The Best Room in Your Home? It Could Be the Laundry Room.

Don’t be silly: A laundry room is no longer something to hide. It’s now a place to shine. These laundry rooms are no longer hidden in basements or small rooms with no windows. They’re now getting the full designer treatment. A well-designed laundry area can make washing dirty clothes a lot easier. A well-designed laundry room can make washing dirty clothes a lot easier. “It’s actually a small laundry, but it feels like a larger room because there aren’t a lot of walls and it’s mostly cabinetry,” said Emily Barry, who runs the firm with her mother, Diane Schmunk. Rehabitat designed a laundry room to one side of a Connecticut home. A drapery rod is mounted under the upper cabinets to allow clothes to be dried. Credit…Victoria PietriIn some homes, they have hidden laundry machines behind closet doors in powder rooms or hidden them in a nook next to the kitchen pantry. Ms. Schmunk stated that they are not full-size machines, but are a bit smaller so they can fit in the laundry room. “It doesn’t look like a laundry area until you open the doors.” Kati Curtis, a New York-based designer created a room that was divided into two areas: one for laundry and the other for pet care. Ms. Curtis stated that the room is a laundry/dog cage/doggy shower area. She placed an island on wheels in the middle of the space that can be moved to hold folded laundry and dog-grooming tools. A counter is a great place to store detergent bottles and baskets, as well as fold clothes. Wendy Word, an interior designer from Manhattan Beach, Calif., stated that a counter is a great place to store detergent and baskets. If you are buying front-loading machines, you don’t necessarily need platforms to place them on. While it may make the machines’ insides more accessible and provide storage space, it can also make it difficult to place a folding counter on top. Wendy Word used this example to show how to create work space. Tiled walls are easy to clean and add color and pattern to the machine’s interior. “People think they don’t need a sink. But there will be times when you need to soak something or rinse it out. A modestly sized kitchen- or bathroom-style sink is usually sufficient.ImageAnother laundry room that Ms. Word designed has a small sink and a bright yellow tile backsplash.Credit…Lauren PresseyAdd Storage and Hanging SpaceIn a kitchen, open shelves and glass-front cabinets are useful for showing off favorite dishes and glasses. Closed storage is important in laundry rooms, where detergent, fabric softener, and stain remover are not worth displaying. We want it to be easy to access, and for everything within those cabinets to be well-planned, but out of sight. Rehabitat suggests installing drapery rods under upper cabinets. Ms. Hammel installs drapery rods on the undersides of upper cabinets. These shelves are basically thin drawers within your cabinetry. They typically have a mesh or wire bottom for air circulation. Ms. Curtis often places hamper storage in the cabinetry behind doors. Other designers, such as Ms. Hammel or the partners at Rehabitat include parking spaces beneath counters for rolling laundry carts.ImageBria Hammel designed wallpapered laundry rooms with a counter above a space for rolling laundry-cart storage. Wall-to-wall closet rods provide hanging space.Credit…SpacecraftingTake Some Decorative RisksAn all-white laundry room can look institutional, but one finished in interesting colors and patterns can feel like a destination.In the laundry room Ms. Curtis designed in Rye, she chose simple white quartz counters for durability, but coated the cabinets in light-blue lacquer and added a backsplash of hand-painted hexagonal tile from Tabarka Studio and a tiled floor with a different interlocking pattern. She stated that even though it is a laundry or utility room, it should still contain some fun elements. “It’s almost like it’s a commercial-kitchen-grade area where you can hose it all down, but it still looks beautiful.”Wallpaper is another option, but Ms. Word often prefers to tile walls, creating surfaces that are easy to clean. ImageMs. Hammel frequently uses ceramic tile with patterns resembling those found on encaustic cement tile for statement-making floors that are easy to maintain.Credit…SpacecraftingCabinet hardware should be just as striking as the knobs and handles you choose for a kitchen, she said, noting that she often favors pulls from Waterworks.Underfoot, highly patterned encaustic cement tile has proved to be a laundry-room trend with legs, but some designers prefer porcelain tile that offers a similar look in an easier-to-maintain material. “We love when we can find a ceramic or porcelain tile that looks like a cement tile,” Ms. Hammel said, “because it’s more durable than cement tile, doesn’t need to be sealed and requires a little less maintenance.”ImageArt and decorative objects provide the finishing touch in a laundry room that Ms. Hammel designed.Credit…SpacecraftingFocus on Lighting and ArtOne easy way to make the laundry room more than a bare-bones utility space is to install an eye-catching decorative light fixture. Rehabitat’s Ms. Barry said that pendants like these add character to a laundry room. Curtis suggested that you add layers of lighting to any room, just like you would in a normal room. She included ceiling lights to provide general lighting, and a large decorative pendant from Circa lighting to make a statement. Ms. Martin also suggested that laundry rooms have the same accessory budgets as bedrooms. You can add artwork and pretty things to the countertops to complete the space. Follow us on Twitter at @nytrealestate