How Do I Build A Laundry Room In My House?

Laundry areas are functional and practical by nature - an undertaking that can be achieved with proper planning and design. Remember: this is where you wash your garments, linen, and all the basic clothing you need. How you ultimately design the laundry area will impact the efficacy of your washing workflow. As a result, more thought needs to go into a laundry design than one might expect. Above all else, your laundry needs to be practical – it needs to contain all the right elements to allow you to do what you need to, and it needs to be designed so that there’s ample room for you to work, bend and shift around where you need to.

What Do You Need?

When it comes to planning your new dream home, one of the smallest rooms in the house is often the most ignored. We often spend hours stressing over the size of the bedrooms, given due consideration to the lighting requirements in the kitchen. Worked out how the open plan living areas need to be spacious and flow seamlessly to the outdoors—made particular care, that the family bathroom will be functional for all the children to use at once. Then it is important to look for space-saving and storage ideas for your laundry. Combining the laundry within the kitchen or bathroom is common in many America and the United Kingdom. Space, or lack thereof, is usually the reason behind this design feature. Sometimes too, it is because all the plumbing is in these rooms, which makes sense.

how do i build a laundry room in my house (2)In Australia, we still see homes designed with laundries being separate rooms, usually close to the family bathroom. However, new house designs are showing up laundries being designed closer to the kitchen as in our Aspire, Fresh or Calypso designs. This makes the laundry easier to access when completing other household chores. In addition, because homes here in Australia are getting smaller, we see the laundry being incorporated into a cupboard space, or at the back of the garage, as in our Breeze or Seca designs. The laundry is often the workhorse of your house. The laundry probably also has a separate door to access the outside clothesline. Because of its’ size, it needs to be functional and work efficiently. If you want to ensure this room is practical for your family, here are a few space-saving and storage ideas for your laundry to consider.

Location

The location lays the groundwork for your laundry design. If you’re building a spacious home, make sure the laundry is away from bedrooms and living areas. Rooms designed for resting and entertainment should ideally be far away from the boisterous drum spins of your washing machine. Instead, think near the garage or an entrance from the kitchen or butler’s pantry. Smaller homes tend to adopt European laundries - a laundry hidden away in a cupboard, usually in kitchens or bathrooms (or any unused space from any part in your house). Constructing it this way saves space without sacrificing functionality. Fortunately, Australian houses are amongst the biggest globally and would have space for a separate laundry room.

FAQs About Building A Laundry Room In House

The first step in planning a laundry is understanding what needs to go into it. The ‘standard’ laundry built into new houses these days need to accommodate:

  • a washer
  • a dryer, if you need one
  • adequate plumbing for your washer
  • power outlets / GPOs
  • a laundry trough (or sink or basin, if that’s what you call it)
  • enough storage space for linen and cleaning products
  • possibly a bench, and
  • possibly a broom cupboard.

Where possible, when you’re building or renovating your laundry, it’s best to try and keep your appliances and plumbing all together on one wall - both to help save space and to keep all the plumbing together. Likewise, when you’re planning your storage, you’ll need to consider how ‘safe’ that storage is. Laundry chemicals can be quite dangerous, and if you’ve got small kids, it’s best to make sure you’ve got somewhere inaccessible to store them. The exact dimensions you’ll need to allow for appliances and sinks/troughs will depend on how hard up you are for space, but as a rough guide, you’ll need to plan for about 800mm width for your washer, or 1600mm if it’s going to be side-by-side with a dryer. Most washers and dryers will fit comfortably into this amount of space, but if you’re likely to need a larger one, you should design accordingly.

If you take your laundry far too seriously and have enough space, you may also want to incorporate a built-in ironing board or a table for a big laundry press or roller iron. In some houses, the hot water tank will also be housed in the laundry area - usually tucked out of sight in a cupboard.

