I may be a dreamer by nature, endlessly and without bounds, but even I could not have seen this coming! After all, what at all could be pleasant about washing clothes? Well, when you can tackle this household chore in the soft glow of a crystal chandelier, surrounded by a soothing french-inspired palette, and knowing that everything you need is within easy reach and precisely where it belongs, ahhhh, frankly nothing could seem more LOVELY.
I must admit that washing clothes is my least dreaded household chore. When I was a young girl, I would ask my mom for permission to wash my own clothing and to this day I take a rather inordinate amount of pleasure in washing, drying, hanging, and folding for our own little family.
That said, I was never particularly fond of the paint color, lighting, and lack of storage/organization that our laundry room originally offered. The walls were a blah-beige, the shelving was shameful, and a utility sink could not help but be the primary eyesore. A mini-makeover was well OVERDUE!
Initially, I contemplated investing in cabinetry, perhaps even making it from scratch, but this project had to boast a small budget (one that certainly would not have withstood a $300+ cabinet investment). Instead I opted to make lemonade out of our lemon by adding very simple shelving that would solve the storage dilemma, cost next to nothing, and ultimately create a much softer and natural aesthetic than bulky cabinets ever could have. Apart from installing a few shelves, the entire project was rather simple and virtually cost free.
First, we painted the walls with leftover paint in a soft "BLEENEY" (not a real color, but the shorter version of my favorite "blue/green/grey" combo); FREE. Then all shelving, moulding and doors were freshened up with a coat of white paint (also leftover paint); FREE.
Next, I covered the utility sink with a cut to size piece of particleboard (leftover from Ikea packaging) that I then covered with a white sheet (purchased at Ikea for $1.99). This conversion serves more that one purpose, too! Primarily, the utility sink is out of sight, but still available for paint cleanups or muddy shoes and the like. But the new coverup also provides some much needed counter space and hides all my laundry related products. After all, Downy doesn't exactly say design.The same idea was used to create a narrow storage space on one side of the dryer that just happened to be perfectly sized for my countless rolls of wrapping paper; again--almost FREE.
Then came the fun part...ACCESSORIZING! Oh yes, accessories are totally permissible even in a laundry room makeover! You spend so much of your precious time there, why not enjoy it? You deserve it :o)
I used seagrass baskets (that frankly I can only access with the help of the Reading Guy or a barstool) to store seasonal items that I don't often use, but would rather not risk storing in the garage. The baskets were practically begging for a new home since their previous one became a yard sale item a few months ago. They work fantastically in the space since they are large enough to hold big items and oh so PRETTY! Ahem... sort of FREE :oP
My more petite user-friendly baskets are not only at the perfect height to store and organize the more frequently used tissue paper, ribbon, gift boxes, tags, scissors, tape, etc., but they also make gift wrapping much less of a chore! I actually bought these to fit the existing cubbies--so, not free, but only $20!
Extra baskets are also handy when you find yourself short on time and can't manage to get to the linen closet straight away. Leaving folded towels lying around never looked so good!
I, for one, used to have to dig up our stationery out of random boxes that were stored in one of our guest rooms, UPSTAIRS (we don't have a home office--YET). Now, all cards and stationery are organized according to occasion in six small white labeled boxes! Now, after wrapping, writing is a cinch ;o)
How about a darling destination for those pictures you have yet to frame, invitations or greeting cards that you can't bear to part with, or those coupons you have yet to put to good use. I recycled two old memo boards from my law school years that were collecting dust in the garage by recovering them (you guessed it, with a white sheet from Ikea) and replacing the ribbon and buttons. Now we have our very own message/memory center; FREE and FUNctional!
I also collected some mismatched pieces from around our home to serve as lonely sock, spare pocket change, cuff links, and collar stay depositories. Having something to place these laundry room surprises in just makes the process all the more efficient!
Why not wash and fold while looking at that which most inspires you? Whether it be a painting handed down from your grandmother, a clipping from your favorite coffee table book (as I used), or maybe your very own creation, even the smallest amount or simplest form of art may be just the solace you need while you are soaking stains :o)
Lastly, the Reading Guy was kind enough to remove the fixture that once lit (albeit, poorly) our laundry room and replaced it with a $50 chandelier from Ikea. I can't overstate this...lighting really is everything! Why not treat yourself, you won't be disappointed that you did :o)
So, here is to a laundry room that is far more than a receptacle for dirty clothes, shopping bags, and anything and everything that doesn't otherwise have a proper place. Why not give YOUR room the chance to be filled with LOADS OF LOVELY!