A Laundry Room Goes From So Much Brown to Wow

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Jessica Quirk)

A proper laundry room is a fabulous thing to have, but this one had a few issues: indoor vinyl siding, various holes, and so much brown, brown, brown. Laundry is tedious enough already — if you have a chance to make the experience more pleasant, take it.

(Image credit: Jessica Quirk)

We first spotted this makeover on an Insta story by Jessica Quirk of Stars + Field, and decided to reach out to hear a bit more about the project and what this space was like pre-renovation:

From Jessica: “The laundry room functions both as our space to do the wash but also as the main entry point of our home. We see and use this room a lot! When we moved in, the windows were covered in dark purple drapes and the color story echoed much of the rest of the home: darker shades of brown, both on the floors and walls. I’m more of a light and bright white paint gal, so it pained me to see the dark brown all of the time! Other issues with the room included the vinyl siding covering the original wood siding, the exposed mechanical outlets for the washer/dryer [she has two kiddos], a hole in the ceiling from a previous leak and the untrimmed windows. It’s an older home with odd angles; nothing is square!”

That washer and dryer sure are pretty, but the rest of the room could use some major love. Let’s take a look at how Jessica revamped the space.

It’s like it’s a proper room in the house now! The white walls feel appropriate for a room that revolves around cleaning, and the way they bounce the daylight energizes the space. The wood panels (which replaced the vinyl siding) add texture to the white walls, while the floors pop against the walls and lend glamour, ensuring this white, utilitarian room is anything but plain. This renovation was done by Jessica (and evidently her dad one weekend when he visited), who wanted to bring out the best in her farmhouse in a way that suited her own style:

“I seem to be into a bunch of different styles lately, but the main goal is to honor the farmhouse setting and to mix in my love of vintage. The main portion of our home was built in the early 1940s and a large addition was put on in the mid’60s, so I like to call my house a mid-century modern farmhouse hybrid.”

From the glimpses into the home’s other rooms, mid-century modern farmhouse is an aesthetic that I am on-board with.

Since this room also serves as a sort of mudroom, Jessica has smartly added concealed storage for the jumble of supplies needed by the door: hats, gloves, and so on. In an arrangement like this, you could organize the bins by category or member of the family. Meanwhile the hammered metal vessel for umbrellas adds farmhouse charm.

“I’m a big thrift shopper, so if I’m able to get something second hand, that’s my first and best option. In this space we used wood we found in the garage for the shelving over the washer and dryer (my husband cut it to size and then sanded it to a silky smooth texture; I applied a homemade beeswax polish I use on all of my wooden surfaces). All of the baskets on the wall are second hand. There’s a rug not pictured here (the kind for wet/muddy boots) I found at Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Outside of my “second hand first” rule, I let myself buy materials for DIYs, be they lumber for the trim or clothesline for my macrame hanging plants. And for anyone wondering about the rest of my purchasing, we also buy consumables, like food, health or body products.”

The plants add such life and vitality to the room, and the fact that they match the rainboots is just *chef’s kiss* professional.

(Image credit: Jessica Quirk)

To round out the farmhouse look, Jessica had planks added to the previously bare ceiling:

“I spent a solid three days working on the ceiling, trim and painting with my dad and then another combined two or three days over the course of a few weeks during naps or after my kids went to bed. From start to finish it was a three week project. As for how much it cost, I don’t have an exact dollar amount, but I know I put in roughly $300 in paint and lumber and another $300 into supplies for the floor. All of the decorative items were already in my stash or found inexpensively secondhand!”

This shot is a great reminder that the laundry room is within view from much of the rest of the house — further inspiration to make it as beautiful and harmonious with the decor as possible. In the new laundry room, the floor is the most sensational element, though its monochromatic palette keeps it from drawing too much attention. And brace yourself—it’s stickers:

“For this space I needed a solution that a) wouldn’t take a huge amount of time and b) was something I could handle myself. I’ve done tiling in past renos on my own, but with two small kids and the need to be in and out of that space, I just couldn’t see myself ripping up the floor (we also just redid the adjacent hall/kitchen/dining room in the last months of 2017 and I needed to keep my sanity!). I also kind of hoped it would look okay once I had white paint on the walls. In the end, I opted to use printed decals to mimic an encaustic tile, plus painting the grout, to give the space a new look! I think it turned out really well and gave me a chance to test drive the idea of a patterned tile in a highly used space. It’s been about a month since I laid them down (it only took one evening to get them all on) and so far, so good!”

That’s really inspiring! My laundry room has ugly linoleum that never seems clean, and since it’s a fairly low-traffic room, stickers might last for a good long time. In general, a small room is the perfect spot to play with patterned tiles, whether real or faux. The small space limits the possibility that the pattern will seem overwhelming, and the small floor means you might be able to splash out on higher-end tiles without breaking the bank. Finally, if you’re the designated laundry-doer in your household, choose a tile that you and possibly only you adore. This is no time for compromise!

(Image credit: Jessica Quirk)

This looks like fairly standard laundry supply storage: a shelf or cabinet filled (or overfilled) with various jugs. It’s great that their within reach, but they’re not the prettiest vessels ever. (My no-cost trick is peeling the labels off my detergents and such so at least they’re all unified and white, but it’s still not, like, attractive.)

Argh, this laundry supply display makes me so happy/jealous. You could also use dirt-cheap mason jars to hold detergent, borax, Fels Naptha soap, lint rollers, toothbrushes for stubborn stains, fabric softener sheets, and more, plus a little glass spray bottle full of Shout.

The room as a whole is so organized and streamlined, yet it still feels comfortable and user-friendly. Its flexibility means that it won’t quickly be overwhelmed:

“It’s no longer a catchall for junk! The ‘undone’ rooms in my house always collect clutter, but clean and organized spaces like this stay tidy! Which is what I like! And my plants. I love having a bright space for so many of them to pop!”

Thank you, Jessica!