DIY Small Laundry Room Makeover On A Budget

One of the rooms I miss most from our old house is the laundry room. The DIY laundry room makeover we did in this small space was nothing short of transformative, both in design and functionality. Without further ado, I introduce you to our renovated laundry room.

DIY laundry room makeover project after photo with open shelves, laundry folding countertop, and new Frigidaire laundry machines

When we finally started working on the laundry room, I was DYING for open shelves. Actually, I believe that’s what started this whole project, a wardrobe shelving malfunction. I had jammed a few too many things into the original cabinets to the point where an avalanche of laundry supplies was falling down on me every time I opened the door for a light bulb, dog treats, or a red Solo cup. After one particular avalanche, sitting on the disgusting laminate floor amongst a pile of red Solo cups I vowed to A) make the laundry area my next major house project and B) to stop hoarding red Solo cups.  We’re not in Kansas college anymore Toto.

So today I’m sharing ALL of the before and afters of our DIY laundry room makeover, along with the in-between parts.

All of the laundry room sources, paint colors, and links to all the projects and posts for the DIY laundry room makeover can be found at the bottom of the post.

Old Laundry Room

Behold our old laundry room. Isn’t she a looker? Don’t lie, I know this is the laundry room look you’ve been searching for. I’ll pause while you Pin it to your laundry room inspiration Pinterest board.

Before picture of the DIY laundry room makeover featuring old metal upper cabinets and plastic paneling

Some of my favorite (note the sarcasm) features of this old laundry room include metal old cabinets circa 1971, an ancient top-loading washing machine that ate our clothes, an anti-energy efficient dryer, dark plastic paneling with coordinating yellow wallpaper, frilly curtains blocking all the natural light, and oh you should see the floors! Let me show you.

Old laminate flooring in a laundry room

It wasn’t the most inspiring place to work. And this is coming from a person who loves to do laundry. Like LOVES loves to do laundry. I could never find anything in those old metal cabinets since they were so jammed full of miscellaneous things. I constantly lost clean laundry to the depths behind the washing machine. At least the room had a door on it so we could keep the laundry space closed up and out of view.

Old, metal laundry room upper cabinets in the laundry room before photo

Laundry Room Location

The location of our tiny laundry room is right in the kitchen. There was a brief moment when we thought of removing it to make our kitchen bigger and relocating the laundry area to the other side of the kitchen, but we learned that the kitchen truly was big enough for our needs. Instead, we opted to do a budget-friendly laundry room makeover working within the current footprint.

Another benefit of having the laundry room in the kitchen is access to a sink. While I love a large, beautiful laundry room with a dedicated laundry or utility sink, that’s just not a possibility for such a small room. For this space, it was absolute essentials only. So it was handy having a sink so close by for all those emergent laundry rinsings and stain-treating situations.

Small laundry room in the corner of a kitchen with a pink sliding barn door

Laundry Room Design Plan

When we set our sights on a complete overhaul of our laundry room, we came up with a basic plan for the space, which was less than 40 square feet. We considered both how we wanted the entire room to function and also how we wanted it to look.

With functionality, we got serious about what we truly needed in our laundry room. I had to be really honest with myself and how I like to do laundry. My laundry routine involves gathering all the laundry from the house and bringing it to the laundry room, sorting it, washing each load, putting everything in the dryer (we don’t have any items that need to hang dry), and folding everything in the laundry room immediately after.

For me, I didn’t need a fancy laundry drying rack or an ironing board handy. To have a functional room according to my needs, I needed a folding table and a space for a laundry sorting basket.

In terms of style, I really loved the farmhouse laundry room look. I scoured Pinterest for laundry room makeover ideas and saved them to my small laundry room ideas Pinterest board. My favorite inspiration though was a laundry room from Martha Stewart. It’s what spurred my obsession with peg rail in a laundry room.

Demo And A Fresh Coat Of Paint

After my red Solo cup meltdown it didn’t take us long before we decided to demo the laundry room. It definitely was one of those easier demo projects. We planned to replace the textured ceiling with a shiplap ceiling, cover the floors with pine board flooring, and skim-coat the walls to repair and smooth them. This meant that demo really just required removing the ceiling, taking down the paneling, and peeling off the wallpaper.

Laundry room makeover demolition stage of the project

It took us a few rounds of mudding and sanding to smooth out the walls. And let’s be honest, it’s an old house. The walls are never going to be super smooth, but we did get them close enough.

Before we knew it the shiplap ceiling was up and there was a fresh coat of white paint on the walls. I’ve painted a million rooms (okay realistically more like 13 in this home…some spaces multiple times), and it never ceases to amaze me the power of paint. It makes a HUGE difference in a room. If you’re going to do just one thing to your room, paint it. Fresh paint goes a long way to reviving a room without much extra cost. Hello, white walls!

Fresh coat of white paint in a laundry room with a new pair of laundry machines for a blank slate

Open Shelves For Extra Storage

If there is one thing that all small rooms need, it’s to optimize the square footage and limited space. My main plan for optimizing the limited space for storage was to build laundry room shelves above the washer and dryer.

​I love how these shelves add so much easy-access storage. I can now easily find my cleaning supplies, dish rags, trash bags, and more without the avalanche of red Solo cups raining down on me.

Building laundry room shelves was an easy DIY project and fit well within our small budget. It’s a project that took us about a weekend to build and paint and an afternoon to organize and set it up. You can read ALL the details in our How To Build Laundry Room Shelves post.

DIY laundry room makeover after image with new shiplap ceiling, laundry folding top, and open shelves

​Laundry Room Countertop For Folding

The other major DIY project we tackled in this space was building a wood laundry room countertop for folding, going for a butcher block look. This project was beyond easy, using framing lumber and other basic supplies from Home Depot. 

