Laundry rooms are moving out of a forgotten corner and into the heart of the home. A number of companies are finding that homeowners are no longer satisfied with a utility closet for their washer and dryer. They want a peaceful, efficient work space that looks as nice as any other room.

In an NAHB consumer preference survey, 95% of respondents said they either desire or must have a separate laundry room in their new home. According to a study done by Whirlpool, 66% of Americans want their laundry area to look more attractive. Respondents also wanted pleasant surroundings, space for additional activities, and more sophisticated fabric tools.

Whirlpool's Family Studio concept aims to “make doing laundry faster and easier and give consumers the flexibility of accomplishing other tasks at the same time,” says Mara Villanueva, brand manager. Features such as an island or large table for folding, extra cabinets and shelves for storage, an ironing station, and a drying cabinet can be included.

The Whirlpool Family Studio transforms the laundry room into an inviting and efficient work space.
The Whirlpool Family Studio transforms the laundry room into an inviting and efficient work space.

The NAHB survey also found that consumers want bigger, high-end appliances. To this end, luxury appliance manufacturer Siemens has launched a line of appliances available at Best Buy. “Consumers who will be attracted to the Siemens brand are people with a strong sense of style and a passion for technology,” says Michael Bohn, director of brand marketing at Siemens. The ultraSense laundry system features an Energy Star–rated washer and a dryer with a rack that allows tumble-free drying for special garments.

Demand for a well-appointed laundry room may signal a new trend in home expansion. After adding on a deck for leisure, homeowners might want to knock out a wall and add some cabinets and an island — for laundry.