LaundryFun?

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Youve put a lot of thought into making over your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room. But with the amount of time you spend washing, drying, folding and ironing, the laundry room deserves some attention, too. A study by California Closets revealed that the average person spends more than 400 hours a year doing their laundry. So maybe its time for a change. There are a lot of really simple ways to upgrade your laundry room, says Molly Portis of Portis Building & Interiors. Whether you have a large laundry room or a space the size of a closet, the experts have plenty of tips on how to make the most of it.

BEFORE

When Rebecca Bregel of Alpharetta walked into her old laundry room, all she saw was chaos. It was really hard to find things on the shelves, she says. Also, the shelves are too high for me to reach stuff without knocking it over. And I cant walk into the room and open the dryer without having to first move something out of the roomits frustrating.
Then closet designer Jamie Kilburn of Innovative Storage Solutions in Woodstock guided Bregel through the process of deciding what she actually needed to store in the room, which had become a catchall for all kinds of items.
Over the dryer, wrapping corner shelves were installed to maximize the space next to the window and the corner of the room. According to Kilburn, this type of shelving takes advantage of all available wall space, rather than just one wall. Next to the shelves, Kilburn designed space for hanging clothes that are drying or waiting to be ironed. Next to the hanging space, more shelving was installed behind two doors. I love having items hidden behind the doors that I dont use often. It really cleans up the room, Bregel says.
Kilburn also designed two pullout hampers. I put the hampers on the inside of the door. In this position you are not staring at the dirty clothes and towels when you look into the room from the hall, she says.
Bregel was thrilled with her new, custom laundry room, the budget for which was $1,000. I really love the clean look, extra space and sense of order the room now has, she says
.

AFTER
Photos courtesy of Innovative Storage Solutions

Update your equipment
If youre still using the same old bulky, mismatched washer and dryer youve had for years, consider an upgrade to a sleeker pair of front-loaders. Front-loading washers are more water-and energy-efficient, and can also add a lot of extra room to a small area. People can gain a ton of space by using a front-loader and folding on top [of the machine], Portis says.

Having a spot in your laundry room to fold clothes is essential. Not only will you save time by being able to fold straight from the dryer, but you may also save money in the long run. Being able to fold immediately saves your clothes a lot of wear and tear, says Katie Gerst, president of ClosetSmith. Instead of tossing clothes into baskets, where they may lay wrinkled for days, you can fold or hang them immediately, keeping them neat and tidy. This also will save you time on another unpopular household choreironing.

Another space-saver gaining popularity is the stackable washer and dryer. A lot of people are afraid to make the switch, but once they do, theyre generally thrilled with it, Portis says. Many people write off stackables as an option, thinking that they will rattle or be difficult to reach, but their design has become much more user-friendly in recent years. Most models are designed to lock together for sturdiness and are made to be easily accessible.

Make the most of your space
Even if you lessen your ironing load by folding your clothes fresh from the dryer, there will always be some items that still need to be pressed. California Closets reports that ironing is among the top three most hated household chores. So why make it any more miserable than it has to be? If youre tired of constantly folding and unfolding that bulky, freestanding ironing board, try installing one that folds right down from the laundry room wall. Youll be able to iron immediately and, as Portis points out, They may be smaller and take some getting used to, but in the end, they are much more convenient. You can buy your own fold-down ironing board from a home goods store or have one installed by a builder.

When making over any room, organization is key, and its especially important when you dont have a lot of space to work with. If you have a front-loading washer and dryer, you can fold on top of them and install shelving above for supplies. If you take the plunge to using stackables, youll free up a lot of space for organizing. You can do more to the side of a washer and dryer than you can do on top of them, Gerst says. Have several large laundry baskets at the floor level for sorting. Use wheeled baskets so you can pull your laundry right to the door of the washer. A table can be built above the baskets for folding, and shelves put in above that for detergent, fabric softener and other supplies. Gerst recommends incorporating a small bar for hanging up clothes straight from the dryer. That way, if you cant get to your ironing right away, your best shirts and skirts wont be forgotten. If you dont have room for a hanging bar, try hanging a rack or a hook over the door.

BEFORE

During a condo kitchen remodel, Portis Building & Interiors was asked to simply install a door and enclose the exposed washer and dryer. Instead, Molly Portis talked the owner into getting the Bosch stacking washer and dryer, allowing shelving to be installed for better storage of the things in the cabinets above. A bi-fold door was then put in to conceal it all, and the homeowners were delighted with the results. .

AFTER
Photos courtesy of Portis Building & Interiors

Consider the cost
Completely revamping your laundry room can be pricey. If you decide to call in a contractor to do your makeover for you, you could end up spending anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. This definitely could be worth the cash if you want the ultimate upgrade for what California Closets claims can become a multifunctional great room.

If you have the space, the laundry room can be more than just a place to wash and iron. It can also be a craft area, a sewing room, a mud room, or a place to store wrapping paper, Portis says. If youre not blessed with a large area, however, you may want to do your makeover yourself. For just a couple hundred dollars, you can upgrade your modest space with do-it-yourself wire shelving, fabric-lined wicker baskets for sorting clothes and a new ironing board.

Once your laundry room has been updated into the ultimate functional space, make it more inviting by making it your own. Throw on a fresh coat of paint in your favorite color and hang up colorful pictures. If you still fear laundry time, Portis recommends bringing in a radio or a small television. Even the most dreaded chores seem easier with American Idol on in the background.

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