Before/After on the CHEAP: Den & Laundry Room

3 years ago

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m planning to celebrate our 2 years of living in our home by comparing the 2012 version of each room with where we are now in 2014.

If we’re going to start at the very beginning, it only makes sense to start with that first room that I painted… while 8 months pregnant.

The Den
Now you may be thinking, “Um, Joules…aren’t you supposed to stay away from fumes and stuff while you’re growing a human?” and the answer is YES. I didn’t PLAN to paint this room myself… the original plan was for me to paint the dark trim white (with the windows and doors open), while my friend painted the walls. However, due to some mixed up communication (that I’m totally not still annoyed about), that friend’s plans changed and I ended up working on the project with just a little help… instead of the other way around.

I don’t know why my preggo mind decided that I simply could not LIVE with the original dark trim and cream walls, but I REFUSED to move into the house unless this room was done.

I know. Pregnant Type A Joules is weird.

Here’s the original version of the room as we first saw it:

Den - 2012It’s wasn’t totally horrible, it just looked very mid-90′s to me. We hated the brass fireplace insert with a passion, and the cream painted paneling walls just looked kind of dirty and dingy up close. The laminate floor looks like wood, but it feels really cheap when you walk on it.

Den B - 2012I have no idea what they were thinking with room set up. If you were sitting on their couch, you’d have to be laying sideways and crane your neck to see the TV which was shoved into the little alcove.

Here is our den now:

Den - 2014I tried to take very similar angles to the original pictures for comparison purposes. For for painting changes, I painted all the trim at the tops and bottoms of the walls a nice, bright white to go with the rest of the house. Then, I painted the walls this pretty medium blue color — I unfortunately can’t find the name of the paint color I used, but it was definitely from Duron (they’re always my favorite). We ripped out the brass insert and replaced it with one from Home Depot in a more “us” oil rubbed bronze finish.

Den 1 - 2014As you can see in the above picture, there is still the odd little alcove in the corner. I had originally planned to build in some bookshelves, but at Christmas that is the perfect place to put the tree… so I don’t want to build in something permanent. I’m thinking that I may either purchase or build in a removable bench, kind of like a little window seat for reading (without the window).

Here are some of my favorite room details:

Den details - 2014I didn’t really have a place for my favorite books, so I stuck them up on the mantle and LOVE the way they look there. Even though Travis is convinced they are a fire hazard. Which they are NOT. My little flying pig was a Homegoods find for less than $15.

The doggie bookends are from Target a year or two ago, also on sale. The rug was a steal from RugsUSA — it looks similar to a West Elm rug I loved, but was WAY cheaper and has been holding up quite well. I made the Valentine’s banner last year for less than $5 and just remembered to bring it out again this year. I love it though and I’m considering it being a year-round piece of den decor.

What still needs to change?
This is actually one of my favorite rooms in the house. This view totally does it for me, especially when there is a roaring fire (just pretend it’s there):

FireplaceHowever, I do still really want to deal with that weird alcove. It’s not really a priority right now though, since it seems to be fine for a dog bed and feeding station. Eventually, it will either become a built in bookcase or reading nook. I hate the laminate flooring and plan to replace it with some gorgeous hardwood floors. However, Jack is pretty tough on the floors and it’s nice to not worry about him scratching them up with his toys. I think we’re going to give it another couple years and then move forward with the hardwood installation.

The Laundry Room
Another change that happened quite quickly after we moved in, is that we got rid of the existing washer and dryer. Here’s what the laundry room looked like when we first saw our house:

Laundry room - 2012The laundry room is a pretty open area right near the den (there is a small hallway that leads from the den to the laundry with our first-floor 1/2 bathroom), and the old machines were REALLY LOUD. Considering that we were bringing a baby home soon, we really didn’t want to wake him with the entire house shaking to do laundry, so we figured that we should switch them out with new, quieter models.

Here’s the laundry room now:

laundry room - 2014The walls were in great shape and the color was nice and neutral, so I didn’t bother painting a thing in here. We basically just brought in the new washer and dryer and then threw in stuff from our old house.

The rug was from our old laundry room and came from World Market probably 10 years ago (and it’s still in great shape). The pictures were leftover from when I sold Home Interiors stuff as a consultant, so they found a new home brightening up the neutral walls. I bought the paper towel holder (mounted on the wall) for $1 at DollarTree.

laundry room details - 2014The small hallway leading to the laundry room has become Jack’s art wall (inspired by Kari’s kid art wall over at A Grace Full Life) and it’s the first thing you see when you exit the bathroom.

There is no cabinetry to hide laundry stuff, so I re-purposed a basket we received as part of a Christmas gift a couple years ago to keep my detergent, bleach and dryer sheets corralled in one place. The only thing I actually made was the cafe curtains — just a bit of material from Joann’s and maybe 5 minutes on a sewing machine to stitch up the edges and BOOM you have a curtain!

What still needs to change?
I’m pretty happy with this room — it’s (mostly) clean and functional. The work-sink is a great place for my husband to clean up his dirty hands from working in the garage and the dirt mostly seems to stay in the sink. Okay, maybe half of the time. But still, that’s a success! I may add a hanging cabinet at some point, so I can hide away my detergents… however, the basket system seems to be working fine so maybe I’ll just save my time and money.

For both of the rooms, I really worked with what we already had. I’d love to be so wealthy that I could just throw out everything and buy new stuff at West Elm and World Market… but we’re not. Actually, even if we WERE that rich I’d probably still be buying birdhouses at the thrift store and spray painting them in my backyard. It’s just who I am.

What do you think?
Since this is my first before/after post and a bunch of you guys asked for me to write them for home decor help, did I include everything you wanted to know? Is there anything I’m missing? Do you want to come over and curl up in front of the fireplace with some hot chocolate?

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