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A Total DIY Laundry Room Transformation (AKA Peak Adulting)

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…

Floor Tile

Wall Tile

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!

WasherPedestal | DryerPedestal | Wall Tile | Floor Tile | Paint | Flushmount | Brass Wire Basket | Towels | Shelf Brackets | Shelf Contact Paper | Black Wire Basket | Black Frame | Brass Grid | White Floor Bin | Tall Floor Bin

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. 

Retractable Clothesline

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. 

*GASP*

I know. 

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. 

*Design by Albie K. Buabeng
**After Photos by Ellie Lillstrom

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Lori s H
20 days ago

What a beautiful transformation! I love the tile, lighting, and pretty brass accents.

Evelin
20 days ago

great choices! so elegant and special. One question: I am wondering why you didn´t start with a full tile from the top?Now we see a cut at the top, and the full 1st line is hidden behind the appliances. Thank you.

20 days ago
Reply to  Evelin

Hey! First thank you 🙂 now to your question it really came down to the wall. We knew that with the age of the home we had some not so perfectly straight walls. Starting from the top we’d run the risk of it being flush up there but not being completely straight all the way down. Starting from the middle gave us a straight starting point and we were right. All of those cut tiles are diff sizes up there. As diyers, this was the easiest workaround & worth the trade off.

Evelin
20 days ago
Reply to  Albie

Thank you, Albie. A very good lesson we can learn from you!

Meredith
20 days ago
Reply to  Albie

Ooooh this is very smart! I 100% would have discovered that the hard way.

Juliette
18 days ago
Reply to  Albie

Curious why at the least you didn’t run the tile down the sides on the left and right? I can understand putting them not directly behind the appliances, since you don’t see them, but just one strip down the sides. to cover the exposed parts.

iLa
20 days ago

Gorgeous! I love the tiles and their layout! I actually never thought of the fact that the washer has to be on the left and dryer on the right (mine are stacked one over each other). Mind blowing! I actually have a question. Are you planning to put some sort of sliding doors or will it be fully open to the rest of the room?

20 days ago
Reply to  iLa

First… thank you!

I’d also never considered the placement because as former renters, we never had to LOL. We had plans for a door but I explain a lil bit in the post why there’s no door right now.

very nice. love the retractable brass clothesline. we have a retractable clothes line outside for drying in the summer. they are the best! only see them when you need to!

Maggie D
20 days ago

Great job you guys! When we moved the washer/dryer placement switched so I had to flip my dryer door to open the opposite – easy peasy!

BTW, what are those white containers with the handles on the shelf?!

Amy
20 days ago
Reply to  Maggie D

Was just about to say this – you can usually switch the way the doors open (I did it too, so that I would have an easier time transferring clothes.)

20 days ago
Reply to  Amy

Switching the door on our dryer was definitely on the drawing board. We just ultimately didn’t need to and we’re glad to have it the “right” way lol

LJ
20 days ago
Reply to  Amy

Just for others out there reading this. Front loading washer doors cannot flip (at least none we found at Lowes when we were shopping last year). We flipped the dryer door so they open in the same direction but we still have to go around the washer door to the dryer.

Amy
20 days ago
Reply to  LJ

LJ – Can you flip your dryer so they open opposite? That should make loading easier? Or maybe I’m not understanding. 😉 But you want them to open opposite for easier transfer.

Megs
20 days ago
Reply to  Maggie D

Wondering about the white bottles also. They seem like perhaps an eco-friendly, refillable way to handle laundry? Would love details.

Stefanie Schofield
20 days ago
Reply to  Megs

ME TOOOOO!!! LOVE THOSE BOTTLES!

20 days ago
Reply to  Megs

Those look like the reusable detergent bottles that Grove sells.

Maggie D
20 days ago

Great detective work Stephanie! LOL!

Jennifer
20 days ago
Reply to  Maggie D

Wait, you can SWITCH THE DOOR SWING??? My house has the washer/dryer placement flipped- it was that way when we moved in. The washer is a top loader, but the dryer door swing is the normal way and it bugs me. I never knew we could switch it!!!

Maggie D
20 days ago
Reply to  Jennifer

I have an LG and could switch mine. Do you have the manual? I bet you can!

Wendy
20 days ago
Reply to  Jennifer

Yes! It already has holes to be either way. Our (top loading ) washer is on the right do to a weird hookup, so we just switched our dryer door so it opens towards it.

18 days ago
Reply to  Maggie D

Totes catching up on the replies!

So dryer doors (on newer machines at least) can switch… washer doors can’t switch though, no matter the age or model. My guess is because of the washing mechanisms but who knows, lol. You’ll know if yours is capable because you’ll usually be able to spot the screws on the door itself.

