The laundry room was just a square of a room with a stacked washer and dryer when we moved in. We were fresh out of budget for any kind of shelving by the end of the building process, so we threw an extra shelf in the room that we had on hand and called it good enough. We hung clothes on the metal stair rail to air dry and used the guest bed as a folding counter. The laundry room was basically an empty room, and all of its contents were spilling out into the upstairs. It was time to make this room functional.
Here’s the before picture taken in the worst light for the most dramatic before and after ever (as Chris Harrison would say).
We drafted a couple stipulations before starting on the laundry room. 1—It had to be affordable. If there’s one house chore I hate most, it’s laundry. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the room is, it will not entice me to wash clothes before they all run out. For that reason, we wanted to save our pennies on this room. For that reason also, Kev does most of the laundry around these parts. 2—It had to be DIYable by me. No extra costs from hiring out. 3—The makeover needed to be quick so that I could finish it in a weekend. Because time is money. 4—We needed to create space to both air dry and fold clothes.
Since I love putting together Ikea (really, I do), I turned to them for shelving. We went with their Elvarli system. Ikea has a super cool design program on their site that allows you to customize and configure these systems. No fancy skills needed. Above is the configuration I landed on, with baskets and a caddy added in photoshop.
Speaking of, the baskets were actually the inspiration for this room. (Tip: when designing a space, always start with an anchor inspiration piece—whether it’s a basket, a painting, a color, etc.) We have a Steele Canvas clothes basket in our bathroom, and fell in love with the industrial elegance and functionality of it. The laundry room needed a dose of that. (See below for a discount and giveaway.)
So, one rainy weekend of assembly, a couple sore thumbs and palms later, plus some design time before and after assembly, the laundry room makeover was quick and affordable. Though, affordable is such a loose term. We set a budget of $1000 and stayed pretty close to it. See the breakdown and source list below.
Something to note: I hacked the Elvarli system slightly by not installing all of the horizontal bars in the middle tower. I wanted to keep the counter space open and functional. To see what I’m talking about, compare the first image with the rendering. The rendering has a stream of horizontal bars running all the way down. Because we have a shelf running across the top and heavy drawers anchoring the bottom, it’s plenty sturdy. You can also anchor this system to the wall.
Laundry Room Breakdown
Elvarli Shelving $685 + $29 delivery fee
3 Steele Canvas Small Baskets with vegetable tanned leather $88.75 each*
Steele Canvas Caddy $87.95*
2 sets of Blue Wooden Hangers $22.99 each
Wash Dry Iron Bleach: Laundry Print $10
Large Glass Canister $11.99
Small Glass Canister $10.99
Soap Dish $9.99
Target Cement Vase $4.99
2 Wall Hooks $6.99 each
Enamel Dust Pan and Broom (no longer available)
Step Stool $19.99 + paint
Grey 2’x3′ Rug $39.99
*Steele Canvas sent us these baskets. See giveaway below to win a set.
I must sound like a broken record, but when designing a room on a budget (aren’t we all on some sort of budget?) choose a couple high-priced pieces to elevate the lower-priced pieces. I’ve taken this approach in every room in the house, and it makes a huge difference without a huge price tag.
Oh ya, when looking for artwork for the laundry room, I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. So I made my own. If you find yourself in the market for laundry room art, I’ve added this print to my digital print shop.
Decorate with what’s around you
I don’t like to decorate for the sake of decorating. Instead, I try to decorate with functional items. I put the wool dryer balls and the Borax on display in glass canisters. I added the Fels Naptha Bar, a stain fighting magician, to a soap dish. I displayed the beautiful dust pan and broom (that we actually use) on a hook. And I found blue wooden hangers to add a pop of color to the room.
About those baskets
I love the way the Steele Canvas Baskets look. They’re super sturdy, made-to-order, and well built. They also hide the disorderly. The top basket houses cleaning supplies (up high so Hal can’t get to it). The bottom two baskets house towels—beach towels in one and everyday towels in the other. And the large caddy on the right houses dirty towels and sheets. I added round felt pads to the bottom for easy sliding.
Add a Pop of Color
This room is mostly neutrals with a couple pops of color to add life. Like the blue hangers, the red flower and medical kit, the green broom, and the muddy green stool. When adding pops of color, try repeating it once in this space to help your eye bounce around instead of stop. You can also try adding two different tones of the same color, like I did with the greens.
