July 30, 2019

How We Updated Our Laundry: A Step by Step Guide + A Budget Breakdown

DIY, House Remodel

What we started with before we remodeled our house was a big closet with metal wire shelving and the “laundry” being in the garage. Not sure about you, but that situation just didn’t quite make sense to me. First of all, Florida weather is hot almost 24/7, all year long and doing laundry in a hot, musky garage wasn’t exactly something that was on my “Want List.” Secondly, on the opposite side of that garage wall was a perfectly sized closet that looked like it was used for miscellaneous things that was right off the kitchen. Our situation? Turn that closet into a decent sized laundry room! Now you might be thinking that we now won’t have a pantry, but in fact that wasn’t the case! In fact, the old kitchen had a separate little pantry but that actually got demoed out of the kitchen remodel and we ended up building a nice sized pantry elsewhere. Anywho, that was our situation so we were able to remodel the big closet into our laundry.

Now what does the average laundry room have? Tile on the floor, a washer and dryer, maybe a cabinet or shelf somewhere, and well…that’s about it. That’s what we had after we turned the closet into a laundry for a bit up until we had the time to update it and turn it into a laundry room that we 100% love. And to be honest guys, it wasn’t that difficult at all and neither did it involve a lot of money (which I’ll get into the basics below with the budget breakdown). Here is the step by step guide on how we updated our laundry room, in hopes that it’ll inspire what you might possibly have been wanting to do for awhile now. Just a little confession here, doing laundry after we updated it has become a whole new experience for me and it is good. Less stressful, more organized, and oh so good. If you need some inspiration, check out this post on many different ways you can update the laundry room!

“Just a little confession here, doing laundry after we updated it has become a whole new experience for me and it is good. Less stressful, more organized, and oh so good.”

1. Frame Out the Washer & Dryer

  • measure how close you want your washer and dryer to the wall, with also considering depth of the machines, how deep you want your counter to be, and the height of where you want your counter to be
  •  pull out the machines to where you have enough room to work on trimming both laundry machines to the wall
  • where you will be attaching the side trim pieces, cut out a piece of baseboard with an oscillating tool so that your cut to size trim piece can slide in perfectly 
  • use a nail gun to secure it to the wall: do this on the washer side and on the dryer side and make sure they’re evenly across from the other
  • go ahead and connect trim pieces on the side walls above the machines and the back wall, like shown above (make sure it’s all even by using a level)
  • those pieces should be nailed securely to the wall as it will become support for the counter (counter will go over)

Photo Apr 06, 2 39 32 PM

2. Add Wainscoting (Board and Battan)

  • we went with a horizontal wainscoting and started with the stop piece BELOW the ledge that covers the top piece
  • it is up to you to decide on how thick you want each piece to be and the space you want in between each piece: we went with a 1×6 on the top and bottom pieces were cut down to 1×2
  •  decide how high you want the wainscoting (make sure it’s taller than the counter) to go up to and place the cut to size wood piece on the back wall: make sure you nail those pieces BELOW the width of the top ledge, like shown below
  • nail wood all around the room, like shown below: measure the light switch and cut a piece to size to go underneath the switch
  •  Now work on nailing on the bottom, thinner pieces: make sure they are spaced evenly all around, like shown below
  • attach the top ledge to the top wainscoting piece to create a clean look (it can be deep enough to use as a mini ledge or smaller, as long as its deeper than the piece underneath)
  • the space between the counter support and the top wainscoting piece will be where the counter is supposed to slide in

3. Paint Preparation and Painting

  • before painting, fill in every edge of the wainscoting with caulk and a caulk gun and wipe down with a finger right away to flatten it: wait to dry before painting
  •  fill the nail holes with wood filler and then once that is dried, sand everything that you’ll be painting with sandpaper
  •  use a dust free cloth to wipe the dust from sanding
  • tape off the floor against the baseboards with painters tape to protect from paint getting on the tile
  • paint away by cutting in with a paintbrush and with a roller for bigger surfaces (use primer first if the wainscoting isn’t pre-primed)
  • wait to dry and follow up with a second coat, if needed

