Tips and Advice

Laundry designs and solutions fit for a busy household

Laundry designs you’ll love, plus washing hacks for all sorts of spaces 

The laundry has undergone a radical transformation over the past few years. A space of design and utility, once forgotten and hidden, is now celebrated as it is.

Whatever your needs are, whether it’s small space living, or having to hose down a dog and three kids after football in the garden, we’ve got the updates and ideas you need to know about.

A white laundry with blue cabinets, tiled floors and an open window acts as the perfect space for chores. When designing your laundry, save on flooring. It’s going to get dirty either way, trust us. A mosaic print vinyl will disguise mud, or a vinyl wood lookalike will withstand the heavy baskets plonked on it. 

The latest trends in laundry design

Nerves of (stainless) steel

Will McCallum, co-founder of George & Willy says he loves thick stainless-steel benchtops in laundries, which remind him of a commercial kitchen and promote functional, heavy-duty design. “I think it’s always better to choose timeless materials that you have always loved rather than ones that may be having a moment, which you may regret,” he says.

Stainless steel is known for its durability, resistance to heat and rust, and ease of cleaning. “Treat your laundry like a little workshop/Formula One pitstop,” Will advises.

Stainless steel is also non-porous, so the benchtop doesn’t absorb odours or bacteria; it is perfect for washing gym shoes or those suspicious kitchen cloths. Plus, its metallic qualities help to add light and spaciousness to a small room.

If you’re not a fan of the commercial kitchen look, stainless steel comes in a wide variety of colours that range from brushed copper and brass to matte black.

A white laundry room, with a wooden bench divided by large white sink. Above the tapware, a round clock fills the wall space. A laundry sink should be wide and generous. It’s a jack-of-all-trades basin, good for washing everything from a small dog to delicate sweaters.

Raise your appliances off the ground

Interior designer Suzanne Allen from Suzanne Allen Design is all about off-the-ground, out-of-the-box thinking.

“One thing I like doing at the moment is raising the appliances off the ground and sometimes adding a pull-out shelf beneath the appliances for putting the washing basket on when unloading/loading,” she says.

This also saves any potential back strain when loading and unloading, and the shelf can tuck away easily. Blum does a great pull-out shelf with this purpose in mind.

This pull-out shelf is from Blum.

Invest in a quality clothing rack

Frankie Layton, co-founder of The Dirt Company, loves to fill her laundry with practical items that don’t clutter the space.

“I love the usability and look of hanging drying racks,” she says. “They’re efficient with space and there’s something cool and analogue about them. George & Willy has a great local option made from mould-resistant timber. I love to let my laundry air-dry whenever possible so this is perfect.”

If you are going to invest in a hanging rail, Suzanne warns to not install them too close to the bench. This will prevent clothes from hanging straight. “I allow around one metre so it will fit a business shirt,” she says.

Other options include a big pulley system clothesline that lets you stand in one spot to hang each garment. Will recommends the Amish supply store Lehman’s in the US who sell “old school laundry equipment”.

Hanging drying rack, $540, from George & Willy

Liven up the laundry with a flick of paint

The laundry is the one space where you can let down your hair and have a little fun.

“There are some great melamines in lovely colours. I like the greens at the moment, which pair well with wood,” Suzanne says, adding that her favourite is Triple Duck Egg or even a well-placed fish-themed wallpaper.

If there’s a shade or a hue you love, life’s too short not to go for it. Glossy zellige tiles continue to dominate laundries for 2024, creating a hand-pressed look that’s chic and minimalist.

White laundry with a washer and dryer. Save on cabinetry. There’s nothing that a lick of paint can’t revive, and it’s better to focus your efforts on internal storage than the external look. Even better, if you’re doing a kitchen reno, you could repurpose and reuse old cabinetry.

Make it compact

Look for a washer-dryer combo to save on space and do your research on which brands are quiet. As a rule, front loaders are quieter than top-load washers.

If your laundry lives within your kitchen, consider custom cabinetry to hide your washer/dryer and make the space look seamless. If that’s out of your budget, use fabric and a curtain rod to hide your machine in a fashionable European way.

Laundry storage for those piles of washing

Storage is the name of the game in a busy household – the more the better. Use overhead space to full advantage of cabinetry, adding a fixed rail underneath to hang shirts for ironing. You can also make full use of a ceiling hanging rail, especially on the weekend.

Pair a laundry with a mudroom, so you have space and shelves for wet weather and sports gear.

Splurge on your laundry splashback. Tiling is proof that a little goes a long way towards making your laundry look luxe and stylish.

Expert laundry hacks:

Clean your machine
Like any appliance, from dishwashers to microwaves, washing machines can build up grime over time.

“If you’re feeling underwhelmed by the cleanliness of your washed laundry, take time to scrub the detergent drawers, clean and dry the rubber seal, remove and clean the filter, and clean the drum.

It could make all the difference,” says Frankie. Also, avoid using too much laundry detergent. “It creates too many suds in your machine, which means that the fast actions designed to make the friction required to release grime will just result in a sloshy wash.”

Laundry chute
To make life easier, consider installing a laundry chute if you’re tired of lugging piles of washing up and down the stairs.

Puff them up
If your down puffer jackets and pillows have lost their puff, pop clean tennis balls in the dryer on a cool air setting to puff them back up after a wash.

Take care of your clothes
Keep your darks dark by washing them inside out to avoid the dye releasing through friction.

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