Lucky for you—Steele Canvas is giving away a set of the baskets from the laundry room makeover! The set includes 3 baskets and 1 caddy. To enter, leave a comment telling me your least favorite house chore. (You know mine. I also loathe cleaning the kitchen sink.)
Open to US readers only. Giveaway ends August 30, 2018 at 12pm CST. Head over to Instagram for another chance to win a set. For 10% off steelecanvas.com, use the code “FAUXMARTHA” until August 29, 2018.
Another room done, and it’s all feeling so bittersweet. What will I do when I’m all out of rooms to design?!
Washing dishes is fine, putting dishes away is fine. drying dishes is not fine! Drying the dishes.
Cleaning the shower is the worst!!
Do you remember what color of paint is on your walls? ps…..the laundry room makeover is soo good! Love those baskets!
We have Benjamin Moore Decorators White in flat on our walls. But I always recommending trying out colors (even whites) in your space. In our house, this white reads a touch warm.
May I ask what the borax is used for? TIA!
It’s an all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner a little like Dr. Bronner’s. I use it haphazardly. Usually throw a little in with the whites and the sheets or use it to pre-treat a bad stain.
Love love love this laundry room! Still pretty and functional, without any “laundry themed” knick-knacks. My least favorite chore is cleaning out the fridge. YUCK
Doing the dishes and cleaning the shower are the bane of my existence. ?
The bath tub is my #1 worst chore! ?
Im not the norm.. I LOVE sorting and washing and drying. I loath putting laundry away!
I hate emptying the diaper genie. I know it’s not supposed to smell but man oh man it does.
Oh my goodness, this looks SO GOOD.
I also love that you were able to buy the piece of furniture vs building it (sometimes it’s really nice for the convenience) and it fit so perfectly! I LOVE the dustpan too! Saving this for my future laundry room reno!
Oh I love this! I didn’t know about the ELVARLI line – checking it out! My least favorite task…all of them? Sorry, husband! I think vacuuming takes the cake, though – we have five(!!!) and none of them are fully working. So frustrating!
Love your makeover and am coping ideas with all your links! 🙂
What color paint did you use on ikea stool?
Hi! Whoops, forgot to mention the color. It’s Mossy Oak by Behr.
I love your laundry room makeover! What color and brand of paint is the gray is that on the ikea bench. Thanks for the ideas!
VACUUMING. I don’t know why but its so annoying. I’ve forever traded toilets (don’t mind those) for vacuuming with my darling husband.
It turned out great! Cleaning the tub/shower is not my favorite thing, but when it is done, it makes me happy 🙂
Cleaning the bathroom is my least favorite. I know it is my hair in the drain but it doesn’t make it any better!
Mopping is my bane!
Very much guilty of postponing scrubbing out the tub until it’s a way bigger job than it needs to be.
I don’t mind most chores , but when I get behind I can hardly get myself to do any of it, so I guess I just hate falling behind!
I hate cleaning bathrooms!
I hate vacuuming the most, laundry is my favorite. So satisfying when everything is clean, folded and put away. Floors seem to get dirty immediately after cleaning. It is a never ending task.
Scrubbing the grills on my gas stove. Why are they so heavy and hard to clean??
I can’t stand dishes! They’re never ending and I always feel like I just did them all and then there’s more!! ?
Putting away laundry FOR SURE! I have made my peace with all the other chores! ?
I loathe cleaning the bathroom! You have to do it but it’s gross LOL great giveaway!
Cooking is my least fav thing to do
Those Steele baskets and bin are just beautiful, I was actually eyeing them recently while browsing for my own closet organizing! ? As for cleaning, it’s toilets and the surrounding tile I despise. Ugh! Boys!
Hands down doing the laundry from beginning to end! Maybe I’d like it more with these baskets!!! Thanks.
i live doing laundry but HATE dusting!
Great weekend project. Thanks for all the tips! My east favorite household chore is grocery shopping. Feeling of dread as soon as I park between the yellow lines and spot the metal menagerie of carts.
I hate putting my kids clean laundry away! Don’t even mind folding it, But putting it away!
Cleaning the bathroom is the worst, I will literally clean every other surface in the house before the bathroom.
I hate cleaning the bathroom.
Putting away clean laundry is my least favorite chore!
Dusting/scrubbing baseboards ??♀️ I always put it off for way too long – and I’m using my 34 week pregnant body as an excuse to put it off even longer ha!!
