This post documenting my one day, quick laundry room makeover project was originally published on my old blog, Designing Dawn, in June of 2015. It’s been a few years since then, but it’s still one of my favorite projects, so I’m reposting here as well. Enjoy! 🙂
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I guess I can’t really call my laundry room ‘new’ because it’s the same tiny little closet that it’s always been, but it feels brand new to me after a one day makeover.
You see, the laundry room is one of those little spaces that has just always bothered me. To get everyone on the same page, this is what the space looked like when we moved in five years ago:
We instantly replaced the flooring with some vinyl tiles, painted the walls and shelving, and bought a new washer and dryer. All of this was a big improvement, but the room has always felt just acceptable, and definitely not great. Just a boring closet to wash clothes in. Case in point:
Plus there were some issues that were really bothering me. Namely, I tend to use the top of the machines to fold clothes, and (let’s be honest) store huge piles of unfolded clothes until I get around to actually folding and putting them away. The problem is that things were constantly falling down between and behind the machines. So annoying. I’d become a master at fishing socks out with a yard stick and tossing them right back into the wash because they were now so dusty they couldn’t be worn. No bueno.
So a few weeks ago on my day off work, despite being in the middle of a much more necessary and half finished project in our master bathroom… erhem… I decided I just couldn’t take the laundry situation any more. Plus I needed a break from scraping caulk and grout.
I’ve had this old door lying around in the garage for over a year now. Ever since I removed it from our basement stairs. I knew it would come in handy, and it finally did, because I decided it was the perfect surface for a laundry room table top. All I had to do was remove the hardware and cut it down to size!
A little maneuvering (ninja skilz) and I was able to shimmy it into place right on top of the washing machines. My life is forever changed. No joke. The thought that no more socks will ever be lost in the void between the washer and dryer makes me giddy. There is still a hole in the back where the doorknob was (because I know someone will ask about that), but I’m looking into options to cover that. It doesn’t bother me too much in the meantime though. I just strategically put a jar over it so no sneaky socks fall through. 🙂
And though this is a HUGE improvement functionality wise, it didn’t really solve the other problem I was having, which was just that aesthetically, the room wasn’t anything special. I kind of detest laundry in general (hence the aforementioned huge piles of laundry perpetually waiting to be folded) so I’ve been wanting a nice little space that will make me hate it slightly less and might possibly instill some desire to keep it looking nice by keeping laundry folded. That hasn’t actually happened, but that was my motivation.
SO, with new table in place, I headed to Home Depot to pick up a fun little product that I’d caught wind of and thought would be absolutely perfect for this tiny space. (spoiler alert: it was far from perfect, but I’ll get to that later) I picked up two packages of what I thought were Smart Tiles. I had read online that they were sold at Home Depot, so when I found stick on tiles there, I assumed they were the same brand. (Thanks to a very observant reader, I have since found out that they weren’t!!) They promised to be quick and easy, but give the look of real tile. All sounding too good to be true! (It was.)
So with high spirits, I bought my tiles and headed home. I was slightly put off by the price of these. It was pretty much as expensive as just buying real tile, but the fact that I could do it in a day and without the mess of real tile was enough of a selling point for me to look past the price tag. When I got home, I immediately began pouring over all the directions on the packaging. I had read several good review online (The reviews I read were for Smart Tiles, I need to reiterate that the product I bought was NOT Smart Tiles but a replica that did not live up to its promise.), but a few that complained about them pealing off the walls. I figured this was caused by user error, and I was determined not to let that happen to me. Here is an action shot of the tile going up all easy peasy:
I followed all installation directions to a tee. I let the tiles sit in the room for a few hours to acclimate them. I cleaned the walls thoroughly with a de-greasing cleaner, I carefully peeled the tiles without touching the backing, I pressed each one down firmly, I overlapped the grout lines precisely, I caulked around all the edges… and I was so happy with how it turned out! As I hung up my new laundry print (available to buy here) as the finishing touch, I was envisioning using this product in my kitchen and master bathroom. It seemed so perfect and simple. My quick laundry room makeover was exactly what I had hoped for! I mean, look at how pretty it is!
