A Total DIY Laundry Room Transformation
Can I be totally honest, you guys? I didn’t realize how much adulting I still hadn’t mastered until we bought a house! And lemme qualify that — it’s not the house itself that, or the purchase of, that’s been the adultiest part of this whole transition; it’s been all the stuff that we’ve done since buying a house that really has had us feeling like “so this is what adulting is like?!” One huge adulting milestone for us was renovating and designing the laundry room… even more than the kitchen!
The laundry room was a complete overhaul — we removed the cabinet, shelving, and flooring, switched out the lighting, added a vent, painted & tiled the walls, and widened the entire entrance.
Like I said — a major overhaul and was definitely a crash course in things that don’t teach you in school, like allocating space behind the washer & dryer for all the ugly hoses running everywhere or how to even install a washer & dryer.
FUN FACT: did you know that the washer is almost always on the left & the dryer on the right for a reason? Because we sure didn’t…but now we do! Reason — front-loading washers typically swing open right to left & dryers swing open left to right, so when both are open, transferring clothes is an easier task.
Mind blown… you’re welcome… back to the program…
There were two major adulting keystones when it came to the laundry room, and now that she’s “reveal ready,” looking back at how far we’ve come… honestly the transformation was just as much personally impactful as it was cosmetically.
Wall & Floor Tile Installation: DIY Versus Hire
Thinking about it, I don’t recall us having an official conversation about the laundry room design when we decided to buy the house… at least not the way we did for the kitchen, which was before we even closed. But once we decided to work on the laundry room, we decided to just go for it all the way — it was one of the few rooms that clearly never got an upgrade so we were looking at new floors, new walls, new lighting… the works!
Considering the actual size of the laundry room — just under 40 st ft — we figured this was totally something we could tackle ourselves, as opposed to hiring out the labor.
We weren’t moving any of the plumbing and the most strenuous upgrades would be tiling. We went with tile from The Tile Shop because of their impressive assortment of floor and wall tile, choosing a dramatic & glamorous large format black porcelain tile for the floor — Harley Lux — and a unique art deco-inspired black & white porcelain tile for the walls — Metropolitan. The names of the tile really tell you the vibe we were going in here — Lux Metropolitan — but we didn’t want to pay luxe coins to get it done.
Getting all of the materials from The Tile Shop — literally everything from the underlayment to the grout — made tackling this not only doable but allowed us to save a ton of coins, that we could spend on something we couldn’t/didn’t want to do… like opening up the wall to the laundry room.
For context — our original reno plans did NOT include the removal of a wall; it wasn’t even a consideration, like when planning out all the design ideas.
That wall is actually where our television was mounted on the other side — just like the previous homeowners — making it the focal wall of what would’ve been the media room (p.s. that’s coming soon!). But between deciding to move the media room and having to remove the door to get the appliances into the laundry room, we had an “aha moment” — we don’t need this wall!
And this isn’t to say knock down everyone you don’t have a need for — please don’t do that guys! — but what we really realized was that that wall wasn’t serving us, but GONE, it would exponentially improve how we use the laundry room. So that wall had to go… but we were NOT in the mood to mess around with tearing down drywall & studs & all that bruhaha. We stayed in our lane and hired that task out without hesitation.
What we spent in money we absolutely made up for in time & stress. But now onto the DIY portion of this project…
As a homeowner, almost every decision is going to be weighed this way — what can we do ourselves, do we want to do it ourselves, and when do we bring in outside help? The deciding factors in this space were size, cost savings, and the overall scope of the job. By the time we installed the floors and walls, we learned a ton about tile installation — it is not for the faint of heart — but to have actual sweat equity in our home is priceless… and totally peak adulting.
Washer & Dryer: Appliance Shopping Basics
In case you missed it, we only got new laundry appliances because the previous homeowners took theirs. This put us on a path towards shopping for appliances for the very first time. We ultimately decided to go with our dream laundry appliances — the LG Signature Washer & Dryer + pedestal sidekicks.
Shopping around for appliances is not like shopping for anything else in our home, or at least that’s been our experience. In addition to the online research we did, we went to brick & mortar stores to actually see the appliances in person — see the actual footprint, get a sense for the interface, and compare side-by-side features of different units.
So many brands. So many features. And when you’ve never bought a major appliance before, it is a lot of information to process at once.
We had a few things going for us however — knowing exactly what our limitations were in terms of size because of the size of the laundry room, knowing exactly what features were most important to us aesthetically & functionally, and knowing how long we were willing to wait because the COVID-induced appliance delays were no joke!
