There are dozens of ways to upgrade your laundry room, but which of the bells and whistles are really worth the extra money?
Worth the splurge
Replacing an old washer. Switching out one that's more than 10 years old for an Energy Star model can save you $35 a year in energy bills because they are 30 percent more efficient and use 50 percent less water. Plus, you may qualify for rebates and tax credits.
Stainless-steel washer tubs and dryer drums. They last longer than plastic or porcelain-coated steel and won't chip, crack, scratch, or leave rust stains on clothes.
Laundry chute (1). If you've got a clear path between floors—no wiring, plumbing, or ductwork to contend with—eliminating those tiring trips down the stairs with arms full of dirties can be easier than you may think. Old-house owners may even be able to convert a decommissioned dumbwaiter.
Simple shower stall (2). Use it to bathe the dog, rinse off muddy outdoor gear, and hang clothes as they drip-dry.
Movable or built-in island (3). Not just for kitchens, these workhorses can serve as a folding table or a homework station with stool seating, and provide extra storage for cleaning products, the toolbox, even
craft and gift-wrapping supplies.