European Laundries (Or ‘laundry Cupboards’)

There’s no hard and fast rule about how laundry areas should be laid out – or even hard and fast rules about the need for dedicated laundry rooms. It’s very common in the UK to see laundries incorporated into kitchens to save space. While that’s rare in Australia, laundries here are often combined with bathrooms, making sense in plumbing terms. Our houses are usually quite a bit bigger in Australia, so most of the time, there’ll be a dedicated laundry room – typically with the features listed above but very rarely with much else.

In recent years, ‘European laundries’ have taken off here in a big way – particularly in new flats and apartments. A ‘European laundry’ is a laundry cupboard or cabinet rather than a dedicated laundry room. European laundries incorporate everything you’d normally find in a laundry (e.g. space for washer, dryer, basin and storage) tucked into a cupboard.

The biggest advantage with this kind of setup is that it ‘borrows’ space from the room it’s connected to, rather than sacrificing precious floor space exclusively to do laundry. In addition, laundry cupboards usually incorporate either bi-fold doors or a sliding ‘pocket door’, which disappears into the wall cavity to save space further. Likewise, clothes dryers are often mounted above washing machines in these areas. Not for everyone, but a good idea if you’re short on space, and (potentially) a fantastic way to renovate two rooms into one more open area.

Laundries are often located near the house’s back door – often with the laundry trough situated right next to the door for convenient access. There are a couple of reasons for this, the most obvious being that it just makes it easier to take your washing out to the washing line. Laundries near the back door also act as a defacto’ mud room’, where dirty shoes and clothes can be dealt with before they’re dragged around the rest of the house. Of course, your laundry doesn’t necessarily have to be located near the back door. Depending on the size and layout of your house, it might make more sense to locate your laundry in a more convenient spot.

To keep plumbing to a minimum and for the sake of energy efficiency, laundries are usually also located somewhere near your hot water system, and for the same reason, possibly close to your kitchen and perhaps also a bathroom - both of which also require a fair bit of plumbing. In addition, laundries are often situated in the cooler part of the house (e.g. the southeast corner), leaving the cosy, warmer areas free for rooms where you’re likely to spend a lot of time, like living rooms and bedrooms. Finally, keeping the laundry room away from living areas - particularly bedrooms - will also help to reduce the likelihood that noise from your washing machine will be a problem.

Technical Considerations

There are also technical things that will need to be taken into account for the design of your laundry. For example, because laundry is considered a ‘wet area’, the wall and floor construction will need to adhere to the rules in the Waterproofing of domestic wet areas. This standard also requires that a water-resistant surface material (e.g. tiles) be built at least 150mm above the surface of the laundry trough.

If you have a dryer, it should be vented directly, preferably to the outside of your home. Where possible, an exhaust fan in the laundry may also help to prevent moisture/humidity from building up and reduce the chance that you’ll end up with mould on your walls.

As one of the most used appliances in the home, the washing machine is a trusty workhorse that we sometimes take for granted. It’s typically used several times a week, for some families several times a day. It comes with assorted paraphernalia, and obviously, there is also dirty laundry to house and clean, wet laundry to dry.

With a dedicated laundry room, all this gear has a ‘home’ and remains tidy and organised, and best of all, out of sight. Whether you are thinking of adding a whole new room to the home or changing the layout of your house to accommodate a laundry room, you will most likely need to get architectural drawings done up and apply for planning consent with the local authorities.

When it comes to the fit-out of your laundry room, there is a host of clever storage devices available to make the most of every corner of the room, as well as a range of furnishes and fixtures to suit every budget.

A basic budget of around AU$5,000 to AU$10,000 will allow you to remodel the interior of your house to create space for a small laundry room. Ideally, this area could be situated next to a bathroom or the kitchen so that plumbing points are close. Another fast and easy way of including a laundry room is to create space in the garage if the garage is large enough. Then, walls can quickly be added to build a separate room that houses a washing machine and drier and keeps all your laundry related items out of the way.

If your house or flat is small and space is very limited, you could consider converting a wardrobe or closet to suit the purpose, or even dividing off some space from a large bathroom, for example. A smaller space would work well with a combination washing machine and drier in one. Washer/dryer combos are generally front-loading so that you can utilise the space above. Also, the combination machines have ventless driers to be installed anywhere. To save money and avoid spending a large amount all at once, reuse good appliances while ensuring that you create enough space for future appliances.