The “typical” placement is washer on the left & dryer on the right (when you’re facing them) so that when they’re both open the transfer from wash to dry is unobstructed. So even when we considered flipping our dryer door, we would’ve had them both swinging the same way & not unobstructed.

Lastly… YEP! Those are Grove Collaborative dispensers & I love em!

Brigitte
20 days ago

Nicest laundry room ever! Love. 💕

Erin Dae
20 days ago

Albie – love it! Two things struck me. 1) I wonder if older homes were set up differently, as both laundry situations I have lived with have the dryer on the left? One was built in the 60s, the other in the 80s. I have top-loading washer, and have learned to work around the “backwards” opening direction of the dryer. 2) I love that you are giving yourself options for expanding the tile in future but not committing to it right away. A couple of options that I think would be pretty: either running a piece of trim under the tile so it looks more intentional as a half wall; or tiling down both sides of the appliances so it gives the illusion of being a whole wall of tile while still not having to deal with the ridiculousness of working around all the hoses and plumbing hidden behind the appliances. Thanks for sharing the space and your thought process with us!

20 days ago
Reply to  Erin Dae

Hey! Thank you 🙂

To your suggestions, we actually do have a slim trim there that we deliberately let blend into the tile till we decide on the sides. And yep, we considered tiling the sides because we won’t ever tile the bottom behind the appliances — there’s a ton of plumbing back there — but even giving the illusion of a completed wall has no aesthetic add for us because that’s never what we wanted.

Karla
20 days ago

I never knew that about the placement of a washer and dryer as I’ve had them swapped multiple times. Most washer and dryers have it so that you can swap the direction the door opens. (Refrigerators do as well)

Sarah T
20 days ago
Reply to  Karla

Never knew that doors could be swapped. The washer and dryer doors open the opposite direction from each other in our building’s laundry room. It’s a small awkwardness that I’ll bet bugs most everyone who uses it. Am going to ask the apartment manager about swapping the door directions. No harm in asking. Thanks for this tip!

18 days ago
Reply to  Sarah T

Definitely ask about the dryers! It’ll be so helpful if they can!

Michelle
20 days ago

Thanks for such a helpful post! I love the choices you made and it’s great to get an inside look at how you made decisions. A good reminder to reserve the right to change your mind!

Roberta Davis
20 days ago

COVID reality- we had to buy a new dishwasher a couple of weeks ago (ours sprung a leak). We specifically bought one that was in stock and ready to go. But the line for delivery/installation meant that our delivery date for this dishwasher, which was sitting in their warehouse, was scheduled for May 19! Like 9 weeks out! Luckily, because of a cancellation, we got it in just over a week. I guess a lot of people have ordered appliances and they are not coming as scheduled, so they are having to reschedule their deliveries.

19 days ago
Reply to  Roberta Davis

COVID has impacted appliances in a way I would’ve NEVER predicted. It’s really wild. So glad you were able to get something sooner!

Sarah
19 days ago
Reply to  Roberta Davis

My new washer and dryer were finally delivered last week… and I bought them at the beginning of September. The covid impact on appliances is nuts!

meredith
20 days ago

I love this transformation! So much of what you shared resonated with me, too …. working with what you have, adding components that aren’t forever or permanent, and doing what’s best for the three of you. I also love how you recognize that there is more that could be done, but you’re happy where you’re at and are fully living in the space. Finding that balance can be hard for me, because I love design content and have so many ideas about what I could do differently in my own home. 🙂

19 days ago
Reply to  meredith

So glad you appreciated my perspective on this! And I know all to well what it’s like to have a ton of ideas… yet another reason I reserve the right to change my mind, lol

Kara
18 days ago
Reply to  Albie

It’s gorgeous! Reminds me of a swanky NYC cocktail bar, and you could probably style out the top of the washer & dryer like a bar cart and it would look cool when hanging out in the other room if you don’t put on doors.

Jen
20 days ago

What an inviting laundry room Albie! That wall tile is gorgeous! I’ll be checking out the Tile Shop for sure!

Elmira Pishchalnikova
20 days ago

Ok, I have to admit task to buy washer and dryer was a breeze for me :)) There weren’t blue appliances so I settled on the dark red. Boom, done! Never looked back :))) But we have a separate room for laundry so the color wasn’t competing with anything.

19 days ago

Ooooo I love this!

Jen Berry
20 days ago

Yep I knew I was old when I texted all my friends about my new HVAC. Womp womp….
That wall tile is so fun!

