The Dominion Post
Clean up your act in the laundry
Your laundry can be a happy place. Jura Koncius has tips on how to refresh, energise and bring joy to the place where you wash your socks.
Your laundry area, whether it’s a tiny closet or a corner of the basement, can actually be a happy place. Like bathrooms, laundry rooms are often small spaces where you can express your personality with a bit of bold wallpaper and some unexpected flooring.
While designers and organisers are coming up with new ways to make the most of these spaces, appliance manufacturers are rolling out new features to make washers and dryers more efficient and better-looking.
‘‘Our lives are so busy, but we still have to do our mundane household tasks,’’ says Glenna Stone, an interior designer. ‘‘People have started to realise that even some of the areas that are more utilitarian in a home can actually have some beauty to them.’’
Tile the floors
‘‘Tiles are the best pick for a highmoisture environment like a laundry room,’’ designer Jessica Centella says. ‘‘Porcelain in particular is extremely waterdurable.’’
Patterned floor tiles are definitely having a moment. Stone likes porcelain and ceramic tiles for floors because they offer colour and pattern options.
Cement tiles are another option, she says, but beware, because cement might have to be re-sealed frequently in hightraffic areas.
Designer Stuart Nordin says you can never go wrong with classic white subway tile, even if it’s just for a backsplash. ‘‘It elevates the overall look of a room and adds another layer of dimension and interest.’’
Fellow designer Josh Hildreth says old concrete floors can be made less dungeon-like by stencilling them, if you’re DIY-inclined. If not, just giving them a coat of fresh paint can be life-changing.
Have fun with the walls
Don’t just paint the walls white. Wallpaper can turn a tiny room into pure eye candy.
‘‘Even if you only have one small strip of wall between cabinetry, a great paper with personality will make it feel fresh and fun.’’
Sheila Bridges is a big fan of using wallpaper for impact. ‘‘One of my favourite things to do in a small laundry room is to install a bright and cheery wipeable wallpaper,’’ she says. ‘‘No reason to make doing laundry a chore, even if your laundry room is in a basement.’’
Hildreth sometimes takes a hint from old British manor houses when designing laundry spaces. ‘‘Give it a Downton Abbey look,’’ he says. Such details would include adding traditional beadboard or wainscotting to dress up and protect walls. And look for big wicker baskets, he says, as opposed to using plastic laundry bins.
Accessorise with storage
Do your laundry baskets need replacing? Take a good look at the baskets and bins around your washer and dryer.
Bridges likes baskets for detergent and laundry made of various materials, including seagrass, recycled plastic and water hyacinth, a type of rattan. She’s also fond of using indoor/outdoor rugs that are washable or wipeable and won’t get damaged if they get wet.
Centella loves using trays to help corral supplies. ‘‘Even a bunch of ugly soap bottles can look more contained and pretty on a nice tray,’’ she says.
Upgrade your appliances
Some of the latest machines are targeted towards Millennials looking for efficient internet-connected products and apartment-dwellers looking for spacesaving solutions.
According to Joshua Stumacher, Samsung product marketing director, Samsung’s latest smart front load washers have wi-fi connectivity that tells you when a cycle is complete.
To go with some of the warmer wood tones showing up in laundry room design, Samsung added a champagne finish option to some of its models in 2019.
Most space-strapped consumers still prefer the larger-capacity models, says Brendan Bosch, Whirlpool’s marketing director for laundry appliances. So, Whirlpool designed a shallower
Jessica Centella and Kiera Kushlan designed a cool laundry space as part of a total basement renovation, using encaustic porcelain tiles and a farmhouse-style cast-iron sink. ‘‘closet-depth’’ washer and dryer to fit into more compact places. Some have a ‘‘load and go’’ feature that allows you to put 40 loads worth of detergent in a machine, alleviating the need to store big containers of detergent.
Create a folding area
If you have a side-by-side washer and dryer, consider putting a counter on top. If you’re doing a lot of renovating, you might use the same counter material as you have in your kitchen.
For those with stacking units and no extra counter space, Nordin says to try a wall-mounted collapsible table. ‘‘Put a painting or photo on the bottom so it masquerades as a framed piece of art when not in use,’’ she says.
Make an effort to make your folding area attractive. ‘‘Even in an old, dark basement, there are things you can do without spending a lot of money,’’ Hildreth says.
For a nice folding surface, he suggests finding an old farm table at a garage sale or flea market, or painting an old dining table. It’s nice to also upgrade the lighting. A new fixture, Hildreth adds, such as retro-looking, flush-mount lights, would make the area brighter and cheerier.
When space is at a premium, laundry rooms can be multipurpose, combined with an entryway, utility room, home office, gift-wrapping station or pet-care area.