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Good Clean Fun

Q: My laundry room is a downer. How can I make it look less like an afterthought and more like a beautiful, functional space?

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This bright, open laundry room features sleek Miele appliances, a glass backsplash, and a shelf to showcase
decorative objects that personalize the space. A counter over the appliances provides ample room for folding.
 

Don’t skimp on lighting in a space where you’re looking to remove stains and wrinkles. “Task lighting is very important,” says Pryor. “If you have cabinets you can place lighting underneath, but you can also install can lights, track lighting, or ceiling-mount fixtures.” But feel free to get creative: How about a funky glass globe pendant fixture (West Elm sells a cool one for $99) or a vintage chandelier? There’s no reason lighting in this space has to be strictly utilitarian.

As far as washers and dryers are concerned, technological advances have made laundry day more eco-smart—front-loading, Energy Star appliances allow you to use less water and dry your clothes in half the time. And bold colors make the machines a lot more fun. Whirlpool’s rich cranberry and a dreamy chardonnay color from LG are among the more interesting hues now available. Wirth has planned renovations around the color of her clients’ laundry appliances (“To go with a silver washer and dryer, we used patinaed silver ceramic tiles from Tile Outlet,” she says).


Asko’s drying cabinets are a luxurious laundry room addition—a way to gently dry sweaters, mittens, jackets, scarves, and boots. They run $1,249 to $1,299.

Another nice splurge is an electric drying cabinet, which dries items with gentle heat. It’s also great for snowy climes. “People are installing these systems as a way to gently dry damp mittens, boots, jackets, and sweaters,” says Don Prevette, vice president of marketing for Asko Appliances (askousa.com), which makes a few models.

Finally, feel free to make the laundry room a pleasant place to hang out while waiting for your clothes to dry. How about a comfy chair? A reading lamp? A TV or music system? Give yourself nice things to look at. “Apply a fresh, soft paint color on the walls and hang fun artwork,” Luthringshausen suggests. For a recent project, Wirth created a modern white laundry room and filled it with the clients’ children’s brightly colored artwork. “The space was anything but mundane,” she says. “It became a happy place.”

Have a design or renovation question? Just drop us a note at chicagohome@chicagomag.com and we’ll do our best to answer it. Sorry, we cannot take questions by phone, or guarantee individual responses.

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