Category: Other Rooms


So, You Want to… Install a Laundry Chute

Installing a laundry chute requires planning, never more than when retrofitting a chute into an existing house. So before getting your heart set on one, review these project pointers on siting, design, and safety.

Laundry Chute

Photo: shutterstock.com

Perhaps the most tedious part of doing laundry—itself a tedious chore—is struggling down the stairs with a heavy and cumbersome hamper overflowing with stinky clothes. If you’ve done this on a weekly basis for a period of years, it’s no surprise you’ve neared the end of your rope. The rumors are true: A laundry chute really does make the laundry task less of a hassle, and although installing one is not rocket science, there are a few thing to know before moving ahead.

Build or Buy?
Sometimes it really does seem as though home centers stock literally everything. Believe it or not, you can even buy a laundry chute kit at your local box store. That convenience comes at a cost, though; it’s somewhat cheaper (but less quick and easy) to buy all the supplies separately. What sort of materials are we talking about? For one thing, there’s the chase—that is, the passage through which dropped clothing travels to the basement (or wherever your laundry area happens to be). Usually, contractors and DIY-inclined homeowners build the chase from the galvanized ductwork typically used in home heating and cooling systems. Though costlier, large-diameter PVC pipe also works well. Wood, drywall, and melamine are additional options, but these latter materials require joints, and with joints you run the risk of snags (the enemy of a successful laundry chute). Generally speaking, a wider chute is preferable to a narrow one. Shoot for a one-by-two-foot conduit. Fitting a chase of those dimensions entirely behind the plane of your existing walls probably isn’t in the cards. Instead, expect for the chase to punch at least a few inches into the rooms through which it’s going to run. Yes, you’re right—doing that is definitely going to complicate the job!

Location, Location, Location
Real estate and laundry chutes have at least one thing in common: For both, location is of key importance. Certainly, you want to find a place for the chute that’s going to be convenient in your day-to-day life, but the greater challenge is going to be finding a spot where the chase can fit into the framework of your house. While it’s easy enough to build a laundry chute into a new home or addition, integrating one into an existing house takes some doing. What you need to find is a stud bay that drops to the basement, with neither wiring nor plumbing in the way. Prepare to cut a few small exploratory holes if you never knew or have forgotten what lies behind this or that wall. Hallways are often a good bet, especially if their walls run parallel to underlying floor joists. Note that it’s possible for a laundry chute to bend slightly in its run so as to avoid an obstruction, but that bend must be gradual and of course is going to complicate matters.

Laundry Chute - Open Door

Photo: builtbylandmark.com

The Big Drop
The idea of a laundry chute appeals most to those who live in a multistory home. Bear in mind, however, that the risk of a snag increases in direct proportion with the length of the chase. There are worse things in the world than having a sock snag in your laundry chute, but the impetus for building one is to minimize hassle, and clearing a snag is nothing if not annoying. Most homeowners keep a pole or stiff wire on hand to deal with such a problem, but if you’re using a contractor, he or she may be able to design the chase in such a way that it allows for user-friendly maintenance over time.

Kid Stuff
Are there small children in the house? If so, position any upstairs entry doors to the chute high up on the wall, beyond the reach of kids who don’t know better than to send themselves (or the cat) on a ride to the basement. Alternatively or in addition, downsize the door so that no small bodies can fit through. Yet another child-safety option would be to put a lock on the door to the chute.

Fire Safety
Properly designed, a laundry chute provides unobstructed passage between floors. Many people believe that this chimney-like construction has the potential to turn a small fire into a really big and utterly devastating one. On the other hand, many builders and architects point out that stairways carry the same potential risk. And whereas stairways are typically open, laundry chutes are most often closed shut behind doors that can slow a fire’s spread.

Regardless, in some municipalities, there are strict fire codes prohibiting or restricting the construction of laundry chute. Before going ahead with plans, be sure to check with your local building authority.


Bob Vila Radio: Installing a Fold-Down Ironing Board

To save space wherever you do the laundry, install a fold-out ironing board. Here are some tips on getting it done.

If you’re like a lot of people, space in your home is at a premium. In other words, figuring out where to stash your stuff is an ongoing preoccupation. One prime example of a “where do I put this?” item is the ironing board.

