European-style laundry design
If your top priorities include saving space and multitasking, consider integrating the laundry into the kitchen. “An advantage of incorporating a laundry set-up in a central hub like the kitchen is you can conveniently take care of the washing, while getting dinner ready,” explains Bunnings kitchen and laundry design specialist Belle Haddon.
Another option is to merge the laundry and bathroom. “By creating one wet room rather than two, you can save space and money as the plumbing is grouped,” says interior designer Gabrielle Reinhardt of Berkeley Interiors.
For an effective room, map out the floor plan, allowing for traffic flow, cabinetry and appliance door clearances and plenty of storage and bench space. “Two under-bench integrated slide-out laundry hampers streamline sorting whites and darks, while a high open shelf is ideal for keeping your washing basket handy,” says Gabrielle Reinhardt.
Specific building regulations apply to a hybrid kitchen/laundry. “When incorporating a front-load washing machine into a kitchen, it becomes a wet area requiring a water-resistant floor, waterproof wall and floor junctions and the addition of a second separate sink to be used as a laundry wash tub,” explains Belle Haddon.
In WA, further compliance measures are required, with a partition wall needed between the laundry space and any food prep area. Always consult the relevant authorities for information on regulations in your area.
For a cohesive look, keep the palette consistent and choose tapware and sinks from the same range. “A tall retractable sink mixer paired with a deep rectangular sink is a great combination,” says Belle.
Is a compact cupboard-style laundry for you?
Another popular option in smaller homes is to tuck the laundry inside a cupboard, often in a hallway or other transition zone, where there’s just enough space to put a hamper, load up the washing machine and handwash a few delicates in the sink.
Gabrielle Reinhardt suggests locating it in a service area out of earshot of bedrooms and living areas, preferably near an outdoor clothesline. In terms of size, a 1500mm-wide cupboard will allow for a stacked front-loader washing machine and dryer, alongside a small sink with a cupboard below.
However, if you can stretch to a 2300mm- to 2500mm-wide cupboard, the additional bench and storage space is incredibly handy, particularly for families, explains Gabrielle. “Usually a depth of 650mm will ensure your appliances and laundry sink will fit comfortably with enough room for hoses to be tucked behind,” she adds.
For an ultra-compact set-up, consider an all-in-one washer-dryer and a petite sink and tap, with a rail installed above where you can dry a few clothes and hang ironing.
A cupboard set-up is still classified as a wet area, so ensure the surrounding flooring is suitable and the sink has a splashback and install an exhaust fan for ventilation.
Cupboard doors allow you to close the zone when not in use so it’s out of sight and out of mind. Two great options are cavity doors, which retract into the wall, or bi-folds, which don’t encroach too far into a walkway. Alternatively, make a stylish statement with a chic barn door.
A dedicated laundry room
If you have the luxury of an entire room, you can stretch style and functionality to every corner. Great ergonomics can make washing feel less of a chore, so consider the pros and cons of stacking appliances versus a side-by-side layout.
“If you want to maximise bench space, place your washer and dryer alongside each other,” recommends Gabrielle. “Take advantage of high ceilings and incorporate overhead cupboards where you can store washing powders and products out of children’s reach.”
Other inclusions she suggests are a laundry chute, a tall cupboard for brooms and ironing board, baskets for each family member and a drying cupboard.
More laundry inspiration
Got an old laundry? Watch this video to find out how to rejuvenate an old laundry.