laundry makeover _ Affordably update your laundry

How to: Affordably update your laundry

Too often laundries are the neglected, out of sight out of mind, utility room. They sit low on the priority list when building and renovating, forgotten until you walk in and wince. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Even with a limited budget, you can transform your laundry into a space that brings joy.

Today we’re thrilled to be with Interior Designer Jacqueline Chen from The Glade Design. You may remember her from the Morecombe Home Japanese style bathroom tour we recently shared. One of Jacqueline’s latest projects was to transform an unsightly laundry into a smart and stylish space on a budget.

We chat with Jacqueline to get all the tips and tricks to affordably update your laundry with minimal work, sharing examples from our favourite featured laundries.

Related article: The award-winning laundry of the Scandinavian Purity home
Related article: Designing the ultimate laundry, all the tips and tricks you need!

neutral laundry renovation _ affordably update your laundry

Get your layout right

Nothing is more important in a work zone than layout. You can spend a fortune on luxury finishes, but get the layout wrong and they will be of little value.

“The first thing I noticed about this project was how small it was. I drew up a floor plan and tried to keep everything super simple. With storage and bench, and the addition of a washer and dryer, space was pretty minimal so I had to ensure everything could fit,” explains Jacqueline.

Things to consider when planning out your storage needs in the laundry:

  • broom and vacuum (preferably with a hidden powerpoint for charging)
  • cleaning supplies
  • baskets and bucket
  • laundry hamper
  • ironing board
  • indoor clothes drying racks
  • chemicals — you may want to consider high storage or cabinets with locks if you have kids.

Remember that you want the space to be as easy to use and low maintenance as possible!

“In this laundry renovation, having more bench space was a priority. So an easy fix that worked for the client was to place the washer and drier side by side. They now have enough counter space to do more than just fold clothes and iron. It could be used for DIY arts and crafts, indoor workshops, messy school projects, whatever you need.”

laundry makeover _ Affordably update your laundry
Under-stair laundry with stacked washer dryer
This small under-stair laundry is super functional, see the full laundry tour here.

Update your splashback

One of the best bang for buck updates you can make in a laundry is to replace your splashback. Switch out your tired tiles for a pop of colour or pattern… or consider painting your splashback tiles for an even more affordable solution.

“I wanted to integrate a bright and airy feel to this small laundry to make it feel larger and more welcoming. A simple way I did this was by adding a small splashback behind the sink,” says Jacqueline.

“Splashbacks are a quick and relatively cheap way to add texture and colour to your laundry. If you’re doing it on a budget, the humble subway tile can be used in a bunch of different ways. You can find all kinds of subway tile inspiration here.”

If you’re feeling confident and really want to keep costs low, you could even try to tile the splashback yourself. We will have an article on how to do this soon!

affordably update your laundry

Look at what you can save and refresh over buy new

One of the best tips to affordably update your laundry is to be smart about what you can save and refresh rather than replace. Benchtop looking a bit tired? Perhaps you can paint it using a specialty paint or consider applying feather finish for a concrete look. These kinds of strategic updates will be friendlier on your hip pocket and on the environment!

“With my client wanting to minimise spend, everything was super budget-friendly and can be easily DIY’d. Usually, I get custom-made cabinets which end up being the biggest spend in a laundry reno. This time I had to be clever though. I didn’t have much storage space left after the appliances, so I didn’t see the point of getting expensive custom joinery.

“Instead I found two Opal White plywood sheets from BRAU Timber for less than $400 and built the benchtop and shelving. Plywood is an extremely versatile material I highly recommend considering. It’s strong, low maintenance, and can be used for structural, interior, and exterior applications. To help hide the everyday mess under the sink, I got small curtains from IKEA and cut them shorter to fit. It totally softens the space. And my client won’t need to worry she can’t close the door when her storage space gets a bit overloaded,” she laughs.

neutral laundry update _ affordably update your laundry

Consider what’s worth splurging on

“Even though I saved a lot on joinery, there are some things worth splurging on:

  • Good tapware — As something that you will use often and is difficult to repair, I recommend splurging on good tapware. The last thing you want to do is repair a low-quality tap every few years as it will cost you more in the long run
  • Get the biggest sink available — It allows you to soak bulkier items like shoes and blankets. However, you don’t have to buy from the fanciest brand as this sink will be used for the dirtiest things in the house. What would be the point of that?
  • Quality appliances — Washers and dryers consume a lot of electricity, so if you’re buying new appliances, look for good quality but energy efficient appliances.
  • Ventilation — Do you have good ventilation? Without ventilation, your laundry is the ideal place for mould growth. If you don’t, it may be worth considering a powered exhaust fan for your walls or ceiling.

“I would suggest being careful of spending too much on unnecessary joinery accessories. They can look good in a showroom, but don’t work for every room. Be flexible in this, perhaps even waiting until some of the bigger parts of the room are done, before making your final decision,” says Jacqueline wisely.

White wainscoat wall in laundry
The small but stylish by Front Properties, find the full laundry tour here.

Get a hanging rail/rod

“A fixed hanging rail is a relatively new concept in Australia, but I consider it a must-have item in every laundry. Not only does hanging your clothes help reduce your ironing, but it’s a convenient place to hang delicate pieces.

“This is something you can easily DIY with brackets and a curtain rod. If you’re not convinced, see how these other designers have done it below!”

Tip! If you have a lot of handwash items, consider placing the rod above your sink to catch dripping.

Dubois_overview_award-winning laundry
The award-winning Scandinavian Purity laundry, see the full laundry here.
The Block 2020_week 9_Luke and Jasmin_laundry styling
The Block 2020 contestant Luke and Jasmin blew us away with this luxe laundry, see more from that week here.

