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Try these tricks when there's no laundry room

June 11, 2005|by CHRISTINE BRUN /Copley News Service

One amenity that's often missing in small homes is a real laundry room with space for washing and drip-drying delicate items, a countertop on which to fold clothes and a spot to do the ironing. Creating working spaces for these activities takes some real imagination.

A handy wall-mounted fold-out drying rack from The Container Store is a terrific and inexpensive solution for hand-done wash. You might install this in a bathroom or consider hanging it in a closet or back porch. You might even entertain the idea of mounting such a rack behind a bedroom door.

People often hand-wash delicate garments in the bathroom sink and then allow the garment to drip initially in the shower. One of these racks allows the user to conveniently move the item to complete its drying cycle in the closet or from the back of the bedroom door itself.

Since few fabrics require ironing, get rid of your full-size ironing board. Replace it with the countertop variety that can easily slip into a closet, the space between cupboards or under the bed.


Consider hiding your undone ironing inside a great basket like the one seen here, or a trunk/ottoman with a lid. Or choose a spacious wicker trunk that is both colorful and stylish. You can select styles from woven wicker to antique Chinese leather. Contemporary options on casters offer decent storage capacity and offer a quick fold-and-stash possibility while you are watching television.

Compact space demands that your selections be purposeful. You don't have the luxury of buying just any old trunk and hoping it will work. Take the time to locate a piece that will add to character of your room at the same time it performs a function.

For example, a company called Maine Cottage located in Yarmouth, Maine, has a wonderful Trudie Trunk that comes in a glorious array of colors, such as hot lime, Bahamas blue and mango. Or, if your area is too tight for a 40-inch-long piece, try to locate a really good-looking basket that is both interesting and portable. Maine Cottage also makes the colorful basket shown here and offers baskets in all of the same colors described above.

Or try to find a round basket that holds intrinsic interest for the viewer. It may hold your un-ironed or unfolded laundry, but if it is beautiful, no one will focus on the mundane part of the equation. The end result is that instead of a plastic laundry basket in the living room, you have introduced a texture and shape that adds something to the decor. Pile a colorful pillow on top and complete your chores some other time.

Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego-based interior designer and the author of "Big Ideas for Small Spaces." Send questions and comments to her by e-mail at or to Copley News Service, P.O. Box 120190, San Diego, CA 92112.

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