The laundry room of your dreams
By April Lehmbeck
C & G Staff Writer
The days of walking down the basement steps, battling the cobwebs and the smell of mildew to toss in a load of laundry are coming to a close as more and more homeowners take on the laundry room.
Moving the laundry room out of the basement is just one major change people are making. They’re also turning these formerly tucked-away spaces into a bit of luxury.
Kathi Jones-Cutler of Cutler Group Realtors focused a piece on laundry rooms in her website newsletter that calls them the “new status symbol” with some worth more than $30,000 by themselves.
“It’s really interesting how much that’s changing,” Jones-Cutler said, adding that people are doing a lot of laundry so they want their laundry rooms to be efficient and pleasant.
Jones-Cutler said she first thought it was a little odd that the laundry space was in the bedroom of the home she and her family purchased, initially making future plans to change that. What she discovered was that she loved it.
“I’ll never go back to going in the basement,” she said.
According to Jones-Cutler’s newsletter, laundry rooms are being transformed into multi-tasking areas for crafting, sewing and other projects.
Laundry room needs vary for different people. Some families are incorporating a mud room with lockers and shoe baskets for children or with homework stations and calendars to keep track of family activities.
“The next buyer’s going to appreciate that,” Jones-Cutler said about family homes.
In the newsletter, Jones-Cutler provides a number of tips and techniques for sprucing up a laundry space for personal use, rental property upgrades or even to gear up to put a home on the market for sale.
A nice laundry room won’t be the deciding issue in a home sale, but “if it’s pleasant and cheerful and well-organized, it really makes a difference.”
She said potential home buyers will take note.
Some people choose to install cabinets or other types of storage units for laundry care items or other needs in the laundry room. An ironing station is another option, according to Jones-Cutler’s newsletter.
Sorting baskets for laundry is another option that can be practical and make doing the laundry an easier task.
“If you desire your family to follow your new system, make sure the laundry bins are clearly marked, such as darks, delicates, towels, whites, dry cleaning, cold wash, etc.,” the newsletter states.
One good investment would be to purchase a washing machine with some practical features like a delayed- or quick-wash cycle, or a washer that doesn’t struggle with an unbalanced load during the spin cycle, according to Jones-Cutler’s newsletter.
Jones-Cutler said investing in a high-efficiency washer is a good buy.
“It’s going to save a lot of money,” she said of the long-term energy-use savings.
Other easy fixes are changing out the lighting for a more aesthetically pleasing space — and don’t forget about having a trashcan in the space to make throwing away used laundry sheets, lint and other items easy, the newsletter states.
Some are placing a bright coat of paint on their laundry room walls or installing one of the trendy colorful washing machines.
“They want more color in them,” Jones-Cutler said. “They don’t just want a white laundry room and washing machine.”
One of the main considerations when renovating or creating a new laundry room space, Jones-Cutler’s newsletter reminds people, is that the laundry room should be easily accessible.
Jones-Cutler said that some smaller homes don’t have the space to build a large spot for the laundry room, but these homeowners can incorporate the smaller changes that make a big difference, such as using creative storage ideas for the space.
Father & Son Construction President Mat Vivona said bringing the laundry room out of the basement is exactly what many people are looking for when doing a laundry-room construction project because of that accessibility issue.
The company does a number of laundry-room projects for its customers.
“With the rise of the two-story house, it makes sense to put the laundry rooms near the bedrooms,” Vivona said.
Sometimes when it comes to moving the laundry space, it’s just a matter of safety.
“The older you get, it’s hard to go up and down the stairs,” Vivona said. “It makes it a lot safer.”
Creating a laundry-room space near the bedrooms doesn’t have to mean construction of an addition. Father & Son Construction has renovated closets into nice laundry spaces or included a laundry space during a master-suite project.
They make sure the area on the upper floors has the draining it needs in case of a washing machine malfunction that causes water to overflow by using several options for that purpose, Vivona explained.