Call in the experts when you need

“There’s no denying anything you can do yourself, from painting old cabinetry to refreshing window coverings, will save you money. However there are some jobs you need to get the experts in to do. Anything electrical or plumbing-related should never be DIY’d. Instead, focus your energy on getting the layout right, shopping smart for new materials and appliances, and saving money in those ways.”

Have these tips to affordably update your laundry helped you? Huge thanks to Jacqueline for sharing her expert tips and this fab affordable laundry reno project! You can find more from Jacqueline and The Glade Design through her Instagram and on her website. She’s also started a Youtube channel sharing some top design tips.

Find more laundry inspo and advice here

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Shelf detail from Naomi Findlay kitchen renovation affordably update your kitchen

How to: Affordably update your kitchen

Looking to update your tired kitchen but can’t afford an entire remodel? Or are you looking to sell and know how a kitchen can make or break the deal?

Today we’ve got renovation royalty Naomi Findlay with us to share her top ways to update your kitchen without breaking the bank!

The good news is you can create a new kitchen look and feel without having to go all out and remodel — minor kitchen renovations are one of the most cost-effective upgrades you can make. From spraying your cabinets to replacing your tapware, there are a few simple upgrades that can have a significant effect on your kitchen’s appeal and can help produce a higher sale price too.

Related article: Slim shaker cabinets and marble mosaic splashback are a dreamy combo in our latest kitchen renovation project
Related article: 11 types of white kitchen splashback tiles: Add interest with shape over colour

Noami Findlay renovation expert

Words by Naomi Findlay

Reface your cabinets

Once upon a time, those 1980s-style oak cabinets were the hottest new thing, but today’s buyers want cabinets that look up-to-date. Plus, dated cabinets can create the impression that the whole kitchen needs to be gutted and redone, which isn’t exactly the thought you want to put into a potential buyers’ head.

But new cabinets don’t come cheap, which is why you should consider re-facing them instead. Sanding, degreasing, and staining or painting the cabinet faces will make your dated kitchen look sleek and new again, for a fraction of the price of a complete cabinet replacement.

Update your splashback

Replacing your kitchen splashback can deliver a huge refresh without hitting the hip pocket too hard. For example, while glass splash backs were all the rage in kitchens for many years, it’s a look that is deemed increasingly clinical. For very little money, you could install an inexpensive subway tile for example — it’s a classic, textured look that will instantly update the space.

Check out these 11 types of white splashback tiles that offer broad appeal but add interest with shape.

Vertical stack handmade subway tile
Image via Bicker Design

Update your hardware

Replacing your cabinets’ old handles and pulls with new hardware can go a long way toward updating your kitchen. In fact, it can completely change its look. Remember, when selling your home, staying neutral is key, so consider handles in timeless styles, like brushed pewter or nickel, that will appeal to a wide range of buyers.

Check out this list of the top places to buy stylish handles.

Upgrade your countertop

A countertop upgrade adds instant value and appeal to your kitchen — choose a laminate in a neutral colour for a budget-friendly option or granite or quartz for a more luxurious feel.

Other eco-friendly benchtop options that take it easy on the earth (and on the eyes) include:

  • bamboo
  • recycled glass
  • recycled paper, and
  • resin made from cashew nuts.

Another idea is to makeover your existing counter. For example this DIY concrete kitchen bench tutorial is simply applied over an existing laminate bench.

Shelf detail from Naomi Findlay kitchen renovation affordably update your kitchen
In Naomi’s most recent kitchen project, she used Smart Stone engineered stone as the benchtop and splashback

Add extra lighting

When potential buyers see your kitchen for the first time, you want to make an impression of bright cleanliness. So adding extra lighting is always essential!

If you have the option, installing a large window is a great idea as it allows for the natural sunlight to beam in. Alternatively, installing downlights is a great idea for kitchens — these lights are out of the way and are a timeless option. Similarly, adding downlights in your cupboards is always a great idea and it’s a detail most people miss. Cupboards are dark places, and when renovating you want to make your kitchen as convenient as possible to use.

You could also consider under-cabinet LED strips to add ambience and showcase those lovely new countertops. Alternately, replace dated pendants with fresh, new (yet neutral) hanging lights.

Basket pendant lights are trending and here’s a round up of the best buys!

Add a kitchen island

Adding a kitchen island to your kitchen will instantly increase its appeal. Not only does the space act as another work surface, but it also provides more storage in the kitchen. Kitchen islands also make the space more user friendly. Given it’s a space where more activities than just cooking can occur — not only can you eat a casual meal around a kitchen island, but the kids can use it as a space to do their homework, too.

Add storage

No one has ever said that their kitchen has too much storage, so why not maximise your space and use empty wall space to your advantage? Installing cupboards that reach the ceiling is a great way to incorporate more storage in the kitchen. You can use the space to store items that are rarely used, freeing up the lower kitchen storage for high-rotation items.

Replace the tapware

For a low-cost upgrade with a big impact, replace your old tapware with a new, modern model. For the most impact, choose a timeless, visually-appealing model with added value like a pull-out spray handle or touchless on-off feature. For just a couple hundred dollars, new tapware can make a big splash.

Black and marble kitchen affordably update your kitchen
Image via

What do you think of these tips to affordably update your kitchen? I’d love to know if you plan on using any by commenting below.

About Naomi Findlay

Naomi Findlay

Naomi Findlay is Australia’s Rapid Renovation Expert and she loves helping everyday people create a profit when renovating property. If you are ready to learn how to create a six figure income renovating property then learn how to choose the right property with her FREE success tips resource here

Instagram: @naomifindlayofficial

Read more of Naomi’s renovation tips here

This article was first published in May 2017 and continues to be updated with the latest tips and images.

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