Laundry Room: Project Breakdown

By Kate Riley May 26, 2010

Hiya everyone, thanks so much for all the compliments on the laundry room makeover!  It really is such a rewarding redo for me, it feels so fresh, clean and organized in there – I’ve been washing and folding in anticipation of our getaway this weekend.

cg before and after

Some questions came, up so here we go !

Can you tell me more about how you painted the cabinets? – Lynn

How did you paint the cabinets so quickly and effortlessly?  -Kate

cg laundry room uppers

I’ve gotta tell ya gals, for me, painting cabinets is neither quick nor effortless!   It’s actually quite time consuming and labor intensive, because I don’t rush it and I follow several steps.  But in the end, it’s always worth it.   I don’t own a sprayer (yet!), so here’s how I painted these by hand.

First, I always start with an oil based primer – I’m just old school like that when it comes to painting cabinetry.  I also use an additive called Penetrol to condition my primer to reduce drag in the paint as it dries, and to minimize brush strokes.   It really does help.  I prefer to use a high quality angled 2” paintbrush when working with cabinetry or furniture by hand.

primer and penetrol

I roll the primer on for even coverage with a roller, then follow up with a brush over the entire front and back of the cabinet doors.

zinsser oil based primer

To avoid cleaning my brush between covering the front and back with primer, I used Rhoda’s trick and wrapped my paintbrush in plastic wrap and put in in the fridge to keep it from drying out.  After my primer was dry, I lightly sanded my cabinet doors with a medium grade sanding wedge.

valspar enamelI considered using oil based paint for my cabinets like I did in my kitchen, but this time I decided to try a water based paint on these laundry room cabinets, since they don’t get as much traffic as my kitchen or bath cabinets.

I experimented with Valspar’s Kitchen and Bath Enamel.  I must confess it was nice working with this paint instead of oil because the clean up is so much easier !  Two coats of paint, lightly sand between coats if necessary to remove drips or brush marks.

Time will tell if this paint holds up over time.  My fingers are crossed !

Has anyone else used this particular paint on your kitchen or bath cabinetry ?   Are you pleased with it over time?

The color I chose was ‘Cream Delight’ and this shade of white is true to its name!   It’s not as vanilla as another favorite ‘Heirloom White’ but it’s not a bright white either.  I think I just might use this same shade when I redo the hall bath later this summer !

Another upgrade was adding crown to the top of the cabinetry and also adding basic satin nickel knobs.  Just those two details made a lot of difference.

add crown

crown and shelf


My favorite thing is the shelf above the machines – your shelf is perfect for using that wasted space.  – Jess

Thanks Jess !  The shelf was created with some basic plywood cut to fit the space, then primed and painted to match the cabinetry.   I also primed and painted the oak laundry sorter with the same ‘Cream Delight’ by Valspar.

oak laundry sorter and plywood


To support the shelf, I added some 1/2” x 2” birch all around, then screwed the supports into the wall studs.  The shelf sits right on top.

 birch framing


It’s trimmed in some playful turquoise ribbon to hide the unfinished edge.  You can also use wood filler like I did with this media shelf, or you can use edge banding explained here.

cg laundry room white cabinets and shelf


I also added these shelf liners to the wall to create a wallpapered look along the back.  Double sided tape baby !

 blue water shelf liner

Ordinarily, I’m not a scented drawer liner kind of gal, but the fragrance is subtle and they smell goooooood – like a laundry room shooooouuuuuld.


cg suds on shelf



What is that little cabinet across from the machines ? –Linda 

Is that a bench in there ?  -Megan

Nope, not a bench, that’s a plain three compartment laundry sorter that I’ve had forever.  It made no sense to buy a new laundry bin when this one works perfectly fine, it just needed a fresh coat of paint – now I’m loving the fresh white beadboard paneling!

laundry sorter



Can you post how you made the delicate drying rack ?  -Shauna

Details here

swirl snip

Where did you get that chandelier ?  Amy B. & Sheila

I found this chandy at Lowe’s and loved the flirty shape but not the color or plastic floral beads, so I removed those.  It was $85 with a coupon, a little pricey for my taste, but I couldn’t find what I wanted for less.

