Ideas to transform the laundry area into an efficient and attractive part of the home
Clever storage solutions and the latest in washer-dryer technology can make the chore more appealing even in the smallest spaces
When it comes to interior design, the laundry area tends to go forgotten in the back corner of the home - after all, who wants to think about washing and ironing? But with just a little planning and some help from modern technology, even the smallest laundries can become functional, practical and attractive spaces.
Ben Ng, a designer for Ikea, understands that most of us dread spending time in a laundry area that is small, dark and ill-equipped. “People often resort to drying, sorting and folding laundry in the living room or bedroom because they don’t have the space or the setting to help them do it properly. Smarter ways to sort, space-saving ways to dry and simpler ways to organise can definitely make laundry more convenient and feel like less work.”
So what should you consider when designing or updating your laundry area? Ng says an efficient laundry is an organised one. “Organisation is key, with smart storage units to properly sort different types of laundry and to hold accessories and products.” Think about investing in foldable laundry baskets, boxes and trolleys to make your laundry ordered and flexible - not only will they save space, but they can also be hidden away when not in use, keeping the area sleek and tidy.
Planning is even more critical in a crowded city such as Hong Kong, where space is at a premium. Furniture, storage and technology companies have addressed this by introducing innovative gadgets that fit neatly into even the smallest of rooms.
“With limited living space in Hong Kong, it can be challenging to dedicate space, let alone a room specifically for laundries,” Ng says. “One way is to utilise the vertical space of the laundry area. For example, installing upright shelves like our Algot wall system that extend to the upper half of a room for sorting and organising clean laundry, or racks over bathtubs for airing wet laundry without getting in the way.”
Solutions go beyond items for wet washing. The Australia-based storage solutions firm Robin Hood designs compact ironing boards. Called “ironing centres”, they can be bolted inside a specially designed cupboard, then pulled down and rotated to any desired height or angle. There is also room for storing the iron and cleaning products. Another option to try is a drawer-mounted board that folds up and slides closed once you are done ironing.
Washers and dryers are also becoming more compact and more productive thanks to the latest technology. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, big brands such as LG, Samsung and Whirlpool presented their latest laundry prototypes. Samsung’s new innovations include the Activewash top-loader washing machine, with a built-in sink that sits under a clear lid. The small sink has its own jets and ridged sides to help scrub dirty clothes - a perfect solution for small homes where there isn’t room for a stand-alone laundry tub.
LG also showcased a new washer at CES, its Twin Wash that allows two washing cycles to run simultaneously. The Twin Wash is an add-on, pull-out mini washer that sits underneath existing LG front-load machines. When not in use, it acts a pedestal, elevating the main washer.
Speaking at CES, Seong-jin Jo, CEO of LG, explained: “The addition of a mini washer underneath the main washer translates to greater flexibility, convenience and efficiency.”
And, of course, these appliances - like much of today’s cutting-edge home technology - come with their own apps, allowing you to start, stop and monitor washing and drying cycles at the touch of a button.