow for at least 36 inches of countertop workspace for folding clothes and other laundry tasks. More space is better.
- Consider conveying excess water directly into the sink via a built-in drainboard or lid on the washer.
- Edgebanding on plywood counters helps prevent moisture damage on a budget.
Choosing the right laundry appliances will make doing laundry easier and more efficient:
- Look for energy efficient front or top loading washers and vented dryers with moisture sensors.
- Consider large-capacity machines (4-5 cu ft washers, 7-8 cu ft dryers) for fewer loads. Stacked washer/dryer units can save space.
- Steam washers and commercial grade machines handle tough stains. Look for fast spin speeds to reduce drying time.
- For gas dryers, ensure adequate ventilation and gas hookups. Electric models are simpler to install.
- WiFi enabled washers and dryers allow monitoring cycles remotely via phone. Helpful if the laundry room is out of earshot.
- Look for quiet operation if the laundry room is near living areas. Front loaders and suspended machines help dampen noise and vibration.
- Elevate washing machines at least 4 inches off the floor for easier access. Pedestals or platforms provide additional storage.
- Allow minimum clearance of 30 inches in front of appliances and a few inches behind. Side-by-side installation can work for smaller spaces.
Laundry Tub or Utility Sink
Adding a laundry tub or utility sink opens up functionality and efficiency:
- Look for tubs made of durable porcelain, enamel, stainless steel or acrylic. Avoid cracks that may harbor mold and bacteria.
- Consider deep tubs (at least 12 inches) to wash large laundry items or soak heavily soiled clothes.
- For quick access, position the tub close to washing machines – preferably with the drain in the same location.
- Look for tubs with useful features like retractable hanging rods, backsplashes, and soap dispensers.
- Ensure the faucet has reliable hot and cold water delivery for both washing and rinsing. Gooseneck faucets allow easy filling.
- If space allows, opt for a double tub – one side for washing, the other for rinsing.
- For easy maintenance, choose a smooth nonporous surface that wipes clean easily and resists staining.
- Proper ventilation and waterproof walls are a must to prevent moisture buildup and mold growth.
Incorporating smart storage solutions will help keep your laundry area tidy and organized:
- Use shelves, baskets, and bins to corral and conceal laundry supplies, tools, and products.
- Install hanging bars or wall hooks to air dry delicates and small items.
- Consider mounted drying racks that you can fold up out of the way to open up floor space in between loads.
- Use shelves or cabinets specifically designed to store laundry baskets and sort clean versus dirty clothes.
- Add a set of drawers to hold laundry accessories, irons, stain removers, detergent pods, fabric care labels, and other small items.
- Incorporate a pull-out drying rack that retracts under countertops to dry clothes flat when needed. Close it to free up space.
- Utilize vertical space with tall cabinets, shelving, and racks mounted on the wall. They keep items off the floor.
- For bedrooms, use a freestanding wardrobe cabinet with hampers to transport laundry to the main laundry room.
Choosing the right flooring is key for both form and function:
- Waterproof luxury vinyl plank flooring resists moisture and stains while providing comfort underfoot. Easy DIY installation.
- Porcelain or ceramic tile is an attractive option that wipes clean easily. Use grout sealant and anti-slip mats.
- Sheet vinyl is affordable, waterproof option. Opt for solid vinyl rather than peel-and-stick tiles that may lift over time.
- Epoxy floors offer heavy-duty water and chemical resistance with a stylish, glossy finish. Seamless installation.
- For concrete floors, use heavy duty sealers and coatings that prevent moisture absorption and make cleaning easier.
- Washable small-scale rugs add visual interest while standing up well to laundering when needed. Secure with nonslip rug pads.
- If choosing wood or laminate flooring, use moisture-resistant products designed specifically for laundry rooms and wet areas.
Lighting & Electrical
Proper lighting and electrical supply ensures the laundry room is a well-lit, functional workspace:
- Include adequate overhead ceiling lights on separate switches at entrances and key areas. Light color temperature of 5000K is ideal.
- Incorporate task lighting at the folding station and over the sink area for detailed work. LED strip lighting works well.
- Install a ceiling exhaust fan to actively vent moisture and odors outside. Duct directly outside if possible.
- Have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets installed to prevent shocks near water sources like sinks.
- Include enough outlets, spaced evenly throughout the room, to eliminate need for extension cords.
- Place outlets near laundry machines about 4 feet off the ground for easy plug access.
- For convenience, install switches for overhead lights near each entryway door.
- Dimmer switches allow adjusting light levels to suit the task at hand. Helpful if laundry is near living spaces.
Proper ventilation is key for removing moisture, preventing mold growth, and keeping laundry odors at bay:
- Install ceiling exhaust fans ducted outside – at least 5-10 air exchanges per hour is optimal.