Layout And Size

If you’re building a home, it makes sense to think of the laundry layout and size before purchasing appliances and storage equipment. This should give you an estimate of what can or cannot be done. In addition, your design should give an allowance for tweaks here and there (mostly for appliances).

Doing your laundry can also be streamlined if you design according to your workflow. Tried-and-tested layout techniques abound to make the job less laborious and maybe even turn it into an exciting activity! Some people like to stack or elevate their appliances for ergonomic reasons to reduce bending or crouching. The washing machine and dryer will sit next to a benchtop with a trough above in more spacious houses.

Appliances

Washing Machine: Front or Top Loader? Top loaders usually have quicker cycles and larger capacities than a front loader. On the other hand, a front loader has faster spin speeds for drying and makes fewer noises than a top loader. More importantly, front loaders are more cost, energy, and water-savvy in the long run. If your layout suggests that you need to stack your dryer on top of your washing machine, then the top loader won’t be an option for you.

Storage

Storage is underrated but a highly important component of laundries. Combining overheads, drawers, shelves, cupboards, and benchtop space allow you to make the most out of your laundry area. Drawers, cupboards, shelves can accommodate your linen and other things in the house you need the extra storage for. You can use tall cabinets to fit your brooms, vacuum, and other cleaning materials in as well. More recently, pullout baskets that save people from bringing their dirty laundry over - place it in a drawer tucked away where no one can see them.

There is no clear-cut way of designing your laundry. It all comes down to the style of your house, whether you’re in the pre-handover, post-handover, or renovation stage. Don’t forget to add your personal touch to it - pop in a plant, a marble soap dish, posters, or even signboards. Remember to consider the location, layout, size, appliances, and storage when putting your laundry area together. It’s where you keep your clothing clean - take ownership and turn it into a room that makes doing your laundry less like a chore.

Sinks

Gone are the days when you have a large sink installed into a laundry. These were often used for pre-soaking laundry, but our washing machines do that for us now. Of course, you may use the laundry sink to wash the family dog, but often that is its only use.

There are two types of sinks that are readily available. A standalone laundry trough with a built-in cabinet underneath, which come in various sizes. The drop-in sink is also becoming more popular now, which fits neatly into built-in cabinetry – similar to the kitchen sink. However, for a great space-saving and storage idea for your laundry, have you thought about ditching the sink altogether? This will certainly save you valuable space in compact laundry.

Built-In Cupboards

how do i build a laundry room in my house (1)Making sure you have enough cupboard space in your laundry is just as important as your kitchen. You should carefully consider what you need to store in these cupboards and design the layout accordingly. For example, do you need to store the vacuum cleaner, brooms, mops and ironing board here? If so, you must ensure the design of your storage units can accommodate these awkward shapes. The bench space over these cupboards will allow sorting and folding the laundry within the same room.

Building overhead cupboards can certainly be a great space-saving and storage idea for your laundry. This will give you some extra storage without taking up valuable floor space. Don’t forget to have the space between your shelves high enough so that you can store your laundry cleaning products with ease. There is nothing worse than not storing these bottles standing up.

Hanging Space

Do you do a lot of handwashing? Are you going to be using the laundry for ironing? If this is the case, then you will want to have an area where you can hang clothes to dry. You may also want to be able to hang clothes when ironed.

Think about installing a retractable or folding clothesline. This is a great space-saving and storage idea for your laundry. Several efficient and neat clothes lines are available on the market, which takes up no space at all. As an alternative, you could have a rod installed between the overhead cupboards and a wall, where you can hang the clothes. When it comes to your laundry, you need to put a little more thought into making this room a functional space.

Conclusion:

The laundry’s rarely what you’d call an ‘exciting’ place as far as design’s concerned. On the other hand, it’s possibly the most functional space in most houses, and most people don’t get a lot of joy from the time they spend there (some of us dread it). All the more reason to make sure yours is going to be comfortable.

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