Laundry rooms are designed for utility, not decor. But so many laundry rooms become catch-all enclosures for clutter, storage, and other pack-rat activities. After a while, they can become home to hazardous chemicals or firetraps with over-extended electrical outlets, or danger zones for young children.
If you're going to remodel your laundry room, consider replacing outdated or worn parts on your washer and dryer, as well as electrical and plumbing features that are either in disrepair or require efficient upgrades. And a nice coat of paint or wallpaper can make this often dingy room more pleasing to the eye.
Basements Are Best If you currently have your laundry in the basement, you should consider keeping it there. The small convenience you gain by moving your laundry room to an upper floors is easily offset by the potential water damage to your home from leaks or flooding. One insurance company reports $170 million in water damage from washing machine hose failures.
A simple laundry room remodel project can include new flooring, expanded cabinets with utility drawers or storage, shelving, new lighting, and, if there's a window, fresh treatments.
Size Matters If you need more space, think before breaking out a wall. There are stack-able and compact washing machines that may be more cost-efficient than breaking out walls. That's if those models can serve your family.
You may also need to consider room for a new sink or ironing space. Installing new cabinets can double your existing storage and add comfort to working in the room.
Safety First Using 2002-2004 data, the U.S. Fire Administration division of FEMA reported 15,600 fires, resulting in 15 deaths and 400 injuries--attributed to faulty clothes dryers. That means, in addition to renovating your laundry room, you should renovate your maintenance routine on washers and dryers.
If you have foil or plastic ducting attachments to the dryer, replace them with modern, fire-resistant corrugated metal to increase the air exhaust. Make a habit of not only cleaning lint traps on the dryer, but cleaning behind the traps and behind the entire unit.
Go Green And if you want to save energy costs when replacing your washer and dryer unit, shop for Energy Star appliances that can cut your water and energy costs in half. By washing in warm or cold cycles you can also slash your electric bills.
Another tip: Paint your renovated laundry room in light colors so you won't feel like you've been banished to the cave whenever you do the wash.