10 Best Things to Build in to Your Home


Convenient Cleaning Spaces and Features

Why would you want to worry about features that make cleaning easier? Although some people do enjoy cleaning, most of us take the "work" part of "housework" literally. However, there are a lot of different features that you can build into your home to make your household chores easier and maybe even more pleasant.

Let's start with a chore that all of us have to do: laundry. If a laundry room is big enough and well-designed, laundry might even be enjoyable. Cabinets, hooks and open shelving can hold cleaning supplies that are cluttering up other parts of your house. A built-in cabinet, with a fold-down ironing board is handy. A counter top or small table gives you space to fold instead of doing it on your sofa. A sink would be great for hand-washed items, and if you have a lot of clothes that need it, consider a built-in drying rack, or hanging one from the ceiling. Shirts that need to be hung up immediately can go on a mounted bar. And lugging that laundry up and down the stairs can be tiresome, so build in a laundry chute. All you need is an unobstructed path (no wires or pipes) from a central upstairs location -- like a hallway -- through the floor to a waiting basket in the laundry room.

Sometimes people combine laundry rooms with mudrooms, but the latter can be separate, too, or just a part of the entryway. A mudroom stores all of those things that tend to spill out of a too-small coat closet, hang over the backs of chairs, or jumble up the foyer: coats, jackets, gloves, hats, rain boots, shoes, sports equipment, backpacks and purses. It can be as simple as a standalone cabinet with baskets and hooks inside, or a whole wall of hooks and built-in shelves.

So laundry, outerwear and cleaning supplies are organized ... but what about the vacuum? Instead of hauling around the vacuum cleaner, install a central vacuum system. There's a fixed unit, usually in a garage or utility room, with tubes running through the walls and inlets placed in different areas. You attach a hose (which usually has a power switch) to an inlet and voila, vacuuming! All of these features can not only make your home neater but also add value.