I love a project.
I also love saving money.
Put the two together, and the combination is irresistible.
I’m the queen of cheap room makeovers, and my latest undertaking is no exception. I gave my laundry/mud room an overhaul this fall, and it didn’t cost me an arm or a leg.
A little skin off a finger or two, maybe, but no limbs.
Mostly this was a paint-everything-except-the-floor kind of project, although I did splurge on a laundry vanity to replace an unsightly utility sink. (What’s a laundry vanity, you ask? It’s like a bathroom vanity, but with a deep laundry sink. Who knew such a thing existed?)
Besides lots of paint, though, I also used a few cheats and creative solutions in the process. So I thought I’d pass those along.
▪ My laundry room had painted cabinets that were solid but boring, with flat doors just crying out for a little interest. After repainting them, I framed the doors with 1 1 / 2-inch-wide lattice molding from Lowe’s, which I painted the same color and adhered with construction adhesive. Voila! Shaker-style cabinets.
▪ I was going to spring for an Ikea butcher-block countertop for over my front-loading washer and dryer, but then it hit me: My favorite Swedish home store also sells tabletops, and they’re closer to the size I needed. I bought a Gerton butcher-block tabletop, removed the metal braces from the underside and had a helpful friend with a table saw trim it to fit.
▪ I wanted my new countertop to be easily removable in case the washer or dryer needed repairing, so I engaged in a good deal of mental wrestling over how to support it. Then I took the easy way out: I simply stuck some plastic door bumpers on the underside of the countertop and laid it right on top of the appliances. And you know what? It works just fine. The bumpers keep the countertop in place and prevent it from rattling, even during the spin cycle.
▪ Ikea came to the rescue on another problem, how to hide the ugly drain hose and electrical outlet that stick up behind my washing machine. I pondered all sorts of solutions, from having the hose and outlet relocated to building a removable box to cover them. Then, during my Ikea trip, I spotted some great fake plants in little galvanized buckets for a few bucks apiece. I just set the plants on top of the washer, and now you don’t even notice the eyesores behind them. A laundry basket hides another receptacle behind the dryer and gives me a place to collect dirty kitchen towels and cloth napkins.
▪ My cabinets stop short of the ceiling, so I topped them with storage baskets from Michaels to take advantage of the unused space and add a little decorative interest. The baskets hold things like china and glassware I use infrequently, so that freed cupboard space for items I use more often.
▪ Coat hooks on one wall and a temporary over-the-door hanger give me places to hang clean laundry, but I needed a place to keep hangers within easy reach. An inexpensive spring tension rod mounted inside the laundry vanity does the trick. I just hang the hangers on the rod and close the vanity doors to keep them out of sight when I don’t need them.
▪ The laundry room has a door that leads to my garage, a plain steel fire door with no architectural interest whatsoever. I thought it was a perfect place to mount a chalkboard so we could jot reminders we’d see on the way out the door, but I didn’t want to make that a permanent feature. So I painted a rectangle onto the door with chalkboard paint, made a frame out of decorative molding and attached the frame to the door with 3M Command hanging strips–removable hook-and-loop fasteners meant for mounting picture frames. Now if I get tired of the chalkboard, I can just pop off the frame, peel off the fasteners and repaint the door.
▪ The brass-look knob on the door had gotten pretty battered, as had the one on the door to the powder room that’s just off my laundry room. I originally planned to buy new knobs, but I decided instead to try giving the old ones a coat of Rustoleum Universal metallic spray paint in oil-rubbed bronze. I figure I can still replace the knobs if the paint doesn’t hold up, but so far they look great.
As much as I’m enjoying my new room, I’m almost sad the creative process is over.
I guess I need to find a new set of problems to solve.