Photo: shutterstock.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON FOLD-DOWN IRONING BOARDS or read the text below:

Why not solve that storage problem by installing a fold-down unit? Sure, you can build one from scratch, but they’re also available—pre-assembled and ready for installation—online or at your local home center.

Whether you build or buy, it’s best to install the fold-down unit in a stud bay that has existing wiring. That way, you’ll have ready access to power for the iron (and for a lamp, so you can see what you’re doing).

First, measure the dimensions of the unit, then use a drywall saw to cut an appropriate size hole in the wall. Next, cut and screw-mount two sections of 2×4 to frame the top and bottom of the cavity. Once you drill a hole for your wiring, you’re ready to slide your cabinet into the framed cavity and secure it with wood screws.

Chances are your old ironing board will find a new home at your next yard sale!

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Weekend Projects: 5 Easy and Elegant DIY Canopy Beds

Do you crave the romance and coziness of a canopy bed? Then try out one of these accessible variations on the traditional canopy. You'll be sleeping in style in no time.

We tend to think of canopy beds as being romantic, glamorous, and perhaps a bit showy. Yet their origins are humble. Back in the Middle Ages, people cordoned off their sleeping areas behind fabric in order to deter pests and insects. Today’s homeowners choose canopy beds for a variety of reasons, but practicality usually isn’t one of them. These billowy sanctuaries have remained popular mainly due to their decorative value. If you’ve always wanted your own private canopy, be heartened by the fact that it’s actually pretty easy to transform a regular mattress and frame into a DIY canopy bed that’s replete with magic and mystery, comfort and calm.

 

1. JUMP THROUGH HOOPS

DIY Canopy Bed - Hoop

Photo: acasadava.com

Create a DIY canopy bed using little more than a basic embroidery hoop and a pair of store-bought or homemade curtains. Fit the fabric panels onto the hoop, then hang using hardware (a pot rack hook works well). Get the tutorial from Country Living; so long as you already have the curtains, the project should cost only about $10.

 

2. PULL THE CURTAIN

DIY Canopy Bed - Curtain Rod

Photo: bargainhoot.com

Surround your bed with a 360-degree fabric canopy—inexpensively, and without modifying your headboard, bed frame, mattress, or box spring. It’s as simple as mounting curtain rods to the ceiling; the rods should echo the shape and size of your bed. Once the rods are in place, add gauzy curtains to each side, and voilà!

 

3. JUST HANG OUT

DIY Canopy Bed - Modern

Photo: elementsofstyleblog.com

Display a graphic textile in this modern, minimalist take on a DIY canopy bed. Install a grommet in each corner of the fabric, string rope through each hole, and then tie the panel to the ceiling by means of hooks or screws. Bear in mind, this idea can work in many rooms: You can cast a cozy vibe not only in a bed, but also over a couch or chaise.

 

4. MAKE IT SWING

DIY Canopy Bed - Swing Arms

Photo: bhg.com

Here’s another way to make a lovely, low-cost DIY canopy bed using hardware originally designed for window treatments. Fasten a pair of swing-arm curtain rods to the wall a few inches below the ceiling, one on either side of the bed. To complete the look, loosely drape a swag of fabric across the bed from one rod to the other.

 

5. CLIMB THE LADDER

DIY Canopy Bed - Ladder

Photo: chippingwithcharm.blogspot.com

Chipping with Charm offers up a solution for those who love the concept of a DIY canopy bed but don’t love frilly home design. Mount a vintage ladder over the bed—granted, that’s no easy feat—then weave fabric through the ladder rungs. Alternatively, hang panels only on the ends of the ladder for a more open and uniform aesthetic.


Weekend Projects: 5 Flat-Out Wonderful DIY Platform Beds

The sleek lines and compact design of a platform bed suit a variety of interiors. Platforms can be inexpensively made and can easily incorporate storage—which makes them great for small bedrooms and small budgets alike. Witness this all for yourself with our roundup of DIY platform beds.

