Laundry is boring, isn't it? If laundry is banality incarnate, it stands to reason that laundry rooms are also boring. And if laundry rooms are boring, what could provoke more ennui than a blog post about them?
No one's more aware than us, take our word for it. And yet, we think this post will be worth your time.
Laundry rooms do not need to be boring! It's only due to impoverished imagination and the manacles of tradition that they so often are.
People are always putting their laundry machines in the basement, the garage, and places like that. Why? For Pete's sake, isn't doing laundry bad enough without dragging yourself off into some dank, dim dungeon to do it?
With a little planning and thought, and a gentle touch of luxury, the laundry room can be—dare we say it?—a pleasant place to visit.
As interior designer Elaine Griffin says in the Harper's Bazaar article "12 Spots in Your Home You Are Totally Forgetting to Decorate," "There is no denying that doing the laundry is one of the most thankless tasks in the universe, which is all the more reason to add a little decorative ambiance. Think beyond basic white machines, add pretty accessories and art, styled floating shelves with all the supplies, prettier lighting or a beautiful patterned floor."
Laundry rooms are rarely spacious rooms. A flush mount or semi-flush mount is the common choice for this reason. They can still add quite a bit of beauty, based on what materials are chosen. However, depending on the height of the ceiling, a pendant might also work. A mini-pendant, such as Colebrook or Heirloom or Masonville or Rousseau, could be hung low over a fixed spot for the ironing board, adding illumination and a little beauty to the chore. A wall sconce can also be mounted to shine down on the ironing board where it hangs on the wall, ready to be taken down, making the laundry room feel like your Batcave.
Given this lack of space, laundry rooms do best when each need is considered and plotted for in advance. This way, each cleaning product, each basket for a specific purpose, each load of laundry, and each laundering tool has its right place. One of laundry's most nefarious aspects is the way it so quickly makes life feel chaotic and unmanageable. Cabinets above can hold cleaning products, lint rollers, dryer filters, sheet softeners, dryer sheets, and other related tools for the job.
Like any room, laundry rooms benefit from three layers of light: ambient, task, and accent. Since you probably won’t be spending too much time here, you may need just two: ambient (the top layer) and task (to focus on what you’re doing). It's also worthwhile to bear in mind the science we covered a few posts ago. To get the most accurate sense of the colors of the clothes you are working with, you will want bulbs with a high CRI (Color Rendering Index) score, 80 to 100. Recent LED light sources or traditional incandescent bulbs will work best.
With the need to spot-clean or pre-treat things, and with many fine garments requiring hand-washing and drying, some counter-space and a deep sink are ideal. Above the counters, under-cabinet, LED tape-light provides task light when using them and accent light at night. Over the sink, a pendant or sconce shines down vital task light while making the space feel luxurious.
This beautiful sink and backsplash show how it's done. With hexagonal brick floors and luxurious materials, this would be a dream to do laundry in.
Pinterest is teeming with space-saver ideas, naturally, as well as current ideas to make it fresh. The sliding barn door thing, for one.
Here, Garrison Hullinger had a bespoke barn door made for his clients in the Adeline house, screening off the laundry area and providing it with a sense of enclosure. Natural light is ample during the day; Hullinger specified a Haverhill pendant of ours for the space to ensure there's always enough light. Its Machine Age factory evocation is well-suited to the laundry space, especially with the white subway tiles, deep farmhouse sink, and industrial rolling laundry basket.
A laundry room can be a place to show a little whimsy, go out on a limb. It’s not a high-stakes room, as it’s small and guests will rarely, if ever, enter it.
LA-based Art Director, Designer, and Content Creator Sarah Sherman Samuel wrought an amazing transformation on her laundry room, turning what had been a dull lifeless little white room off the kitchen into a dreamy corner with luxurious wallpaper. Just like adding a crystal-bedecked pendant or a marble backsplash can add some glamour and drama to an otherwise drab spot, committing to a cool wallpaper is another thing that will make you look forward to changing loads. Click on any of the pictures below to get her full story on it.
Thank you for reading our laundry post. We borrowed its title from Jack Kornfield, who named one of his books about meditation After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. It's a wonderful title because it points to a universal truth about life's cyclical up and downs. Whatever highs we experience, time moves on and we're back to one of its trying mundanities. While that could be waiting on line at the supermarlet, a song we hate playing and the gossip rags dragging our favorite celebrities through the mud, or a brutal rush hour, laundry seems to sum it up best. How do we possibly take what we gained or felt during those peak moments into the grinding banality of the endless cycle of laundry? We don't know. All we're saying is make it easy on yourself by making your laundry space more beautiful, more glamorous, more like you!
*Featured Image from The Life Nostalgic