Mood Board: A Last-Minute Laundry Room Refresh

Back in January, our washing machine started making some truly horrendous noises. My husband looked at a few things online and figured it was probably the bearings and that it was NOT something we would want to do on our own. We were super proactive and responsible homeowners and never got around to calling anyone to repair it. And then COVID struck. Luckily, our little washing machine continued to chug along but we realized it was probably to the point we should just replace it instead of repairing. In June, we decided case counts were low enough that we would be comfortable having someone out to deliver and install a new washer. And I decided that it sounded like a perfect time to sneak in a quick refresh of the laundry room! (Spoiler alert, it’s now August and it isn’t finished yet so the *quick* part of this plan didn’t come to fruition. I’ve also already failed my goal of only working on one project at a time. But, it’s fine. It’s fine. I’m fine.)

I know I’m not alone here when I say I dreaded going into our laundry room. It had become a dumping ground for all kinds of stuff and just stepping in here was stressful. I love that we have a dedicated space for laundry (the house I grew up in had a laundry “pass through” from the garage to the kitchen) and our laundry room is a decent size. For a long time, the only thing we added to this room was a wall mounted ironing board using this tutorial. Then, a couple of years ago, we installed some linen shelving to add hanging space and paper goods storage. (And when I say “we installed” I mean my dad. We’re on a journey to learn how to do stuff around the house, it’s just taking awhile. Ha!) We also added a freestanding shelving unit that has a surface for folding and room to store a laundry basket for each person in our household. The walls were the same beige as the rest of the house and cabinets hadn’t been touched, other than taking the doors off several years ago.

Overall, not horrible, but could definitely use an update! And no, these pictures are not an accurate depiction of the normal state of this room. I moved several things out to the garage before taking these shots and that alone instantly made it feel less overwhelming in here. I decided to unload the entire room (with the exception of the washer and dryer) and start fresh. The washer we selected has the option to have the dryer stack on top so we are interested in considering that option in the event we need to replace our dryer. So I want to keep in mind that I would like whatever we do to be flexible so that the footprint of the room could easily be shifted in the next few years.

I started to think about paint colors and was immediately drawn to the thought of something moody. Probably mainly because we haven’t done much painting since we moved in and I was excited to try something new. I was looking at moody greens and purples. (Yes, I know, purple. But not an obnoxious purple, something more subdued and more red than blue…) But then I talked to the husband, and while he was ok with whatever I wanted to try (He does not have strong opinions about laundry rooms. And between doing laundry for a family of five and getting into my stash of stress snacks, I typically spend waaay more time in here than anyone else) he was a little concerned about how small and dark the room is already and how a deep, rich color might make it seem smaller. He has a better record of picking paint colors (that I always end up loving) so I decided to think on it and took to Pinterest.

I searched for examples of laundry rooms where the walls were painted a deep hue vs cabinetry painted dark with light walls. My favorite room with dark walls was this one from Bless’er House. This room by The Makerista has dark cabinets with small glimpses of lighter wallpaper, but overall is a dark, moody space. Both are gorgeous, but I decided it was not the direction I wanted to take after all. We really don’t get much natural light in there and I think a dark color would have been too much. So I got that out of my system. I fell absolutely head over heels for this mudroom by Juniper Home and this utility room by Building Walnut Farm. Swoon! So I toyed with the idea of painting the cabinets a darker green but was concerned that having light walls with only those two cabinets wouldn’t really be the right direction either. And while I love the look of beadboard/paneling, it wouldn’t have worked well in this space with the other shelving. Ultimately, it’s just not something I want to tackle at this point in my life. (Or have to remove down the road and repair the drywall behind it. Cringe.)

Enter this laundry room by Light and Dwell. Dun, dun, dun, DUN! Calming and peaceful and beautiful – all of the things I’m looking for in the design of a room that by its very nature stresses me out! We started leaning towards a green that was warmer rather than cooler, we just needed to narrow down a hue. We picked Coastal Plain by Sherwin Williams and everything fell into place/snowballed from there. I’ve always hated the florescent light fixture in here, so we decided that needed to get swapped out. The cabinets are built-in underneath a soffit and there is a piece of trim that runs the length of the soffit. This trim is integral to the face frames of the cabinets and would not have been easy to remove because of the “decorative” routed edge on the cabinets. Between the dark-ish cabinets, the soffit and the dark trim, there is a lot of added weight in the room. I mean ideally, I’d tear out the cabinets and the soffit and start fresh. But that would involve drywall work and re-texturing the entire room. Both things I don’t know how to do with time I don’t have right now.

I realized that if all of these components (cabinets, trim and soffit) were painted the same color, maybe it would open things up a bit! I chose Alabaster by Sherwin Williams for this – it’s a nice white that isn’t too stark and also has a little bit of warmth to it. I’m going to attempt to fix up the doors so that they don’t look quite as dated and get those back up. I know that will help hide the clutter in the cabinets and add some brightness since they’ll be an off-white. I might add a shelf or two and try to find some decorative baskets for storage that will also allow the cabinet doors to close.

I think brass/gold accents will pair well with the warmer green/white colors I’ve picked so we’re going with that for the light fixture and cabinet hardware. I’d like to add a curtain for a little added privacy when it’s dark outside and I’m thinking something gauze-y or a lightweight white fabric that isn’t sheer. I’d really love to add some artwork in here as well. I’m thinking maybe botanical prints of lavender or something similar because I love the way lavender and sage green pair together. I’ve also been re-reading A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle so maybe that’s where this is coming from though. And maybe I’ll end up with watercolors of the French countryside. We shall see! Regardless of the direction I take with artwork, this room is going to be soooo much better. My goals are for this room to be calming, light and breezy and I think I’m on my way there!

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