Platform beds never go out of style—unlike, say, platform shoes, but that’s a different story. Appropriate in a range of decorating schemes, the long-and-low design of a platform bed appeals not only to the eye, but also to the wallet—and to those who are above all practical-minded. It may be obvious but is well worth mentioning that a platform bed lets you save a bunch of money by not having to buy a box spring. Another important advantage: Platform beds lend themselves to built-in storage cubbies, shelves, and drawers that conserve valuable floor space. If you’re intrigued by the style’s many selling points, scroll down to see five different ways to approach building a DIY platform bed.

 

1. PICK PALLETS

DIY Platform Bed - Pallets

Photo: theplatformbed.com

Shipping pallets, with their rough-hewn texture, yield a DIY platform bed with a distinctively handmade aesthetic. Fasten a couple of pallets against the wall vertically, and in an instant you have a low-cost headboard that coordinates perfectly with the frame. If you wish, paint or stain both for a more finished look.

 

2. BE SHELF-ISH

DIY Platform Bed - IKEA

Photo: vanillajoy.com

We’ve noticed several ingenious DIY platform bed projects involving IKEA shelving units, either alone or in combination with wood framing. It’s hard not to love how easy these are to assemble—and afford. Of course the real clinchers are the storage compartments, which make this design ideal for anyone starved for space.

 

3. GO MODERN

DIY Platform Bed - Modern

Photo: mid-century-modern.net

The sleek profile of a DIY platform bed looks very much at home in a modern space, particularly when the bed frame has been graced with mid-century-esque details. With little more than oak boards and metal hairpin legs, you can build a piece just like this one, which recalls an earlier age but retains timeless charm.

 

4. ASSEMBLE A KNOCKOFF

DIY Platform Bed - Copy

Photo: caldwellcouple.blogspot.com

By following an online tutorial, The Caldwell Couple managed to knock off the design of a Pottery Barn Kids bed, completing the project for about $120 (hundreds less than it would have cost to buy from the retailer). Platform beds are easy for children to access, and because the beds are so close to the ground, they’re quite safe.

 

5. FLOAT AWAY

DIY Platform Bed - Floating

Photo: stylusa.com

Some platform beds look as if they are floating when in reality they are perched on a smaller base that you could see if you were to peer underneath. You can add functionality to this form by making the platform about six inches wider than your mattress; the extra space becomes a sort of nightstand for odds and ends.


Planning Guide: Mudrooms

Every house needs a clean, well-organized spot where family and friends can hang their coats, stash their boots, and neatly rest all of their bags, hats, scarves and backpacks. Yes, everyone needs a mudroom—and with careful planning, you can create one that's not just a staging area, but a true command central.

Photo: cynthialynn.com

As the main staging area for arrivals and departures, the mudroom is a much-relied-upon space. If your floor plan doesn’t include a mudroom, you can create one by screening or walling in a section of an existing room, by finishing an attached porch, or by building a small addition. However you go about it, once you have a mudroom, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without one!

LOCATION
Whether you start from scratch or convert an existing room—or part of it—into a mudroom, choose a location that is frequently used by your family to get in and out of the house. Kitchens or pantries with entry doors to the exterior are ideally suited to incorporate a mudroom. Garages are also excellent candidates. Utility or laundry rooms with an outside entrance make good mudrooms as well—you can wash and dry the wet, dirty clothes on the spot! The same is true of basements that are equipped with plumbing and have entry doors to the exterior.

Farmhouse mudroom

Photo: pocketfullofblue.blogspot.com

FLOORING
Because the main function of a mudroom is to keep mud and snow away from the rest of the house, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting the floor dirty—there will be plenty of dirt. So you’ll need to select a durable flooring that is easy to clean.

Tiles make hard-wearing and decorative floors, but for safety reasons choose nonslip styles. Vinyl tile and linoleum flooring is durable and washable too, but make sure that the color and pattern you pick will hide dirt and stains easily. Another good option is concrete. Its easy maintenance makes it perfect for mudroom floors, and when stained, colored, or painted, it can be a very attractive flooring material.

Related: How to Stain Concrete

Whatever you choose as your flooring surface, be sure to place fiber mats or absorbent rugs near the entryway to catch water and dirt before they get tracked through the house. It’s a good idea to install a boot scraper just outside the entrance to your mudroom, so dirt and mud won’t even make it over the threshold.

