The 1950s kitchen was a space for more than just cooking.

How to Redecorate a 1950's Ranch With a Washer & Dryer in the Kitchen

by Michelle Powell-Smith

The ranch houses of the 1950s offer charm and character, but often come with some decorating challenges. While modern homes make room for the laundry, the 1950s ranch often tucked the laundry into the kitchen. You can redecorate your '50s kitchen, preserving the functionality of the space, whether your're working to refresh its mid-century look or hoping to bring it up to date.

Work Around Workspace

Whether you're installing a washer and dryer in your kitchen for the first time or redecorating your original kitchen and laundry combo, modern appliances allow you to use your space more effectively. Front-loading washers let you use the top of your appliances as a work space. A custom cabinet can hide your appliances, while a countertop provides space for cooking, folding and more. For a lower-cost redecorating job, skip the cabinet in favor of a simple curtain to hide your appliances and a painted plywood topper for the washer and dryer.

Painted and Pretty

If your remodeling budget requires you work with your current cabinetry and appliances, play with paint and color options to make your washer and dryer work with your 1950s ranch kitchen. Use appliance paint, available in stainless steel or several colors to give your laundry appliances a new look, or play with magnetic panels or adhesive vinyl for a different look. The classic 1950s kitchen matched the appliances to the cabinetry for a seamless appearance. While you may not be able to hide your laundry, you can improve the appearance of your appliances and make your kitchen match.

Moving Out

While some 1950s kitchens were spacious and well-designed, this may not be true of yours. If you need the kitchen space more than you need your laundry in the kitchen, it may be more effective and efficient to find a new home for your laundry appliances. Look around your home. You may be able to tuck a laundry area into the bathroom, garage or pantry. Take advantage of the new space in your kitchen to add storage, counters or space for a dishwasher.

Saving Space

Depending upon the layout of your kitchen, you may be able to make space for other appliances or additional storage by opting for a stacking washer and dryer unit in place of a separate washer and dryer. A stacking unit requires less horizontal space, but does require additional vertical space in your kitchen. Hide the unit behind a pantry-style door, either designed to match new cabinetry or to match your existing 1950s cabinets. As an alternative to the stacking unit, there are combination washer and dryer units, ideal for smaller spaces. Tuck one under the counter in your 1950s kitchen to combine the best of modern technology with mid-century style.

About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.

Photo Credits

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