Using her classic black-and-white-pop-of-color look, DIY apartment blogger Monica Benavidez creatively redoes her laundry room renters' style.
Living in an apartment has its challenges, and my laundry room was as plain-Jane, builder-grade and boring-beige as it gets.
But like most renters, I had a ton of limitations as far as what I could and couldn’t do to the space. I couldn’t add more shelving because that would put a ton of holes in the wall. I couldn’t paint, move the washer or dryer or change out light fixtures. Talk about a design challenge!
With a little creativity though, these obstacles didn’t stop me from improving the space, function and storage though. Here are some rental-friendly improvements I made to my laundry room.
Step 1: The Plan
The first thing I did was devise a plan to make my laundry room a little less beige, more functional and a glam space to be in. I wanted a focal point accent wall, beautiful and clever storage solutions and a way to make the wire shelves look less like wire shelves.
And, of course, I wanted to stick to my usual black-and-white color palette, acrylic and mirrored accents and a pop of florals for color.
My laundry room is nine feet wide by three feet deep. In addition to housing the washer and dryer, it also contains the water heater (on top of the dryer), which can’t be covered up per the lease agreement. That left me with only two walls to work with — and one of them has two wire shelves.
Step 2: The Accent Wall
My laundry room is right off the kitchen, and 99 percent of the time I have the bifold doors open to allow easy access in and out of that area. Looking at a beige wall as I am cooking dinner or washing dishes isn't inspiring.
Whatever went on that wall would have to be bold and eye-catching. This led me to choose temporary wallpaper.
This was a bit of a splurge, but it really makes the space pop. It took quite a bit of temporary wallpaper (four rolls!) to create my accent wall since I have 9-foot ceilings, but I was able to get all the panels installed in under 30 minutes.
The wallpaper can easily be repositioned, which makes it a breeze to fix if it goes on crooked the first time. And to take it down when you move out.
The walls in the laundry room (and throughout my apartment) have a slight texture to them, so I decided to go with a busy pattern that is super forgiving. It also made lining up the seams between panels easy.
A laser level helped get the first panel up on the wall straight, and from there the other ones fell into place with ease. I smoothed out air bubbles to the nearest edge with my hand.
The accent wall was a bit quirky, so I decided to embrace it. I bought a fun print that captures my décor mantra and adds a pop of color to the black-and-white wall.
Related Article: Hiring a Contractor
Related Guide: Remodeling Guide
Step 3: Wall Storage Solutions
For storage solutions, I used my favorite renter’s product — Command Hooks! I use these all over my apartment — for my purse by the door, for my loofah in the shower, for kitchen tools by the stove and for artwork on the wall — so it was a no-brainer that I should use them in the laundry room, too.
These specialty Command Hooks can hold brooms, mops, dusters and other household cleaning tools that weigh up to 4 pounds. I bought two pairs to hold my broom, duster, floor mop and dustpan (which, of course, were previously just shoved in a corner by the side of the washer and dryer).
I also squeezed in a heavy-duty Command Hook to store my step stool.
I also bought some decorative ones to hang up my cleaning and dish cloths to dry. These also can be used to hang delicates that need to air dry.
Step 4: Accessorizing & Maximizing the Wire Shelves
I knew I couldn’t remove the shelves that came with the apartment or add any more, but the wire made it difficult to store smaller items because they wouldn’t sit flat or they’d fall through the wires.
I also knew that I didn’t want a bunch of baskets to make the area feel cluttered. So, I bought three foam core boards and a roll of copper/rose gold metallic FX contact paper. I measured my shelves, cut the boards to size using a craft knife, taped the pieces together using clear packing tape (the boards were 30 inches wide and my shelves are 35 inches wide) and then covered the top portion and sides with the contact paper.
Now I have a smooth, flat, copper surface for my items to rest on.
Let’s talk storage. In addition to housing the usual laundry room staples, I also wanted to store cleaning supplies and other kitchen items that overflow into this area. Like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t want to place a bunch of baskets on the shelves and call it a day, so I used some glam home and bathroom accessories.
A malachite tray holds a faux floral arrangement, a mirrored box holding my delicates washing bags, an acrylic box holding hundreds of dryer sheets, a soap dispenser with concentrated stain removal solution and a candle.
All the items are easily accessible, and the arrangement keeps unsightly, oversized bottles and boxes out of my laundry room. The florals add a bit of color and texture.
Next to the tray I have plenty of room left for laundry detergent and softener, plus a small trinket dish to hold the random odds and ends that are found in pant pockets.
On the upper shelf, I placed an oversized floral canvas for a pop of color, a basket that holds dust and dishcloths and other cleaning supplies, and an acrylic wine rack that I turned into a cleaning supply storage system.
The best part is that the wine rack is versatile. If I need to store wine in addition to my cleaning supplies, I can simply move some of those items to the basket or to the shelf below. My design plan was all about having multifunctional, beautiful storage solutions.
Step 5: Comfort
Finally, I grabbed a black comfort mat to make sorting, loading and folding laundry a bit easier on my lower back.
All in all, I love how this mini makeover turned out. Best of all, it didn’t require any power tools! By maximizing wall space I gained storage for everyday items, and improved the look and function of the wire shelves.
My fave part is definitely the accent wall. It looks great from nearly any point of the living and dining areas, and I smile every time I walk past it.
I hope these tips and ideas inspire you to get your laundry room beautifully organized — even if you're living in a rental.
This makeover cost a total of $455.
Monica blogs at Monica Wants It. She's also on Twitter @MonicaBenavidez. Monica's apartment laundry room remodel is part of The Angie's List Laundry Room Refresh Contest - 10 FIY Bloggers remodel a laundry room with $500. The Laundry Room Refresh with the most votes by January 27, 2017 wins $2,000! Vote for Monica's Laundry Room Refresh here!