One Room Challenge

Before and After: A Bold $2,200 Redo Gives This Messy Laundry Room a Place for Everything

published Dec 5, 2022
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Before: a tan laundry room with a white sink and containers stacked up

Laundry rooms don’t have to be pretty, but they do have to be one thing: functional. Or, summarized nicely by homeowner Dadirai Aikens: “Conducive to completing chores with speed and joy.”

Before, Dadirai’s laundry room had potential, but it wasn’t exactly the efficient, inspiring space she wanted. “The room was a disorganized mess that lacked storage options and had an extremely unattractive color,” she says. “The visible pipes were unappealing, the sink was not operable, and there were randomly placed cabinets leftover from the kitchen.”

Dadirai decided to do something about it during the One Room Challenge in a seven-week, $2,200 makeover. With the help of her stepdad and husband, Dadirai gave the whole room a fresh look.

The team started by installing a new, more functional sink and and lower cabinets. They also built a slat wall to conceal the unsightly water tank. From there, they moved to the walls, where Dadirai was able to work with many of the cabinets she already had.

“I decided to repurpose the upper cabinets and just rearranged them and mounted them,” she explains on Instagram. Painting them navy gave them a fresh look, as did the addition of pole wrap for a bit of texture and natural wood coloring.

Dadirai installed a patterned hex tile backsplash on the walls (easier to clean re: spills and splashes), built a countertop on wheels for her washer and dryer (easier for folding clothes plus easy to pull out if plumbing needs to be adjusted), and painted the room in high-contrast colors (crisp white for the walls to make those navy cabinets pop, and red-orange for the ceiling).

The hardest step in that process? The porcelain tiles. “The porcelain tiles were a source of frustration, from the cutting of several small pieces, to keep design looking flushed, and the difficulty with drilling holes through them,” Dadirai says. If she could do anything differently, she would have installed the floating shelves before the tile and just cut around them because they were so tough to drill through.

Building the base cabinets for the new farmhouse sink gave Dadirai a bit of trouble, too. “[I] miscalculated measurements for the vanity base and had to redo it — ugh!” she says. “Turns out it would’ve been beneficial to have the sink with me when doing it.”

But she’s pleased with the way it all came together. Her finishing touches include a new Sputnik-style light fixture, artwork, a mirror to make the space feel a little brighter, and a new rug.

When asked about her favorite part of the redo, Dadirai says this: “This may sound cliché, but truly everything! The bold colors, the wood features, mobile countertop, the vanity and its storage capacity — so much. … [I’m] especially proud of my endurance and resilience; many times I wanted to give up, especially after multiple failed attempts at cutting small pieces of tile, but I’m so glad I didn’t because it turned out SUPERB!”

This project was completed for the Fall 2022 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.