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how one sad laundryroom got happy

Posted by Cobi on Monday March 11, 2013 at 07:00 AM
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When we renovated our house last year, I decided to throw in a little tune up to our laundry room.

We’re in an older home with a devoted laundry room in the basement and there was no way I could justify the cost of moving it upstairs (or find the space) but I had no trouble justifying the cost of some new tile, paint and decorative doodads to make me feel better when I’m doing the deadly deed.

God knows it needed it…

laundry before overall

So - how to spruce up a yucky laundry room without a lot ‘a moula?


I started with the floor because it looked so sad and I wanted a more permanent solution than a new coat of paint. Tiles are cheap (if you stick to standard sizes and finishes) and they come in great colours. I knew I wanted to paint the room white (for brightness) so why not have some fun with colour on the floor? I went hunting and found this 8” x 8” tile for $2.36 each and remarkably it’s called the Monocottura “Happy Series at first I thought I would just choose one colour. But when I told my daughter I liked both the Sky Blue and Apple Green, she gave me the obvious answer - “use both!”. So I bought half of what I needed in each colour, brought them home and laid them loosely out in a few different patterns until I came up with this enlarged checkerboard (less busy than a regular checkerboard) and told my contractor to lay them on the diagonal.

laundry before of floor

floor after


Once the floor was down it was easy to choose paint colours. I wanted a fresh, crisp white on the walls - whiter than the warm ones I like in living spaces. I went with Benjamin Moore’s Simply White #2143-70 in the Aura Bath + Spa formula and love it. The whole room was painted in oil originally and we found that Aura paint covers it really well. I’ve now used Simply White in our basement bathroom as well and find it works anywhere you want a really pure white with no undertone. I decided to paint the existing peg board and upper shelves in the same white.

laundry before facing machines

laundryroom after towards machines

Where I had some fun was on the lower built-in cabinet and sewing cabinet. I chose a lime green to match my tiles - Benjamin Moore’s Hibiscus #2025-50 - some might find it too bright and I likely wouldn’t use such a vibrant colour in other places in my home, but it’s clean and fun and I love it here - why not have a bit of fun in a room that only I ever seem to use? (grrrr…)

green counter


I like to hang clothes to dry whenever possible and so I installed 3 helpers…first this great drying rack made of hardwood, powder-coated metal and a rope pully system. It can move up and down if you have high ceilings (which I don’t) but it stays stationary just fine too. It’s from a website called

hanging gizmo in laundryroom

pully system

I also purchased an aluminum wall mounted extension drying rack to hang over my laundry tubs - really great for wet rags or anything dripping - at I love it that it’s made in Spain!

aluminum rack

And lastly, I had my painter mount and paint a standard pegboard sold at Home Hardware for ironed shirts and the like.

white pegs


I wanted to replace the puny little shelf that was on the wall when we bought the house because I’ve always loved the idea of a mending area. Somehow it makes the whole idea of mending more probable. My hope was to find a cute old shelf and paint it up with my same pint of Hibiscus but after a summer of searching antique stores (there’s lots of forlorn spice shelves out there by the way, but they were too narrow for my needs) I caved in when I found this perfectly-sized craft shelf on sale at Michael’s craft store. It’s not fancy but it does the trick and thankfully it took the paint too!

laundry before facing counter

laundryroom after facing cabinet

thread on shelf close up

Did you notice I have a little bank on the shelf? - very handy in a laundryroom for pocket change and one day I’ll crack it open and drive the kids at Starbucks crazy with my pennies.

bank in laundryroom

I also bought this great little sewing machine for quick fixes - what a steal for $69.00 at Canadian Tire - another good reason to repair - not despair!

sewing machine


I colour-copied two pages off the internet (quick google search) - one defines laundry symbols and the other is from dear Martha telling me how to get out stains. They fit into no-money IKEA frames in exactly my blue tile colour (score!) and act as functional art on either side of the shelf.

ikea frames on either side of sewing shelf

ikea frames alternative shot

Oh - and here’s a little trick. I would have liked to resurface the top of the shelf unit but I just couldn’t justify it. Still, the chipped Arborite did not say ‘happy’. As a compromise, I asked my contractor to skirt the existing top in a decorative wood trim (took him no time) and once it was painted, it added a much more finished look to the counter.

counter top trim

And so there you have it. Nothing revolutionary. Nothing hi-tech. But a happy little laundry room to call my own, even if I’m enjoying it alone (grrrr…)

cobistyle fishies in laundry room

…with my cobistyle fishies and lost socks.

land of the lost socks


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/20 at 03:57 PM

Love your laundry room. Mine is so sad, it is a very good thing that is has a door that’s closed all of the time. I think that a bomb went off in it. My dear husband promises that he will make shelves for that sad room, but it has been many years and I give up! So I need to come up with a fix that I do on my own - of course it has to be a cheap one….. wish me luck.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/19 at 09:55 AM

Now you’ve got me thinking that I should rescue my sewing machine from the abyss and bring it back to life in my laundry room! I might actually use it then. Might even spruce up my basement laundry room. Thanks for the inspiration!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/17 at 11:57 PM

Love the very practical ideas Cobi - so much more achievable than so many laundries we see these days.  Did a similar spruce-up to mine last year after basement reno.  It’s at one end of a large utility room with a painted floor.  I used an outdoor carpet ( the type made from recycled pop bottles or something) to cover the floor in the laundry area - cheerful and practical.  Will borrow/steal your mending cupboard idea - smart and cute!  Have fun!

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