If you have the budget and your home allows for it, consider installing a drain in the center of the room and angling the floor slightly so that water and slushy, melting snow can drain away and you can easily wash out the room as often as required. If it’s not practical to place a drain in the center of the room, consider putting it in a corner where you can set a mesh rack above it for wet boots and shoes. If a drain is not possible, a sturdy rubber mat with sidewalls should do the trick.

Mudroom  Decor

Photo: bhg.com

EXTRA STORAGE
As any homeowner knows, you can never have enough storage; this is especially true in your mudroom. Because it’s the main pickup and drop-off spot in the house, the mudroom needs to accommodate coats, scarves, boots, cycling helmets, and backpacks—thereby stopping these items from littering entryways, hallways, and bedrooms.

One way to eliminate clutter is to install cabinets fitted with pegs, shelves, and drawers. Assign a specific storage space to each family member. Make them all responsible for putting away their own coats, shoes, and other items they use every day. If the budget allows, include upper cabinets in the plan. They’re great for stashing out-of-season items.

It’s also a good idea to include a storage bench in the mudroom. It’s not only convenient for removing wet shoes, but it also provides a space below where those shoes can be stowed. (And if the bench is sturdy enough, you can use it to reach those handy upper cabinets!) Again, if you are going store your shoes in cubbyholes beneath the bench, use plastic trays or mats cut to size to make cleanup easier.

QUICK EXIT AND ENTRY
Mudrooms can help create a hassle-free start to the day and a relaxing homecoming in the evening—if they’re well organized. As you’re planning, make sure there’s a place for everything. For example, set up decorative bowls or pegs for car keys and keep a notepad by the door for reminders, or even put up a cork board, whiteboard, or chalkboard where family members can leave notes. Set up a charging station for your electronic devices (if your mudroom is heated) so that you won’t forget your phone in the morning. Use pegs or a vintage coat rack to hang dog leashes, shopping bags, and coats so they’re easy to grab quickly. One more practical addition: a mirror to ensure that you leave the house looking well turned out.

WARM WELCOME
Your guests, family members, and even pets will appreciate coming in from the freezing outdoors to a warm and cozy mudroom. To keep the space toasty, you may need to rely on a space heater or heat lamp (which can also help dry damp clothes), or you can connect the room to the home’s central heating or hardwire an electric baseboard system. If you have a pet, once the room is sufficiently heated, you could consider putting a pet bed in a corner and making the room your companion’s special retreat.

In addition to adequate heating, it’s essential to have proper ventilation in a mudroom to keep the air fresh (there are likely to be a lot of shoes here after all!) and to prevent the growth of mildew and mold. If there are no windows in the room that you can open for fresh air, a bathroom-type exhaust fan can do the trick.

CONTROL ROOM
For frequent travelers who worry about bedbugs or dedicated hikers who are concerned about ticks, the mudroom can be a great place to “decontaminate” when you return home. If you have a washer and dryer in the room, simply unpack or undress in the mudroom and start up a laundry cycle. (Keep some robes and slippers in the room to help with this process!) If your laundry facilities aren’t close by, keep plenty of heavy-duty plastic bags on hand to transport clothing from the mudroom to your laundry room.

One final selling point: If you suffer from allergies, a mudroom can be effective in minimizing the amount of outdoor allergens like dust, pollen, and mold that enter the house on your clothing.

CHEERFUL DECOR

Even though it has the word “mud” in its name, your mudroom does not need to be drab. You can paint the walls in bright colors and use color-coded storage units and decorative baskets, making the room lively while still keeping things stored neatly and out of sight. Paint a wall with chalkboard paint and you’ll also have an attractive and useful means of keeping your busy family organized. Installing pendant or recessed lighting instead of fluorescent will make the room feel more like home than a storage area—and, after all, it’s both!


How To: Install a Dryer Vent

Having your dryer properly vented is crucial in keeping the appliance operating effectively and avoiding the risk of fire or water damage to your home. Fortunately, installing a dryer vent is easy to do.

Dryer Vent Installation

Photo: familyhandyman.com

Developed in 19th-century England, the first mechanized clothes dryers were perforated barrels that rotated over flames. Today’s appliances are not so very different, at least in principle, with heated air blown through a tumbler. But where does the air go once it has stolen moisture from your socks, shirts, and hand towels? If you’ve ever walked or driven past a modern-day Laundromat, then you already know: For a dryer to operate safely and effectively, it must vent to the outside.