I cheated on my usual ‘Heirloom White’ and used Rustoleum’s ‘Gloss White’ to lighten it up to compliment the cabinetry.  Make sure whenever you spray paint a light fixture to tape off the electrical cords and sockets !

painted chandy

cotton coverI didn’t paint the black cord, so to hide it, I stitched up a white cotton cord cover.

Because the old fixture was centered in the room, and I wanted the chandy centered on the shade, I swaged it with a chain and specialty ceiling hook.

How did you install the chandy ? 

– Anissa

I, or should I say ‘we’, followed the instructions that came with the chandelier.  Mr. CG was kind enough to do the deed for me, bless his taller frame.  Changing a light fixture is truly simple if you just follow the steps as directed.

And be sure to turn off your power first !


How did you make the shade with the ribbon trim ?  -Susan

Susan, I’m going to spill the beans about this shade, but I think it deserves its very own post !

cg flat fold shade


Warning though.  For those of you who have visions of a nifty tutorial of how to make your own fully functioning flat fold roman shade, brace yourself – mine’s a fake.  Yep, a fake.  Let’s just keep that between you, me, and the blogosphere shall we ?

Oh, and before I forget, the ironing board hangs right at the entrance, you can catch a glimpse of it to the left below.

cg laundry room after

Here’s some other sources too: 

Personalized baskets: Pottery Barn Kids; Teal rug:  Crate + Barrel; Paint: Valspar’s ‘Cream Delight’; Wall paint:  Restoration Hardware’s ‘Silver Sage’ cut in half with white; Decorative paper behind shelf: The Container Store (drawer liners); Shade fabric: Joann’s Fabrics Linen ‘Faux Batik’ in blue; Chandelier: Porfolio from Lowe’s, spray painted white; Tray: Kohls; Garden stepping stones: local boutique; Jute bag, Pier One;  Drying Rack: how-to here; ‘Suds’ container how-to here.   

Thanks as always to you friends for reading !



  1. Thanks for posting all the details. I am hung up on painting any of my cabinets anywhere in my house because I can’t choose a “white”. I just need to go for it! I have loved silver sage for a really long time, but everytime I’ve put it up in my house it just looks to grey. This would be the perfect place to try it! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. That is a very bright room I wouldn’t mind doing laundry in. It looks fantastic. You did a wonderful job.

  3. Makes me want to come to your house and do your laundry for you. Great tip on the oil base primer with adding the penetrol. I’m headed to the Home Depot to get some right now

  4. It is truly beeeeeeeeeeuatiful Kate. I just moved mine from downstairs to upstairs. I have not prettified it yet. Right now it is functional and wonderful. No laundry piling up. I throw it in when I go to bed and switch it over in the morning. It is actually in the closet attached to our master bathroom. Our master bedroom came with two ginormous closets. We only use about 2/3 of one so the other was wasted space. Love it now. Thanks for the ideas. I want that chandy!

  5. Love the shelf paper as wallpaper trick! What a cute and inexpensive solution. I love that design – I just wish it came in an unscented version for the baby’s dresser.

  6. It’s a great space – pretty but also very functional. I really like the idea of adding ribbon to the shelf, and am looking forward to reading about the mock roman shade. You pulled together all the details perfectly.

  7. Totally gorgeous! Light and airy. I’m jealous and I just redid MY laundry room. Yours is wayyyy better! :) Thanks for the info. I love how you trimmed out the shelf with ribbon! What a great idea!!

  8. Always love your painting tips. I am intimidated by the thought of painting the cabinets. One day, I will gather enough courage to try it. At the mean time, I am stuck with the same color cabinets as your before pic.

