Too often laundries are the neglected, out of sight out of mind, utility room. They sit low on the priority list when building and renovating, forgotten until you walk in and wince. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Even with a limited budget, you can transform your laundry into a space that brings joy.
Today we’re thrilled to be with Interior Designer Jacqueline Chen from The Glade Design. You may remember her from the Morecombe Home Japanese style bathroom tour we recently shared. One of Jacqueline’s latest projects was to transform an unsightly laundry into a smart and stylish space on a budget.
We chat with Jacqueline to get all the tips and tricks to affordably update your laundry with minimal work, sharing examples from our favourite featured laundries.
Related article: The award-winning laundry of the Scandinavian Purity home
Related article: Designing the ultimate laundry, all the tips and tricks you need!
Get your layout right
Nothing is more important in a work zone than layout. You can spend a fortune on luxury finishes, but get the layout wrong and they will be of little value.
“The first thing I noticed about this project was how small it was. I drew up a floor plan and tried to keep everything super simple. With storage and bench, and the addition of a washer and dryer, space was pretty minimal so I had to ensure everything could fit,” explains Jacqueline.
Things to consider when planning out your storage needs in the laundry:
- broom and vacuum (preferably with a hidden powerpoint for charging)
- cleaning supplies
- baskets and bucket
- laundry hamper
- ironing board
- indoor clothes drying racks
- chemicals — you may want to consider high storage or cabinets with locks if you have kids.
Remember that you want the space to be as easy to use and low maintenance as possible!
“In this laundry renovation, having more bench space was a priority. So an easy fix that worked for the client was to place the washer and drier side by side. They now have enough counter space to do more than just fold clothes and iron. It could be used for DIY arts and crafts, indoor workshops, messy school projects, whatever you need.”
Update your splashback
One of the best bang for buck updates you can make in a laundry is to replace your splashback. Switch out your tired tiles for a pop of colour or pattern… or consider painting your splashback tiles for an even more affordable solution.
“I wanted to integrate a bright and airy feel to this small laundry to make it feel larger and more welcoming. A simple way I did this was by adding a small splashback behind the sink,” says Jacqueline.
“Splashbacks are a quick and relatively cheap way to add texture and colour to your laundry. If you’re doing it on a budget, the humble subway tile can be used in a bunch of different ways. You can find all kinds of subway tile inspiration here.”
If you’re feeling confident and really want to keep costs low, you could even try to tile the splashback yourself. We will have an article on how to do this soon!
Look at what you can save and refresh over buy new
One of the best tips to affordably update your laundry is to be smart about what you can save and refresh rather than replace. Benchtop looking a bit tired? Perhaps you can paint it using a specialty paint or consider applying feather finish for a concrete look. These kinds of strategic updates will be friendlier on your hip pocket and on the environment!
“With my client wanting to minimise spend, everything was super budget-friendly and can be easily DIY’d. Usually, I get custom-made cabinets which end up being the biggest spend in a laundry reno. This time I had to be clever though. I didn’t have much storage space left after the appliances, so I didn’t see the point of getting expensive custom joinery.
“Instead I found two Opal White plywood sheets from BRAU Timber for less than $400 and built the benchtop and shelving. Plywood is an extremely versatile material I highly recommend considering. It’s strong, low maintenance, and can be used for structural, interior, and exterior applications. To help hide the everyday mess under the sink, I got small curtains from IKEA and cut them shorter to fit. It totally softens the space. And my client won’t need to worry she can’t close the door when her storage space gets a bit overloaded,” she laughs.
Consider what’s worth splurging on
“Even though I saved a lot on joinery, there are some things worth splurging on:
- Good tapware — As something that you will use often and is difficult to repair, I recommend splurging on good tapware. The last thing you want to do is repair a low-quality tap every few years as it will cost you more in the long run
- Get the biggest sink available — It allows you to soak bulkier items like shoes and blankets. However, you don’t have to buy from the fanciest brand as this sink will be used for the dirtiest things in the house. What would be the point of that?
- Quality appliances — Washers and dryers consume a lot of electricity, so if you’re buying new appliances, look for good quality but energy efficient appliances.
- Ventilation — Do you have good ventilation? Without ventilation, your laundry is the ideal place for mould growth. If you don’t, it may be worth considering a powered exhaust fan for your walls or ceiling.
“I would suggest being careful of spending too much on unnecessary joinery accessories. They can look good in a showroom, but don’t work for every room. Be flexible in this, perhaps even waiting until some of the bigger parts of the room are done, before making your final decision,” says Jacqueline wisely.
Get a hanging rail/rod
“A fixed hanging rail is a relatively new concept in Australia, but I consider it a must-have item in every laundry. Not only does hanging your clothes help reduce your ironing, but it’s a convenient place to hang delicate pieces.
“This is something you can easily DIY with brackets and a curtain rod. If you’re not convinced, see how these other designers have done it below!”
Tip! If you have a lot of handwash items, consider placing the rod above your sink to catch dripping.
Call in the experts when you need
“There’s no denying anything you can do yourself, from painting old cabinetry to refreshing window coverings, will save you money. However there are some jobs you need to get the experts in to do. Anything electrical or plumbing-related should never be DIY’d. Instead, focus your energy on getting the layout right, shopping smart for new materials and appliances, and saving money in those ways.”
Have these tips to affordably update your laundry helped you? Huge thanks to Jacqueline for sharing her expert tips and this fab affordable laundry reno project! You can find more from Jacqueline and The Glade Design through her Instagram and on her website. She’s also started a Youtube channel sharing some top design tips.