19 days ago
Reply to  Jen Berry

I did the same! LOL

Thank you 🙂

GenePools
20 days ago

Material selection is nice.

Wondering why you went with pedestals vs installing a countertop so you could create that ever so needed and convenient folding space. Doing so would also allow you to access the vertical space above the units.

It’s not too late to consider shifting the appliances to one side so you could install a cabinet to hold laundry essentials, or even a dirty clothes hamper in the cabinet. There are all sorts of solutions out there to easily redirect/extend dryer vents if needed (speaking from experience here). Doing so would mean you wouldn’t have to tile those voids flanking the appliances.

19 days ago
Reply to  GenePools

Hey! The choice to go with pedestals was as an alternative to having a sink in the laundry room – smaller loads, pre soaking, etc – and the dryer pedestal would be additional storage for back stock we keep.

For the other considerations you mentioned – simply put, that’s now what we want…

We don’t fold in the laundry room & don’t have any desire to do so & while I am typically a proponent for using the vertical space, this isn’t somewhere it would be beneficial to US and how we use the space.

The appliances were placed where they are on purpose, so all those not because of the hoses. They lived on the left, center, and right. We prefer them in the center, and have no desire to have cabinets in this space… this choice wasn’t made for lack of options. Ex: our primary hampers live in our respective closets and come down for laundry day so adding a cabinet for that would literally never serve us.

All that to day…
We considered all of the possible options and only put stock in what fit our needs & how we live. Hope this helps 🙂

20 days ago

I love the way this looks without doors but I’m curious to know if the sound of the appliances running over time starts to bother you. Our machines are quite loud and it drives me crazy when my husband doesn’t close the door (I know, I shouldn’t complain that he does laundry, but how hard to close the door?!).

19 days ago
Reply to  Courtney Bell

Thanks! Re: the sound… these machines are eerily quiet for laundry appliances lol. We do laundry at all hours, and unless something with a zipper is drying, we sometimes forget the machines are even running… not until they chime at the end of a wash or dry load. This definitely would not have worked with the appliances from our apt. Even with the doors closed, we heard EVERYTHING lol

Jeanne
20 days ago

Hi Albie. Love your new laundry room. It’s really beautiful! Is this the first time you’ve owned a front loader? If not then ignore this comment. If so, this may save you lots of future headache and money. I learned these tips from our washer repairman, who you don’t want to bring in for the problems I had! Since I’ve followed them, I’ve never had any issues at all. Soap: Needs sooo much less. Don’t read the manufacturers rec amount. They don’t know your machine and want you to use more product. 1 Tablespoon for small loads, 2 Tbsp for regular loads, 3 for large. Add a Tbsp for really dirty loads. It sounds like so little but because the barrel spins the clothes upon itself, it’s all you need. If you use too much it can cause mold to build up and it’s hard to rinse out (I always double rinse). If you can, use powdered. Liquid detergent (and softener) have a surfactant that gunks up the pipes and the outer drum leading to mold and smells. If you love your Grove soap, just stick with the rec Tbsp amounts. Should be ok. Fabric Softener: Don’t use it in… Read more »

19 days ago
Reply to  Jeanne

LOL not boring at all. I’ve had both a top and front loader… and a stackable too actually. None were my choosing tho — apts — so when it came time to choose here, I didn’t a ton of research & narrowed it down to this and a top loader. This was ultimately what we went with & so I researched all the pros and cons, and how to deal with the latter. A lot of what you mentioned we already do and/or just doesn’t apply to us, but I do hope this helps someone else as well!

A
20 days ago

Gorgeous! Also I want your bunny slippers 😂

Annie K.
19 days ago
Reply to  A

Yes! I came to comments to say that bunny slipper photo is the gd cutest thing. Also I love your pants!

“Launderette” is the perfect name for nook. What a delightful spot to crank out laundry with a bit of glamour. I didn’t know it was possible.

18 days ago
Reply to  Annie K.

Thank you! The slippers are from Amazon & the leggings are Fabletics 🙂

19 days ago

Laundry room on fire!!

Jody
19 days ago

I LOVE the room. The tile really raises the bar. Oddly, I find that the untiled sides bother me. I feel slightly off kilter. But your hard work shines as does the room. BRAVO!

Lacey M
19 days ago

I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!
Also – adding the retractable clothes line was genius!

Lynn W
19 days ago

That is one swanky launderette 👏. Love all your choices💜

Amanda Lane
17 days ago

I am interested in why you would not install a trough/sink/large basin in a laundry room?

Bobbi
17 days ago

Great job. The room shows your hard work for both the labor and the design decisions. Love it!

Dave
11 days ago

MAGNIFIQUE!

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