Laundry Room Placement in Home Design

This is where we wash our clothes, wash our clothes....

Laundry Room with Window
Hero Images/Getty Images

The laundry room is one of the most used areas of a home and yet, is usually one of the most poorly designed. As an afterthought,it is tucked away in a basement, crammed into a closet or combined with other areas that don't work well together.

As you consider the location and design of your laundry room, above all else, be practical.

Traffic Flow

In one home my laundry area was in a hallway leading to the downstairs powder room.

Not only was this inconvenient, it was a safety hazard as we stepped over piles of laundry and baskets on the way to the powder room. When the children were small, I was always concerned that they would find some hazardous laundry products so closed storage was a must. And, I had the extra effort of keeping the area looking neat for guests.

A better choice is to locate your laundry area away from often used traffic paths or make it large enough to accommodate foot traffic whether in the garage, basement or living area.

Keep Dirty Laundry Close At Hand

Why not place the laundry room near the largest source of dirty clothes? Perhaps not just your teenager's room, but all of the bedrooms. If your home is a split-level or multi-story, a laundry room on the second floor can easily fit in small spaces and save many, many steps up and down stairs. It's also a great way to help children be responsible for their own laundry.

In some new homes, the laundry area is in the master suite, between the closet and the master bath. In others, the laundry room is more visible in what designers call “the family foyer,” the place at the back of the house where family members enter. The laundry work space also includes storage for sports supplies, coats and shoes.

Second-floor laundry rooms are becoming quite common and are convenient to bedrooms and baths. What steps should be taken to prevent mishaps with washers and potential water damage?

To prevent a disaster if an washer overflows or a leak occurs, install a recessed washer box in the wall directly behind the washing machine. Choose a box with the single-lever shut-off valves included, and mount the box for easy access. This recessed box provides connections with shut-off valves for the water supply hoses and a drain for the washer's discharge hose.

Install a washer drip pan under your washing machine. Set the tray so it has a direct line that pumps into a laundry sink drain or floor drain. If the machine leaks, the water will be drained away.

It Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time

The kitchen is the hub of most homes. So why not put the washer and dryer in the kitchen? It may seem efficient but laundry rooms produce high amounts of humidity, dust and lint. You don't want this near food preparation areas anymore than you want food and grease near your nice, clean clothes.

The bathroom seems a logical spot for a washer and dryer - dirty clothes and water. But unless you like relaxing in a bath while gazing on dirty laundry and waiting in line until all of the clothes are folded, you should probably rethink your idea.

You should also resist including the laundry area in a multi-purpose room. Humidity and noise don't mix well with other activities. If the washer and dryer must be part of a larger area, consider installing insulated walls to confine the work area.