TSG Tip 260: Bria Hammel expert tips for renovating a laundry room

You spend a considerable amount of your time in your laundry room, undertaking a necessary if mundane chore. Add some joy to your life by finally making this area of your home as efficient and aesthetically pleasing as possible. If you’ve been wrestling with the idea of transforming your space, summer is the perfect time to check this home improvement redo off your list.  For pointers on undertaking this project we sat down with St. Paul, Minnesota-based interior designer Bria Hammel of Bria Hammel Interiors for some expert advice. Here are her recommendations:

Tackle the basics first. “Aside from the kitchen,” Hammel says, “the laundry room is the biggest workhorse in the house.” With that in mind, take your time planning out exactly what you’ll need. A good place to start, Hammel advises, is with appliances, lighting and plumbing. One of the first things you should confirm are the actual appliances you’ll include in the space. For Hammel, a washer and dryer unit with a steam feature is a must. The laundry room can also be a good space for second refrigerator, so now is the time to consider whether or not you have a need for one. Next up is lighting: will you go with a  decorative light fixture, can lights, or both? Finally, decide whether or not you want to put in a utility sink. To this, Hamel responds with a resounding “yes!” Determining these items ahead of time will allow your electrician and plumber to rough in for the appropriate features and avoid costly and time-consuming fixes on the back end.

Think about the task of doing  laundry from beginning to end. There are many steps to getting clothes clean, from sorting and pre-treating stains to folding and putting away clothes. “Functionality is so important,” Hammel shares. “And when your space is designed smoothly, you might actually enjoy the chore.” Predetermine where you’re going to store your laundry supplies, like detergent, bleach, dryer balls, etc. Do you want to put it out of sight in a sliding drawer or atop a shelf in pretty vessels? Next, regard your needs for laundry bins, pull-out drying racks and / or an ironing area, Hammel advises. Consider adding a countertop over your washer and dryer for a perfect folding station. Also of note, and taking some work off of you,  think about storage areas for your family’s clean, folded clothes, that they can grab and then put away themselves.

Maximize your spaceUtility rooms often have extra space and this can be used for so much more than the act of doing laundry. “This is the perfect place to add an arts and crafts station for children,” Hammel recommends. “Especially since you won’t care as much when things get messy.” For adult needs, consider an area dedicated to an art studio, workspace or wrapping station. On the more practical side, think about adding a linen cabinet to store overflow bedding and your cleaning supplies.

Don’t forget the design details.We’ve already addressed the importance of functionality, but beauty comes in a close second when designing a laundry ro0m. “We’re convinced if the space is beautiful you’ll want to spend more time there,” says Hammel. Adding unique details in an unexpected place like a laundry room adds a “wow” factor and is sure to delight you every time you step into the room. Consider painting your cabinets a vibrant color, adding a fun, patterned wallpaper, or installing a shaped or patterned floor tile. Even if you just choose one of these elements, it will help bring your space to life.

Prepare for the unexpected. When working on a remodel, you never know what’s going to be found behind the current walls,” Hammel says. And anytime plumbing and ventilation are involved things can be tricky, especially in an older home that might not be up to current code. So take a deep breath and go into the project with your eyes wide open. With proper planning and advance ordering of materials and appliances, you should be in and out of a laundry room renovation within a month. If it takes longer, that’s just the perfect excuse to spend a little more time lounging poolside. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

TSG Tip 260 from Bria Hammel of Bria Hammel Interiors in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bria Hammel Interiors is featured in The Scout Guide Minneapolis. Photography by Spacecrafting.