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Instead of being relegated to the basement, the laundry room now is often found in “the heart of the home.”

Let’s face facts: Nobody really enjoys doing laundry. But cleaning, drying, folding and separating clothes in a spatially efficient and well-equipped space can help turn the chores you abhor into a keen clean routine. And that’s a big reason why more homeowners are opting to upgrade their laundry area .

In fact, a laundry room was number one on the list (chosen by 91%) of what homebuyers regard as the most desirable or essential inclusion in a home, per the National Association of Home Builders’ 2019 “What Home Buyers Really Want” report.

Having a modernized room dedicated strictly for laundry makes perfect sense to Larry Greene, president of Case Design Remodeling Indianapolis.

“Laundry rooms are considered essential today because they’re multipurpose. You often notice and appreciate their purpose in their absence,” he says. “When there’s no dedicated laundry room, homeowners typically set up their washers and dryers in a spare closet or the garage, making it difficult to sort, fold and organize the seemingly endless mountains of clothing that pass through your family’s home each week.”

Raena Albers, owner and interior designer at Raena Interiors in Minneapolis, views the contemporary laundry room as more of an evolution of the family unit than a trend.

“Not only are most men and women working outside the home, but our children have also gotten busier. And with the average home getting larger, many homeowners have the square footage to spare,” Albers says. “The dreaded basement laundry room of yesterday lacked storage and natural light. But today, the laundry room has been inching its way up basement stairs, often right into the heart of the home.”

Albers recommends devoting at least 80 to 130 square feet to a laundry room and choosing its location carefully.

“Does your family mostly congregate in the kitchen? If so, consider a laundry room close to the pantry to allow multitasking. Do you have child athletes? Then consider a multifunctional laundry room that doubles as a mudroom that houses uniforms and gear that can go from the bag to the washer in a hurry,” says Albers.”

Greene suggests situating your laundry area either next to an attached garage or in another part of the home that’s isolated from the buzz of the kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Your most important laundry room contents, of course, will be the washer and dryer; if they’re noisy, consider replacing them.

“The noise, if near a bedroom or gathering area, can be louder than anticipated. Look for new washer and dryer units with anti-vibration systems designed to reduce noise and vibration,” says Shannon Kadwell, master kitchen and bath designer with Cabin John, Maryland-based Anthony Wilder.

To equip this space properly, think about how you can best utilize it.

“Custom cabinets, shelving, a countertop for folding, hooks, nooks, racks, décor and bright paint colors can have a huge impact,” says Linda Fennessy, kitchen consultant for Kitchen Magic in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

Albers also advises installing tile or stone flooring with proper drainage, a utility sink, pocket door, and bright task lighting via a fixture or recessed ceiling lights—especially if the room lacks natural light via a window.

“An ironing board that folds up into the wall can also help get laundry done faster and save space,” adds Kadwell.

Expect your budget to start at $6,000 for a well-designed laundry room with many of these features, according to Greene.

“Don’t do this project halfway. Plan the room’s layout, tasks, décor and budget carefully and consider hiring an interior designer to help,” Fennessy says.

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