It’s the hub of the endless cycle of washing, drying, folding and ironing, and given how hard the laundry has to work, it’s a space that you want to get right when it comes to functionality.
We spoke to some experts on creating a laundry space that is not only functional but stylish too.
According to The Art of Decluttering co-founder Amy Revell, we often forget how much actually goes on in the laundry.
“Laundries are purely a functional room in the home … a lot of people focus on making it beautiful when they design a laundry and then don’t give much thought to the functionality – things like ‘where am I going to put the vacuum cleaner, where do I iron?’ Or people think of a laundry for only part of its purpose. Sometimes, people forget that there are lots of things that happen in a laundry and because of that, it has to have so many functions.”
According to Ikea Australia interior designer Amy Hare, the first step to creating a functional laundry is to consider how you’ll use it.
“It’s important to categorise and group items and then identify the best storage solutions for those groups. This will help you establish a functional laundry.”
Often the laundry ends up being one of those rooms that accumulate “stuff” – the stuff that you don’t know where else to put, the old stuff, the junk stuff, the broken stuff – so, to make your laundry work for you, start with a clear out of the junk.
According to a survey recently conducted by Ikea Australia, 58 per cent of us don’t know where to start when it comes to decluttering.
To help combat that, they’ve come up with the micro-tidy as a way to tackle the organisation of any space in the home. Instructional videos and step-by-step guides break down the organisation process and help to reach the end in minimal time.
Decluttering guru Revell says clear containers will be a saviour and help you stay organised.
“Clear containers will be really good because you can have things such as batteries, shoelaces, gardening equipment, shoe polish, stacked all on open shelving or in cupboards so you can really easily see what’s there.
“As soon as you go with clear containers, you can actually see, and it becomes more functional.”
Hare says to make sure the most-used items, such as pegs, coat-hangers and washing detergents, are accessible, visible and within easy reach.
“As laundry spaces are often small, be sure to utilise vertical wall space and have a pegboard, shelves or rail for storing these everyday items.
“Be sure to label laundry baskets according to washing instructions or material to make laundry a quicker process and maintain an organised space.”
Revell says bespoke storage solutions can be fantastic as you’ll have a dedicated space for those tricky-to-store items that usually live in the laundry.
“The best storage solution will improve the functionality but will get things up off the floor.
“My laundry is about as bespoke as you can get because when we moved in, there was no storage – literally not a spot for anything – so I’ve installed shelves and hooks and hangers and rods to make it more functional.
“If you can have somewhere where the ironing board hangs, you’re much more likely to put it away than have it sit in the spare room for weeks. The same with an iron; if you can have somewhere where you can put the iron away when it’s hot, you’ll put it away rather than leave it on top of the washing machine,” Revell says.
Having ample space in the laundry is a luxury and one many of us don’t have. If you’re in an older home, it’s likely the laundry was a bit of an afterthought, and so is pretty pokey. Maximising the space, you do have is key to making it work for your needs.
Both Hare and Revell suggest making the most of vertical space by hanging items up on the backs of doors.
“The easiest way to maximise storage is to use your wall space and install shelves wherever you can,” Revell says.
“Keep your laundry baskets in open cupboards, so they are easy to reach for and put back in place. Utilise vertical wall space and behind the door for items that can be hung and things you reach for every day to ensure they are easily accessible. For bulkier items that you might not reach for as often, store these behind closed doors and in low spaces out of sight,” Hare adds.
“Foldable clothes airers can be hung on the wall or inside a cupboard when not in use to maximise floor space and avoid a cluttered environment. Additionally, hooks and holders need to be designed for the type of housework equipment and cleaners used. They make efficient use of small spaces by having a section dedicated to these tools.”
Outside of the kitchen and living zones, the laundry is another space where you’ll spend plenty of time, so you want to make it somewhere you actually enjoy being.
Revell says an easy way to inject some life into a dull laundry is to paint old tiles or a feature wall or even try some wall decals.
“There are no rules in a laundry. It doesn’t have to match the rest of your house, just put a slap of paint on and make it fun.”
Hare says: “Create an organised, and clean line feel by finding that perfect balance between function and beauty, for example, utilise a combination of practical laundry items as well as rattan or natural-fibre materials through baskets.”
Revell says good lighting will also make a huge difference to a laundry, as will keeping spaces clear and tidy.
“If the floor is clear and the bench is clear, the laundry will look more stylish than if it’s got dirty footy boots, a bike pump and three towels that need washing.”