Washing Machine In Kitchen – Pros, Cons, Considerations & Advice
As unconventional as it may sound to some Americans, having your washing machine in the kitchen has practical roots and has become the norm in places like the UK and mainland Europe as well as many urban dwellings worldwide.
However, there are definitely some practical tips and considerations you need to be aware of when planning a washing machine in your kitchen.
In this post, I’ll look into the design considerations, pros and cons, and tips on seamlessly incorporating a washing machine into your kitchen setup.
Let’s get into it!
Why Consider a Washing Machine in the Kitchen?
While the idea of placing a washing machine in the kitchen might seem unconventional to some, many homeowners find this setup extremely beneficial. There are several reasons why you might consider installing your one in the kitchen.
Lack of Space Elsewhere
One of the primary reasons many people place their washing machines in the kitchen is simply a lack of dedicated laundry space elsewhere. This is particularly true in apartments or smaller homes where a separate utility room (laundry room) isn’t feasible, or there isn’t enough room in the bathroom.
For instance, city dwellers living in compact apartments often find that their kitchen is the most practical spot for their washing machine.
Having a washing machine in the kitchen can be convenient for some. You can keep an eye on your laundry while you cook, clean, or even eat. For example, you might put on a load of washing while you’re cleaning up after dinner, or put in a load of laundry while you’re preparing breakfast in the morning.
Closely linked to convenience is the benefit of multitasking. With a washing machine in your kitchen, you can seamlessly integrate your laundry chores into your daily routine. For instance, you could switch over a load of laundry while you’re waiting for your pasta to boil or while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew.
Ease of Plumbing
Kitchens already have the necessary plumbing for appliances like dishwashers and sinks, making them a logical choice for installing a washing machine. If your other potential laundry areas aren’t near existing water lines, the cost of running new plumbing can be quite expensive.
Modern kitchens are designed to accommodate various appliances. Some homeowners prefer the look of having all their major appliances in one place. These days most kitchen designs include cabinetry that can hide a washing machine when it’s not in use, creating a streamlined, cohesive look.
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Washing Machine In Kitchen – Design Considerations & Advice
When planning to install a washing machine in your kitchen, there are several key design considerations that you need to keep in mind. These range from practical considerations, such as space planning and plumbing requirements, to aesthetic considerations like visual harmony with the rest of your kitchen.
No, we’re not going to the moon 😂 (sorry if you’ve read that joke before).
Space planning is crucial when considering placing your washing machine in the kitchen. Or any appliance in the kitchen for that matter! The last thing you want is a machine that blocks walkways or interferes with your ability to use the kitchen comfortably.
When considering the ideal placement for a washing machine, you should look for a location that doesn’t obstruct the kitchen’s flow. Ideally, it should be placed near the sink for easier plumbing. But remember to leave enough room for other appliances and storage space needs.
You also need to consider the door of the machine as it will most likely be a front-loading washer. Most washing machine doors open outwards and are hinged on the left. You’ll need to have enough space to open the door fully without hitting other appliances or furniture. The positioning should also allow for easy access to load and unload laundry without other cabinets and doors restricting access.
Plumbing and Electrics
Plumbing and electric connections are another critical consideration. Washing machines need both a water supply and a drainage system. Typically, being close to the kitchen sink makes the connection to the water supply and drainage easier.
However, if your chosen spot is far from the sink, you may need to reroute plumbing, which could be costly. Similarly, ensure there is an appropriate power outlet near the machine’s location
Hiring professionals is recommended to ensure that the job is done correctly and safely.
Noise and Vibration Control
Washing machines can be quite noisy and cause vibrations, which might be disruptive in a kitchen setting, especially during spin cycles. To mitigate this, consider investing in a model known for its quiet operation.
Anti-vibration pads can also be used underneath the machine to reduce noise and prevent it from moving during operation. Another option could be soundproofing elements, such as a decorative partition or screen, that can help buffer the noise.
Ideally, a washing machine in the kitchen should blend in with the overall design. It shouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb or disrupt the visual flow of the space.
One option is to choose an integrated washing machine, which can be hidden behind a cabinet door matching your kitchen units. This makes the appliance virtually invisible when not in use.
Alternatively, freestanding washing machines can be chosen to match other appliances in your kitchen. Many manufacturers offer appliances in the same style and colour to create a cohesive look.
Remember, the idea is to make your washing machine a seamless part of your kitchen design, providing functionality without sacrificing style or aesthetics.
Pros and Cons of a Washing Machine in the Kitchen
While you may not have much choice in the placement of a washing machine in the kitchen, it’s still important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of this setup.
- Space-Saving: In smaller homes or apartments where space is at a premium, placing the washing machine in the kitchen can save valuable space and eliminate the need for a separate laundry room.
- Convenience: Having a washing machine in the kitchen allows for easy multitasking. You can keep an eye on your laundry while cooking or doing other kitchen tasks.
- Plumbing and Electrical Accessibility: The kitchen is already equipped with the necessary plumbing and electrical hookups for a washing machine, which can make installation easier and less expensive.
