Interior Designer Michelle Lisac’s Advice on Making a Magical Laundry Room

The Californian designer shows us how to spruce up a utilitarian space.
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A laundry room needs to function and perform, so the utility aspect is really important: good counter space for folding, a drying rack or drying bar, and a big, deep sink for rinsing things like soccer cleats and garden tools. You’ll also want to build in lots of storage for cleaning supplies and overflow kitchen pantry items.

Interior designer Michelle Lisac shows us how to spruce up a utilitarian space.

In a smaller space, you can add to the functionality by consolidating and creating efficiencies. You can install a pull-down rack instead of a drying pole or a pull-down counter that covers the sink when you’re not using it.

Big items like a new washer and dryer are obvious choices for a refresh, but small fixes can have an outsize impact. Think about a new shade of paint for the walls or cabinets, a patterned tile design as a backsplash, or a colorful rug. Consider using something you wanted to use in the rest of the house but couldn't. One of our clients found a mint-colored pendant that she loved, but it didn't fit in anywhere else, so she hung it in the laundry room.

Lisac’s laundry room for a home in Aptos, California, includes a deep sink and rolling bins from Steele Canvas Basket Co. to keep up with washing for a family of six.

The key is to add things you'll be happy to see every day, like pretty storage or live plants or a piece of artwork—something that makes you smile every time you walk in. I always tell my clients, "You have to go in there and you have to do laundry, so you might as well make it an enjoyable space. Have fun with it." 

Dwell’s Picks: Good Design Never Fades

A tile backsplash, a plant or two—a few simple things can elevate a hardworking back-of-house space.

A few simple products can elevate a hardworking back-of-house space.

Maybe no one needed to redesign the ironing board, but Rowenta's new device combines steaming and pressing aids into a compact pivoting tool. It gets both jobs done without making the laundry room feel like an industrial dry cleaner. 

With a wall-mounted drying rack and laundry bag holder (shown), this system from Pottery Barn helps organize cleaning and then folds out of the way—perfect for small spaces or neat freaks. 

Not only does this mat from Chilewich give us confidence on slick floors—its latex backing is slip resistant—but we also like that the rest of the material is made up of 25 percent vegetable-based compounds and is phthalate free. 

Most people overlook the benefits of greenery in a utility space, but we highly recommend plant companions in your laundry room. The Monstera deliciosa here sits proudly in a pot from floral and plant designer Sprout Home. 

These tiles were originally designed by Gio Ponti in the early 1960s for the Hotel Parco dei Principi in Sorrento, Italy. They were just put back into production by Ceramica Francesco de Maio. Sure, you can show them off in the kitchen or bathroom, but a bit of Mediterranean breeziness makes laundry a little more chill. 

LG's latest washing machine automatically detects fabrics in a load and dynamically adjusts movement and temperature. It won an Innovation Award at this year's CES. 

A new washer from Samsung has a steam function for deep cleaning and an app that allows for configuring cycles for different fabrics and scheduling self-cleanings. 

Miele's minimalist W1 has stripped-down controls and a well-designed touch screen. It backs up that simplicity with customizable fabric care and more efficient washing, saving water and energy.