Convenient Laundry

By Mark J. Donovan

March 13, 2017 3 min read

When we were getting ready to sell our late-1980s vintage home, we heard quite a few complaints about the fact that the washer and dryer were in the basement. Most real estate agents and prospective homebuyers wrinkled their noses when they learned of this apparently ugly fact. My wife and I never really viewed it as a problem and were comfortable in our home for more than a quarter-century. Though it was a surprise concern for us, we were ultimately able to find a buyer for our house who accepted the basement laundry.

So from this learning experience, I would suggest that if you are thinking about someday selling your home and it has a basement laundry, you should think about raising it up to the first or second level of the home. One idea would be to convert another room in your home to a dedicated laundry. For example, a mudroom, den or small bedroom could be a viable area for creating a dedicated laundry. Ideally, you could select a room that already has plumbing in it -- or at least has adjacent walls that can provide access to plumbing drain/vent stacks and supply lines.

To meet today's prospective homebuyer's expectations, the laundry design should include more than just space for the washer and dryer. It should also include a large deep sink and countertops, as well as floor- and wall-mounted cabinets to house detergents and other clothing cleaner products. Moreover, it should be spacious enough to enable soiled clothes to be comfortably stored in it, as well as clean clothes to be folded and ironed in it. Also think about including a wall-integrated drying rack for those items that can't be put into a dryer.

When designing a laundry, think light colors and plenty of bright overhead lighting to make the small area feel bright and cheery. Having a window, if possible, is a nice feature. Also make sure the design includes a door so that you can shut out the noise from the washer and dryer when they're operating, albeit newer ones are much quieter than their predecessors. If room permits, you can also have the laundry double as a pantry or as a drop station for mail, keys, wallets and purses.

So if you don't want to eventually get caught in a real estate squeeze because you have a basement laundry, seriously consider a conversion project to create a dedicated laundry. It would be well worth the investment when it comes to resale value and also your own comfort for as long as you live in the home.

Mark J. Donovan's website is at

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