Related: 15 Laundry Rooms We Love

In recent decades, it’s been common practice for homeowners to use flexible vinyl or metal tubing in dryer vent installation. The ridged design of these ducts, however, tends to pose a fire hazard: In short, they trap lint. For that reason, experts now instead recommend the use of rigid or semirigid hose; either can be found easily and purchased inexpensively in the diameter appropriate for your appliance (for most dryers, the correct duct size is four inches).

STEP 1
Dryer vent installation begins with a decision: By what route will the duct travel from your appliance to your home’s exterior? The shorter, the better. A straight path is the shortest possible route, but not always practical. If, say, your dryer sits in the basement, then the hose needs to make at least one turn. To complicate matters, the total length of the run should not exceed 25 feet—and that’s for a straight shot. From that maximum, deduct five feet for 90-degree bends, and two and a half feet for 45-degree ones.

STEP 2
Now comes the most challenging part of dryer vent installation: putting a hole in the exterior wall. In most cases, the opening must be four and a quarter inches wide (for confirmation, consult the instructions provided by the manufacturer). I suggest drilling a pilot hole first, then going outside to double-check its position. If there’s no impediment, and you’re boring through wood, proceed to use the drill/driver, first outfitting the tool with a hole-saw attachment. To penetrate stucco or concrete, it’s easier to use a masonry bit to drill multiple holes around the circumference of the desired opening before manually chiseling out its interior.

Dryer Vent Installation - Exterior View

Photo: shutterstock.com

STEP 3
Install the dryer vent cap against the side of your house, being sure that its attached pipe fits through the wall opening you have made. Secure the cap with the provided screws, and don’t forget to caulk around the edges for protection against the elements. Now go inside and connect the dryer duct to the vent cap pipe (a 90-degree elbow may be needed), securing the connection with a hose clamp.

STEP 4
Having moved the dryer into the desired spot in your laundry room, measure the distance from the back of the machine to the vent opening, accounting for all the necessary turns in the ductwork. With a pair of tin snips, proceed to cut the tubing to the length of the measured distance. If you are joining more than one length of tubing, reinforce all joints with foil tape. When you’re finally attaching the tubing to your dryer, remember to secure the connection by means of a hose clamp, as you did in Step 3.

STEP 5
At this point, it’s important to make certain your dryer vent installation has been successful. Switch on the dryer, then go outside to inspect the vent cap: It should be emitting warm air. If it’s not, head back indoors to review your ductwork. The most likely explanation is that one of the connections has come undone.

Remember that in order for your dryer to keep operating at maximum efficiency, you must periodically vacuum inside the vent system, as lint has a stubborn way of lingering, even when there are no ridges in which it can get lodged.


Bob Vila Radio: Doormats

To protect your floors and home from dirt, rain, and other debris, turn to the humble doormat as your first line of defense.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, it can feel like the whole world is beating a path to your door, bearing gifts, desserts, and… dirt. A good doormat is your first line of defense for stopping that dirt at the door.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON DOORMATS or read the text below:

doormats

Shutterstock

For maximum protection, put one mat outside and another immediately inside every entrance to your house. Both should be at least 80 percent of the width of the door and deep enough so that visitors can step on each mat twice as they enter. The outdoor mat should be made of an all-weather material and have a textured surface, so visitors can scrape debris off their shoes. Don’t ignore aesthetics—your doormat is one of the first things your guests encounter. Make it welcoming.

Your indoor mat should be skid-resistant and have enough texture to catch dirt, but mostly it should be absorbent—this is, after all, where your guests hand over coats and dripping umbrellas. Before you start using a new mat, make sure it isn’t so thick that it interferes with the door. And vacuum your indoor mat regularly. You don’t want people tracking in dirt they pick up from your mat!

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Planning Guide: Laundry Room

Take some of the drudgery out of doing the wash by creating a cheerful, better organized, and more efficient laundry room.