- Use exterior ventilation ducting rather than recirculating if detergent odors are a concern.
- Choose quiet, ENERGY STAR rated fans to remove humid air without excessive noise.
- Consider installing a dehumidifier to actively control humidity levels and reduce drying time.
- Open windows when possible create air flow. Operable skylights can work well if security is not a concern.
- For fresh air intake, ensure gap beneath the door and use louvre style doors to promote cross ventilation.
- Avoid excess moisture build up by fixing leaks promptly, using exhaust fan when showering, and venting dryers outside.
- If mold develops, thoroughly clean affected areas using bleach, vinegar or other antimicrobial solutions. Improve ventilation.
The entry doors to your laundry room should promote accessibility and functionality:
- Wider doors (at least 36 inches) allow easy transport of laundry baskets and appliances.
- Opt for swing doors or folding doors rather than awkward sliding barn style doors prone to coming off track.
- Dutch style doors with an operable top half open up the laundry room for ventilation when desired.
- Louvered doors, made from moisture resistant material, provide ventilation and air flow.
- To block noise and odors, use tight fitting solid wood or insulated steel doors with weatherstripping and sweeps.
- If the laundry room is near living spaces, choose doors with adequate noise blocking and fire ratings.
- Include a self-closing mechanism on the door if the laundry room is not directly visible from kitchen areas.
- For convenience, have laundry room doors accessible from both kitchen and outdoor areas like garages.
Laundry Room Addition
If your home lacks a designated laundry space, there are several good options to add one:
- Convert an existing mudroom, pantry, closet or hallway niche into a compact laundry room.
- Build an addition onto the home specifically for the laundry room if space allows.
- Finish the basement, attic or garage to include laundry facilities in a separate dedicated room.
- Create a laundry closet by installing a wall to partition off part of a room, hallway or landing area.
- For apartment dwellers, use a freestanding closet organizer with shelves and rods to cordon off laundry space.
- Install stackable or combination washer-dryers to maximize functionality even in tight spaces.
- Have laundry machines vented directly outside rather than into interior room space to contain noise, odors and moisture.
- Locate laundry additions close to existing plumbing and gas or electric hookups to minimize costly long pipe runs.
- Ensure laundry additions meet local building codes for room size, ceiling height, ventilation, fire separation from the home, and electrical requirements.
There are several ways to make your renovated laundry room more environmentally friendly:
- Choose ENERGY STAR certified high efficiency washing machines and dryers to reduce water and energy consumption.
- Install on-demand tankless water heaters for endless hot water with energy savings.
- Use cold water cycles whenever possible to cut down on energy used for hot water.
- Look for machines with eco-friendly cycles that use less water for lightly soiled items.
- Purchase concentrated, eco-friendly detergents that come in dissolvable sheets or pods with less packaging waste.
- Opt for non-toxic, plant-based detergents free from phosphates, dyes, chlorine and artificial fragrances. Better for sensitive skin.
- Install water-efficient faucets and appliances to reduce water usage. Look for WaterSense labeled products.
- Use green cleaning products like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice to naturally remove stains and odors.
- Line dry clothing and towels outside whenever possible to avoid dryer energy consumption.
- Consider installing solar panels to provide clean electricity to run laundry appliances.
Style & Decor
While highly functional, you laundry room should also be stylish. Consider these tips:
- Paint the walls with mold-resistant semi-gloss paint in a cheerful color. Neutral tones help make small rooms feel larger.
- Hang wall art, shelves or wallpaper to add visual interest to blank walls and conceal unattractive pipes or venting.
- Use patterned vinyl flooring or ceramic tile to add character underfoot. Mosaic tiles create an eye-catching patchwork effect.
- Display favorite laundry accessories like vintage washboards, wire baskets and unique drying racks.
- Add small potted plants, herbs or flowers to add freshness. Opt for plants that can tolerate humidity well.
- Incorporate rustic or industrial touches like galvanized metal, wire shelving, and mix-and-match storage containers.
- Include coordinating containers to hold laundry supplies. Match colors to your decor.
- Conceal unsightly appliances by covering with custom fronts or drapes. Add trim to builder-grade units.
- Use fun vintage signage on the walls or doors, like “Fluff and Fold” or “Lost Sock Co.”
- If space allows, create a cozy reading nook with a chair and lamp. Useful while waiting for loads.
Renovating your kitchen laundry room requires careful planning but can greatly enhance your home’s functionality, organization, and design aesthetic. Focusing on optimized layout, durable finishes, proper ventilation, and creative storage will ensure your new laundry space serves your needs for years to come. Laundry room additions and renovations also represent an opportunity to incorporate eco-friendly features for energy and water savings. With attention to details like style, lighting, and comfort, your laundry room can become an inviting space you enjoy spending time in rather than simply a utilitarian chore room.