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12 Space-Saving Solutions for Small Laundries

By Julia Fairley associated with 

Many modern laundries are now shrinking in size, with many doing a disappearing act altogether.  If you don’t have space for a separate laundry or if you only have one or two square metres to squeeze one in, these clever design tricks will help you maximise every centimetre.

1. Combine your appliances

Regardless of whether you love them or loathe them, no-one can accuse these laundry appliances of being space guzzlers. Most washer-dryer combos accommodate smaller loads than washing machines. If you have a large family or can easily air-dry your laundry, you may be better off installing a standalone washing machine of similar size and using a retractable clothes line. If, however, you are short on drying space, these dual washer-dryer units can be a godsend.

2. Embrace sink inserts
Too often, the focus of our laundries lands solely on washing and drying. But what about the all-important bench space for those mountains of folding?

If your laundry is already on the small side, chances are your laundry bench space is too, and this is when sink inserts come in handy. These nifty designs fit snugly into most sinks and create extra bench space in a room where every bit counts.
Tip: Get your builder, stone mason or benchtop manufacturer to save the piece of bench cut out for your basin and convert it into a matching sink insert.

3. Make friends with front loaders
If you often have to do the folding on your kitchen bench or table, consider switching to front-loading appliances. ‘Why?!’ we hear top-loading devotees shriek. Because the tops of front-loading appliances can double up as bench space. Sitting front loaders directly on the floor – as opposed to stacking them on top of each other or opting for a wall-hung position – means the top of the appliances comfortably reach bench height.

4. Extra bench space
Still short on bench space? Try incorporating a pull-out option that you can slide away into your joinery when not in use. Modular designs are great for small-scale living. Pull-down benches are also available and are usually affixed to walls or the end of joinery, while collapsible benches have also given many a little laundry a big helping hand.
5. Retractable clothes lines
Air drying our clothes saves huge amounts of electricity and keeps those power bills down, so it’s worth putting thought into savvy and stylish drying solutions. You’ll find pull-down clothes lines, retractable models that scissor back into your wall or joinery and take up almost no room at all, and even ceiling-mounted drying racks that you can lower then raise again so your clothes dry up and out of the way. Just try to install yours in a place you can reach easily.
6. On the board
Large ironing boards often dictate the need for a tall laundry cupboard. But with many of us battling to find space for a washing machine, let alone a dryer, room for a tall cupboard is out of the question.

Hidden ironing boards, which are concealed in your joinery, are the answer to many a question about where to stash this bulky beast. Some models swivel out and rotate back into your cabinetry, while others fold down from the inside of a cupboard. Whichever type you choose, you’ll thank yourself for not having to regularly wrestle a cumbersome ironing board in and out of a cupboard.

7. Choose a small single-bowl sink…
Small spaces call for small measurements, so it makes sense to choose a diminutive design for your laundry sink.

Most people find single-bowl laundry sinks are sufficient (it all depends on how you do your washing), and they take up much less space than their double-bowl brothers.

8. … Or ditch your sink altogether
If your laundry is in the kitchen or bathroom, or if the sinks in these rooms are mere steps away, you may be able to bypass having a separate laundry sink altogether.

This set-up may not suit your requirements if you constantly need to soak garments. But if you use your laundry sink as a dumping ground for dirty clothes or cleaning products instead of actually turning on the taps most days, consider repurposing the valuable space occupied by your laundry sink and using your adjacent kitchen or bathroom sink instead.

9. One room, two functions
One of the most effective ways to squeeze in a laundry when you’re short on space is to combine it with your bathroom or kitchen. These rooms already have ready access to plumbing, so with luck on your side, this may be a straightforward task.
10. Hung out to dry
Our laundries might be getting smaller, but they’re also getting smarter. Many savvy builders and architects now install vents for ducted heating inside joinery, so what looks like a linen cupboard is actually a cosy place to dry clothes out of sight.
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