Laundry Room Ideas

Photo: agreatkitchen.com

The space where you wash dirty clothes need not be dirty too. Whether you’re starting from scratch or updating an existing space, these laundry room ideas can help you design a cheerful, comfortable, and efficient area for this often dreaded but necessary household chore.

LOCATION
In the typical home, the laundry room is in the basement, and for good reason: Washers and dryers are notoriously noisy contraptions. With advancements in their technology, however, these machines have grown quieter. As a result, more and more homeowners are choosing to locate the laundry room closer to main living areas, especially those rooms where clothing tends to come off—namely, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Bear in mind that laundry equipment needs two things in order to operate: first, a plumbing hookup, and second, a means of ventilation to the outdoors. Given the plumbing requirement, it’s wise to position a washing machine near existing water supply pipes, otherwise you’ll need to call in a plumber to install new ones. Review local building codes; a plumbing vent, which allows air to escape the system, may be required.

Related: 15 Laundry Rooms We Love

The necessity of ventilation dictates placement of the dryer, because its vent works best when it spans a short distance with few (if any) redirections. For this reason, locating the dryer against an exterior wall is strongly recommended. If you’re given a choice between a metal vent pipe and a corrugated metal tube, choose the former. Its smooth interior enhances airflow and reduces lint accumulation, making drying quicker and safer.

Putting a washer and dryer in a room that’s never before held heavy appliances? Look into reinforcing the floor joists so they can safely carry the load. Doing so also helps contain noise or vibrations. Although many energy-efficient machines are small enough to occupy nontraditional laundry spaces, such as closets and pantries, double-check your measurements to be sure the appliances will fit through the doors and staircases in your home.

FLOORING
Traditionally popular laundry room flooring choices are vinyl or linoleum. Both are more affordable and less maintenance-intensive than either wood or tile. Today, however, as homeowners seek to humanize these formerly utilitarian spaces, there has been a surge of interest in cork flooring, a handsome, hard-wearing, and relatively inexpensive material. Consider also rubber mat flooring, commonly used in fitness gyms, which is quick to install, sound-muffling, and comfortable underfoot.

Laundy Room Ideas - Beadboard

Photo: whittenarchitects.com

STORAGE
Although designed for other applications, closet storage organizers and kitchen cabinets adapt well for the purpose of minimizing clutter in the laundry room. Home improvement centers offer a wide selection of cabinets and countertops that can be installed with ease by intermediate-level weekend do-it-yourselfers. Above the washer and dryer, use wall-mounted units to conserve valuable floor space. And, if you have the room for one, set up a permanent rack on which to hang clothes as they come out of the dryer. You can also use it to air-dry delicate items, if desired, but for best results, install a dehumidifier or exhaust fan to take moisture out of the air.

LIGHTING
Good light is essential at different stages of the clothes-washing process: You must be able to see stains in order to treat them prior to washing, and you can’t iron out a wrinkle that you failed to notice in the first place. In a laundry room, track lighting excels, because its multiple heads can be adjusted to illuminate different work areas. Meanwhile, windows are advantageous, because they not only usher in fresh air and release humidity, but they also provide ambient light.

INSULATION
Washers and dryers sometimes make a racket like an alien spacecraft revving for takeoff, so insulating against sound can be very important in a laundry room. Two layers of wallboard on the walls and ceilings suppress noise better than one, and the cavities between wall studs and floor joists should be filled with fiberglass, rigid foam, or spray insulation. Any of these prevent sound from reaching adjoining rooms, including those on the level above or below.

ELECTRICAL
A licensed electrician must install dedicated lines for both the washer and dryer. If you have an electric dryer, you need 240-volt service. Gas-fueled dryers, by contrast, operate on standard 120-volt lines. With a gas appliance, however, be aware that building codes often require a plumber to handle the piping between the municipal supply and the on-site gas storage tank.

FLOODING
To prevent the damage that a malfunctioning washing machine can cause, situate the appliance in a drip pan—or better yet, install a floor drain. Water valves should be easily accessible to the homeowner. As an added safeguard, opt for an automatic shutoff that halts the flow of water in the event of a leak. Another prudent measure is to install a raised threshold at the entrance of the laundry room; that way, if the room ever floods, the rest of the house is spared.

