Before and After: A Basic Laundry Room with Wire Shelving Gets a Cozy and Functional $500 Upgrade

published Apr 25, 2022
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Credit: Karen Sloan

Wire shelving has its perks — a low cost, for one — but this builder-grade basic is also notorious for letting even the smallest stuff slip through the cracks.

In Karen Sloan’s (@decorhint) laundry room, unfortunately, a singular wire shelf was pretty much the only storage available. And to make matters worse, it was too tall for her to reach. “I was desperate for a place to fold clothes and a cabinet for storing supplies,” she recalls.

Credit: Karen Sloan

So, in a $500 project that took six weeks, she added tons of functionality and style to this once very basic space. “I’m slowly making over each room and adding more character,” she says of her home.

Credit: Karen Sloan

Karen started by taking down the dreaded wire shelves in the laundry room. Then she added wainscoting to three walls and painted everything in Benjamin Moore’s “Gravel Gray.” She painted the window frame in the same dark color to make it pop, too.

Next, Karen was inspired to build her own folding counter, which she did from 1 x 10 boards glued together and protected with a polyurethane. She affixed it to the wall using support cleats and an additional vertical panel on one side.

Credit: Karen Sloan

“A couple of years ago, I never would have thought I could install wainscoting and build a laundry counter,” Karen says. “My advice would be to just start. You learn by doing, and your confidence grows from there.”

Credit: Karen Sloan

Karen’s proud of the positive changes she created in her space, which also include a DIY pegboard for hanging clothes, a laundry bag, and the addition of an Amazon cabinet, which she customized so it would fit her vacuum and mops.

Credit: Karen Sloan

“Finally, I added the finishing touches, like a red runner, some open shelving, and art,” Karen says. Her remade laundry room is not only practical, but it’s a beautiful place to be in — even while doing chores.

Credit: Karen Sloan

“This is coziest laundry room,” she says. “Every time I step into it, I feel a sense of pride.”