Vignette in the Laundry Room


laundry room

I really miss this pretty, finished laundry room that we had in the rental. For $175 it went from builder average to photogenic. Our currently laundry area needs a lot more than that to make it come together, so as I plot and plan I’ll study what it is I like and don’t like about past laundry rooms (perk of moving 14 times!).

Even in the laundry area we can create a little beauty by adding some cut branches, a textural basket or a pretty container for the laundry detergent. Take control of where the pretty is in your space today and sprinkle it around to unexpected places.


And now for my real life…I got out from behind the computer, walked onto our back porch and snapped a photo of our laundry room at 9:30 am October 17. Five minutes ago. It’s not pretty.

october laundry

“Owning” your home takes an entirely different kind of patience and self talking and encouragement than renting. You see, our currently laundry room is in a porch that’s an add-on. The foundation is bad so it’s on a major slope (basically falling off the house) hence the wood under the front of the washer. We removed the wood on the walls of this porch so we could use them to floor the kitchen (long story) and even finishing the temporary walls feels like a waste at times because at some point we have to fix this floor and all the walls will go back to another wonky state.

If it were a rental, I’d slap some paint on everything and forget about it–because it would be the only thing I was allowed to do and that I’m responsible for.  Since it’s our home that we’ll keep for years (hopefully) I feel all protective of doing it in order and feel like I need to get the structure right before I make it pretty.

Maybe I just need to get over my trying-to-be-adult-self and realize I can leave it ugly until the foundation is fixed and go ahead and make it beautiful until the foundation is fixed and then make ajustments. Either way the foundation will probably be repaired on the exact same day. I get to choose if I want it pretty now, or after I deem things worthy of being beautiful.

Why do I sabotage myself?

*note this is the entrance into our home that everyone uses!



  1. Yay for being real! I totally understand the for that everyone confess in. The way our house is situated, everyone comes in the unfinished, wood stacked, tool-holding, messy garage. Why was the house turned this way? Oh, well. If I know someone is coming, I can close the garage door… Forcing them to walk around the house to get to the door. My vignette for my laundry room are some cute pictures. I would often out my children’s artwork there to decorate it. (Helped the refrigerator look neater, plus made the laundry room look cute.). Now, I have a little trio of pictures of my girls on one small wall and a cute 11×13 of a small child carrying a bucket with flowers. Not much, but it sure makes the space cheerier!
    Thanks for this post!

  2. Sorry about the confusion on the sentences! I was using my phone to comment. I meant that I totally understand about the door that everyone comes through to get into the house. (I think I’ll refrain from commenting using my phone from now on! It’s so hard to work in that little area they give us to type.)

    Oh, and I love the rental laundry room! My children would have enjoyed that chalkboard paint on the back wall! :D

  3. Having lived in a number of different houses and few, closer to none, of them with pretty washrooms, the decision you referred to in this post is exactly spot on. That is exactly what a person has to decide, which works best for my personal family. Another question I have had to ask myself is which will provide the most peace of mind for me. Knowing that peace of mind to a mama is also a huge perk for the rest of the fam provides another angle to view each situation from. Yes, I might want to wait until it can be fixed perfectly, but can I honestly wait that long without battling discontent? Will a temporary fix provide longer-lasting peace for all? Sometimes the answer is for me to endure the temporary yuck but not always. Usually, it is to make the now as pleasant as possible, much like your strategy when renting.

  4. You know what? I’d slap some paint on it anyway. You’ll feel so much more settled about it until the time is right to finish it completely.

    • Thirkellgirl says

      I agree. Especially since it’s the main entrance, I’d have some cute lidded hampers and some paint on those walls the first weekend.

  5. I think ugly laundry room are much more common that not!

  6. Ahhhh… the reality of owning and decorating a home. I am ridiculously frugal, so the idea of decorating before a space is structurally settled gives me hives. I definitely understand wanting to wait until it’s ready structurally before you let it be pretty. My husband and I are about to buy a house, and I am already considering a way to make an entrance that doesn’t come through the back-door so people will see my pretty house, and not my lived-in, actual house. Good luck!

  7. Exactly! Why deny ourselves beautiful surroundings just because of timing? Doing things a little out of order won’t hurt in the long run. We have an old ugly boat, waiting to be renovated, sitting in our back yard. I didn’t let that stop me from buying a new table for the back patio or from planting pretty trees. I should still be allowed to enjoy my back yard until we get started on the ugly boat!