I actually love doing laundry -washing and folding (while it’s still warm) but hate putting it away!
I hate cleaning the shower!!!
I know this is so strange but I love cleaning. But laundry is NOT my jam. I blame my two kids (2 years old and 6 months old) for this.
I always dread cleaning the bathroom, especially the shower.
Putting away laundry!!!!
I hate laundry because it’s never truly finished…always one dirty thing that missed the wash!
Dishes would be my least favorite.
Vacuuming rugs that don’t allow the roller to run. I feel like I’m pushing the vacuum for hours.
Dusting the baseboards – oh the bane of my existence!
Cleaning the bathroom is my most loathed chore! I try to avoid it at all costs. I’d take laundry all day every day to get out of that!
This makeover is amazing. I am inspired. Least fav: putting clothes away!
I’ve been dreaming about bins like those and had such a hard time finding them!!! Especially after three years with no dryer I cannot wait to get back to a real laundry system! … least favorite chore….. so many to choose from. Ha. I really hate sweeping because it’s NEVER done.
Cleaning the floors after dinner! They get so dirty!!
I’d say it would have to be a tie between washing the blinds and cleaning the bathroom after college guys have stayed with us!
Least favorite is vacuuming. But, alas, I have a toddler and a kindergartener.
My least favorite chore is taking out the compost and cleaning under the microwave! I’d love to have those bins for my laundry room.
I hate hate HATE cleaning the shower/tub
Unloading the dish washer!
love this transformation! i can’t stand folding the laundry or washing dishes, which is impossible to avoid as a mom!
Cleaning the bathroom! My Mom even made me do it while I was home on college breaks. I’m over it!
Least favorite is a tie between Laundry and Dusting.
vacuuming is the worst!!! so much to pick up and put away and rearrange! love those baskets!
Toilets and kitchen sink for me!
Dusting! I think it’s the worst … probably because it means I have to pick up ahead of time.
I loathe cleaning toilets. Can not will not!!
I have to go with toilets, or overall bathroom as well.
Question…in your before photo, I have the same steamer as pictured. It’s so large I have trouble finding a spot to store it. May I ask where you now store yours? Thanks!
We store it in our closet now, to steam just before wearing. It fits right under the hanging shelf!
DISHES without a doubt!!! They are my least favorite.
Cleaning window blinds. Hate. And don’t do nearly enough, probably!
Unloading the dishwasher. Darn limited cupboard space!
Toliets, especially after a potty training toddler.
Laundry, by far!
The bathroom!! With two young boys, well you can just imagine. It’s a daily task I dread. (also wish we had an organized laundry space, unfortunately ours is in the unfinished basement).
Dusting for sure!
Putting UP the laundry!
Cleaning the bathroom ?
Putting away the clean (!right?!) laundry. Ugh.
Vacuuming! I can’t stand it.
Vacuuming…and floor cleaning in general. Just never feels like it’s done!
The room looks great! I am NOT a fan of scrubbing the tub/shower… at all!
Dread cleaning bathroom floors! Your laundry room is perfect.
Bathroom floors are a dreaded chore! Your laundry room is inspiring.
Squeegeeing (is that even a word?) the shower glass – I always try to sneak in right before my husband so that I’m not left with that task (that takes all of about 30 seconds)
Keeping the floors clean, sweeping and mopping. It’s never ending!
Vacuuming is by far my least favorite household chore!
Definitely the bathroom. Can’t stand it. Thanks for the chance.
Putting away the laundry!
cleaning bathrooms! i love steele canvas for making laundry easier!
Love the laundry room makeover! Worst cleaning job for me is dusting and cleaning the plantation blinds – such a pain.
Least favorite chores are dishes and dusting!
Vacuuming! So I love my roomba.
I actually love doing laundry, but I hate cleaning the bathroom!
That is so funny. Your least favorites are my most favorites. I hate cleaning the tub/shower.
Probably mopping floors. I love those laundry baskets and have been to their website!
Emptying the dishwasher and folding laundry are a tie for my least favorite
Dusting is my nemesis!
Cleaning the bathroom in general. I make my husband do it every time. 🙂
Cleaning the counters and table after dinner. Dishes give me satisfaction but the TABLE makes me rage! LOL
I really dislike cleaning hair and soap scum wads from the shower drain. An Oxo drain filter prevents most of it but somehow a little still gets by.
Dusting the blinds and scrubbing the bath tub!
