Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Frugal Cottage Laundry Room

When we had a family room built in our basement, a few years ago, the laundry area was walled-in but not finished.  That left the back of the new walls exposed - studs and back of drywall - and the existing basement exterior walls, which consisted of plastic-covered pink insulation, a cement floor, and an exposed ceiling.  Not very inspiring, to say the least.

(I could only find photos from prior to the basement renovation, but you can see the yucky floor and pink insulation that was still visible in the laundry room even after the family room was complete)

Funds were low after the basement work, so I plotted and planned how to makeover this space using next-to-no money.   I love the colour red, but it just didn't seem to work anywhere else in the house, so I decided the laundry room would be a rustic cottage room in white and red.

Here's how I dealt with each area:
Ceiling: I figured that I don't look up when I do laundry, so the ceiling could remain unfinished.  Hubby added a light - a real up-grade from the bare lightbulb ghetto look.

Floor:  The previous owners of our house had painted the cement floor with the wrong kind of paint, so it was a peeling, unsightly mess.  I thought it would be too much trouble to remove that paint and paint it again, and there was no way I was going to actually finish the floor properly because then we would have to move the machines.  So I took the lazy (but clever!) way out.  I bought dollar store woven grass beach mats and covered the floor with them and then put a red IKEA floor runner on top.

Walls:  I painted the back of the drywall and the exposed studs white, so it has that cottage look I was going for.  I only used primer and I am, frankly, quite happy with the clean white look.  The exposed pink insulation was much more of a problem.  I had some huge old painter's drop-cloths that I decided would do the job.  It wasn't easy to measure around the pipes and window etc and it was even more difficult to secure the drop-cloth to the wall.  I should warn any pro-home builders to go and read other blogs right now or at least skip the rest of this paragraph while I describe how I attached the drop-cloth to the wall.   I managed to fit the cloth behind some of the pipes, and the pipes do the bulk of the work in holding the drop-cloth in place.  I then used some straight pins and double-sided tape and they do the rest.  It isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it has been in place for well over a year now and still holding strong.  I had to make the wall purty, so I spent some time at the local thrift stores in search of wall decor.  What I finally found was a vintage tablecloth with just the right feel, and the colour red.  So home it came and I pinned it in place.

Covering the very bad, very ugly, no good areas of the laundry room:  Two main areas fit this description, the sink and a storage area under the stairs.  I was very fortunate to find two tablecloths with the same pattern, in two different thrift stores - and in a lovely cottage red and white check, no less.  I used double-sided velcro tape to secure them in place and they are holding strong.  They don't get moved much as there is another access to the storage area and nothing is under the sink.  I also painted a board and lay it on top of the sink.  It is a good spot to dry clothes.

Pretty Touches:  I added some metal buckets from the dollar store to put the dryer sheets and stain removal stuff in.  Of course I got them in red.  I also had a tin with a red lid that I put the laundry detergent in.  Hubby installed a shelf for the laundry detergent so it is near the washing machine.  I also added a laundry basket for dirty clothes and a red dollar store bag to put lost socks in.

We all want to know the bottom line on projects, so here it is (although approximate as I did this over a year ago and I can't remember exact amounts):

paint: already owned
dropcloth: already owned
tablecloth on wall: $8
2 check tablecloths: $12 ($6 each)
velcor tape and pins: $5
board on sink: scrap wood
beach mats: $3
red rug: $30
ceiling light: $6
shelf and brackets: $10
bag for lost socks: free (gift from sister-in-law)
red buckets: $3
TOTAL: $77

There you go - a fresh cottage laundry room for $77.  How about you - have you ever made-over a room with more muscle power than money?

This post linked to Frugalicious Friday at Finding Fabulous
Metamorphis Monday at Between Naps On The Porch
Before and After Party at Thrifty Decor Chick 


  1. I love the idea of using the mats on the floor like that! Also the hanging buckets for cute yet functional storage are awesome. I am loving this budget decor - very inspiring!

  2. You did a great job! I am still doing laundry in a dungeon (basement) and I could use all the tips I can get on working around that. You have some great ideas:>)

  3. Wow - this is a fabulous laundry space. I love the red. The seagrass mats on the floor is genius! They look great! You did an amazing job!

  4. The touches of red really add a cheerful touch to your laundry room. Thanks for joining White Wednesday.

  5. well done!!! I still have to tackle mine - it's hideous. 77 dollars is about what I want to spend too. the buckets are such a fun idea.

  6. Thanks for all the compliments. It really has made the room go from dungeon to fresh and happy, which is where I would rather do my laundry.

  7. Looks great ! Just doing a small amount at a time will give you the best end results !

  8. I think you did a great job with a small budget!! Love those little red buckets on the wall. Very cute. :) I'm visiting from Sarah's Before and After party. Hope you'll stop by my blog. :)

  9. Welcome Kammy and Amanda. Thanks for stopping by by blog.

  10. I love it! Good Enough is good enough. And your laundry looks adorable.

  11. Great ideas! I guess I need to head to the dollar store so I can tackle my nasty basement laundry area. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Now you've made me come over all "I wish, I wish"! I wish I had a laundry room, I wish I had a basement, I wish our house was not QUITE so small............

  13. This is such an adorable room now! Do you just want to go in there and stand and look at all your hard work sometimes!? I posted your picture (and a link to your blog) on my blog as one of my inspirations for my laundry room redo. All I've done so far is paint the entire room white and what a huge difference that has made all by itself! I'd love it if you'd stop by!


    PS Thanks for the great inspiration!!

  14. This is great! I love how you made it work for your budget and your space. Great job!