Bright surroundings banish the laundry blues

August 27, 2005|By CHRISTINE BRUN

Doing laundry has never been fun. Our ancestors spent all day at their washboards, wooden tubs and wringer machines. And when the wash was done, there was still a mountain of ironing to face.

Today's working women and men have it much easier, but it seems there is more laundry to do than ever: The kids' soccer clothes need to be washed after practices and games, school clothes and gym togs pile up, and the hamper is perpetually overflowing with sheets and towels. Thanks to the convenience of modern washers and dryers, we can toss in loads at all hours of the day and night. Even so, the task is still boring.

Part of the problem is that laundry facilities are usually tucked away in basements, garages and other dark, cramped spaces. But what if your little laundry room could become a more cheerful and functional place?

Stacking washers and dryers are one way to grab more space for other uses - a storage area for cleaning supplies, a folding table, a cupboard for storing gift wrap - in a little laundry room. As an example, Bosch makes the full-size Axxis Series to conform to limited space situations by providing a vertical stacking kit. The individual units are 23 5/8 inches wide and 33 1/2 inches high. Maytag's Neptune Superstack is 27 inches wide by 71 1/2 inches high. Other major appliance manufacturers produce additional models.


Add color and improve the ventilation in your laundry room if you want to lift the negative and often oppressive vibes. If you do not have the luxury of a real window as shown in the photo here, think about introducing a venting skylight for fresh air. Maybe a top-of-the-line ceiling fan would help to alleviate heat buildup.

The natural light that a window delivers is wonderful, but you can always install better ceiling lights if a window is totally impractical for your situation. Since the dryer already generates heat, you might want to consider fluorescent fixtures instead of the more decorative incandescent units. Another reason for fluorescent lighting: This smallest room in the house is an energy drain. Six percent to 10 percent of residential energy use goes toward running clothes dryers.

The laundry room shown here sports a multidrawer storage unit with a pole for hanging clothes above it. The light, breezy wallpaper by Jaima Brown for Thybony is called "Iron Butterflies." Butcher-block counter covers the washing machine and storage drawers while providing a full folding surface. The pine-top farmhouse table contributes to the country character, although it is admittedly more decorative than functional.

The flooring tiles have been alternated for a little whimsical lift. This could easily be accomplished with vinyl, ceramic and porcelain floor tiles. It's fun and light and pleasant.

Wall murals would be another imaginative way to transform the room. Paint-by-number wall murals are available from various sources such as Wall Art (877) 925-5687 or that allow you to create your own attractive scene. You tape the tracing paper to the wall, trace the design onto the wall and then paint the mural.

Or introduce a faux paste-on window, available at Depending on the style you select, it will seem as if you're looking out at a beach scene or the Tuscan countryside - instead of just folding clothes.

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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