A pile of dirty clothes can be a big and odorous drag, but smart laundry room ideas and storage solutions can make doing the wash less of a hassle. You know already that laundry never ends—there’s always another basket of sweaty workout gear and used towels right around the corner—but fortunately, it doesn’t have to take place in a dark basement anymore.
Some of today’s trendiest homes are shining a spotlight on tricked-out laundry rooms, complete with useful—and stylish—design elements. So grab that fabric softener and check out how to create your own fabulous spin zone.
When considering the laundry’s location, look at the available space, along with the flow of your house and your family’s habits.
“It’s important for young families to have the laundry room off the kitchen,” says interior designer Carole Marcotte, of Form & Function in Raleigh, NC. Swapping out loads can take place while cooking dinner and overseeing homework.
Situating a laundry room near (or in) the kitchen or bath also takes advantage of existing plumbing. Or you might scope out a linen or hall closet, which already has shelving for supplies and slim space for stackable appliances.
Protecting the floor and countertops from moisture is essential because your tasks will include soaking stained clothes in a nearby sink and transferring damp clothes from one machine to another. Whether you’re buying a home with a laundry room or doing a full-on renovation, make sure the floor is water-resistant, made out of a material such as poured concrete, stone, or budget-friendly linoleum or vinyl (both of which are easier to care for than wood).
Laminate counters and ceramic tile are other on-budget details, while cork flooring is comfy on the feet for those hours spent sorting and folding laundry.
For quick cleanup on walls and cabinets, choose semigloss or high-gloss paint that wipes clean.
Dedicating an entire room to laundry isn’t feasible in every house, so combining the laundry room with an area for washing pets is a smart solution. A kitchen or bathroom is another spot ripe for double duty with laundry. And if you like to garden, plan out some space near the washer/dryer for arranging and potting flowers and planting seedlings.
“A laundry room should be big enough to handle the washing needs of the home but not so big that it becomes a cluttered mess,” notes Marty Basher, a home organization expert with Modular Closets.
Declutter this spot regularly and then keep it looking nice, especially if you’re thinking of selling (a laundry room needs the same staging love as the rest of the house).
“The laundry room isn’t a sundry store, so don’t let it become a graveyard for old magazines, extension cords, and clothes you’re planning to (someday) donate,” says Mike Callahan, a home stager and Showhomesfranchisee in Chicago.
Our favorite part of a well-arranged laundry-centric room is the smart features that make the task of washing clothes a little easier. Start with a laundry hamper in a pull-out bin and several shelves to hold detergent, stain remover, fabric softener, and spray starch. Add in a jar for loose buttons, coins, and tiny toys that drop out of pockets. Other design elements might include overhead cabinets, a pull-down ironing board, and drawers to store scissors and sewing supplies.
“Cabinets should be deep enough to hold big baskets and low enough so you can reach the soap, but high enough to clear the appliances,” explains Julie Green, a designer at Closet Factory.
Julie Ann Disselkamp, an interior decorator and owner of Decorating Den Interiors in Woodbury, MN, likes to install a large sink to soak garments and scrub car mats and vegetables from the garden. Don’t forget a retractable clotheslines or a fold-out rack so you can hang clothes to dry.
A window in your laundry room is ideal for both the natural lighting and airflow it gives to a hot room with an overworked dryer. But if that’s not an option, try installing task lighting underneath cabinets for when you do precise work like sewing on buttons and treating tough stains.
Easy-to-install LED strips ($39.88, Home Depot) to put under cabinets are efficient and affordable. Complete the room with an overhead or pendant fixture to light up the room.
This article was originally published at Realtor.com.