Over the years, the laundry room has moved from the basement, to the second floor, to the mud room/back entry. Though there are pros and cons to each of these, the fact is that most newer homes will now feature a back entry laundry area.
Unfortunately, many of these spaces are not designed to serve either purpose efficiently. Below, you'll find some steps to help you create a truly multi-purpose room that performs both functions well.
EXAMINE YOUR SPACE.
To combine both mud room and laundry area into one, the first step is to take a look at the existing space. How much square footage is available already? Are there areas nearby that can be incorporated (a nearby closet, garage space, etc)?
An accurate assessment of your current situation can help determine how big that clean slate will be when you start designing your new space.
Keep in mind, too, that neither the mud room nor the laundry room needs to take up a great deal of square footage if designed well. Front-load machines, and kits to stack full-size units, are readily available from most manufacturers, making it possible to reduce the laundry room square footage and free up space for storage, folding, and dirty laundry.
Another way to maximize the space is by taking full advantage from wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. Investing in cabinetry that's customized to the space you have can eliminate wasted space and prevent the combined laundry/mud room from simply becoming a chaotic dumping ground.
Which leads to the next important step.
EVALUATE YOUR NEEDS.
Whether you currently have a combined mud room/laundry room or not, take a look at your current situation and make note of what you like and what you don't.
Take the time to really make note of how you live and what your family's habits are. Asking yourself some of the following questions will help you determine which features will benefit you most - and which may be costly inconveniences.
Is your laundry room or mudroom too cluttered? Is that because you're lacking storage or because the overall space is too small?
Do you find it difficult to work in the space provided? Are there features you need that you don't have - a folding station? An area for hanging delicates to dry? A sink for prewashing or soaking? Space for sorting or storing dirty laundry? Room to iron?
Does your mudroom have designated storage space for all gear?
Is the mud room storage open, making the space seem more cluttered? Is it enclosed storage, but not well organized?
Do you need a place for family members to sit while putting on or removing shoes - or do you have a seating area that is only used as a dumping ground?
Is the laundry managed primarily by one individual or does the entire family use the laundry room regularly?
Do you fold laundry in the laundry room or do you prefer to do it elsewhere? If elsewhere, how far do you want to carry those baskets of clothes? If you work in the laundry room, do you want space for a television?
EXPRESS YOUR WISHES.
Taking an honest look at how you use your mud room/laundry room is a big step in ensuring that your redesigned space meets your needs. How it meets your needs is entirely up to you. There's no reason this room has to look utilitarian to function well.
Materials for a laundry area should be durable and low-maintenance, since they'll be exposed to a variety of cleaning products, frequent moisture, and regular traffic. But durable doesn't mean dull. Consider brighter colors, creative touches like re-purposed items, or industrial-style finishes.
Investing in good quality flooring, cabinetry, and hardware will result in a beautiful space that also holds up to ongoing use. Adding personal touches will make it more yours.
In today's homes, the back entry isn't reserved for family members only. If visitors pass through this space as well, that's all the more reason to create an area that's organized, attractive, and welcoming - and it should reflect your style, just like every other area of your home.
The laundry room may never be your favorite room in the house, but Kaufman Construction can help you make the most of this space. And who knows? With a more pleasant environment, you might actually start to enjoy sorting everyone's socks.