I’m not sure where the term “laundry day blues” came from, but maybe it’s because most laundry rooms are depressing. They don’t excite our fun side.
If you have to do laundry, why not create a space that is a joy to visit? This could become one of the most vibrant rooms in your house.
Laundry rooms have to be equipped with some basic elements: a washer and dryer of course, as well as storage space for chemicals, dirty clothes and ironing supplies. The rest is up for grabs.
Let’s start with wall color. This is the place to experiment and step out of your comfort zone. If you love orange, go for it. Maybe Carolina blue or sunflower yellow is your style. Pick a color for you, not for resale and not for the rest of the family. After all, this is your laundry room. If family members don’t like the color, offer to let them repaint it.
Pick a theme. Sharing your favorite things is a way to create a more welcoming space. If you’re into dogs, then show it with great artwork. Have a wonderful collection of vases? Display them on shelves over your sink so you can enjoy seeing them and have them handy when arranging flowers. Love the beach? Consider framing images from your favorite trip or displaying jars of beach shells.
If space is cramped, consider replacing oversized machines with a stackable unit. The new stacking units can handle large-capacity laundry loads and give you back 9 square feet of floor space. That’s enough room for you to install a laundry sink if you don’t already have one. Or use the extra space for a laundry basket, storage cabinet or built-in ironing board.
If your house is built on a crawl space and you have a first-floor laundry room, you may find that the cost to install a sink is very affordable. A modestly priced stainless steel sink, faucet, stock countertop and a plumber with reasonable rates can cost as little as $800.
Laundry sinks do double duty. This is the perfect place to wash mud off boots and the dog, rinse out paintbrushes, arrange flowers and clean up after crafting projects.
Consider adding cabinets or shelves. It’s hard to organize any space without them. You can purchase unfinished cabinets from your local home improvement store or look for old-school lockers at antique shops. Give them a colorful coat of paint and you have instant storage.
If you decide on open shelving, consider some of the new storage containers that come in colorful patterns and sizes.
My favorite storage solution for detergents, bleach and other chemicals is a wicker basket. Everything fits neatly inside. It’s easy to bring it out on laundry day and quickly tuck it away when finished. It even looks great sitting on an open shelf. Line the bottom of the basket with a sheet of plastic to keep drips from running through.
If space allows, hang a pole for drying clothes or install hooks along the wall. I love the new wall-mounted, fold-away drying racks that I’ve seen on Pinterest and Houzz. You'll even find instructions on how to make your own if you’re crafty.
A folding table can be an asset in a laundry room. If you have the space, consider a kitchen table or stainless steel factory table. I recently found one at an antique shop. It’s the perfect addition to the room. Don’t forget to look for a funky stool while shopping. That will be your invitation to take a break during that last spin cycle and enjoy your new laundry room.
Designer and home improvement expert Vicki Payne is host and producer of “For Your Home,” available on PBS, Create TV and in national and international syndication. Reach her at ForYourHome.com .