    Great tip on turning the power off when changing the chandy. I learned it the hard way. This is especially important if you chandy is on a three way switch. The wire stays ‘hot’ even when the lights are off. So, unless you want to get a burn mark on your toe, like I did, you better turn the power off!

    Cannot wait to read your tutorial on that fake roman shade!

  9. Your laundry room is fabulous. I am so jealous of the beautiful space you have for doing laundry.

    I’ve been planning to make two fake roman shades for my basement windows. Yours is just gorgeous! I can’t wait for the tutorial…please, please post it soon :-)

  10. Your projects and photos give me hope that no matter what’s at hand it can be tackled and made better!

  11. awesome reveal! did you paint the inside of the cabinets as well? i would love to do this in my kitchen. thx!

  12. so bright and cheery – makes me want to rush downstairs and do some laundry room revamping! Only to find 4 little chickens, my husbands garden crap, lots of dirty laundry and a washer that is screaming bad words at me :( I’ll just stay upstairs where it is safe…

    Gorgeous darling… gorgeous!

  13. Your laundry room is beautiful! The colors are so relaxing and soothing! I cannot wait to read about your “faux” shade. Thank you for posting how you painted the cabinets, because we are getting ready to do ours in the master bathroom (and the kitchen later down the road) LOVE the scented shelf paper as your wall paper!

  14. Your laundry room is positively breathtaking!! Heirloom White is my go to shade too, though your new color is beautiful enough to make me think about that shade of white as well.

  15. wow, wow, wow – i’m so jealous that you have *cupboards* in your laundry room! on the other hand, i wouls miss the trough if i had to get rid of that – is it a US thing to not have a sink? i looooove the colours, and i don’t even like chandeliers, and i like that one. mmm… i’m so inspired to start badgering my hubby into letting me dress up my laundry room… ;)

  16. It looks amazing! I love that blue! I just bought some wallpaper for our laundry room to spruce it up. The hubby’s response was, “You’re wallpapering the laundry room? Why?” :) Men!

  17. Just lovely! I’m in awe with your ability to use the perfect patterns, colors and textures together. I always start with a vision and don’t do enough or go way to far overboard and themey. What a talent! I wonder how you know when enough is enough?

  18. Excellent overview! I am pleased to see the shelf was not all that complicated and loving the use of double stick tape back there with the liner! (That was brilliant!) Can’t wait to see your shade tutorial – even if it is non working!

  19. It’s gorgeous Kate. Due to a slight “situation” over here I’ve had to do about 25 loads of laundry over the past several days. Your room would have made that experience somewhat more tolerable! So serene and bright and I love the shelf paper on the wall—brilliant!

  20. I used Valspar Kitchen and Bath Enamel on my kitchen cabinets last year and it still looks great! It has had some slight wear and tear (the edges of some drawers have gotten scuffed and need a touch up) but it resists stains amazingly. My biggest fear of having white cabinets was that I would spill something, like coffee, down the side and the stains would not wipe up. Well, I don’t have a problem. Even if something stays for several days, theres not a trace after a little warm water and a rag. The one thing I did not do (mainly because I was scared to) was use oil based primer because I’ve never worked with it before. I don’t know how much of a difference it makes. I will be touching up some spots on my cabinets this summer and replacing hardware, but I am extremely pleased with my paint choice.

  21. Love all the details. I would love to have a chandelier in my laundry room but in my testosterone dominated house it would not go over very well! Anyway, I’ve painted my share of bathroom and laundry room cabinets and – keeping my fingers crossed – so far so good. They’ve held up well despite the fact that I used water-based primer and paint. I just made sure that the paint dried at least 24 hours between coats. I even painted all my interior doors this way and they’ve been ok as well, even with oil-based paint underneath. Picture two teen boys, their friends, a DIY husband and two large dogs that go through the door to the garage/laundry room many times every day – sometimes kicking the door open with their feet – hauling everything from ladders and wood to trash baskets and laundry. I sanded and used a deglosser and TSP to clean the cabinetry beforehand (I know that is overkill – you only need to use one or two of those – but I really wanted to make sure the paint had the best chance to stick.) as recommended by the guys at my local Dunn Edwards paint store.

