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Beautiful laundry rooms for houses big and small

Don't hide these top-performing washers and dryers in the basement

Published: March 09, 2015 06:00 PM
Photos courtesy of Houseplans.com

The family room had its day, so did the great room. But if ever there was a room that needs rebranding, it’s the laundry room. The very words conjure up images of a drab place where dirty clothes pile up—sort of like a huge hamper with a door. More and more homeowners are rethinking this space to better integrate the laundry room into living areas. In larger houses the layout of the laundry room may resemble a kitchen while in smaller homes it may be tucked away in a bathroom.

“We’re seeing a split in tastes between boomers and millennials—large, showy houses for boomers and smaller, more efficient houses for millennials,” says James Roche, CEO of Houseplans.com, an online database of ready-made house blueprints. “In larger laundry rooms we’re seeing an island in the middle—real places that are beautiful and functional—a Pinterestization of laundry rooms. And in smaller homes a laundry room may be combined with another room—a mud room or bathroom.”

Either way, the dimensions of the washing machine and clothes dryer are critical, as is the space needed for the dryer vent. Roche adds that some homeowners are installing a washer and dryer off the kitchen and another smaller pair near the master bedroom. That’s one way to keep the laundry moving. Another is to choose a washer with a large or even jumbo capacity and a dryer to go with it. Here’s a laundry list of recommended washers, dryers, and detergents from the experts at Consumer Reports.

Top pick high-efficiency top-loaders

Samsung WA48H7400AP, $900
Kenmore 28132, $800 
Others to consider:
Samsung WA45H7000AW, $700

Top pick agitator top-loader

GE GTWN5650FWS, $650

Top pick front-loaders

LG WM8500HVA, $1,450
Kenmore Elite 41072, $1,000
Others to consider:
Whirlpool Duet WFW87HEDW, $950

Top pick electric dryers

Samsung DV56H9100ED, $1,500
Samsung DV56H9000EP, $1,500
Others to consider:
Kenmore 81382, $800
LG DLE1001W, $650

Top pick laundry detergents

Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release
Tide HE Plus Bleach Alternative
Member’s Mark Ultimate Clean (Sam’s Club)
Wisk Deep Clean
Tide Plus ColdWater Clean HE

Best matching washers and dryers

If you’re set on buying a matching washing machine and dryer, see “The best matching washers and dryers.” And for all the details, see our ratings of washing machines, clothes dryers, and laundry detergents. If you have any questions, e-mail me at kjaneway@consumer.org.

Kimberly Janeway

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Washing Machines Ratings

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Laundry Detergents Ratings

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Clothes Dryers Ratings

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