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Our laundry room is like the hidden “ugh” in our house. We ignore it, open the double doors to do our laundry, and then hide the ugly beast that it is behind the doors again as quickly as we can. It’s been ignored, by us and all the other (three) owners that this little town home has gone through. The walls are a weird shade of what once may have been red-orange. They’re banged up, scratched, and stained. The floors are 14-year-old laminate, damaged in some spots and yellowed in others.

So on Sunday, when the I-have-to-do-something-productive vibe hit me, I jumped on Pinterest for some inspiration. What could I do that would help our home without spending a dime? That was the mission.

What I stumbled across was a neat laundry room upgrade for $150. Though I didn’t have $150, I did have a lot of leftover paint from all the rooms we’ve redone. An idea  formed. I ran downstairs and began taking the laundry room apart. (I should note here that I did not take the entire room apart by myself. Credit is due to my dear husband, who begrudgingly agreed to my makeover scheme even though it involved moving a very heavy washing machine out of a very small space. Thanks, B!)

A lite makeover ensued. Here’s what we started with on Sunday around 12:30. I was so excited that I took this picture without bothering to straighten up the shelves, so we’re keeping it really real today, guys. Enjoy.

laundryThe right side of the room has piping for our sprinkler system that we have to leave in place and work around. It’s ugly, but there isn’t much we can do about it. (It has to be accessible.) The bottom of the floor on the right side is where there is a bit of damage.

laundryAs you can see, things are old and faded and dirty.

laundryOr they were old and faded and dirty. Until we did this to them!

laundryThe first thing we did was to use some of the leftover paint from our foyer (Benjamin Moore Natural Linen) to repaint the walls. It took one coat of primer and two coats of Natural Linen to get the walls sufficiently covered. Then we waited for the paint to dry, and marked 8-inch intervals on the wall with pencil. We taped them off using a hodge-podge of painters’ tape that we had around the house (thus the green and blue). The differing widths of the tape didn’t matter because we aligned the edge of the tape on the outside of the pencil marks, so that the sections we were painting would be exactly 8 inches. Immediately after painting, we removed the tape, and the Natural Linen section and lightened section were the same widths. (If you try this, make sure your pencil marks are in the areas that you’ll be painting, otherwise you’ll have to go back over them with an eraser after the paint is dry. Speaking from experience here…)

For the lighter shade, we poured a small amount of Natural Linen into the paint tray and then added about double the amount of white paint. Then, mix ’em until they’re blended. Wa la! Lightened paint in a similar hue without spending a dime (assuming you have white paint on hand).

laundryYou’ll have to forgive the poor camera angles. The washer was pretty close to the doorway. Why move it farther than you have to? And the color is about as accurate as I could get it. Small spaces don’t photograph well, especially when combined with my limited camera skills!laundry laundryBecause the room is so small and the sides are not very visible, we decided to skip the stripes in those areas.

The next thing we tended to was the floors. Once we got the washer and dryer out of the room, we realized how gross the floors were. Even after we scrubbed them, they were less than fabulous. So B came up with the idea of laying some vinyl tiles. Not only would they be affordable, but they’d be fast to lay and durable—good for an area that has water nearby and carries a heavy load. We made a trip to Lowes, and returned with one box of slate gray vinyl tile, for a grand total of $20.

After allowing the tiles to acclimate to the temperature/humidity in our home, B was able to install the tiles flush with one another (you can grout between the type of tiles we bought, but it’s optional) in about an hour, so installation was a breeze. Even though these are by no means high-end tiles, we think the room has been improved nonetheless.

laundry laundryAfter installation was complete, we repainted the shoe molding to match the freshly painted white trim (it was all cream before) and reinstalled it. laundry laundryAnd that’s it! We went over my “not going to spend a dime” budget by $20 for the floor, but it was worth it, we think. And though others online mentioned that they had trouble with these tiles sticking, we had none at all. My advice would be to make sure that your floors are squeaky clean before installation, and also that they’re level. If not, you’ll have to use a leveling compound, something we were thankful to avoid.

laundryOne day maybe we’ll invest in some vintage metal baskets to hold all our junk. 😉

laundryAnd that’s it for the laundry room. I will admit that every once and a while I walk by and open the doors to examine the stripes. I’m a fan. They are so much fun that I might just put them somewhere else in the house. After all, it’s only paint!

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