  8. You’re inspiring me to get back to work on my DIY pallet baseboards and window trim projects–and PAINT. Thanks for the pick-me-up. -Your 31 Dayer Friend, Sally at Garden Valley Homestead.

  9. I’ve been a reader for a very long time, at least three years, and this is the first time I’ve read a post and I couldn’t leave without commenting.

    Thank you for the last paragraph; this is something I have struggled with for a while, but I feel like you’re writing what I couldn’t say. Our home, a 1907 Victorian, has wallpaper in nearly every room, and the half bath which also has our laundry, is covered floor to ceiling in green ivy and grapes wallpaper, and the previous owners went as far as to use a “supporting” wallpaper (just green ivy) on every square inch of the ceiling.

    I so badly want to just paint over it and get something bright in there since there are no windows, but I think about how I should remove all the wallpaper, and how we need to bring in a shelf for the laundry detergent, and how we ought to strip the trim to match the wood finish that is throughout the rest of the house.

    But this gives me hope; why am I sabotaging myself? Why can’t I make it beautiful now and make adjustments as we go forward?

    Thank you for your beautiful writing, Myquillyn.

  10. I must ask – do you like the washer & dryer being stacked? I’m debating doing the same thing and it feels like I’m making a life-changing decision. Like they are inseparable once they’ve been stacked. I’m ridiculous.

    • This comment made me laugh, because I completely relate. Sometimes I even get weird about moving furniture. There is zero percent permanence to moving furniture. Sometimes I have to talk myself off the ledge OUT LOUD.
      But I’m wondering, too: do you like the stacked washer and dryer?

  11. I feel your pain. We are on our 2nd owned home (and 8th home since being married six years) that has foundation problems. That’s 2 Huuuuuge laundry room basements that were ugly. Concrete floors. Water park when there is a light rain. And best of all, I step on a RAG that was cemented to the ground when they relaid the basement slab. It’s pretty. Just waiting and waiting and waiting for a pretty laundry room. Perks? I can spray paint and do any craft projects right on the concrete floors!!

  12. Thanks for this post and all of your other encouraging words! I also like this comment from Becky, “Will a temporary fix provide longer-lasting peace for all?”

    I have no problem waiting until our budget allows for big fixes, but why don’t I create some pretty temporary fixes? I tend to get overwhelmed with the big things I want to change instead of just making small changes. As in, I’d like to paint the den’s brick fireplace, but first I should change those awful wall sconces. And then I need a different mantle, yada yada yada. OR, I could throw some lamps in there and at least paint the mantle!

  13. I think this space is just begging for a tall “It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful” sign in that long empty wall space next to the appliances. I don’t think you’d even notice the two-toned wall then, and that would be a perfect mantra with which to greet your guests!

  14. My laundry room is in the garage, so I don’t spend more than a few minutes out there at a time, especially during our Texas summers! Maybe you could hang a pretty sheet or quilt on the wall and pretend its wallpaper. Time for wall mistreatments instead of window mistreatments!

  15. Thanks for the “real” shot! I love pretty laundry rooms! Everyone laughed at me when I hung a huge framed picture in our current one. Maybe it has to do with hating laundry and just wanting some part of it to be enjoyable.

  16. Bele @BlahBlah says

    We have the same situation with our ‘temporary’ kitchen!

  17. says

    I feel compelled to comment. We’ve lived in our house for the past 9 years and we have two terrible bathrooms that I have been waiting to do the “right way” for that whole time. Since both really need to be gutted and done “properly” with new plumbing and new subfloor etc., I have put off doing anything since I was certain that we would do it “properly” soon after we moved in but money always needed to go elsewhere. Just in the past weeks, we had to have our house appraised and (inspired by your book) I made some minor cosmetic changes to the baths make them look better. Mostly, paint and a lot of elbow grease. I used your idea of “arrows” and made some things “pretty” to attract away from the enormous flaws. Now I am kicking myself that I waited 9 years for the pretty. It will be awhile before we can do the rooms “correctly” but at least now I can enjoy them a little. I vote for doing those inexpensive tweaks while waiting on the major reno because (as I have learned the hard way) months of waiting can turn quickly into years.