If there was one project that really increased the functionality of our laundry room, adding a folding countertop above our laundry machines was it. I love how it increased the usable space for folding above our machines, went all the way to the back wall preventing socks from going rogue behind the washer, and even allowed for a storage spot for essential laundry supplies like detergent.

Laundry room countertop for folding DIY project, built with framing lumber on top of front loading washer and dryer

Laundry Room Door

I couldn’t talk about our DIY laundry room makeover without talking about the new door for the laundry room. We repurposed an old bedroom door that we didn’t need and converted it to a sliding barn door. We came up with our own system for creating a sliding door without buying a traditional barn door hardware kit, at a fraction of the cost.

The door even got its own pop of color, a pink called Sweet Melon from Valspar.

A pink sliding barn door for a laundry room on a DIY barn door track

Laundry Closet Organizational Tour

Let’s take a deeper dive into how we organized our laundry space. It’s such a small room that we were careful about every item that came in here. I also vowed that the space would be beautiful. This meant swapping out some items for cuter, vintage finds.

Organizing Laundry Room Open Shelves

With the open shelves, I made it a point to only keep what we needed and used on a regular basis and to replace anything plastic or “ugly looking” with cuter cleaning supplies. I’m going on the record here and telling you that this was LIFE CHANGING. I started off by trading in the boxes of Borax and washing soda (ingredients for the homemade laundry detergent I’ve been making for the last four years…still loving it FYI) for cuter glass jars.

Glass jars for storing laundry detergent making supplies on the top shelf of the laundry room shelves

I made the vintage-inspired labels using Photoshop and sticker paper. After Googling around for vintage labels I found some printables that were close but not quite right. The website sourced all the fonts so I made my own labels based on their designs. I just printed them out on sticker paper, cut them out, and stuck them on the el-cheapo glass jars from KMart.

Small changes like this are a great way to add more style and personality to a utilitarian space. And who says a utilitarian space can’t be both beautiful AND functional?

Vintage style labels for laundry storage jars

The next shelf down holds pretty much all of our cleaning supplies in Home Goods baskets. The cleaning wipes, trash bags, carpet cleaner, glass cleaner, etc. are all in the open-top baskets.

Laundry room open shelf with organized cleaning supplies in baskets

The lidded baskets are where I hoard other essentials like dusting cloths, sponges, and dish clothes. Using lidded baskets helps with additional storage space since the baskets can be stacked on top of each other on the shelves.

Lidded baskets in a laundry room to store cleaning supplies and cleaning clothes

Peg Rail Organization

Underneath the bottom shelf is my favorite area. I went to Home Goods one day on a mission…a mission for cuter cleaning tools. Out went the plastic pink dustpan and neon green Swiffer Duster and in came a white metal dustpan and legit feather duster. I love how everything is easily accessible so when the dog has a minor food spillage issue, out comes the cute dustpan off the hook without 30 red Solo cups coming with it.

Peg rail shelf in a laundry room makeover holding a dustpan, broom, and feather duster

Laundry Folding Countertop

On the folding shelf we built, I added a couple of hot-ticket laundry items. I didn’t want to clutter up the tops of the washer/dryer since I needed as much space as possible for folding. But a few things I used constantly warranted prime real estate space on the shelf. On the left, I corralled the jar of homemade laundry detergent, bleach decanted in a vintage glass juice jug, and a little change collector bowl in a Home Goods basket tray.

Using a tray on a laundry countertop to corral laundry detergent, bleach, and other laundry day supplies

The basket is literally inches from where I add the detergent to the washing machine making starting a load of laundry a snap.

On the other side of the folding shelf, I used a vintage egg basket to hold random socks, accompanied by a succulent and lint canister. I fill the canister with lint until it’s full and then just run it out to the kitchen trash. Both the succulent pot and the canister hailed from Target.

Using a vintage egg basket on a laundry countertop to hold socks with a missing mate in a a laundry room

Finished DIY Laundry Room Makeover

We are beyond in love with our DIY laundry room makeover. The first thing I did once the space was finished was perform the inaugural load of laundry. I may have done it in a pomp-and-circumstance style with a soundtrack. It was the most joyous load of laundry I’ve ever done. 

Laundry Room Projects

Paint Colors Used

  • Walls – Betsy’s Linen by Valspar, color matched to Benjamin Moore paint in Satin
  • Ceiling – Betsy’s Linen by Valspar, color matched to Benjamin Moore paint in Semit-Gloss
  • Door – Sweet Melon by Valspar

Laundry Room Source List

  • Dryer and Washing Machine – Frigidaire Affinity
  • Flooring – unfinished wide pine floor boards with five coats of oil-based poly
  • Ceiling – unfinished v-groove pine planks
  • Folding Table – DIY (read about it here)
  • Open Shelving – DIY (read about it here)
  • Shelf Pegs – Hobby Lobby
  • Shelf Pegs – vintage from Searsport, Maine flea market
  • Laundry Room Door – salvaged from our bedroom remodel
  • Door Hardware – Lowes screen door hardware
  • Door Track – Tractor Supply
  • Glass Jars – Kmart (labels DIY)
  • Baskets – Home Goods
  • Basket Tray – Home Goods
  • Laundry Detergent Jar – Kmart
  • Change Bowl – Home Goods
  • Glass Jug – vintage from Searsport, Maine flea market
  • Egg Basket – vintage from Uncle Marcus
  • Succulent Pot – Target
  • Canister – Target
  • Light Fixture – Lowes
  • Bamboo Laundry Hamper – West Elm (no longer available, similar hamper)

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