It’s okay if you don’t have loads of fun in the laundry room. It’s the one room (or nook) in the house that exists for the sole purpose of doing chores. Yet there’s something about an organized, well-lit laundry room (and warm fluffy towels straight from the dryer) that sparks domestic bliss. (Need proof? Gawk at these laundry rooms that are as beautiful as they are efficient).
So, when you think of upgrades, your kitchen or bedroom are probably more exciting candidates. But there are a few things worth spending money on in the laundry room that will make doing your chores a lot easier. Here are five expert-approved upgrades for your laundry room.
A retractable clothesline
If you’ve ever slung your bras over a kitchen chair to dry (I know it’s not just me!), you might be interested to learn that retractable clotheslines exist and you can purchase one for under $20. These miraculous gadgets have a small disc you can install on the wall in your laundry room, which add to the efficiency of the space, says Glen DellaValle, CEO & founder of DellaValle Management, Inc., a Lexington, Kentucky-based property management firm. A retractable clothesline can usually hold up to a load of laundry.
Front-load washing machines
The stars of your laundry room, of course, are your washer and dryer. When it comes to splurging, you’ve got a couple of options.
A combination washer dryer allows you to wash and dry one load of clothes without ever switching machines. This all-in-one function is sure to garner fandom among people who frequently forget to switch loads from the washer to the dryer; re-wash clothes with vinegar two times; and even still get whiffs of that funky mold-like odor that clings to clothes that are holding a grudge after being forgotten in the washer for too long. These combo machines start around $1,200 and are great for small spaces. So, why haven’t they replaced traditional washers and dryers altogether? It turns out they can be divas; they come with higher repair costs and it takes these two-in-one machines a long time to dry clothes, according to a Wirecutter review.
A front-loading washer, though, is a practical splurge, points out Cristina Miguélez, a remodeling specialist with Fixr.com. When compared to top-loading machines, front loading washing machines tend to be more energy-efficient, use less water, and are known to clean your clothes better. Plus, you can save space by stacking them. A front load machine typically costs between $705 to $1,490 while a top-loading machine can cost between $415 to $690.
Heavy duty shelves
“Being able to store different types of detergent, spare towels, out-of-season items, and other items right where you need them is priceless,” Miguélez says. Invest in a shelf that can allow you to hang items from it as well, so you can quickly hang clothes as they come out of the dryer to help eliminate wrinkles. You can purchase heavy duty shelves for under $50.
The location of your laundry room
The truth is a laundry room, no matter how great it is, won’t increase the value of your home all that much, realtors tell us. But the location of the laundry room does matter to buyers. So, if you’re remodeling or building a home, and have convenience and resale value in mind, consider where you put that laundry room. “When I’m showing a home and I’m asked ‘Where is the laundry room?’ I hate having to say it’s in the basement,” says Denise Denise Supplee, a licensed realtor, property manager, and the co-founder of SparkRental.com. “One of the best features of a laundry room is that it’s close to the bedrooms in the home. Basement laundry rooms are antiquated and a turnoff for many buyers.”
While renovations to the kitchen and main bedroom tend to get you the best return on investment, you can make your laundry room appeal to buyers by giving it a makeover so that it looks cheerful and larger, says Jeff Lichtenstein, owner and broker of Echo Fine Properties, a luxury real estate brokerage selling real estate in Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Painting it a happy bright color, adding photos, replacing a rusted out or grimy laundry sink and switching out old knobs will help do the trick, he says.
Laundry rooms are damp, so good ventilation is critical, says Gillian Gillies with Gillian Gillies Interiors Inc. in Toronto, Ontario. “We always add an exhaust fan to our laundry rooms, preferably one with a timer so that it runs for a guaranteed amount of time,” Gillies says. “Being able to remove the damp, moist air from your laundry room helps to minimize mold.” Exhaust fans start at $80, but installation could cost in the $500 range.