You may have heard of the term ‘European laundry’ and are wondering what on earth it means?
This term is widely open to interpretation, but basically a European laundry is one that is tucked away inside a cupboard. Neatly concealed behind bi-folds or doors that disappear into the wall cavity. A European laundry can be located in the kitchen, hallway, bathroom or in an alcove such as under the stairs.
In Australia our houses are generally bigger, so it’s quite common to have a separate laundry inside or outside the home. However, over the past few years it’s becoming increasingly popular to incorporate the laundry into cupboards or in the kitchen. Especially in units and apartments where space can be an issue.
This ‘laundry in cupboard’ idea has obviously come from Europe, hence the term ‘European Laundry’. In the UK the washing machine and tumble dryer can often be found in the kitchen in most households. This obviously saves space. But also, another great advantage here is that the plumbing is already there as part of the kitchen.
What Does A European Laundry Typically Contain?
A well designed European laundry will save space without loosing anything that might otherwise be in a conventional laundry.
At a bare minimum, your laundry should have space for a washing machine, tumble dryer, sink and some storage space. But if you have the room then incorporating some bench space, extra cabinetry, a broom cupboard and a fold away ironing board would be beneficial.
Other things to consider when planning your European laundry would be power points, ventilation (either natural or fan), built-in washing basket and maybe a rail to hang clothes hangers on.
If you’re tight on space then a ‘combo washer dryer’ could be something to think about.
Key Design Points To Consider:-
Noise reduction – using solid or soundproofed doors will help to reduce the amount of noise from your washer or dryer (providing they are closed during use, of course). If possible, position the machines away from congregating areas and select low noise level appliances. Adding extra insulation to internal walls will also help to keep the noise down.
Power points – be practical about the locations of these. Apart from the washing machine and dryer, think about what you will use them for. You may have space to charge your handheld vacuum? You might have a clothes steamer? Or a fold away ironing board where the iron will need a power point close to?
Lighting – it’s helpful to have a well lit laundry for locating stains and focusing on your task at hand. Invest in LED lighting, this will give great lighting but will also keep your laundry room cooler than other options. LED lights don’t give off much heat but tumble dryers certainly do!
Stacked or side by side? – Mounting washers and dryers stacked on top of each other will make the most of vertical space. But having a side-by-side washer and dryer will maximise bench space. Either design works well and will depend on the space available.
Plumbing – situating your European laundry near to kitchens or bathrooms (for example) will minimise plumbing work and costs. Consider any existing plumbing and how that could work in with your laundry.
Of course having ventilation in your laundry cupboard is extremely important. Installing an exhaust fan should keep any mould issues at bay. Also a condensing dryer will help to reduce the vented moisture when drying clothes.
We all know that kitchens sell homes, but laundries do too. A well designed internal laundry with good lighting, bench space and quality appliances will give your space a modern, fresh and valuable appeal. In cupboard laundries ‘borrow’ space from a more ‘used’ area and then hide away when not required. Maximising space where necessary.
European laundries take up less space than a full laundry but also neatly hide away those appliances and washing that we’d rather not think about for now. Clever use of fixtures, fittings and storage solutions can help make your tiny space look attractive and special. Lets face it, we’d all love a laundry that’s not only functional and efficient but also looks beautiful and neat too.