Laundry Room REmakeover: 4 Problems With The Original Design | The Interior Frugalista: Laundry Room REmakeover: 4 Problems With The Original Design
Laundry Room REmakeover: 4 Problems With The Original Design | The Interior Frugalista

March 31, 2016

Laundry Room REmakeover: 4 Problems With The Original Design

Have you ever invested a lot of time and money into a room makeover and while the results looked fabulous, it was not functioning the way you had hoped?

Well, I have had one of those rooms but thankfully with the initial investment being under $500.00, we could justify the expense of doing a Laundry Room REmakeover.

Basement Laundry Room ReMakeover|ReDesign

When you compare the room to how we lived with it for over a decade, it was a HUGE improvement.

Basement laundry room Before

Aside from the investment of new appliances, a lot of DIY elbow grease, items picked up for a song at our local Habitat ReStore, and leftover tile from a previous project, we were able to pull off a fabulous $500.00 Laundry Room Makeover.

Poor design basement laundry room

Unfortunately, it soon became obvious that we hadn't invested enough time thinking about how the room would function.

Like our recent Bedroom Window Seat REmakeover, we made the mistake of putting form before function.  Rarely a successful combination.

Problems with Laundry Room Design

Back in January, I told Mr. Frugalista that I had been patiently trying to make this space work since 2012 but that it was time to think about giving this room a Redesign.

What didn't work in this room

Problem #1: 36-inch counter depth
After getting our new appliances, the obvious choice at the time was to build a countertop over the washer and dryer.  I was so happy to finally be getting a spot to fold laundry, I never gave any thought to how a 36-inch depth would make it near impossible to reach the electrical plug on the backsplash for plugging in the iron.

Problem #2: Inaccessible upper cabinets
Because of the deep counter, you needed a step ladder to reach anything in the back of the upper cabinets.

Problem #3: Sink tucked in the corner
If not for laundry, I use the sink daily to clean paintbrushes when doing furniture makeovers in the adjacent workshop. Aside from being squished in the corner, I had to walk the length of the room holding dripping brushes to access the sink.

Problem #4: The black elephant in the room
At 28-inches deep, our upright freezer stuck half way into the room.  Also, the space between the sink and the freezer was very tight.  On the other side (not shown in the picture above) is a pocket door leading to the hallway.  Not the nicest sightline and I had to walk around it to access the sink and appliances.

Basement Laundry Room cabinets

While in the planning stages of reconfiguring the room, I received an email from Michele, the founder of The Redesign Habit telling me about an e-book she recently published called The Redesign Toolkit: A DIY Guide To Budget Friendly Interior Design.  She couldn't have timed that email better!

She invited me to take a sneak peek at her beautifully designed book and had me chuckling before Chapter 1 with her great sense of humor.  By Page 3 of Chapter 1, I had pen & paper in hand completing her Room Evaluation Worksheet.

In it she asks questions like:
What things do you like about the room?  laundry sink, upright freezer, red appliances, black countertop, white cabinets, a window, clothes drying rod. 

What things do you not like about the room?  I pretty much answered that above in problems 1-4.

What are the storage needs for this room?  closed upper cabinets for iron and laundry supplies. Tall lower cabinets for a garbage can, drying rack, large laundry product containers.  Open shelving for towels and trinkets.  Spot for ironing board when not in use and laundry basket.  Clothes drying rod. Paper towel holder.  Towel bar for hand towel by the sink.

How do you want your space to feel when it's finished?  Spacious, a good working triangle between appliances, easy access to everything, good lighting, black and white with a pop of red color scheme, a pleasant room to be in.

The worksheet has several other helpful questions and throughout the book, she includes what she calls Never Fear Tips.  For the sake of this REmakeover, the four questions above helped me determine how I wanted this room reconfigured.

Laundry Room REmakeover after reconfiguring appliances

The Solutions

#1:  Stacking the washer and dryer

By purchasing the stacking kit for our washer and dryer, we were able to make room for the upright freezer beside them.  This change remarkably improved the flow.

Laundry Room more spacious after stacking washer and dryer

#2: Adding new lower cabinets

Home Depot was clearing out lower cabinets that happened to have the same door profile as our old upper cabinets.  I love that they are raised with feet, which adds a spacious feel.

New lower cabinets to match salvaged upper cabinets in basement laundry room

#3: Salvaging and modifying old upper cabinets

The upper cabinets and open shelving were salvaged to fit into this space by modifying the depth and width.

Old upper cabinets salvaged and modified in basement laundry room

#4: Salvaging countertop by decreasing the depth

Thankfully we were able to reuse the countertop by shortening the depth to 24-inches and the length to fit the new wall.  It was cut using a straight edge jig clamped onto the counter and cut with a skill saw.  Black Melamine Pre-glued Veneer Edging was applied on the exposed edge.

Old laminate countertop salvaged to fit Laundry Room REmakeover

Open shelving to store towels in basement laundry room REmakeover

#5: Moving the sink adjacent to the hallway door

The sink is in a much better spot being adjacent to the doorway leading to the hall.

Laundry sink moved in Basement Laundry Room REdesign

#6: Adding some fun elements

On the upper-end cabinet above the sink, we used chalkboard paint to create a spot for a shopping list or fun messages.  I had a burlap pouch in my stash and wrote CHALK with a Sharpie marker and hung it with a small hook to store sticks of chalk.

Chalkboard paint on upper end cabinet of basement laundry room

I should also mention that unfortunately we were unable to salvage the old backsplash tiles (which I loved) but were able to pick up these simple 4" x 16" white subway tiles for a good price.

Inexpensive subway tile backsplash in Basement Laundry Room REmakeover

I love our new laundry room so much that I think I've done a load of laundry every day since we finished the REdesign.

Three phases of a Basement Laundry Room

Press the link here to see how made the Suspended Clothes Drying Rod pictured below.

I wish I would have had The Redesign Toolkit: A DIY Guide To Budget Friendly Interior Design book the first time we designed this space.  Having the helpful worksheets at the end of each chapter really helped zone in on what items were most important in this space from layout, lighting, color, storage, and the list goes on.

The book also includes a Scaled Floor Plan and Furniture Cut-Outs so you can play with the furniture and appliances planned for the room and figure out the best placement before breaking your back with the real thing!

I told Michele that for several years I have been using an Interior ReDesign How-To Book as my Go-To resource for space planning and redecorating.  That changed after reading her book!

* I've included affiliate links below where you can purchase the book and/or kit from Amazon. See my disclosure policy page.   


It is also available at:
Google Play
Kobo Store
Barnes & Noble

You'll find this project linked to these fabulous PARTIES.

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