Could it be done - changing the laundry room COMPLETELY with only $400? I was bound and determined to find out - not just for myself, but for the listeners of my podcast too. I was on a mission to share with them that real design doesn't have to break the bank and it doesn't always require dipping into your kiddos' piggybank to fund a makeover. Making mighty change in your home's design starts with a plan - knowing the end goal and which changes you need to make (and in which order you need to make them) is the secret to decorating your home on a budget. That, and a few other things too.
"But why makeover the laundry room in the first place? $400 is a considerable chunk of change, and the laundry room isn't hosting the Queen - surely that money could be used somewhere else." This was the question I found myself defending. Yes, that's certainly true, but in the case of THIS laundry room makeover, it wasn't just a desire to have a room that feels pretty. Functionally speaking, the room wasn't serving me the way I needed it to. It wasn't functioning efficiently enough to justify it staying put. I spend A LOT of time in the laundry room. With three active boys and two parents who are constantly working out, not to mention a geriatric diaper wearing dog, we create a lot of laundry. And, unless I missed the boat on making friends with the laundry fairy, laundry doesn't do itself. The problem for me wasn't actually DOING the laundry...it was getting the laundry PUT AWAY. What I didn't need was more DIRTY laundry storage. I needed a system for storing CLEAN laundry until the boys had time to put it away. 'Storing' laundry doesn't mean it needs to sit in there for days, but even if it did it would sure beat where the clean laundry was waiting before the makeover. Want to take a wild guess where that was?
Often times it was in an overflowing basket or two (remember we generate a lot of laundry) in the middle of the upstairs hallway. Not a problem, in and of itself, but if the boys' friends came over, those clean laundry baskets got moved to the floor of the laundry room and all it took was one chore-abiding little boy tossing his dirty napkins in the spot he was trained to toss them, to mix the clean and dirty laundry. Mixing clean and dirty laundry makes for a grumpy laundry lady and nobody likes a grumpy Mrs. Suds.
So how did I spend the money? How far did my $400 take me and how much over-budget did I go? I bet you're dying to know. Before I share the nitty gritty - you may want to take a peek at the entire room.
I'll jump straight to it...did I meet my $400 budget? YES!* There's an * there for a reason - a very important reason. I intentionally stretched my budget a little bit. I set it at a realistic $400 and, if truth be told, if I wouldn't have purchased the baskets I would have made that budget free and clear. But I wanted to show how, when you begin with a starting budget, there are ways you can boost that budget even just a little bit. It takes a little discipline and sometimes some creativity, but you can do it. Options I considered: 1) skipping the Starbucks line for a month and using the money I saved toward the room re-fresh 2) holding a garage sale 3) selling items I was removing from the laundry room on Facebook Market Place 4) using gift cards 5) looking through the couch cushions for loose change.
What did I choose to do? I chose three things, but one would have been enough to boost my budget. 1) I returned some clothing I had purchased earlier this summer at Marshalls. I hadn't worn them yet and was still on the fence about whether or not I liked them well enough to keep them. I missed the return date, but no bother. Instead of using the store credit to purchase other clothes, I used that $40 to pay for almost half of my baskets. 2) I held a garage sale. A friend was hosting a garage sale and asked if I would like to join her. I'm CONSTANTLY de-cluttering and getting rid of things so I don't generally have many items for a garage sale, but I pulled what I did have and managed to earn $90. NINETY dollars (well, if I'm being honest...$94.40 but I rounded down). Read that again...I was able to boost my starting budget by almost 25%. Throw in one missed Starbucks visit and I would have boosted my budget by $100. That's SIGNIFICANT when you're re-freshing rooms on a limited budget. 3) I used an Amazon gift card that I received for my birthday a few years ago. You read that correctly. I received the gift card a few years ago. I'm TERRIBLE with gift cards - for me they quickly fall into the category of 'some day when the stars align, that'll be the day I'll buy that special somethin-somethin.' It's a terrible approach and something I'm actively working on...not waiting for the 'some day.' So...I used my Amazon gift card to purchase the stencil for the wall. I was originally thinking I'd like to purchase the wallpaper that the stencil was mimicking, but $$$$$$$$$$$. Hard pass, solid NO. It was way too expensive. The stencil would do and you know what? It did just fine!
How did I source my art, lamp, rug, overhead light fixture, painting & building supplies so inexpensively? I did three things. 1) I built my plan based on items I already had on hand 2) I thrifted for some of my decorating pieces 3) I created what I could.
Using what I had on hand I was able to save SO MUCH MONEY. I used anything from paint and painting supplies to scraps of wood to artwork and baskets. I love using what I already have, even if it means I 'borrow' art from one room to use in another - I feel so resourceful and the design decision making seems easier. After all, the things I used for this room re-fresh were already hand picked by me. That means they already passed the seal of approval and were already my unique design aesthetic. They just happened to be floating around as extras waiting for their moment to shine. Want to learn what your unique design style is? Learning your design style helps reduce decision fatigue, allowing you to make better more efficient design choices for your home...and saves you money in the process. Win-win! Learn more about it here.
Back to the nitty-gritty. Here's the breakdown of expenses per item. Not too shabby.
My two youngest boys, after seeing the finishing touches, were excited for the changes. So excited they can't wait for the next project. "What will it be," they asked? I think I'll start with a nap.