AKJ Architects LLC

Blissful Laundry Room Renovation – 9 Key Elements

Laundry rooms come in various sizes with a variety of amenities, facilitating a number of tasks to make your life easier. Much more than just washing and drying clothes. They’re an investment that will do a lot of work for you and your family, it just takes a bit of creativity and planning. 

Whether large and luxurious, in a single-family residence, or in a granny flat, be sure to consider AKJA’s 9 Key Elements for a blissful laundry room renovation: 

1. Appliances

  1. Appliances are the biggest consideration for many reasons – They are what we use the most.
  2. Top Load vs. Front Load – This is a personal preference. In tight spaces, European front loads might be the only option. They save space and provide extra work surface, but also offer less capacity. The pedestals on front load machines can reduce the need to bend over, but can also allow the machine to move quite a bit which creates extra noise.  
  3. Repairs – Planning for appliance repairs is an important consideration. Stacked units in a closet can be difficult to get to. Counter tops can inhibit access to side-by-side units, so we design removable laminate counter tops or just don’t put a finished countertop over the appliance.  
  4. Condensing Dryer – First popular in Europe, the energy-efficient electric condensing dryer is a green option becoming more prevalent in the market. Converting moisture to water, these dryers require cleanout of the lint trap and water reservoir, but don’t require an exhaust duct. They aren’t all created equal, so be sure to do your research, comparing brands and common complaints. 
  5. Traditional Dryer – We’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but if you haven’t heard, exhaust vented dryers are becoming obsolete. The positive is that closing off the four-inch exhaust vent makes home heating more efficient. 

2. Lighting

  1. Task lighting in your laundry room serves much more than folding clothes. Stain removal, bathing a baby in a farm sink, or messy clean-up jobs all require good lighting. 
  2. Decorative or ambient lighting provides general lighting with warmth and design flair. Take time and have fun selecting this fixture. We found our laundry room lighting reclaimed at Second Use in Seattle and installed a 2800K LED for warm light. Beautiful and reused lighting for the win!

3. Storage

  1. Cabinets and shelves in large laundry rooms store detergent, cleaning rags, and cleaning solutions. 
  2. For smaller homes, determining what’s most important and creating space to store it takes a thoughtful approach.  

4. Floors & Drainage

Durable floors that offer reliable drainage are important considering the various liquids used in a laundry room. Stone, tile, or linoleum are great natural options for a sturdy floor. Consider a floor drain if your room is on a concrete slab. For a second-story laundry room, installing a drainage pan will prevent damage to your lower finished spaces in the case of a flooding incident, draining instead down a plumbing pipe into the home’s plumbing system. 

5. Sink & Faucet

If you can, splurge on a laundry sink! It provides so many additional uses. Soaking pots and pans, filling up a watering can for plants and flowers, or cleaning latex paint off brushes (ensure you know what paints or chemicals can go down the drain safely!). 

6. Venting & Fresh Air

  1. Ceiling exhaust fans are required per building code. Exhaust fans with a timer exhaust moisture from the space, keep fresh air moving, and keep smells under control. 
  2. Adding operable windows and nice draperies to a laundry room supports air flow and assists in drying hung items while bringing in light and adding a soft touch. 

7. Counter Tops & Folding Space

As mentioned earlier, countertops require planning. They can be plastic laminate, stone, or tile, but should be removable if above your washer and dryer for appliance repair. We avoid stone countertops above washers and dryers and plan for space between a countertop and an appliance to avoid tugging on appliances causing floor damage. 

8. Hanging Space

  1. If space allows, setting up a rod with hangers for drying clothes is quite helpful. Planning wood blocking under the drywall early in the process ensures proper support.  
  2. A portable or wall-mounted drying rack is a great alternative for drying clothes.

9. Finishes & Accessories

  1. Finishes and accessories pull the space together. Use a paint designed for rooms with high moisture such as Benjamin Moore’s Kitchen and Bath for walls, ceiling, and painted cabinets.  Stained cabinets are a durable option too.  
  2. Adding art, an accent wall, drapery, or rolled towels gives an otherwise dreary room a little more life and softness. We like a towel bar for drying wiping rags or swimsuits. 
  3. Laundry baskets – Use one big basket or a sorting bin, but do plan a good space for a laundry basket! 

Folding it All Up

Laundry rooms don’t have to be stark, cement, and bland. Dig into the choices, styles, and sizes of laundry rooms that fit your needs AND your aesthetic. When planning for a renovation or addition, you get to do both, so let’s have some fun with it! As always, if you have any questions or would like some help with your project, reach out. AKJ Architects is here to help. 

Arlene Kisiel-Jermann

Arlene brings over twenty-five years of design experience to her company. As a professional who strives to provide exceptional customer service, creative design skills, and an eye for detail, AKJA has the experience and training to lead your residential project from concept through completion.

Arlene received her Master in Architecture Degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her Master in Science in Interior Design from the University of Massachusetts and her Bachelor degree from Skidmore College with a major in Art & minor in Spanish. Arlene's combination of creative degrees in Architecture, Interior Design and Fine Art give her a holistic approach to residential design and enable her to quickly comprehend and efficiently collaborate with other professionals. At MIT, she coupled her studies with graduate courses at the MIT Center for Real Estate where she studied business. Since a young age, Arlene has had numerous academic opportunities to travel throughout America, Europe and Asia and learn about art and culture throughout the world.

Since 1987, Arlene has been privileged and trusted to work on residential and commercial projects with multi-million dollar budgets. She has managed all phases of residential design, architecture, and construction for well-established Seattle architecture firms such as Sullivan Conard Architects, NBBJ, and General Contractor Toth Construction, a Seattle based custom residential builder. Arlene launched her own firm in 2007 to design new and renovated homes, cabins and condominiums ranging in size from 500sf to 10,000sf. She brings passion, creativity, a commitment to succeed, and a powerful blend of skills, education and experience to every residential architecture project.

Stacey Lara

Stacey Lara has a wide range of experience specializing in efficiency and human wellness. She's a transformational coach with an administrative background in the medical, engineering, landscape architecture and architecture industries.

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