Universal Design in the Laundry Room | 50+ Housing Council | New Home Trends

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Laundry Room Universal Design Ideas

Making the Laundry Room Enjoyable for Everyone

As founding members of the 50+ Housing Council in Raleigh, we enjoy sharing universal design ideas with top new home builders and interior designers in the Raleigh area. 

The laundry room can be a forgotten area of the home - but here are some universal design ideas that will make your new home's laundry room enjoyable and easy to use, no matter who wants to help with the wash.

Laundry Spaces - Easy to Use Laundry Rooms

A universal design home is safe, easy to access, and comfortable.  Whether you're planning to be in your new Raleigh home for a few years or for the rest of your life, implementing universal design at the beginning of the process will save money and give you a more versatile home, for everyone to enjoy.

Where is the Laundry Room?

The location of the laundry room should be carefully considered.  In a two story home, it can be very convenient to have the laundry room upstairs, close to the bedrooms for easy access.

But in a main floor master suite home, it may be best to keep the laundry room on the first floor, and eliminate the need to climb the stairs multiple times on laundry day.   

Universal Design Laundry Room | 50+ Housing Council | Raleigh New HomesIs the Laundry Room Big Enough? 

A universal design laundry room should ideally be large enough so that anyone can use it, with or without a mobility device. 

Plan to include wide doorways (ideally 36"), and a 5 foot diameter open space in front of the washer and dryer if at all possible.   In the plan to the right, it's easy to substitute a 4" wider doorway for the 2-8 door drawn.

Not enough room for a large laundry?  A hallway closet laundry can still work well, if the hallway is wide enough, and the closet doors should open in a way that still allows access and room to move. 

Universal Design Laundry Room | 50+ Housing Council | Raleigh New HomesWhat about the Washer and Dryer?

Front loading washers and dryers are becoming much more popular.  Front loaders can easily be loaded and unloaded while seated.

But a standard front loading washer and dryer may still require excessive bending. 

Consider having your builder add a 12"-15" platform under the machines, or purchase models that have matching pedastals to raise them above the floor.  This Whirlpool set in red has optional matching pedastals.

Room to Fold in the Laundry Room

Many of today's laundry rooms are large enough to include a small countertop area.  Instead of installing a standard height countertop, choose a 28 to 30 inch height countertop, with knee space below.  You'll be able to pull up a chair to fold and sort, instead of standing.

Laundry Room Lighting

Laundry rooms don't often include windows, so think carefully about the amount of light you'll need

Consider motion detector lighting, for when you enter and leave with your arms full.   In a room with workstations, think about adding under cabinet lighting or other supplemental lighting.  Flexible track lighting can be another great accent, particularly in a multiple use room.

Laundry Room Flooring

Choose a flooring that's easy to clean, and water resistant.  Cork flooring can be considerably more expensive than most standard types of flooring, but a laundry room is a comparitively small space and may be a great room to consider for cork.  Cork is comfortable to stand on when ironing, and naturally water resistant. 

A little planning ahead can make a BIG difference.  Look for a new home builder experienced with universal design, and willing to be flexible enough to meet your goals.    More in Stanton Homes' special "Universal Design" series coming soon!

Universal Design meets the needs of the present and the future. 

Consider universal design concepts for your next home - universal design is most cost efficient and effective when incorporated directly into your new home.  


Thinking of building a new home in the Raleigh area? There are many great places to live near Raleigh, including Angier, Apex, Bear Creek, Cary, Chatham County, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Lillington, Morrisville, Pittsboro, Rolesville, Sanford, Siler City, Silk Hope, Wake Forest, and Wendell.


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Show All Comments
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Good luck in selling new construction .  Many People like laundry rooms next  to main bathroom .

Jul 23, 2010 12:05 AM #1
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

  Good points...I did take the pre-marital vow of no ironing but will look into the cork floor...have a great day !

Jul 23, 2010 12:05 AM #2
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

Now that's a laundry room with some thought behind it--too often in the past the washer and dryer were tucked into a closet or in a corner of the garage with no room to fold etc. 

Jul 23, 2010 12:08 AM #3
Rich Murray
PMNC, Cary, NC - Cary, NC

I have a listing right now that has the laundry room and master closet combined. The owner is an engineer and felt that it made more sense that way. He puts his clothes in the closet, washes them and hangs them back up. Makes sense to me too. However, it's not the "norm." And buyer want to allow others to do laundry as well without them having to go in their master bedroom.

Jul 23, 2010 01:34 AM #4
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Gita - yes, it's fairly traditional to place the laundry room next to the garage and the powder room or full bath on the first floor.  Makes it convenient for clean up coming in, works for space efficiency, and keeps plumbing connections close together. 

Sally - I hate to admit it, but I only iron about once a year.  If it's 100% cotton, I don't buy it!

Norma - As home sizes are starting to trend downwards again, it can be a challenge to include a very large laundry room without sacrificing another area of the home.  It depends on the priorities of the homebuyer. 

Jul 23, 2010 02:23 AM #5
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Rich - I've had requests for two full laundry set ups.  A "traditional" laundry room, plus a small laundry area inside the master closet.  Personally, I tend to run laundry late at night, and I'm not sure if I'd want to hear the machines running from my bed next to the closet.  But it can work for some people!

Jul 23, 2010 02:25 AM #6
Carra & Shae Riley
Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd - Westminster, CO
Helping people Transition at all ages!

Penny....Your post is certainly a blueprint on how to do a laundry right!  Thanks for the great information.

Jul 23, 2010 05:13 AM #7
Richard Strahm
American Foursquare Realty - Lansdale, PA
Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate

Great tips!  I think the second floor laundry closet is a turn off.  It's got to be a full laundry room on the second floor -- or go with the full laundry room on the first floor.

Jul 23, 2010 01:21 PM #8
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Richard - absolutely agree.  I would only suggest a laundry closet on the first floor in a universal design home.  A full size laundry room works best, if the space is available!

Jul 26, 2010 03:18 AM #9
. 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC
What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779


I now am SITTING before my front loader...thanks for the clue. Now energy efficiency can be even more comfortable. I'm "suggesting" this one!

Jul 27, 2010 12:57 AM #10
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

JaneAnne - thanks for the suggest!  It's so much easier to work with those front loaders while seated....

Aug 24, 2010 02:00 AM #11
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