Hold on to your butts, this is a long posts.
Not everything on the homestead is about livestock, gardens and canning. Sometimes it’s about what is inside your home too. When we bought the house, we really didn’t care that the walls were wood paneled. Nor did we care that we would have to replace the floors. Those different upgrades that we were going to have to do was not a problem. We bought it for the land. Unfortunately, the house still does need to be updated and brought into this century, let alone this decade. So I decided to remodel our laundry room. To make it more of a challenge for less than $700.
Why The Laundry Room?
Well, simply put it’s the most hated room in our house, bar none. No one likes doing laundry. But since I hate it the least, it’s “my” chore. Which is fine because that means that the dishes go to someone else. Score.
But it was hard to find the urge to get in there and do the laundry, or even clean the space. It was drab and was just not nice to look at. The worst part was, no matter how many times I cleaned it, it always stunk.
I could have started anywhere in the house, but this seemed to be the most manageable. Plus, if we screwed something up, it was a small space. It had the least amount of the things we hated the most (paneling) and seemed like a quick remodel would be, well, quick. There was no way to know how wrong I was.
Before the laundry remodel could start, I had to at least think about that I wanted it to look like. The first thing I did, was figure out all the things we hated about the room.
The Things We Hated:
- Lack of storage
- Open shelves
- Chewed and clawed up door jam
- Popcorn ceilings
- No place to fold or store laundry while finishing the other laundry.
Then I figured out what I wanted it to look like. There were two things that needed to happen in that room, the paneling gone and more storage. Anything past that was fair game. So I started working on designing what I wanted.
Our house is not very big and that is just fine with us. But the downside is that we have to get very creative with storage options. I have found that putting in cabinets has helped a ton. Almost every single remodel or design idea has tons of shelves, cabinets and other storage ideas.
Where To Start: Paneling
Before we jump into the rest of this post, let me tell you something about paneling and trying to cover it. This is not for the feint of heart. Nor is it for someone not willing to work. Like most construction projects, it’s dirty, dusty, and there is a ton of heavy lifting. Don’t let any of the videos or other posts lie to you and tell you, “I just covered the crack in the paneling and painted”. That’s not what they did, trust me.
Back to the laundry room.
Once we got the majority of everything out of the laundry room, I decided to start with the wood paneling. While others may love shiplap, I hate it. So I started looking into how to cover up the cracks in the paneling and found that caulk is a good choice. Let me tell you, it’s not.
After twelve bottles of caulking, we weren’t even half way done. It also didn’t fill the cracks well. Once it dried, there would be an indent in the middle of the crack. So that failed.
When talking to a couple of friends who do construction, they suggested using drywall putty or mud. That worked a lot better, and was a ton cheaper so we went with that. But the problem we were still having was that, once dried, the crack was still noticeable.
After three to four coats with the drywall mud, the crack was barely noticeable and ready to sand.
Let me tell you this, before you start sanding, make sure that you have a respirator like this one and great airflow in the room you’ll be working in. I used sheets and blankets to block off the doorway so that we could keep the dust to a minimum and it definitely helped. But the clean up was enormous.
Next: Ceiling and Electrical
Next we started working on removing the popcorn ceiling. For this job, it may have been better just to leave it. But popcorn ceilings are a close second in my hatred book. To remove popcorn ceiling you need two things, a spray bottle with water and a drywall knife similar to this, and the size doesn’t matter. You can buy a popcorn scraper but we found that it gouged the ceiling more and was harder to work with.
Then you are going to soak the ceiling with water using some sort of sprayer, we used this one. Once it’s saturated, and yes you need to soak it, you can start working to scrape the ceiling. I will tell you it is extremely satisfying to do it. I don’t know why. Once you’re done, you can sand any rough spots.
Another option for the ceiling is to just sand it if you have an electric sander. After doing the scraper, I liked this method the most because it is a one and done. I also didn’t have to worry as much about gouging the ceiling when I sanded. Plus, I was already sanding the walls so two birds, one stone.
