Move over gourmet kitchens and media rooms, laundry rooms are the latest must-have for homeowners. Although this development may be hard to understand, recent survey results from the National Association of Homebuilders show that the laundry room is desired by 93% of today’s potential homebuyers. The survey, entitled, What Homebuyers Really Want, brought to light that 57% of those who participated in the survey feel that laundry rooms are an essential element in a home.
An online article on the website, www.chicagobusiness.com affirmed the NAHB findings with an observation by interior designer, Kathryn O’Donovan. She made the comment that, “people want larger, more specific spaces for the laundry. It might be upstairs but not directly connected to the master bedroom. It may connect to a mudroom or incorporate a dog shower or flower-arranging space. People are spending a lot of time with their laundry, so they want room and more luxurious materials. Homeowners can spend $20,000 to $65,000 for these tricked-out rooms.” Ms. O’Donovan went on to discuss that a laundry room must be in keeping with the home’s general design features. That’s why she has used upscale materials, such as granite countertops, unique backsplashes, built-in steamers, sitting areas and flat-screen televisions-because “some people like to fold their laundry while watching TV.”
As you put that thought through the spin cycle, consider a few other reasons why folks are favoring designated spaces for their washing and drying:
- Keeping it in a separate space limits the noise potential from the washer and dryer
- Well-equipped laundry rooms make taking care of clothing easier
- Those with large families, and especially with kids that play sports, need a designated area to contain dirt and collect grimy items, such as muddy, sweaty uniforms
- Having a special place to wash, dry, iron, fold, and mend helps with overall household organization
Setting up a laundry room involves more than installing state of the art appliances and stocking up on detergent. When designing a laundry room it is a good idea to include counter space for folding and stacking. If the counter or tabletop space is to be placed over the washer and dryer, make sure that it is at least one inch above them and never resting directly on the appliances. Allow for a little wiggle room between the washer and dryer, since they do move a bit. Don’t skimp on lighting, because it is vital when checking for stubborn spots on washable items!
Also, when considering the washer and dryer, before you buy, pay attention to how the doors open. You don’t want them banging together! Include plenty of cabinets and built-ins so the laundry room is not an explosion of clothing and linens waiting to be washed or folded. Think about ample space for hanging, ironing, and processing delicate pieces, such as lingerie and hand washables.
Another consideration is that all washing machines are connected to water. To avoid costly damage from potential leaks, washers should always be installed in a pan with a proper drain. Drains that are installed directly in the laundry room floor are the ideal choice. The use of drying racks can save energy and having a dehumidifier or exhaust fan helps keep moisture levels down that can lead to mold and mildew.
Finally, having a correctly installed dryer is a real concern, due to the fire hazard danger. The dryer duct should be smooth-walled and rigid with no kinks. Never push the dryer against the wall and always clean the lint screen and the exterior vent regularly.
In addition to having a laundry room, another point the survey brought to light is that homes that incorporate organizational elements are also much in demand. Linen closets, designated areas in the garage for sporting equipment or gardening tools were cited by 86 percent of NAHB respondents as something they want a home to include.