The Laundry Room Guide

How to Design a Resident-Appealing Common Area Laundry Room

Ten community area laundry room tips every owner should know

A community area laundry room can be a valuable amenity for any apartment complex. The following tips are a good start to making laundry facilities appealing to residents, while providing property owners with a valuable leasing tool.

  1. Convenience Is The Key - The primary design consideration of a laundry room must be the convenience to residents. Community area laundry rooms should be located near main traffic areas. A good rule of thumb is to place laundry facilities within 250 feet of any unit, and preferable on the same floor. This may mean having several smaller rooms, rather than one large, centralized one. It all comes down to
  2. Make It Safe - The safety and security of your property, including the laundry room, are key factors in resident satisfaction. Taking a few extra measures such as placing the community area laundry room in a well-lit and adequately visible location goes a long way in promoting resident safety. Also consider making the room accessible only to residents by placing locks on laundry facility doors.
  3. Keep A Clean Area - Residents shouldn't have to endure dirty laundry areas. To ensure cleanliness, arrange regularly scheduled cleaning of the facility. Provide plenty of lined trashcans to encourage resident participation in keeping the area clean.
  4. Make Sure Equipment Works - To maintain the value of your community area laundry room, the laundry equipment should be checked regularly to ensure it is in proper working order. This will guarantee that laundry equipment will always be ready for resident use. Encourage residents to immediately report when equipment is not working properly.
  5. Keep Costs Down - Laundry is something everyone has to do, and making it affordable is one way to keep residents doing their laundry on the property. By charging reasonable fees for washer and dryer usage, you'll see an increase in resident retention.
  6. Supply Enough Machines - Having the right amount of washers and dryers in a community area laundry room reduces wait time and increases resident satisfaction. The demographic make-up of your property will help determine the number of machines you'll need ö your professional MLA laundry route operator can assist you with this decision.
  7. Add Technology - Technology is finding its way into the laundry room, making laundry easier and more convenient for residents. One new innovation includes a card system, rather than coin-operated machines.
  8. Enhance the Social Element - Community area laundry rooms are a place where residents socialize. Laundry facilities are an extension of a resident's homes, and they are used more often than the leasing office or lounge area. With a few added amenities like ample seating, you can promote a sense of community and develop the social aspect of the community area laundry room.
  9. Brighten Up - Laundry rooms should be inviting and attractive! A fresh coat of paint will go a long way in brightening up a laundry room. Select a color that goes with the overall design and color scheme of your property. Also, by simply updating a room's lighting, you can increase security and enhance the cosmetics appearance of the laundry facility.

Factors to Consider in Designing a Resident-Appealing Laundry Room

Location and Design

The primary design consideration in locating laundries should be the convenience of the residents. The laundry room should be near elevators or stairs or other main traffic areas. Community area laundry rooms should not be located in secluded areas of buildings or projects. The location of the laundry room or rooms will depend upon the size and type of project and the number and composition of families.

Special attention must be paid to design in order to eliminate screened areas. To assure that all laundry areas are visible from the corridor, corridor walls should be of glass or contain glass panels. For smaller laundries, a door of approved glass may afford the necessary visibility. Change makers and soap dispensers, if used, should be placed where they are visible from the corridor.

Other design considerations relate to laundry equipment and its arrangement. There must be adequate space for the equipment, for working, for passage, and for equipment servicing. Tables of adequate size for folding laundry should be provided as well as sufficient numbers of washers and dryers. The total number of pieces of equipment will ultimately determine the size of the laundry. The typical washer is 27"-29" wide and 28-1/4" deep; the average single; load dryer is 27"-35" and 28-1/4" deep; the average for single load dryers will also accommodate stack dryers. The average double load dryer is 34" wide, 37-1/2" deep and 72" high.


The type and number of washers, dryers and other equipment required will depend on the composition of the residents and the number of apartments to be served.

Washers recommended

Energy efficient 14-16 lb., heavy duty commercial washers are recommended.

Dryers recommended

There should always be one energy efficient, single load dryer for each washer. When more than one dryer is required, stacked dryers may be used. Double load dryers are less energy efficient and may slow the laundry completion process when used to dry less than a double wash load.

Equipment guidelines

Use the following guidelines to determine equipment needed for each laundry room location. The number of machines required is affected by the following:

  • Resident profile (families, singles, elderly)
  • Price charged (low price encourages usage)
  • Proximity of units to laundry rooms
Predominant Resident Profile Washer and Dryers per using unit
Families 1 pair W/D per 8-12 units
Young Working Adults 1 pair W/D per 10-15 units
Older Working Adults 1 pair W/D per 15-20 units
Students 1 pair W/D per 25-40 students
Senior Citizens 1 pair W/D per 25-40 units



It is necessary that wastewater be properly drained in order to avoid unpleasant odors from bleach and detergents. Washers should not be drained into tubs because of the possibility of overflow. Water lines should be sized according to the number of washers in the area.

Local codes vary, so contact an MLA member company or a local, licensed contractor for assistance.

Electrical Requirements

E lectrical codes (as in plumbing) vary greatly from area to area, so contact an MLA member company or a licensed contractor for more information and assistance.


The most overlooked consideration in laundry room preparation is dryer exhaust. Venting refers to the passage or provision of a natural airflow. Both gas and electric dryers must get rid of hot air, water moisture and lint particles. This is not a natural flow: hot air wants to go up; water and lint want to go down. The slightest obstacle in the exhaust system will reduce the dryer efficiency. Wherever possible, dryers should be vented individually to the outside.

Contact an MLA member company or a licensed contractor for more information and assistance.

Make-Up Air

Make up air is the air that is brought into the room to replace that which has been exhausted by the gas dryers and water heaters. Obviously, a double load dryer exhausts more air than a single load dryer does. Providing for the make-up air is particularly important where laundry rooms are located on every floor since airtight fire doors are generally used.

Contact an MLA member company or a licensed contractor for more information and assistance.