- Efficient Use of Time: With the washing machine in the kitchen, you can more efficiently use your time, as you won’t have to go to a separate room or area of the house to do laundry. You can load or unload the machine while waiting for your coffee to brew or dinner to cook.
- Noise and Vibration: Washing machines can be quite noisy, especially during the spin cycle, which might not be ideal in a kitchen where you spend a lot of time. However, many newer models are designed to operate more quietly, and anti-vibration pads can help to reduce both noise and movement.
- Aesthetics: If not well-planned, a washing machine can look out of place in a kitchen. This can be mitigated by choosing an integrated model or one that matches your other appliances.
- Potential for Mess: Washing machines can occasionally leak or overflow, which could cause a mess in your kitchen. Regular maintenance and promptly addressing any issues can help prevent such incidents.
- Limited Kitchen Space: Although placing a washing machine in the kitchen can be a space-saver overall, it could also potentially limit your kitchen storage or workspace. If you have a smaller kitchen, this is an important factor to consider.
- Odour Mixing: There’s a small chance that the scents from the laundry process might mix with food smells in the kitchen, although this is typically a minor issue and can be mitigated by using mild or unscented laundry products.
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Washing Machine In Kitchen – Ideas & Tips
Designing a kitchen that includes a washing machine can be a unique challenge. However, with a few clever design tips, it’s more than possible to create a harmonious space that’s both practical and stylish.
I’ve thought of a few tips to help you integrate your washing machine seamlessly into your kitchen design
- Choose the Right Model: Selecting a model that is known for its quiet operation can help minimize noise. Additionally, you’ll want a front loader (rather than a top loader) if you intend to have it blend in with your kitchen cabinetry and under the countertop.
- Consider Integrated Appliances: Integrated washing machines are designed to be concealed within your kitchen cabinetry. They come with a cabinet door front that matches the rest of your kitchen units, making them blend seamlessly into the overall design. For example, if your kitchen features sleek, modern cabinet doors in a gloss white finish, an integrated machine with a matching door helps to maintain that modern, sleek aesthetic.
- Utilize Deep and Tall Cabinets: If your kitchen layout allows for it, consider placing your freestanding washing machine in a deeper cabinet. This can give it a more built-in, custom look and feel, even if it’s not an integrated model. You can also consider a tall cabinet to accommodate both a washer and a dryer set.
Stacked units are a great way to maximize vertical space and the tall cabinet can help contain both noise and potential laundry clutter. Just be sure that the dimensions of the cabinet will allow for easy access to the appliances. This approach allows you to have the convenience of in-kitchen laundry without the appliances taking centre stage in your kitchen design.
- Strategically Position Your Machine: The position of your washing machine can make a huge difference in how well it integrates into your kitchen. If possible, place it next to the sink. This keeps plumbing lines short and simple and visually associates the washer with other water-centric areas of the kitchen.
- Add a Countertop: If your washing machine is freestanding, consider extending the kitchen counter over it. This not only creates extra workspace in your kitchen but also helps the washing machine blend in by making it appear as a part of the kitchen’s built-in design.
- Keep a Uniform Color Scheme: If your washing machine is visible, make sure it aligns with your kitchen’s colour scheme and other kitchen appliances. If your appliances are stainless steel, opt for a washer with the same finish. If your kitchen has a more vintage vibe with white appliances, a white washing machine will fit right in.
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Why Is It Common To See A Washing Machine In The Kitchen In The UK?
In many countries, especially the United States, washing machines are typically found in dedicated laundry rooms or basements. However, in the United Kingdom, it’s quite common to see them in the kitchen. This phenomenon often puzzles visitors, but there are actually several reasons behind it.
Firstly, the tradition is rooted in historical architectural design. British houses, particularly older ones, are often built with smaller rooms and lack the additional space or a dedicated utility room for laundry appliances. The homes are compact and efficiently designed to maximize space. Kitchens, being utilitarian spaces with the necessary plumbing and electrical connections already in place, naturally became the default location for washing machines.
As well as this, many British homes, especially flats and terraced houses in urban areas, are not equipped with basements, which are common sites for laundry facilities in other countries.
In the UK, doing the washing ‘laundry’ is often seen as a task that can be integrated into daily life and chores, rather than being an activity that needs a separate space. There’s something quite efficient about being able to load the washing machine while cooking a meal or boiling the kettle. This aligns well with the very British preference for multi-tasking and making the most of time.
In recent years, the evolution of washer-dryer combos and quieter models has made it easier than ever to have one in the kitchen without disturbing the overall atmosphere. As such, while newer homes might offer more flexibility, the trend of kitchen-located washing machines in the UK continues.
It’s a unique quirk of British people and their home design, but one that has its own set of advantages! My washing machine is in my kitchen! 😃
There you have it! My advice and tips about having a washing machine in your kitchen.
Ultimately, the placement of a washing machine in your kitchen is a decision that hinges on personal preference, available space, and lifestyle needs. There are many factors to consider, from design and aesthetics to functionality and convenience.
Remember, the best design solutions are always the ones that make your life easier and your space feel like home. Happy designing!
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.