When I lived in my old house, doing laundry meant dragging baskets of clothing from the top floor of my home to the bottom, silently (or not so silently) cursing my way up and down the stairs almost every time. So when the time came to buy a new home, one of the things I really wanted was an upstairs laundry room. Now, 10 years and three kids later, I can easily say that having my laundry upstairs is a huge help.
That said, an upstairs laundry room isn't right for everyone. Here are the pros and cons of having one.
Benefits of an upstairs laundry room
Chances are, the bulk of your household laundry comes in clothing and linens form -- think sheets, towels, and other such items you'd generally find upstairs, where the bedrooms are. Perhaps the greatest perk of having an upstairs laundry room is that getting things clean becomes much more convenient. Rather than having to haul clothing, sheets, and towels up and down stairs, you simply drag them down the hall and throw them into the laundry -- just like that. And then, when your laundry is done, it's closer to your closets and dresser drawers to put things away.
Furthermore, having your laundry room upstairs could eliminate the need for bulky hampers that take up space in your bedrooms and bathrooms. Rather than store dirty items there, you can have your family members throw them into the laundry room at night before bed.
Finally, having a laundry room upstairs could make it easier to enjoy or maximize your downstairs space. Say you have a finished basement you're looking to rent out. If that's where your laundry is, you may struggle to do just that, since you'll need access to it. And if you want that basement for a giant playroom or guest area, not having the laundry there gives you more options for letting your kids spread out, and it means not having to bother visitors who stay over every time you need a batch of clean clothing.
Drawbacks of an upstairs laundry room
On the other hand, there are drawbacks to having your laundry room upstairs. First of all, washers and dryers make noise. That's not really an issue when you're doing laundry during the day, but if you're like me, you may find yourself washing clothing at night. And that has, at times, been problematic, because the sound of the laundry has kept my kids up despite the fact that the laundry room is right outside my bedroom, not theirs.
Another thing: With an upstairs laundry room, there's the potential for more extensive flood damage. Say a washer hose bursts in an upstairs laundry room. At that point, you could have a massive leak that damages not only your upper floor but a lower floor as well. When your laundry is located on your bottom floor, it's mostly just that floor that's at risk of damage.
That said, there are ways to mitigate your flooding risk -- namely, by installing a water leak sensor that's tied to your main water supply. We have one in our home, and if that sensor detects a leak from the washer, it shuts off all water to our house until the issue is sorted out.
Finally, having your laundry upstairs can make your top floor hotter during the summer, because the heat of the dryer can escape. This situation, too, can be mitigated by keeping the door to your laundry room shut, but on those really hot days, we feel the difference in our home when the dryer is going.
What's right for you?
There are plenty of good reasons to have your laundry room upstairs, and if you have children and therefore wash clothing a lot, it can make one time-consuming task just a bit easier. If you're currently in a situation where your laundry is downstairs, and you're not looking to move, the money you'll spend to relocate an existing downstairs laundry setup upstairs may not be worth the investment. But if you're in the market for a new home, you may want to look for one with a laundry room upstairs.