Builder grade to beautiful

$150 Laundry Room Refresh

…because we all need a pretty laundry room, right?

I do love seeing all the stunning laundry room revamps on Pinterest, and I wonder what it would be like to have so much money that I have nothing better to spend it on than my laundry room. Good for those people! :) I am not one of them. Maybe someday, with a lot of hard work and thrifty spending, I’ll get there.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I was absolutely fine with the builder-grade, all-white-everywhere, blank dungeon of a laundry room we had. I wanted this space to be not only a little more aesthetically pleasing (so I’d be okay with actually spending time in there and checking my laundering to-dos off my list), but also functional (so I wouldn’t leave angry).

Jason and I moved in to our first home about one year ago. We live in a tract-home neighborhood, and the Colorado housing market was — and still is — thriving, so we ended up spending A LOT more on the base price of our first home than we had ever thought we’d need to spend. This meant that we opted to pass on many of the upgrade options the builder offered us. We wanted to give our home some lived-in character using our own creativity and handiwork anyways.

After spending some time browsing through pins of gorgeous laundry rooms, I decided, “Hey, I can do that myself… maybe when Jason’s at work. Yeah, and it’ll be a surprise when he comes home to a brand new, pretty laundry room!” So that’s (sort-of) how it went.

And now, without further ado, I’ll walk you through how you can turn your empty, bare, builder-grade laundry room into a chic little area where you won’t mind spending some time each week.

Tools Needed:

  • A drill
  • A squeegee
  • Some 2-1/8″ inch screws
  • A stud finder (if it beeps when you hold it over yourself, then you might also be a stud!) ;)
  • A level
  • A yard stick or tape measure
  • An X-Acto knife

What you’ll need to purchase:

  • One upper cabinet (I went with a 30″ x 30″ unfinished door wall cabinet from Lowes, but you should definitely check out Craigslist, too!) [$72 for mine, but Lowes makes pre-finished options for around the same price — some even cost less than this, but keep in mind they might also be a little smaller]
  • One wood dowel — that’s a fancy term for “wood pole” — measured to 1-3/8″ diameter and cut to fit between the cabinet and the wall. These are available at your nearby hardware store. If you’re not comfortable using a saw, make sure you take an accurate measurement and ask someone working at the hardware store to cut it for you. [around $8]
  • One set of closet rod supports (I found mine at Ace Hardware, but here are some inexpensive ones you can order) [$1.58]
  • One can of metallic spray paint to coat the dowel (and supports, if they don’t match the rod). I went with brushed gold, but I’ve also seen copper, rose gold, and a good ol’ traditional matte black. [Rust-Oleum Vintage Metallic Spray Paint, Warm Gold — $5.37]
  • Two cans of spray paint to cover the cabinet. I used Devine Pepper, which is a matte finish spray paint by Valspar, available at Target. [2 x $5.99 = $11.98]
  • One can of spray sealer to make sure your awesome spray-painted cabinets don’t smudge off on your clothes when you carry them in! I used Matte Krylon Spray Finish from Hobby Lobby. [$7.99]
  • Two cabinet knobs (Hobby Lobby has a great selection of cute and trendy knobs and pulls!). [Mine were 2 x $4.99 = $9.98]
  • Devine Color Textured Subway Tile Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper — I only needed one roll for the amount of square footage I needed to cover. One roll covers approximately 27.5 sq. ft., but I’d recommend you use it as sparingly as possible, meaning don’t wallpaper behind where you’re going to hang the cabinet or behind the washer and dryer. [$34.99]
Total Cost of purchased items: $151.89

The process:

The Wallpaper

  1. Using a damp cloth, wipe down the walls where you are going to hang the peel-and-stick wallpaper. If there’s lint or dust on the walls, the wallpaper won’t stick as well. Also, don’t rush to hang it if the walls are still damp; wait for them to completely dry, and then hang the peel-and-stick wallpaper.
  2. Starting at the end of the wall where you are not hanging the cabinet, begin applying the wallpaper. Make sure you are lining up the edges so that each tile ends up being the same size. If you don’t do this, you are going to have some super short tiles and some really long ones. It’s much easier than I’m making it sound, by the way! You’ll use the squeegee to help get rid of air bubbles and push the wallpaper into the wall. There are more instructions for how to use the wallpaper inside the tube when you purchase it, so forgive me for not retyping them here :)
  3. Measure out the area where you plan to hang the cabinets, and then measure two inches in from the perimeter of the cabinet’s edges. Mark those overflow lines on the wall so you know where you can save wallpaper by not having to place it there.
  4. Use the X-Acto knive to make any cuts you’ll need (e.g. along the ceiling line, at the bottom, around piping, along the cabinet overflow lines, etc.)

The Cabinet and Dowel

  1. In a well-ventilated space (i.e. your open garage, driveway, or yard), lay down a canvas or tarp, then place the cabinet on it, with the back side down and cabinets facing the sky. Paint the dowel while you’re at it, too :)
  2. Hold the paint can 6-12″ away and cover the entire unit in spray paint. Note: You do not need to paint the inside, but certainly can be an overachiever and do that if you’d like.
  3. Once the first coat dries, add a second coat. I chose to not spray paint the left side of my cabinet because I knew it was going up against the wall anyways. I did, though, paint the bottom of the cabinet, because I’m 5’2″ and would be sure to notice that part every time I did laundry.
  4. Once the second coat dries, seal with matte finishing spray.
  5. Once that dries, bring the cabinet in to your laundry room for hanging :)

Hanging the Cabinet

  1. Along the wall where the cabinet is to be hung, measure 54″-57″ up from the ground. Draw a faint line. That is where the bottom edge of your cabinet should be, according to standard construction practices.
  2. Grab that stud finder and locate the studs along the back and side walls. Make pencil marks where there are studs that fall within the parameters of where the cabinet will go.
  3. Using 2-1/8″ screws and a drill, screw the cabinet in place. For this part of the process, I ended up having to call my husband in. Because I wasn’t strong enough to hold the cabinet in place myself, Jason placed one of our end tables underneath it, and we lucked out with it ending up being the perfect height to rest the cabinet on while it was drilled to the wall.
  4. Screw in your pretty knobs, making sure they mirror each other in both distance from the bottom of the door panel AND distance in from the door crack in the middle.
  5. Using the screws that came in the packaging for the dowel supports, pick a spot and screw those in to the side of the cabinet. (Hint! Grab a hanger and make sure you are hanging the dowel far enough away from the wall that the hangers have room to hang properly.)
  6. Measure the same distance out from the back wall, and hang the opposing dowel support on the opposing wall at that same distance out from the back wall. Use a level to make sure it isn’t crooked!
  7. Decorate and enjoy your new pretty laundry room!

2 thoughts on “$150 Laundry Room Refresh”

  1. Okay, so I came across this laundry room on Instagram and it’s life changing! I couldn’t remember whose feed it was so I was so happy when I found it again!! This is so gorgeous and I LOVE that it’s wallpaper behind there!! And major props for the small budget!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻

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