  22. Great job – love it. I used the same water based kitchen and bath enamel for my kitchen cabinets (see the post: ). I can’t really say how well they have held up over time – it’s only been 3 months since I painted them, but so far so good! I used a sprayer though – although in hindsight I think rolling on the primer may have been a better idea. But I liked how they came out with a sprayer – and fun to use. You should get one :) Great job on the room again! Well done!

  23. Another beautiful makeover! Can you give a little more detail on adding the crown molding to the top please? I’d like to do that to my bookcases to give them a ‘built-in’ look.

    LOVE your blog!!!

  24. Well, we just found out about 20 minutes ago that we got our house! So now I’m printing off all of your wonderful ideas to add to my “to-do” list for the summer! ;)

  25. As probably the most subtle part of the redesign, I think the fact that you added that extra shelf underneath the cabinets was an excellent use of your space. It’s such a pain to be using all of your laundry supplies and have to be constantly opening and closing all of your cabinets. Other kudos goes to your crown and definitely color choice-

  26. I have a quick question. Did you sand the cabinets or do anything to them prior to putting on the oil based primer?? Your laundry room looks so great and I wish a bigger one!! :)

  27. Your laundry room is lovely! Its nice enough to sleep in, let alone do laundry in! Its definentely doing in my ‘yes, please’ file:) Well done.

  28. Okay – Where do I find the tutorial on the ‘fake’ roman shades. Cannot wait to find out how you did them! Loved all your ideas (really geared me up to do some things I have put off for far too long) – love your blog.
    All I can say really is — thank goodness for creative minds like yours! Bravo!

  29. I can’t seem to find a cute chandelier (from a thrift store for me to re-do, of course) to save my life, you seem to have them in spades – even in your laundry room! I joked with a friend once who mentioned wanting to do her laundry room in a rooster theme. I told her mine is decorated in “dirty laundry chic”. Wouldn’t matter if I made it cute, it would be overflowing with dirty clothes in minutes ;)

  30. I have a narrow laundry and space is limited. And since I am short in height and have to lean so far to get what I need I purchased a few Rubbermaid lazy susan’s to place on the shelves above my washer and dryer for my suds and cleaners. Now I rotate for what I need instead of standing on a stool to dig for them.

  31. How did you install the crown molding on top of the cabinets? My cabinets don’t have a “lip” on top and I’m trying to figure out how to attach it properly?

  32. I have been looking over your cabinet painting tutorials because I am getting ready to paint my kitchen cabinets. I really don’t want to mess with oil-based paint and was wondering if you were happy with the water-based you used on your laundry cabinets? Also, it’s ok to use oil-based primer with water-based paint? I’d appreciate any advice. I’m so nervous! Oh yeah, can you tell me the color you used on your kitchen cabinets? thanks!
    Scissors & Spatulas

  33. Hi! i just have a question: did u sand the doors before applying the primer? it really looks amazing!

    • Hi Samia, with a good bonding primer, there’s no need to sand but I typically scuff them up with a sanding wedge first, it cleans of any debris and gives the primer a better surface to cling to.

  34. Your laundry room is such an inspiration! I’m working on mine now. I can’t find your Roman shade post. Would you point me to it? Thank you!

  35. HI!! So, I’m trying to get started on painting my living room cabinets white. They are the awful 80s wood colored cabinets, and need something bad. But I’m SOOOO confused on what types of paint to use. And, really, I don’t want to take months to complete this. I have toddlers, so it needs to be something fast!! Love your stuff…and I listen to what you tell me (unlike my husband’s suggestions)

  36. wondering how the cabinets are holding up now, thinking about using valspar enamel for my next project.

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lately on Instagram (@centsationalstyle)