5 golden rules for laundry design according to an interior designer

Interior designer Vic Bibby from Bibby & Brady shares five golden rules for laundry design

There’s something about a beautiful laundry that never fails to evoke a look of longing, or a gushy ‘wow’. Perhaps that’s because we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that this hardworking space is just that, a space for hard work. But, the laundry needn’t be somewhere you dread spending time.

Whether it’s a whole room or just a closet space, it should be thoughtfully organised and functional – as well as a pleasure to look at.

Achieving a balance between style and practicality is something these laundries have in common, as is their ability to actually make you want to do the washing. Imagine.

1. Location, location, location

The best place for your laundry is somewhere with good access to the clothesline, and away from the bedrooms and living rooms, if possible. You don’t want the noise of the washing machine or dryer to interfere with relaxing or socialising. Our favourite place to situate the laundry is off the kitchen or butler’s pantry, or ideally in a mudroom with its own back door access to the outdoors.

2. Allow enough room

One thing that can trip people up with their laundry design is not allowing enough space for appliances. Choose your appliances to fit your space and make sure you know how much room you need for clearance at the back of the machines. A standard kitchen bench is 600mm deep, but in a laundry you’ll usually need a depth of 650-700mm to allow for the washing machine hose.

3. Customise your layout

Functionality is key to good laundry design, and built-in cabinetry is the best way to maximise space. The area available will largely dictate what layout is best, but your laundry priorities also play a part. Make a list of the items you need to store and what your must-have features are. The washer is the most vital part of the laundry, and wherever possible we like to use front loaders as they allow as much bench space as possible for folding and sorting washing. A great layout is to have the washing machine and dryer at either end, with a built-in sink in between and one long benchtop. If you need storage for mops and brooms you can stack your dryer above the washing machine, have the sink in the middle and a tall cabinet at the other end. Design a layout that works for your needs. Do a lot of planning, measure the space and appliances and draw the layout to scale first.

4. Choose practical materials

Choose materials that are waterproof and easy to clean. We always opt for tiles on the floor and a splashback – and you can’t beat a stainless steel sink. As an alternative to tiles on the walls, we love the look of Hardie Groove Lining, which is made from premium fibre cement, suitable for wet areas. Cabinets with a two-pot polyurethane paint finish or a laminate finish are both hard-wearing and practical, and hard wood or wood veneer is another fabulous option. To finish, we love a stone benchtop, but if you need a more cost-effective solution look to laminate.

5. Be bold

If your laundry looks good and functions well, it makes a mundane job so much more enjoyable. Once you have layout and functionality sorted, choose your favourite finishes. You don’t have to stick to white. Why not inject some colour in your cabinetry or tiles? It’s a utilitarian space, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look fabulous too.

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