You won't see this room grace the cover of splashy home magazines, and it's not included on most home tours.
But America's laundry rooms are in the midst of The Great Clean Up.
The laundry room is shoving aside kitchens and baths for attention, if for no other reason than sheer volume. Americans churn through 35 billion loads of laundry -- 100 million tons worth annually, according to Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse.
Efficiency and design considerations weigh in, too. Melissa Birdsong, trend forecasting and design expert for Lowe's, says research shows homeowners are weary of laundry rooms as an afterthought, the place where piles of dirty clothes, towels and linens cause mountains of mess in a hurry. More than 75 percent of respondents in a Lowe's-Harris Interactive poll want to improve their laundry room.
"Homeowners want laundry time to be less arduous and more efficient," says Birdsong. "Anyone with children identifies with that."
Birdsong's laundry list includes clutter-concealing cabinets, more counter space for sorting and folding, new energy and space-saving appliances, and cosmetic touches to make the room more visually appealing.
Wall-mounted, ready-built cabinets lift clutter off the floor in a room where storage is at a premium. Wire shelving next to counters can be used for detergents or for items that warrant hangers.
Even limited counter space is a boon for folding fresh laundry. Baskets and hampers below and laminate- or solid countertops augment storage space.
Stacked front-loading washers and driers are all the rage. Front-loaders ease the movement of wet clothes from washer to dryer. Look for Energy Star rated models, which can save hundreds of dollars a year in energy and water costs.
Homeowners can tailor their laundry configuration, storage and appliances to the exact dimensions of their laundry with a few clicks at www.lowespowerlaundryroom.com.