After the ceiling was done, dry and painted, it was time to tackle the nipple lights. I don’t know what they’re actually called but they look like nipples, sorry. It was also time to start pulling the black outlets and switches and replacing them with white ones.
Cue problem #93480382 of this remodel. The electrical was done to 1980s code, so it was pretty much a fire hazard. And since our house is all wood, it would have gone up like a matchbox. After cleaning out forty years of dust, bugs and debris out of the switch boxes, we were able to replace the switches. Only to find out, everything was backwards. Since Jared is amazing, he was able to get in there and help me get everything switched out. I love that man.
Once we got the new light fixture installed, we were ready to tackle the paint.
Painting Over Wood Paneling
Now, before we jump into painting, you need to know something about wood paneling. Much like painting previously painted wood, you need to sand your paneling. If you don’t, the paint won’t stick. We took our sander around the room and hit every single wall. Then we washed the walls with warm soapy water. We wanted to make sure that we weren’t going to have another problem, which of course we did.
I used Kilz Primer, because the previous owners had cats and I’m pretty sure the litter box was in the laundry room. So it stunk. After I hit the walls, ceiling, baseboards and door jams, you could still see the wood paneling AND the cracks.
We did four coats of primer and you could still see the orange through the paint. I was not happy. Mind you at this point, I still hadn’t picked a color for the walls. But after seeing that we would need a darker color to help hide the wood? Gray it is.
I’m not a decorator, but seeing everything start to come together is my favorite part. There were a lot of phone calls and text messages sent to my family and friends because I am absolutely clueless when it comes to this stuff. The two things I knew that I wanted was it to feel clean, even if it wasn’t, and to have a ton of storage.
Previously, when it was time to do laundry, we had a storage rack like this. It worked okay, but it was temporary because we lived in a rental. When we moved into this house, we couldn’t really use it. It blocked access to the attic and didn’t fit between the basement door and the dryer. So anytime we had to go into the attic, we had to unload this thing and move it out of the way.
So I started measuring. I figured that I could put cabinets and shelves over the washer and dryer. I decided that I wanted to use cabinets and industrial pipe rod to fold our clothes. Here come the kitchen cabinets. The unfinished cabinets are much cheaper and are usually in stock at the stores.
I also grabbed a couple of decking boards to use as the tops and used a propane torch to burn them. To attach the boards to the cabinets, I used 1in corner brackets. Then, I found my stash of cabinet pulls and finished it off.
When we were placing the wall cabinets, we decided to use a French cleat system and it worked pretty well except, you could see where the top cleats where too low and too wide. This resulted in having to get a word art sign that could hide it.
Then came the shelves. We bought 1x10x10 boards and these shelf brackets. I really love these brackets! I’m not a fan of the normal shelf brackets because they look cheap to me. While these brackets were more expensive, I think it looks more finished.
The final touch of this remodel, was adding different storage containers for laundry detergent, bleach, etc. I didn’t want to just leave them in their packaging because, well it’s not nice to look at. While that may not bother some, I do want my home to look a little more put together.
Today, my laundry room looks like this and I couldn’t be happier with it.
Final Takeaways For A Laundry Room Remodel
–Drywall Tape -Next time we will be using drywall tape to help cover the cracks in the paneling better.
-Lighting- bright white light bulbs will help keep the room looking bigger instead of the more orange-y/ yellow-y bulbs.
– Use drop cloths to protect your floors if you will not be replacing them
– Give yourself at least an inch when measuring for cabinets. We ended up having to cram that smaller cabinet between the washer and dryer. The good news is that now my washer can’t walk out when it’s unbalanced.
-You don’t have to buy every decoration when you hit the final stage. You can, but I liked being able to find things as I liked them instead of switching things out and wasting money.
I know this was a long post. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking around. While this laundry room remodel took a couple of months and is still not quite done, it has been great. We have lived in rentals our entire marriage and it’s nice to be able to work together and make this home ours.
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