That’s kind of a weird title, hinting at a strange combination of spaces, isn’t it? But admit it, you’re just a little bit intrigued by what a laundry room/playroom combo could possibly look like. Believe me, if you search for “laundry room playroom” on Pinterest, you are not going to find a whole lot- I’ve tried. So let me give you a bit of a background on this sad little room that ended up undergoing one of the biggest transformations in our entire house, and how it all came to be.
When we first toured our home, there was one room that was just a bit of a puzzler. It was a hastily done addition off of the living room that felt like more of an afterthought. There was basically an exterior door leading into a small room with lots of flimsy windows, and a horrible carpet covering the ever so slightly slanted floor. The exterior siding had never even been removed from the wall, so it really felt like an unfinished space.
The other puzzler was how to use the space. It had clearly been housing the washer and dryer, but there was still plenty of room left to use it for something else as well. Since there really weren’t any other options for a laundry area, we decided to continue using the space as such, but wanted to utilize the extra space as well. And that’s when we realized it would make the perfect play area for the girls.
Don’t you just look at this picture and think, “I want my children to play here!” I kid, I kid. But I promise, it gets better.
Although most of the girls’ toys are stored in their bedrooms upstairs, we knew it would be impractical not to have some sort of play area downstairs as well, where we would likely spend the majority of our time. Since this room was right off of the living room, it seemed like an ideal space for it.
The first step was removing the exterior door. Our living room already had lots of doors and windows, making furniture layout a bit tricky as it was, so removing this door helped with spacing in that room.
The next step was removing the exterior siding from the wall and the carpet from the floors. Lucky for us, my Dad had some laminate flooring leftover from a job, and there was just enough to recover the floors. It also happened to blend pretty seamlessly with the existing hardwoods in the living room. Replacing the windows wasn’t in the budget for the time being, but we knew we wanted to do something interesting on the walls to make the space feel special and detract from said windows (especially since the room would be open to the living room).
I quickly fell in love with the idea of putting ship lap on the walls. After some research, we discovered just how expensive real ship lap was, (and became super jealous of the folks in Waco, Texas who always seem to have it just sitting there, waiting patiently to be uncovered from underneath their drywall), and because we weren’t willing to allocate too much money to a laundry room renovation, we ended up going with a much more cost effective faux ship lap option instead. Kevin found large sheets of plywood that already had grooves in them, and it did the trick.
I still remember Kevin texting me these pictures of the walls as he was working on them. I was finally going to have ship lap! Faux ship lap, but still! It was so fun to watch this room transform- I had visions of a light bright space where I would happily fold fresh laundry as the girls played (ha). But really, I had never had an attractive and fully functional laundry room before. Whether hidden away in an ugly old closet, or stacking machines with no place to fold, all my previous laundry experiences were nothing to write home about. This time around, with a decent space to work with, I was determined to make this laundry experience as pleasant as possible.
This would of course start with the appliances. We decided to go with white front loading machines (for the same reason we went with white appliances in the kitchen– so they would blend in with the white walls). I know there are pros and cons to top loading verses front loading, and many people are not fans of the front loading variety, but I loved the look of them, and most importantly, I wanted to be able to put a counter top for folding clothes above them. We used extra butcher block counter tops from our kitchen renovation, and put a cabinet in the extra space beside the washing machine.
While I would love to tell you that that cabinet is used for cleaning supply storage, it is actually hiding the cat’s litter box. Genius, right? There is really no good place for a litter box- the idea of them is so disgusting and I have been tempted on many occasions to toilet train our cats Jack Burns style, but this is the best alternative I have found. There is a small hole cut into the side of the cabinet for the cats to get in and out (hence the mysterious gap beside the cabinet), and odors and litter tracking are now at a minimum. Most importantly, you can’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind.
Man, I wish I had fixed the rope handle of the basket on the right before this picture was taken.
Anyway, I feel like I have dedicated way too much time to talking about my cats’ litter box. Sorry for that. So let’s move on, why don’t we.
The rest of the space is being used as a sort of play and craft room for the girls. Their cute little table and chairs sits in the center of the room, and is definitely their favorite spot to hang in the house. It’s usually covered in paint and crayon markings, but it’s looking quite festive and inviting here.
On the opposite wall of the washer and dryer is their play kitchen, and there is a cute tiered storage stand in the corner for various play foods and other toys.
I love how the girls have their own space to play (and contain most of the mess), but I can still keep an eye on them from the living room. Eventually, we plan to add a sliding barn door so we can close off this room at night, or whenever we don’t want to be reminded of crafty messes and laundry. But for now, it’s still a really pretty happy space that I don’t at all mind catching a glimpse of!
I imagine this room will continue to evolve as the girls grow and their needs change. Perhaps it will become a space for using the computer and doing school work, or maybe it will just become a large utility/storage space. At this time in our lives, though, it is working perfectly for us. The colorful paintings drying on the counter tops and the pretty flowers blooming on the trees outside the windows definitely make for a more pleasant laundry experience, and who can complain about that? I still don’t love doing laundry as I had hoped I would. But I also don’t hate it anymore, so that’s something, I suppose!
What would you use this space for? Tell me your thoughts!