Doing the washing and ironing is far from glamorous, but having a stylish laundry room makes it a little easier to love those weekly chores
There’s something about having a perfectly organised and functional utility room that makes us feel like we’ve got a little bit more of a handle on life. In the UAE, many of us are lucky enough to have a dedicated space for our appliances, which makes a nice break from having to grin and bear the noise of a washing machine whizzing away in the kitchen. If you want to turn your plumbed-in box room into a Pinterest-worthy laundry haven, simply follow our step-by-step guide…
The way you wash
In order to design a utility room that’s as useful as possible, you must first pinpoint what your laundry needs are according to your lifestyle. For example, are you a style maven who requires a dedicated sink for hand-washing delicates? Or do you have a dog that needs a mini wet room for tending to those muddy paws? If you have a larger family, you may want to factor a bigger washing machine into the design – like the LG WM9500HKA, which has a whopping 5.8 cubic feet capacity. And if you regularly need a quick turnaround of grass-stained sports kits and the like, saving space for a tumble dryer may be a wise idea. If you don’t think you’ll get enough use out of it, but still prefer to dry your clothes out of sight, you may want to think about building a hanging rail into the room. Compile a list of five essentials you need and you can start planning your design around it.
Draw up a design
“Once you have decided on the main appliances you will need, you can plan them in around the electro-mechanical installation points that are available – you will need to check with a plumber what’s possible if you are looking to shift these around – before moving on to the rest of the design,” says Stephany Hanna, interior architect and designer at Step Into Detail.
If space is an issue, stacking your washer and dryer on top of each other could free up a significant amount of space, but “Bear in mind that this can only be done if you have front-loading machines,” says Stephany. It’s wise to consult an interior designer at this point who can narrow down your best options.
Function is king when it comes to moving forward with the rest of the design. “While storage is a no-brainer, you will need to think about how to fit in all those other organisational aspects that are on your wish list, such as laundry baskets, or space for the ironing board. Only then can you start putting each function in its right place.”
Factor in plenty of storage
Take a closer look at storage, and you’ll quickly discover that it’s more about ensuring you have enough cabinets for stashing away your laundry liquid. “The sport-loving family or the avid gardener will have specific requirements, so opt for storage solutions that can be individually configured. In a smaller space, dedicate an entire wall to functionality to create an instant feature,” suggests Wayne Dance, managing director at InHouse, for Schüller. “Not everyone has the luxury of a dedicated room, but you can make a cupboard space work extra hard by making a list of the items you need to store and seeking out internal fittings designed to maximise space while providing easy access.”
Thinking vertically will help you to finesse your plan. “Tall laundry sorting cabinets with super convenient apertures to conceal laundry baskets make sifting through the washing easy,” says Wayne. “Furthermore, tall units are perfect for ironing boards, vacuum cleaners and even fishing rods.”
Decide on a style
There’s no need to embark on a Pinterest frenzy, as we’ve done the hard work for you when it comes to selecting a style.
“As most utility spaces are small, avoid dark colours. Keep the theme clean and light, with pastels or shades of light grey and white,” says Stephany. “Plus, washing machines and dryers are usually white or silver, so it’s a good rule to continue with the same palette to make it look built-in. Surround it with light grey or white shelves and cabinets. And if you want to incorporate a wood texture, opt for light oak as it’ll pair perfectly with these lighter colours while keeping the space looking neat and clean.”
While doing the washing may be boring, that doesn’t mean your walls have to follow suit. “Add some wallpaper on non-wet walls and some wall art,” she says. “Display detergents in jars or glass canisters – it looks way nicer. If that sounds like too much effort, or you buy your powder in bulk, keep it hidden in the cabinetry. And don’t forget to maximise the light sources.”
Lay the foundations
When ordering your basic materials, such as the flooring and the wall tile, durability should win out over any other considerations you may have.
“Don’t waste precious time with hard-to-care-for surfaces,” says Wayne. “Hardwearing, robust laminates in a multitude of colours make it easy to achieve a stylish utility space.”
“A utility room is a wet area so you should opt for a heavy-duty tile, such as ceramic, which is easy to clean, and avoid wooden flooring,” agrees Stephany. RAK Ceramics is a great place to start your shopping. For the worktop, everything from quartz to bamboo can be considered, depending on the look you want to achieve. Ikea has a fab range of kitchen worktops that can be cut to fit your space – we rate the Kasker custom-made worktop in white mineral effect (Dhs 995/mikea.com).
Call in the carpenter
If you have an awkward space, or simply a healthy budget to spend, then custom cabinetry may be on your wish list.
“Going bespoke allows you to maximise every inch of space,” says Stephany. “You could have wall-to-wall shelves, decide on the exact depth and create separations exactly the way you want. It’s definitely more costly, but it’s worth the investment if you are planning to stay for at least two years in the same apartment or villa. You can always take it with you when you move and adjust it to the new space with the help of a carpenter.” She recommends those customising shelves and cabinets to opt for laminated wood over veneer, as it’s more heavy duty in wet areas and easier to clean.
Add handy accessories
Once the foundations are laid, the shelving is up, and the larger appliances are fitted, next comes the fun – adding the accessories. “Ikea is a good place to buy everything related to storage, including boxes and baskets,” says Stephany. “As for the decorative items that help us organise the space and make it look nice, you can head to JYSK, Home Centre, H&M Home and Muji. Your shopping list should include the following: rattan decorative boxes, opaque boxes with a lid for storage, laundry baskets, small plants, a small rug, hooks, and a ceiling-mounted lighting fixture.”
Get a helping hand with the laundry while your utility room is being renovated…
1. Washmen can tackle a week’s worth of laundry with its Wash & Fold Bag, Dhs55. Simply schedule a pick up via the app. Available in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
2. Champion Cleaners offers complimentary home pick-up and delivery – you can pay by card at your doorstep. Plus, you can also take advantage of its i-Genius sanitising service for those everyday items that need a deeper clean, such as soft toys.
3. Hala Laundry Services offers eco-friendly washing and dry-cleaning services, with free pick-up and delivery in Dubai.