Laundry Room Ideas - Ironing Board

Photo: crisparchitects.com

Worthwhile Extras
- A laundry chute spells the end to those exhausting trips down the stairs, basket in hand, to laundry rooms on lower floors or in the basement.

- For many tasks, and not only those related to washing clothes, a laundry sink may prove to be a valuable asset—for example, they’re great for rinsing gardening tools.

- An ironing board hinged to the wall, incorporated into a pull-out drawer, or stored in a tall cabinet beside the dryer makes ironing more convenient—and may even inspire you to do it more often!

- Consider mounting a small flat-screen TV to the wall of your laundry room, so all that stain-treating, folding, ironing, and hanging will seem to go by more quickly.


Weekend Projects: 5 Fresh Laundry Room Storage Options

Create a less cluttered, more efficient laundry area, so you can easily get this chore done fast.

Whether you have a small closet or a large room devoted to doing the laundry, chances are that you want more storage in your laundry area. While there’s no avoiding this chore, having a more functional and efficient laundry area can at the very least make the task less of a nuisance. These DIY laundry room storage solutions won’t necessarily make you love washing your clothes each week, but they can assist in you completing the job more quickly and with a minimum of headaches along the way.

 

1. MAKE A DRYING RACK

DIY Laundry Room Storage - Drying Rack

Photo: centsationalgirl.com

How many times has one of your favorite shirts emerged from the dryer two sizes too small? The surefire way to protect delicate articles of clothing from a similar fate is to let them air-dry. Centsational Girl shows how you can build your own wall-mounted, fold-out, space-saving drying rack in no time.

 

2. BUILD AN IRONING BOARD

DIY Laundry Room Storage - Ironing Board

Photo: designdishes.blogspot.com

Make the most of every inch with this simply genius DIY laundry room storage trick. If your washer and dryer are front-loading, they can easily support a combination countertop-ironing board. Yes, you can finally say goodbye to that clunky, creaking, stand-alone ironing board that you loathe to unfold.

 

3. CREATE A LOST-AND-FOUND

DIY Laundry Room Storage - Sock Board

Photo: shopruche.com

Few things are certain in life, but besides death and taxes, you can also count on occasionally losing a sock or two in the wash. Here’s a project that can help ensure a happy ending for incomplete pairs: Build a board to serve as a DIY laundry room storage area for single socks in search of mates.

 

4. INSTALL A RISER

DIY Laundry Room Storage - Riser

Photo: justagirlblog.com

The dead zone above side-by-side washers and dryers is especially frustrating where floor space is limited. Installing cabinets beneath laundry machines is smart for two reasons: Not only do such units add storage space for supplies, but they also eliminate the need to hunch over when loading and unloading.

 

5. GO MOBILE

DIY Laundry Room Storage - Mobile Station

Photo: hoosierhomemade.com

From Hoosier Homemade, this DIY laundry room storage cart can be modified to hold as many baskets (or shelves) as desired. Designate one compartment for each family member, or use the sections to separate whites, colors, and delicates. The best part? Casters make the cart effortlessly easy to move.


Bob Vila Radio: Upcycling Cribs

In 2011, federal safety standards for baby cribs changed, making it illegal to sell older, unsafe models. Rather than send yours to the landfill, consider new ways of putting that old crib to some good use.

In 2011, federal safety standards for baby cribs changed significantly, making it illegal to sell older models that no longer make the grade. Even thrift shops no longer accept these cribs, because they cannot be resold.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON UPCYCLING CRIBS or read the text below:

Upcycling Cribs

Photo: shutterstock.com

That left an awful lot of families with beautiful cribs languishing in their attics and basements, unable to donate them and unwilling to pass on potentially dangerous designs to family or friends. Short of sending these lovely and sentimental pieces to the landfill, what can you do?

Well, I’ve been amazed at what some people have done—I’ve seen creative upcycling ideas including chairs, benches, dish racks, desks, chalkboards, easels, magazine racks, even a garden trellis!

Keep in mind that cribs were designed to be structurally sound only when assembled as intended, so you’ll have to be smart about designing your new piece so it doesn’t wobble. Draw a few variations on your ideas before you start cutting anything, and try to anticipate weak spots that may need extra support or bracing.  Just remember, any project is a success that keeps the old crib useful and out of the landfill!

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.