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Combination Laundry Rooms for the Space-Saving Home Planner

By and large, laundry rooms come in two flavors: banished to the basement, or put on a pedestal in gorgeous, fully-finished, dedicated laundry rooms. But what if I told you there was another option? Rather than dedicating a huge amount of space to a washer and dryer, or condemning yourself to trudging up and down stairs, consider putting your laundry appliances in another room. These combination laundry rooms might sound a little out there, but are a great way to maximize the usable space in your home. Best of all, they can even make it easier to get your wash going while you’re doing other tasks.

History of the Wash

While we don’t consider laundry appliances a recent invention, by house architecture standards they are (by Kennedy Cole Interior Design)

Washing machines didn’t exist until the 1700s. At the time, they were only used by institutions — where it was cheaper to do multiple heavy loads than using people — and the rich, who could afford the expense without maximizing their use. Dryers took even longer to catch on in small homes. Back then, it seemed like a waste of electricity when you could hang your clothes outside. Things have changed, but a lot of houses were designed around the old ways. That is, without a dedicated washing and drying space. Combination laundry rooms are a clever way to get machines working without a major renovation or house extension. Multiple rooms in the house already need to be water-proofed with proper flooring and tile anyway.

Cooking Food and Clothes in the Kitchen

While you may feel your kitchen is already busy, laundry machines allow you to prep and clean up after dinner at the same time (by Custom Kitchens by John Wilkins, Inc.)

Not all rooms in your house are compatible with sharing laundry appliances. For instance, you won’t see a laundry area in a living room. Why? Well, because of the lack of piping structure and the noise drowning out your TV. However, your kitchen is already full of noise. Whether it’s a boiling kettle, a running dishwasher, a stove top sizzle, or an oven timer going off, every kitchen is prepped to make sounds. Why not add one or two more? A deep kitchen sink can double as a laundry utility sink. If it comes with a spray hose, you can also use it for spot cleaning. If you spill sauce on your apron or wipe up spilled milk with towels, you can immediately toss the dirty items in the wash. Even the most forgetful homeowner can avoid the problems with letting it sit (smell and stains).

Keeping It Clean in the Bathroom

Larger bathrooms don’t maximize their space and storage capability, so a washer and dryer are great additions (by Cathy Schwabe Architecture)

Bathrooms are also an ideal space if you’re looking for a place for your washing appliances to share. It’s already a wet, tiled room with access to water and electricity. Especially in a larger bathroom, you won’t miss the lost storage space from swapping out cabinets for a washer and dryer. Better still, you can close the bathroom door to quiet the noise of the machines while they run. Combination laundry room bathrooms are actually a personal favorite of mine for another reason: it’s easy to toss dirty clothes directly into the wash and run it once you have a full load. On a cold morning, you can run the dryer while showering and have nice warm towels ready when you’re done.

A Laundry Closet?

A closet washer and dryer in a tiled room is the best option for space-saving and keeping a clean house design (by Two Birds Design)

Even in recently-built homes and apartments, having a dedicated room to hold laundry is a luxury. In this case, it’s time to get creative and open up your closet. This is not the negative tradeoff it sounds like. While you lose some storage to appliances, shelves and hanging racks provide space to hang wrinkle-prone clothes and store your laundry supplies in one place. Space-saving can even be doubled if you stack your appliances vertically. The closet doors provide the same muffling effect as being behind a room’s door. This effect can be doubled if in a closed closet in a closed room. Best of all, closet laundry can be in any closet. So if you feel strongly about having the appliances share pipes with the bathroom or kitchen sink, you can have it all.

Coordinating the Look

Even a double-functional space like a combination laundry room can still look stylish (by Amanda Webster Design)

Even if you’re only designing a combination laundry for space, you don’t want the room to look like you piled appliances in the corner. You don’t have to hide your machines like with the laundry closet; there are ways to make your washer and dryer part of the “look” of the room. First, aim for the same color and finish as other appliances in the room, like the refrigerator. Next, use accessories to marry the two room concepts together. Matching laundry baskets, stylish drying racks, or even coordinated cabinets can help.

If you’re struggling with placing your laundry space somewhere both accessible and out of the way, combination laundry rooms can help. Don’t think about adding another room to your house layout; turn to the rooms you already have available.