July 16, 2024

Architectural Concepts Guide

Elevating Home Design Standards

How to make your laundry room functional and beautiful

3 min read

Designing a laundry room that’s as practical as it is pretty is possible with these expert tips.

It’s all about location, location, location, according to St. Louis-based interior designer Joni Spear. Finding the perfect placement is the first step to creating an ideal laundry room, she says. “Optimally, you want existing plumbing nearby – that’s why it’s best to pick a location close to a bathroom or kitchen,” she explains. “If you are fortunate enough to have an existing window, all the better to allow natural light to shine through. If not, explore that option with your contractor.”

Another key consideration is space, Spear says. “Select your appliances and sink prior to purchasing cabinets to ensure they fit,” she notes. “When space is limited, add stackable models. If you have ample room, opt for side-by-side appliances and place platforms underneath to raise the machines to a more convenient height.”

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Ceramic tile or vinyl flooring works best to avoid water damage, as well as hardy, stain-resistant countertops like quartz, granite and Formica, Spear advises. Infuse functionality into the space by affixing pull-down racks, or hang a bar above the machines for line-drying, she says. “Suspending an old ladder horizontally from the ceiling offers a decorative detail with maximum functionality,” she adds.

For practical storage, attach hooks to the wall and include a tall cabinet for your ironing board, vacuum and mops, Spear suggests. “Be sure to implement outlets in convenient areas [for] your iron or steamer,” she continues.

You can make the area uniquely yours with wallpaper and colorful wall tile as a backsplash, she notes. And most importantly, Spear says, select a distinguished light fixture related to the theme to hang as a focal point and incorporate under-counter lighting for more intense illumination.

Photo by Alise O'Brien, design by Joni Spear.tif

Design by Joni Spear Interior Design; photo by Alise O’Brien

Spear transformed a local family’s poorly functioning laundry room into a Spain-inspired oasis.

First, the designer reconfigured the area to allow for more hanging space and storage, including relocating the washer-dryer to the opposite side of the room for more counter capacity.

A highlight of the design was a useful, sleek set of custom cabinets imported from Spain with modern slab-style doors. For a playful, colorful element, Spear says hardwood floors were replaced with Spanish-inspired encaustic tiles. Additionally, Schumacher blue and white striped café window panels invited natural light into the space while still providing privacy.

Spear’s favorite parts of the project are its pretty details, from the Samuel & Son’s pom-pom trim to the perching bird finials adorning the drapery hardware, she says, noting: “The Diego Grand Classical lantern in gilded iron by Visual Comfort completes the delightful composition.”

Photo by Kip Dawkins, design by Joni Spear.jpg

Design by Joni Spear Interior Design; photo by Kip Dawkins

For Spear’s own former home’s laundry room, she strategically moved the space from a kitchen closet to the second story, where clothes, towels and linens accumulated from the bedrooms.

Tiny but mighty, the space features a small Elkay sink for hand-washables, a quartz countertop and a retractable clothesline to hang-dry delicate clothing. Custom cabinets were added for storing linens and cleaning supplies.

The project’s backsplash was a pleasant surprise, Spear says. “We used leftover black and white hexagon tile from the guest bathroom,” she explains. “There were only three black tiles, so I had to place them strategically.”

Photo by Photographie by Li, Lisa Mitchell, design by Karr Bick.jpg

Design by Karr Bick Kitchen and Bath; photo by Photographie by Li

Wendy Kuhn, lead designer at St. Louis-based Karr Bick Kitchen and Bath, turned an overcrowded, combined laundry and mudroom space into a beautiful, functional dream room.

“We stacked the washer and dryer to add counter space and relocated the pantry to the opposite side of the room to avoid walking into a crowded room,” Kuhn says. The best features were the playful elements incorporated into the utilitarian space through cabinetry color and patterned floor tile.

Kuhn emphasizes that though practicality reigns supreme in the laundry room, it doesn’t have to be boring. “Have fun with the choices through color, wallpaper and interesting tile,” she recommends. “It’s a space where you can take risks. Make it a space you enjoy seeing!”

Joni Spear Interior Design, 314-614-9080, jonispear.com

Karr Bick Kitchen & Bath, 2715 Mercantile Drive, St. Louis, 314-645-6545, karrbick.com


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