What better room to trick out than your laundry or mudroom? Usually, it's the smallest room in a house, so going for fun wallpaper or specialty faux finish shouldn't be frightening. You are not committing to a wild color or pattern for the entire house. It is the perfect room to experiment with a faddish color -- e.g., a citrus green or bold watermelon -- as the paint can be changed easily once you tire of the hue. Often this is the room to hang cute signs or a whimsical piece of art. The room also can do double duty as a message center or a room for wrapping gifts.
Beyond adding pizazz to a utilitarian room, you can add some functional elements that might prove to be huge conveniences. These ideas are mainly for a laundry in a more spacious home. I've seen clients install shower pans and low facets so that dirty garden shoes or rain boots are cleaned without creating a mess. People use those same acrylic shower pans as a catch for a drip-dry area to hang hand washables. Sometimes simply adding a door from a laundry to the yard or garage area is a boon.
The sink that is pictured here features gentle whirlpool jets to thoroughly launder delicate washables. It is 25 inches long, 22 inches wide and 11 inches deep and uses approximately 5 gallons of water. Careful hand washing extends the life of a garment and is a wise way to treat expensive garments. Other cool ideas include small pet spas and pedicure tubs. For the single woman with resources, what better way to spoil yourself than having your private spa at home?
Other amenities might include drying racks or drying cabinets. In Europe, they have had drying cabinets in laundromats since the 1980s because the typical home is too small for residential use. The luxury home market here in the U.S. encouraged a handful of appliance manufacturers -- such as Asko, Maytag and Staber -- to supply drying cabinets that are approximately the size of a narrow apartment-size refrigerator. A drying cabinet is an electrical machine designed to expedite the drying of clothing articles that are delicate and have tags that indicate you should "hang dry" or "not tumble dry." Items such as boots, hats, gloves and bulky coats also can be dried safely in this way.
A mudroom is also a logical place for a message board and a charging station for electronic gear, such as cellphones and tablets. Check out the eNook, by Anthro, to see a compact station with a flip-down mini desk. It comes at approximately 36 inches wide, and when closed, it is a mere 7 inches deep. When open, it is about 22 inches deep, and you can lock the entire thing to keep your devices secure. There is a channel with multiple plugs for charging, and when it's closed, your devices remain able to recharge.
Simple whiteboards and old-school cork bulletin boards are popular and very useful for the room that everyone passes through on the way out of the house. Racks or hooks for coats are also useful, as are benches with a shelf for shoes. If you are thinking of redoing a space such as a mudroom or laundry, consider multiple shallow drawers -- about 4 inches deep -- which might stash away pens, markers, tape, packaging materials, stamps, scissors and paper. If you have a printer or scanner in this area, you need a place for ink cartridges and extra printing paper, as well. You likely don't want printers in the laundry, because the lint and dust isn't conducive to keeping a device in tiptop order.
Christine Brun's weekly column, "Small Spaces," can be found at creators.com.