Well, as we know, DIY can be a fickle friend. This lasted for about an hour. 🙁
Then I walked by the laundry room all giddy to bask in the glow of my beautiful work, and noticed that the areas where the tiles were overlapping each other were starting to peal up. Like so:
A little shocked (the $100 I’d just dropped for these tiles was still fresh in my mind) I carefully and even more firmly pushed the tile back down and walked on. I checked again a bit later and now almost every overlapping tile was peeling up. I could not believe it. A day later and I had this:
The Smart Tiles knock off (I really wished I would have checked closer!) literally didn’t even last an hour, despite me following all package instructions. The most frustrating part was that it’s not even that they weren’t sticking to the walls, it’s that they don’t stick to each other, when the directions clearly tell you to overlap them. Once they started pealing away from each other, the weight of them began pulling them off the walls as well.
So the question was, where to go from here… I started racking my brain for possible solutions…like super glue. Although, I must say, it pained me to have to put in more time and effort to make a product work the way it claimed to work in the first place.
I visited Home Depot, where I had purchased the tiles, and this is where this sad story gets a sweet plot twist. My amazing local Home Depot took all the weight off my shoulders when they gave me a full refund for the purchase price of the tiles and were so so nice about it. I cannot tell you how freeing that was, because it left me in a position where I could attempt to make it work without fear of ruining the tiles further. If it didn’t work, I wouldn’t be out any money, and if it did, well then I’d once again have an awesome looking laundry room, minus a few hours of my life.
So I sent the hubs out to pick up some superglue. He came home with household cement. This may sound the same, but I was looking for something like standard superglue… clear with a precision tip. What he handed me was more like white pasty glue, about the texture of frosting, in a tube. I gave it a whirl. It did not do the trick. I was disappointed but not that surprised. So on to round three. I bought some Gorilla Super Glue and spent half an hour painstakingly gluing down every tiny tab I could find that was sticking up. I did miss a few spots, and needed to do a second pass a few days later, but so far the areas I hit have not come up again.
SO, finished laundry room. Forgive me for not taking the time to style the shelves for this shot. Hahaha, I just left them exactly how we actually use them everyday. This is real life, folks. (Also I feel the need to mention that this is the hardest room to photograph ever, since it’s in the middle of a narrow hallway and doesn’t get much natural light.)
A quick rundown of a few products: The cute baskets covering the ugly pluming hookup came from Home Goods, the ceramic blue canister, (faux) succulent, and small dish all came from Target, and I made the laundry print (again, you can buy that in the shop), but the frame also came from Home Goods. Here’s a closer look at the laundry poster design if you’re into that sort of thing.
I use the dish to hold small things I find in pockets, and the canister specifically to collect the one million pens the hubs somehow always leaves in his work pants. And even though they say ‘fold’ and ‘dry’ (as though my pile to fold would EVER be that tiny!) I use the baskets to hold orphan socks and items that need to be mended. It’s been very handy to have a specific place for things that have been driving me crazy while doing laundry. Live, learn, and adapt, friends.
I guess you could say that overall I’m really happy with the look of how it all turned out, but the process was stressful and full of a lot of trial and error. It’s kind of put a bit of a tarnish on the finished product for me, but when I just look at the photos I can admit it does look way better. When I remind myself that the whole project ended up costing about $5 (the cost of superglue), since I was refunded for the tiles and since the door/table top was free and sitting unused in my garage, it makes it almost all better. I don’t really factor in the cost of accessories, since they’re all things I either had hand or bought months ago, bit if I did, it still only comes to maybe $40. Not too shabby.
If I was putting together a dream laundry room, I’d probably go a bit farther in here. First of all it would be a room and not a closet, but sadly that’s neither here nor there. Secondly, I love the look of cabinets that could hide all the cleaning supplies, but since this is a closet, it seems a little silly to open a closet door so that I can open a cabinet door to get to what I need. If I ever decide to just remove the closet doors completely, that is probably the first thing I’d do, but the sound barrier is nice to have when the machines are running (this closet is directly outside the kids bedrooms), so I’m not sure that will ever happen either. I do have one more project I’d like to do in here before it is really ‘finished’ in my mind, and that involves a more fancy finish on the counter top. (And possibly a new light fixture??) But I’m not sure when/if I’ll get to that. So for now I’ll call this room 95% done, and for a relatively quick laundry room makeover, I’ll take it!