Courtesy Ryan Wilson Photography

The modern laundry room has been redefined as a multifunctional space designed with style and purpose. It's "the workhorse of the home,” says Barbara Bircher of Crystal Kitchen+Bath Design Build in Minneapolis. “We’ve come a long way from the simple ironing board that folds down from the wall.” Bircher notes that several factors contributed to the recent rise of the new laundry room, including changing demographics and busier lifestyles. All of this is reflected in the types of amenities clients are seeking.

At the top of the must-have list for clients is organization and storage. According to the 2016 U.S. Houzz & Home Survey, inadequate storage was the No. 1 reason clients sought a laundry room remodel. As a result, the built-in convenience found in the kitchen has made its way into the laundry room.

Whether it’s a large utility room, an extension of the kitchen, a back entryway, or small separate space, pros are delivering rooms that perform and look good. For your next laundry room project, consider these design ideas.

1. Store More

Laundry rooms are tackling storage in more ways than just mimicking kitchen organization. The classic mudroom is making a strong comeback and even entering markets like Arizona, perhaps as a result of snow birds, retirees, and relocation, notes Hochuli. Expect top design concepts such as a bench with built-in shoe storage, tall locker cabinets for sports equipment, hooks for backpacks, and rods for hanging coats to be the new norm, says Hochuli.

2. Work or Play

The amenities don’t end with storage. Workstations for doing the laundry are paramount, but homeowners are looking to make these rooms do more than just clean clothes and house bulk food purchases. Hobbies of all varieties are being considered and making their way into the layout. Accommodations for everything from gardening and home canning to crafting are among the more specialized, yet often mentioned, uses of requested add-ons. For example, the award-winning showroom display at Crystal K+B, which showcases all the bells and whistles, even includes a gift wrapping station.

3. Pet Palace

Pets are a part of the family, and it’s evident in utility room design. Some of the more subtle touches range from a cubby for a dog bed or kitty litter pan to space for food storage. But the designs will become increasingly more elaborate, says Teresa Richardson, design team leader of Renaissance Remodeling in Garden City, Idaho, with grooming stations and dog doors becoming a staple.

4. Grand Welcome

Instead of hiding the laundry room, many are incorporating them into the design of the home’s living space. In fact, many serve as a primary entryway and have become a high-traffic area that matches the often neighboring kitchen, says Bircher. Larger spaces like a mud room recently renovated by Bircher exemplify the standard—that room includes a country sink, granite counter space for folding, slate flooring, and a custom bench and cabinetry for ample storage.

Others will be small yet sleek, like a project by Renaissance Remodeling that draws the eye directly to the machines and integrates the equipment into the color palette and look of the kitchen. Both approaches welcome guests into the home without exposing the unsophisticated side of the chore. Material selection is critical and often includes higher-end products like granite, brushed nickel hardware, glass tile, and custom cabinetry.

5. Worth the sacrifice

Once found in the basement or on the second floor, many laundry rooms are making their way to the main level, notes Bircher. However, this often means sacrificing another room. Homeowners are finding it’s better to have the convenience of the multifunctional room close at hand rather than the extra spare bedroom, to accommodate their increasingly busy lifestyles, says Richardson.

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