When I built my home on Campbell Lake, the architect and I forgot the laundry room. It eventually ended up in a tall crawl space—on a wooden platform surrounded by bare studs and insulation. When I downsized and moved to South Addition, the laundry room became a closet for a minimum sized stack washer/dryer in the master bathroom where the laundry basket sits in the unused Jacuzzi. Obviously, I never thought a laundry room was very important until I read ‘Home Buyer Preferences by Age, Income and Other Factors’ recently published by the National Association of Home Builders and discovered the laundry room is THE most wanted feature in a new home, regardless of income! 

You can usually tell the age of a home by its laundry room location. For years, the laundry room off the kitchen was preferred in two-story homes and was frequently part of a mud room off the garage.  Then, buyers and builders wised up and put it on the second floor where all the bedrooms are located so no more hauling laundry baskets up and down stairs.  Today, luxury homes may have a private stack washer/dryer in the master bedroom closet or bath area with a full-sized laundry room near where the secondary bedrooms are. 

So what makes a good laundry room? A window. Laundry takes time and natural light is a big plus in any room. Paint it a fun color or give it a theme. Add a laundry sink for delicates or spotting stains.  Build a shelf or cabinets for detergents, fabric softeners, stain remover, et cetera. Add a closet or rod to hang damp clothes on and a countertop for folding. Cabinets don’t need to be expensive and not necessarily the same brand or color as in the kitchen or master bathroom. Better yet maybe an open shelf for easy dispensing of soap and softeners. Although popular, particularly with buyers coming from the south, tile floors are generally cold in Alaska and a sheet vinyl, the same color as the hall carpet, works just fine, particularly if you are trying to stay in budget. If you are working in a small space, stack the washer/dryer so that you at least have room for folding and hanging. And don’t forget a space for laundry hampers.

Some new home plans continue to minimize the laundry room by placing it in a hall closet with bi-fold doors opening into a hallway. According to NAHB that’s not going to help sell new homes. If you are thinking of remodeling, start with the laundry room. It’s an inexpensive room to remodel and will help sell your home in the future.