Until recently the laundry room has been one of the most overlooked areas of the house. Because the room isn’t used to entertain guests, many homeowners have neglected the design of the space opting instead for more function. Surveys suggest we spend an average of eight hours a week on laundry tasks. Any room that sees that much work needs a functional layout along with an aesthetic design your love.
According to the National Association of HomeBuilders, the average laundry room takes up 3.7% of your home’s square footage. For a 3,000 square foot home, that translates into approximately 111 square feet. The average actual size for 3,000 square foot homes and larger is 145 square feet.
Having the right amount of space for your laundry room is only the first step to creating a space you love to use. To make the room really functional, you need to know how you will use it. Most laundry rooms are divided into three main areas (kind of like the zones in your kitchen):
Folding and Ironing
The dirty area of your laundry room should contain hampers for dirty clothes, space for sorting clothes, countertops for treating stains, a sink for washing out stains or washing hands and, of course, your washing machine. By positioning the sink near your washing machine, you can transfer clothes you’ve treated for stains directly into the washer without dripping water over your clean clothes.
Your clean area includes your dryer along with space for clean clothes baskets, hanging permapress or drip-dry clothing and easy access to your workspace.
The final step of your laundry process is usually the one left out of most laundry rooms: the workspace. Adding an extra counter and space for an ironing board allows you to keep all your laundry in one place. You can fold clothes on a clean, hard surface right out of the dryer saving you time and preventing wrinkles in your clothes.
With all these functions and processes in mind, consider the layout of your laundry room to make this process easier. Most washer/dryer sets will need around 60” of linear space in order to be able to move them in an out for repair or replacement easily. This amount of space will also allow you to open your washer and dryer doors all the way. Adding 18-36 inches of space on either side of the washer and dryer will give you room for cabinets and counter space to manage both your dirty and clean clothes. You may be able to use this space next to the washer to add a sink. Another option is to create an L shaped design by adding more cabinets and a sink on the wall next to the washer. In all, you’re looking at needing 8-12 feet of wall space where you’ll place your washer and dryer.
Now that you’ve laid out the length of the room, let’s talk about width. You’ll need at least 42 inches of space between the front of your washer and dryer and the wall or cabinets on the other side of the room. This allows you to open your washer and dryer and walk around the doors easily. The depth of appliances varies between 32 and 35 inches. So a minimum laundry room width would be about 6 ½ feet--if you aren’t adding cabinets to the opposing wall. To add cabinets and countertops for extra storage and workspace, you’ll need another 24 inches in width at least making your room closer to 8 ½ feet wide.
All the Extras
For a 3,000 square foot house, an 8.5 foot by 12 foot laundry room is still a bit on the conservative side but would certainly give you room for the laundry basics. As you make plans for a laundry room that really meets all your needs consider how you might use the room more fully:
Add desk space to include a home office or homework space
Use additional counter space for gift wrapping or crafting
Build out closets for storing mops, brooms, sports equipment and household cleaners
Add a shower to easily wash off mud from yard work or outside play or for washing family pets
Combine your laundry room with a mud room for corralling your family’s shoes, bags, sports equipment and more
Add a television for entertainment while you fold or iron your clothes
Include a window so you can enjoy the exterior of your home while you’re working
When you begin to decorate your home, don’t forget this room you’ve worked so hard to lay out just right. Include an unusual light fixture or chandelier to dress the room up a little. Use the same quality materials in your laundry room as you used throughout your house like tile floors and solid surface countertops.
Every family uses their laundry space differently. Where the room is located in the house also dictates how the room may be used. As you begin on your remodel or new home construction plans make sure we discuss the plans for your laundry room as we talk about what you want from your kitchen and bathrooms. It will be one of the most used rooms of your house. Make sure it works the way you need it to work.