Photo Apr 19, 7 28 47 PM

4. DIY Concrete Counter

  • A specific tutorial will be up on the blog soon on how to create a concrete counter, with a video. Subscribe below so you don’t miss it!
  •  for this concrete counter DIY, you have to create a mold in the correct counter size (make sure the counter will be the exact thickness of the space between the counter support and the top wainscoting piece so that there are no major gaps and that the mold is on dead even surface: use support underneath)
  • caulk between every piece to ensure that the concrete won’t seep through, shown below
  • create the concrete mix with the first bag of concrete and pour it into the mold
  • place rebar over the first layer of concrete, spaced evenly
  • pour over next layers of concrete mix and between each layer, place rebar in a grid like manner, spaced evenly
  • cover the rebar with the last mix of concrete

Tip: we purchased an extra bag of concrete just in case but ended up using that too and it still wasn’t enough, even if the instructions said otherwise. Always grab at least 2 or 3 extra bags! We had to throw in a few extra rock pieces into the wet concrete to create more mass

  •  even out the concrete as best as you can using a trowel and something long to drag it across
  • sand the sides of the mold to get rid of most air bubbles in the concrete
  • let it sit and dry
  • take the mold apart
  • get the concrete wet and sand down the counter with a concrete sanding pad on a regular electric sander to create that smooth touch (the concrete can dry quick so have a hose spraying on it while you sand)

Photo May 11, 4 41 54 PM

5. Counter Installation and Sealing

  •  installation sure wasn’t easy so make sure they are plenty of muscles and help for transferring the counter to the laundry
  • use a small rolling cart to move the counter into the house
  • our laundry is a little tight so there was a lot of trial and error, do what works best for you
  • the concrete counter was placed on the supporting trim pieces and roughly slid until it was completely on
  •  I preferred the lighter concrete look over the dark so we used this sealer to seal the counter with in a clear, matte finish

Photo Jun 05, 9 15 56 PM

6. Finish Trimming and Paint Touch Ups

  •  cut your trim to size to place below the counter and above the machines
  • it’s supposed to be a tight fit so you’ll have to pry it in and then hold it in place, shown below
  • caulk the top part of the trim, underneath the counter and that will secure it perfectly fine
  • add the middle storage cart in between the washer and dryer (tutorial coming up)
  • sand that trim piece once the caulk is dry, and wipe to paint
  • paint the storage cart
  • we had a few dents and chips from the counter installation so if that happened to you, touch up the paint also (or just finish painting, because we actually procrastinated on that, heh)

Photo Jul 03, 12 55 37 AM

7. Wallpaper Installation

Wallpaper video coming soon, subscribe below so you don’t miss it!

  • start from the bottom of the wall (above the wainscoting) because there is a possibility that the ceiling might be uneven (ours were) and measure the length that you need to cut
  •  have your wallpaper face down as you cut to size on a large, flat surface
  • you then flip it around, upwards and roll the piece so that the backside is showing: it makes it for easier installation
  • starting from the bottom, you slowly unpeel and squeegee as you go
  • make sure you leave a few inches of extra wallpaper hanging that you can trim down after with an X-acto knife

Clean, organize, style, and happily do laundry! Okay, maybe the happily part was a little overboard but doing laundry in a room you designed and worked hard on is definitely a good feeling! Our updated laundry room isn’t the norm nor average neutral laundry you see, but it’s our perfect version of color and eclectic. Check out the reveal here of our updated laundry!

Money Put Into the Update After the Closet Transformation:

paint: $50

wainscoting: estimated to be $70 … (for us it didn’t cost anything since Leo gets a lot of leftover wood from his jobs)

wallpaper: $121.95

concrete + rebar: $93

counter mold: estimated to be $45 (used leftover wood and a pvc plywood piece that we had)

concrete sealer: $50

Total: $314.95 + $70 + $45 = $429.95

* you always want to add a little more to the budget total for little things like screws, paint samples, caulk, etc.


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