“Laundries are the unsung heroes of our homes,” says Martine Cooper, principal designer and director at Martine Cooper Interior Design.
“Functionally, they ‘wear quite a few hats’ as places to sort, soak, wash, fold and iron,” she adds. “And they often provide additional storage space for linen, cleaning products, odds and ends and anything pet-related.”
That’s a lot to ask of such a small space. And it might explain why remodelling the laundry is often an afterthought and not something we’re quick to dive into.
But there’s no doubt that a bright, stylish, well-designed laundry that blends in beautifully with the rest of the house is something to aspire to. And the good news? With clever planning and careful budgeting, you can make it happen without burning a hole in your pocket.
Instead of leaving it until last, they chose to prioritise the upgrade of their laundry. And with the bill coming in at under $5000, it’s providing inspiration for the rest of their work. The couple made a point of supporting local businesses when purchasing materials and have still managed to save money.
“The vision for the laundry was to create a light and bright space that was both beautiful and functional. A space where you could walk in and feel happy about doing your laundry … if that could ever be the case!” Ingarfill says.
Swapping out a dated wooden door with a sleek and stylish glass replacement was a key part of the revamp. It’s both a visual feature and an energy-saver. “Most of the time I don’t have to turn the light on because there’s so much natural light streaming through,” she adds.
Mitchell is a plumber, and his hands-on skills meant the couple were able to avoid the cost of hiring additional help.
But what if you only have basic skills? Is it possible for the average person to tackle a DIY laundry renovation or, if necessary, to have an installer handle it for them affordably?
Monique Parker, marketing manager at Kaboodle Kitchen says that while professional plumbing and electrical work is something you shouldn’t skimp on, installing a basic laundry yourself is a manageable project.
Nowadays, modular laundry packages come with a wealth of help in the form of videos and tutorials, making it possible for installation to be tackled by most enthusiastic DIY-ers.
“Selecting modular products for your laundry will mean that you don’t pay extra for customised cabinetry, and these products are usually readily available from retailers like Bunnings, which means you can avoid long lead times,” Parker says.
The key is to keep it simple. “Straight-line designs are definitely the most practical and cost-effective,” she explains. “It means you don’t need to incorporate corner base cabinets, which can be costly. And everything you need will generally be within arm’s reach, making laundry day easier.”
If you definitely aren’t handy, Cooper adds, most retailers offer affordable installation services. Alternatively, look for help on sites like Airtasker and Hipages. “But ensure you check reviews, ask for photos of previous work, and even reach out to a previous client for a verbal reference,” she cautions.
According to Cooper, you can also contain costs by focusing on the fitout rather than splashing out on new appliances. “Assuming you have your washer and dryer sorted, spending $5000 will make a significant difference in the way your laundry looks and functions. It will buy you a trough and tap, laminate benchtop, and some basic cabinets with shelving.”
“Our previous laundry had no bench space, a free-standing cupboard and a trough that was way too big (not a great water-saving measure). Our new space just makes the whole process so much more efficient.
“The bench space is a highlight, perfect for sorting. We had a free-standing laundry basket originally, where we now have an integrated pull-out basket in the broom cupboard.
“I still walk in and pinch myself that this is a space we created.