  18. Hmm…seems like I heard someone say one time, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” ;) I say slap on some paint and make a pretty “Welcome to Our Home” room. And what chore requires the most time involvement for the mom of a family? Go for it ~ you have got this! Can’t wait to see pictures of it in a couple of weeks~ just in time for the holidays. :)

  19. I’m late to the party. I heard about your book a while back and finally it became available at the library. I love it so much I’m asking for it for my birthday next month. I, too, am a renter but have never been a home owner. I’m a military wife and have always thought that when we were finally able to ‘buy’ a house it would automatically be beautiful. Because of your honest words I now don’t feel as pressured to buy a house in a state we will only be living in for 2-3 years (Dave Ramsey would say NO if I asked his advice). I now am hopeful and excited about making my future rental home beautiful and making my soul feel good. I just won’t pick one with manky carpet:-)
    Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

  20. Having been a military spouse and living all over the world in rentals or base housing, I totally get that doing your house is so different. I’ve never had trouble picking a paint color until this house which is our house and should be our forever home. Now every thing seems so permanent and I freeze up rather than make a decision and go with it. Thanks for sharing so openly with all of us. :)

  21. We have been in temporary housing for 25 years. Yeah, that long. A couple rentals, a couple mobile homes, now we are in The Biker’s shop. I decorate every where I go or I would have been in bare wall land forever. Just do it!

  22. well honestly it’s a LOT better than what I am working with. In a 1930’s home…BASEMENT laundry. You wanna talk about putting cut branches in a vase ? Yah sure right next to the Oil tank and a dirt/plaster/chicken wire wall…My washer dryer are on a wood pallet (not the pinteresty sort) I’d love to make it look even a little more appealing…what do you do with things that HAVE to stay put where they are…I love how you said “Owning your home” that was good!

  23. Myquillin, I cannot even begin to tell you how much this post resonates so, so deeply within me, especially what you wrote at the end:

    ‘Maybe I just need to get over my trying-to-be-adult-self and realize I can leave it ugly until the foundation is fixed and go ahead and make it beautiful until the foundation is fixed and then make ajustments. Either way the foundation will probably be repaired on the exact same day. I get to choose if I want it pretty now, or after I deem things worthy of being beautiful.’

    I have lived in my house for 5+ years, buying it after renting for 5.5 years after separating from my husband. I thought this would be my forever house (or at least until the kids all grow up and leave home and-maybe-I-do-too house), and I had plans, from the little bits of decorating to renovations. 5 years later, I’ve done little other than re-paint, and ‘decorating’ is virtually non-existent.

    I absolutely know that fear of ‘not getting it right’ has been what’s holding me back, and now I’m in a different scenario, in that within the next 12 months, we’ll be moving back into my ex-husband’s house (that we bought when we were first married), as we have reconciled and will be selling my house. But I’m still living here, and I so desperately want to be living fully where I am, even thought I know we’ll be leaving here.

    So even though I know we’re only here for now, I’m moving toward getting over myself and creating the home I want for my family, but I still wrestle with ‘do I bother, because I’ll only have to pack it up?’, and continue to sabotage my own intentions. Your post has put things into an even clearer perspective for me, I just need to kick my grown-up butt into gear and get on with it!

  24. Your laundry room in the rental was just plain amazing…not many laundry rooms look like that. Mine is a shut the door and ignore it’s there kind of laundry room. ;)

  25. I really love how your former laundry room turned out! Also wanted to say a big Thank You for the 31 Days Challenge. I have been dreaming of publishing a Bible study for years and this was the perfect place to do so. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  26. Welcome to home ownership!
    Learning your limits and what you’re willing to live with
    All part of the journey!
    You will love with many faults in your “perfect” home- while making it just beautiful
    Until you put it on the market!
    Just enjoy home! I have the same scenario in my mudroom/porch/laundry/via de la bano!

  27. I just finished reading your book THE NESTING PLACE and I loved it. My husband and I have been married for 43 years and during that time built 3 homes and lived in two rentals for short times while building. Just to be clear, all the houses have been very modest and we’ve never had the budget for new furniture or fancy decor. I so related to your commentary on custom drapery and feeling ill at ease in those too perfect houses. I posted a review of your book on my blog THOUGHTS FROM MILL STREET. I hope you will stop by and read it. I will be checking in at THE NESTING PLACE for more inspiration and encouraging common sense.

  28. I have read your book “The Nesting Place” and found it pretty interesting. I am avid reader of your books. I always love to hear from you.

  29. Reading through this post I kept finding myself nodding or smiling (wryly) or saying “yup!”.

    I find that even if I can just get a room to a place where I can think straight while sitting in it – as opposed to, sitting in causes tension headaches;) – then it’s good for now. I’ll “finish” it when time and funds permit.

    It’ll be great – whatever you decide to do!

  30. Remembering your post about hiding the thermostat. Shop the house. A quick change won’t fix it, but will make it 100 times better.

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