Cleaning the bathrooms – specifically scrubbing the shower, faucets and toilet. It’s a drag!
Cleaning and decluttering the master bedroom is my least favorite chore!
And thanks for this inspo! We are trying to think of a plan of attack for our laundry room (that looks about like your Before picture :)) Going to check the IKEA system out!
Least Favorite Chore: Dusting the baseboards, especially behind furniture.
Cleaning the bathroom. But I love a clean bathroom. Thankfully my fiance does it most of the time 🙂
Love this room! My least favorite household chore is putting away laundry!
Mine is cleaning bathrooms. Love this look, working on my new laundry room and so much inspiration here.
I don’t care for unloading the drying rack. Probably because i pile the dishes/pots a mile high.
I am not a fan of cleaning the floors.
Wonderful inspiration! Thank you! I really dislike vacuuming and even worse emptying the vacuum when it’s full. We empty it outside but dust and dirt go every where!
Cleaning the shower! It feels like I can never make that whole space clean!
Hate cleaning the toilets!!!!
I hate hand washing dishes! Ooh, and taking out the trash.
Love the laundry room print! Laundry room art is quite underrated.
I hate cleaning the bathroom. I’ll do the vanity but I tag my husband in for the toilet and shower.
dusting is my least favorite. before i buy anything i ask myself if i’m willing to dust it (the answer is usually no).
Mopping is my absolute least favorite!!!!
Two words… tile grout…. so dreary! I think laundry would be my favorite if I had your laundry room!
I am actually growing to like some chores (reformed messy person!) but i drag my feet with dusting. it feels so overwhelming!
I can do laundry all day but the putting away of it paralyzes me and then clean baskets are always in my room! I need a system lol!
Dishes! Always dishes. Even though eating is my favorite hobby.
Oh, gosh… I really struggle with cleaning the shower. It’s always the last thing I want to do. Love the remodel! Well done 🙂
Love the functionality of this room. My least favorite house chore? Has to be clearing clogged drains. Although scrubbing showers is a close second.
I’m totally with you in the loathing of laundry, but what really grinds my gears is the folding!!!
Toilet cleaning in and around. Baseboard cleaning and glass shower door cleaning. Can never get it streak free.
I love that you were able to do this in a weekend and so inexpensive!! It’s a great design & Ive been in love w/the baskets for some time. In fact I heard about the giveaway from Steel Canvas! Loving your IG site & blog, especially since I’m originally from Fargo, ND! Least face chore: cleaning the bathroom but a close second is dusting! Thanks for the great tips & giveaway!
Dusting! I actually really enjoy cleaning, but dusting is just the worst.
Cutting the grass when it is super hot and humid is the worst. Especially with a reel lawn mower, no moto. Inside i would say emptying the dish washer.
Dishes! Seriously the worst…
Socks. Matching socks.
I HATE doing the dishes!!!
Washing windows is the worst, but having clean windows is the best. I only remind myself of that fact once every very long while!
Cleaning the bathroom after my two boys pee all over the toilet.
great job! the bathtub (and grout!)
Cleaning our tile shower is by far the worst. What was i thinking with that dumb small tile?!?!?!
Cleaning the cat pan—it’s the worst!!
Second worst—putting the clothes away. I can handle the rest of the laundry, but sometimes I live out of a clean hamper ?♀️
Cleaning the refrigerator!
My least favorite household chore is mowing the lawn. Especially here in Texas! i am in the process of moving within the city and love these makeover ideas! Thanks for sharing.
Cleaning ceiling fans tops my list of least favorite chores!
Congrats! You are the winner. Shooting you an email now.
I loathe cleaning the showers! Love this room! It is simple and functional.
Ironing my husbands dress shirts!
I abhor cleaning baseboards…especially the one’s in the kitchen and bathrooms that get coated with some mystery material that is a bizarre combo of sticky mixed with greasy. Blech!
Lovely, as always, Melissa! If you ever run out of space to design you’re more than welcome to use my house as your canvas! 😉 Putting things away is so hateful but feels so good once it’s done.
For me ir is doing the dishes, they never end, ever! and long tern, oven cleaning.. those baskets look awesome though, super practical!
Least favorite chore is cleaning the toilet! Nothing glamours about that!
Sorting laundry – although doing it for 2 people is less time-consuming than when all 6 of us were at home!
Sorting through paperwork & magazines! The paperwork is necessary – the magazines are enjoyable – it all piles up! Sorting laundry is a continuing job, too!