We ultimately got exactly what we wanted and while it wasn’t without its challenges — like having to remove the existing door frame to the laundry room — we now totally have a deeper appreciation for having in-home laundry.
The result of all these hard-learned lessons?
Our totally Lux Metropolitan Laundry Room… excuse me… Launderette, said with my swanky pinky all the way up!
Washer – Pedestal | Dryer – Pedestal | Wall Tile | Floor Tile | Paint | Flushmount | Brass Wire Basket | Towels (currently unavailable) | Shelf Brackets | Shelf Contact Paper | Black Wire Basket | Black Frame | Brass Grid | White Floor Bin | Tall Floor Bin (currently unavailable)
Let’s Get Into The Design Details —
The floor tile, which went in first, is what I would absolutely dub a labor of love — it was my husband’s very first time EVER putting in tile so ALL the lessons were learned right there on the floor… and the lessons were plentiful.
Once the wall was removed, our contractor was able to meet my husband where he stopped and created a faux threshold to mask so not so professional cuts.
The lesson here: get the RIGHT tile cutting tools before starting a tiling project. Because, to be clear, we had tile cutting tools… just not the right ones. He didn’t make this mistake with the wall tile.
Speaking of… we absolutely LOVE our new wall tile, however, we didn’t want it to dominate the entire laundry room, so from out the gate it was only intended to be a half wall — maybe the top half, maybe the bottom half. We ultimately went with the top half because the bottom half of the wall is covered by appliances, in addition to being the home of all the plumbing fixtures — as DIYers, we weren’t keen on wasting precious time trying to work around all those funky components… hard pass!
But Albie, Why Not All 3 Walls?
Short answer: we wanted to live with this tile moment first. Fall in love with it. We can ALWAYS go back and tile the top half of the two side walls, but in the off chance the pattern did overwhelm us, removing the tile would be a MUCH bigger task. We’re still reminding ourselves that we own this house so we can pace our projects to fit our sensibilities.
Capped by the new lighting from Hudson Valley Lighting — SWOON! — the entire front view of the laundry room from the “flex lounge” reads as a decadent destination for dirty laundry lol.
And yes… that front view is absolutely enhanced because we don’t have doors… yet.
Once we committed to widening the wall, the plan was to install bi-fold doors so that we would be able to reap the benefits of the opening when the doors are open (versus sliding or hinge doors) but having the ability to close it & hide the laundry when things need hiding. Did you notice that I said that the plan was to install bi-fold doors? Well, plans change… after diving into consecutive projects, getting a new door was no longer a priority, not to mention… we don’t actually need to hide our laundry! It doesn’t get messy and who would we be hiding it from anyway? Each other? No one is ever here but the three of us and it’ll likely be that way for a while so, for now — forever? — no door.
While the indisputable stars of the laundry room are the appliances & the tile work — and also the biggest upgrades! — the supporting cast is equally important.
We considered installing a rod for hanging but decided to go with a daintier, more discreet option — a retractable clothesline in brass — that we could have “disappear” when not in use. Ultimately, it just didn’t make sense to install something that we would use less than half the time we spend in the laundry room. Why commit to something we didn’t have to? And seeing as to how we don’t have a door, the laundry room opens up directly into what’s essentially our multipurpose room — aka the flex lounge — and seeing an unused rod permanently affixed every time I look into the room would drive me nuts!
Throughout the laundry room, from the lighting to the clothesline to the brackets holding our shelf to our wired basket, I was able to thread the metal hues and really punctuate the “Luxe Metropolitan” vibes.
P.S. the black, white, and brass combination in this space, while very bold, is still subtle enough that I can get creative in the flex lounge without worrying about any clashing designs.
Would I consider the laundry room done done? No.
But one of the biggest adulting lessons the laundry room taught us was that even though we own and we can do whatever we want, design-wise, we don’t have to commit to anything. Everything doesn’t have to be permanent, and it’s no secret that reversible design solutions are my jam… even as a homeowner! The floating shelf, for example, is one of the shelves that was in the original laundry room. We cut it down to size and I resurfaced it with contact paper. I had an idea — black & brass shelves — but I wanted to test it out first. We like it — a lot — but tomorrow we may like walnut shelves instead. I reserve the right to change my mind, lol, which is really the big picture, adulting lesson here — know when to hire out, pivot around your limitations, and reserve the right to change your mind.