People generally spend way more time than they’d like doing laundry. Between the sorting, washing, transferring to the dryer, then folding or ironing, it adds up and can feel like a never-ending chore.
It’s no surprise, then, that home buyers want a nice place to spend all that time. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Buyers in 2019, 91% of first-time home buyers wanted a room or area clearly devoted to laundry activities. So creating an organized and attractive space is important for people already in their forever homes, and it’s a great way to boost long-term value for everyone else.
And yet the laundry room is often one of the most overlooked rooms in the house. Is there a way to make this chore hub more welcoming and efficient? Maybe even less boring? You betcha!
We asked experts for ideas on how to reorganize and upgrade a laundry area, and they delivered in spades. Check your calendar, and be sure to pencil in one of the projects below based on how much time you have.
If you have 5 minutes
With just a few minutes, you can make your laundry room a more attractive and better-smelling place.
“The laundry room should scream ‘clean,’ just like your freshly washed and folded clothes,” says Meredith Ehn, sales agent for Falk Ruyin Gallagher team, at Keller Williams in Milwaukee.
Too often, however, laundry rooms resemble (and smell like) the dirty clothes that have been hanging around in them.
“Give a little love to your washer and dryer by wiping down both machines,” Ehn advises. “Fight unpleasant odors by cleaning the inside, too.”
Next, clear out the extraneous stuff.
“A very simple, yet extremely effective tactic for making the laundry room look better is decluttering,” says Benji Cohn, also a sales agent on the Falk Ruyin Gallagher team, at Keller Williams in Milwaukee. “Remove extra shoes, coats, and accessories. Store extra laundry, cleaning supplies, and anything else that you don’t need on hand out of sight. Freeing up extra space will make the room feel larger and less chaotic.”
Watch: Surprising Things You Can—and Can’t—Put in the Washing Machine
If you have 30 minutes
On average, Americans do about 400 loads of laundry a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In just 30 minutes, you can beautify the space you spend so much time in.
“When you think of creative lighting, your laundry room is probably not the first place you’d think of hanging it,” says Christina Giaquinto, a professional organizer based in New York. “But hanging a chandelier or getting a cool lamp can really improve the look and feel of the laundry room.”
Cost: $30-plus for a lamp; $80-plus for a chandelier
Another way to add your own personal touch, and a sense of elegance to the laundry room, is by “decanting frequently used products out of their original packaging and moving them into glass jars or bottles,” says Jen Maher, founder of Let Us Organize It in Philadelphia.
“Having all of your laundry products in glass containers adds a beautiful new element to your laundry room,” she says.
Cost: $5-plus for nice glass jars or bottles
If you have 1 hour
Another great way to improve the look and functioning of your laundry space is to replace the cabinet handles and sink hardware with new ones.
“I also recommend replacing the faucet if it’s past its prime. Installing a statement faucet creates a focal point and can be a fun way to express your style,” says Teri Simone, marketing manager and design adviser at Nieu Cabinet Doors in Burlington, Ontario.
Cost: $5-plus for new handles; $100-plus for sink hardware; $50-plus for new faucet
If you have 3 hours
With three hours, you can take your laundry room from chaotic to organized.
“Laundry rooms can easily become clutter rooms if you don’t create good storage systems,” Giaquinto says. “Piles of clothes, supplies, and air-drying clothes can take over. But if you create a storage system, you’ll easily be able to keep track of everything, and visually, it will be much better.”
She recommends putting cleaning supplies on an open shelving unit, ideally above or next to the washer and dryer. Next, get a stylish hamper for every member of the family, and make sure they know where their laundry should “live.” Finally, get a drying rack that can fold up and be stowed away when not in use.
“Make sure everything has a space,” Giaquinto says. And don’t be shy about reminding family members to comply with the organization system.
Cost: $20-plus for open shelving (depending on material and design); $20-plus for stylish hampers
If you have the space in your laundry room, buy a can or two of chalkboard paint and create a floor-to-ceiling statement wall that’ll keep your whole family organized.
“A painted-on chalkboard livens up the space and lets you track upcoming appointments and your to-do list,” says Cohn. It also gives younger family members who need constant supervision something to do while you’re doing the laundry.
Cost: $20-plus for supplies
If you have a weekend
“A fresh coat of paint will brighten up your space,” Ehn says. But if you really want to make a statement, “install a tile backsplash behind your washer and dryer for an updated, modern feel. I also recommend building a countertop if you have the space. Adding a butcher block counter can be friendly on the wallet and will add room for folding and storage.”
Cost: $50-plus for paint supplies; $500-plus for tile backsplash (including materials and labor); $1,200-plus for a butcher block countertop (including materials and labor), according to Home Advisor
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