The room turned out great. Even though you don’t like doing laundry, it probably helps to get rid of some of those feelings when the room is so pretty. Definitely dislike cleaning the bathroom or cleaning windows.
Toilets are always the last on my list.
I detest dusting!! I just wish a leaf blower would blow it all out of the house without having to move a thing. A girl can dream. : )
My least favorite chore has got to be making bunk beds! I’m a sweaty mess after!
Cleaning bathrooms. Two little boys in the house with imperfect aim. Always the worst chore.
Beautiful! Most things about cleaning bathrooms I hate. But especially floors and showers/tubs.
In my ig comment I said kitty litter is the chore I dislike. Just thinking now that o also don’t like scrubbing the shower doors. Those glass doors are a bear. Anyhow working on a laundry room makeover and now I want to measure to see if I can do something similar. The Steele Canvas win I’ve been swooning over will help me at least get one room in the house “sorted”!!!
This is so lovely! I looked through your other home posts and couldn’t find a place where you discussed your beautiful floors. Would you mind sharing what kind of wood or stain they are?
Folding laundry followed by cleaning roasting pans. I’ll clean any pan other than the roasting ones.
Cleaning the bathroom tub!
Washing floors! By the time I have them cleared and vacuumed, I have no energy left to scrub!
When you are done at your place, you could head over here… Stillwater is not too far away! 😉
Pots and pans. The worst.
emptying the kitchen sink strainer. I know i’ll have *made it* when i have a garbage disposal 🙂
Dishes! I will clean all the bathrooms and do all the laundry, but dishes are the worst!
I love this makeover so much! I have one Steele Canvas laundry bin which I ADORE– it is so well made. My least favorite chore is dusting. We have kitties, so everything gets so dusty and it’s a fussy chore.
Dishes are the worst. What a buzzkill after a great meal to look up and realize you have to clean dishes for the next 5-10min
Mopping is always last on my list. I love what you did with this room, Melissa! It looks fantastic and functional. Bravo!
Least favorite household task – mopping floors!!
I have 2 middle school boys (and a husband). Cleaning toilets is definitely my #1 most hated chore! Mostly, I make them do it.
Least fave chore is absolutely hanging the laundry to dry. Throwing it in the washer or the dryer, and even folding, totally fine. Hanging it up? Please, no.
I hate unloading the dishwasher and cleaning the floors. I’ll do MANY things to get out of doing those two tasks. Oh, and cleaning bathtubs too!
Cleaning the under side of those little rubber flaps in the kitchen sink/garbage disposal. So gross LOL.
Least favorite house chore: cleaning the tub/shower drain when it backs up. Legit makes me gag.
Dishes are the worst for me, they were my childhood chore too 😉
Oh i love this laundry room it hits the functional but beautiful perfectly. I personally also hate laundry, I’d rather scrub a toilet than fold laundry and put it all away.
Bathroom floors is the big one for me – but I also dread cleaning the things that we actually clean WITH, i.e. vacuum, broom, shower, etc. It just doesn’t make sense how they get so dirty! 🙂
My least favorite household chore would have to be actually, physically putting the laundry away. I don’t mind washing/drying – heck, I don’t even really mind ironing because I can hang everything up….but putting away folded clothes is the worst. If I had set of cute Steele Canvas baskets at least I’d be a cute & well-organized slob! haha
I never look forward to cleaning showers!
Love this DIY organization! My laundry room has always been a disorganized mess. My least favorite chore: mopping. It also grosses me out because all you’re doing is spreading dirty water around. The only way I manage to make myself mop is by using a steam mop that makes me feel like I’m doing more harm than good by at least sanitizing the dirt that’s being spread around.
I hate any garbage-related duties!
The bathtub. Why do you need to clean something that literally is only used with soap and hot water!
I loath scrubbing the shower. Also mopping floors. Love your makeover!
Laundry. There’s ALWAYS laundry to wash and put away. Room looks great!
I LOATHE doing the dishes. Thank goodness for my boyfriend who gets joy from cleaning up all my baking and cooking messes.
Mopping the floors…ugh.
Love the whole space! I struggle most with scrubbing tubs and showers.
Putting away laundry is my least favorite task. We always have several baskets of clean, often folded, laundry in our room. Makes no sense ?
Yes me too! Ugh no sense at all
Dishes! And then cleaning the counters after.