Where to Start When You Have a Blank Slate

blankThe view from my client’s home

Jacqueline called me and said:

“Help! My laundry room is finished, it’s white, I followed all the advice on your blog right down to copying the shelves in your laundry room, but now that I have a white Maria Killam laundry room and I can do anything I want, I have no idea where to start!

What colour should I paint it? I painted it BM Grey Owl because I had some leftover paint but it’s doing nothing for me!”

I said, “First, Grey Owl is almost like a neutral, muted blue/green grey that would look great in a bathroom with lots of blue grey marble that coordinated with it, but for your white-on-white laundry room to look fabulous, it needs a colour!

It’s better if we find some art and accessories for this room before we pick some random colour. Bring photos, we’ll meet at HomeSense. It’s a laundry room, we should be able to find most of it there.”

ackward

Laundry room before

Jacqueline made the shelves herself from leftover pieces of wood. That’s why they weren’t quite long enough, which created an awkward space between the shelves and the window.

“Don’t worry,” I assured her. “The right artwork can make this look completely intentional.”

We started in the art department. I pulled out several pieces of art that coordinated in two groups so that we could then source a carpet, towels, and accessories to finish the room.

Jacqueline laughed when she watched me pulling out art and propping it up all down the aisle. “If that was me,” she said, “I would have walked up and down this aisle once and left.”

Below is the first collection we found. Jacqueline liked how bright this colour scheme felt, BUT…

turquoise

…she chose the second option instead. The rug was prettier, and she loves green:

purple

Jacqueline and her husband have been renovating their house for three years. All this time, they have been living with their old furniture from their last house, but now they can start to think about colour flow between the newly renovated rooms. When I asked if she could imagine her great room with a green sofa, she said, “I love that idea!”

This year, the laundry room is the last project before we begin choosing colours and furnishings for her great room and dining room. Since this small room could look finished without a lot of expense, we started here.

Here’s what the laundry room looks like now:

greenlaundryThe colour is BM Guildford Green. Much better.

We installed the art directly on the subway tile wall with 3M picture-hanging tape. Worked like a charm!

purpleart

I used the top shelf in this room to guide where the art would hang. Obviously if the art had been a lot bigger or smaller, this would not apply, but sometimes it’s a good place to look if you’re not sure where to hang it. Line up your artwork with the top of a cabinet in the room, for example.

Jacqueline has been following my blog for many years. After she read this post about how I’m a sucker for cute faces, she said she’s noticed them ever since. She approved of the white frog when I picked him up in the garden department, he looks like he’s smiling a greeting when you walk in because he’s smack in the middle of the shelves!

frog

I find it way easier to shop with my clients for accessories than to try and decide on my own if I should get the frog with the cheshire cat grin or a funky snail instead, haha.

So, again, before:

beforelaundry

 And after:

fullaundry

Photography by Maria Killam (aren’t you impressed? I can hardly believe it myself)

Jacqueline installed solid, handscraped white oak in a medium brown finish throughout her entire main floor, including the powder and laundry room. It’s stunning!

Next, she’s going to paint the ceiling! Before I left, I chose this colour:

voiletmist

BM 1437 Violet Mist

Jacqueline sent me this text later that day:

“I want you to know HOW happy that laundry room has made me…It’s so inspiring and makes me love the entire renovation, even though the rest of the house is not even decorated yet! Thank you so much.”

Bottom line, if you don’t have a starting point, art, fabric, a rug, SOMETHING, you might as well throw a dart on the colour wheel because it’s very difficult to get inspired when the colour relates to NOTHING whatsoever in the room.

Choose a starting point (like a designer would if you hired them to decorate your house) and you’ll be much happier with the end result!

And I want you to be happy ; ) That’s why I write this blog!

Speaking of happy, to all the moms who read this blog, I hope you had a wonderful Mothers’ Day!! You’re special to me because you’re here!

And thanks for everyone who contributed to my fundraiser for the earthquake in Nepal these last few days! I love my readers!

Have a great week, everyone! xoxo

Related posts:

6 Things About Me

The New Timeless Hardwood Floor

Are you Waiting for your Paint Colour to Propose?

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact us! We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous e-design consultation packages here.

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  1. How pretty! I would love a happy colored laundry room like that.
    When I decorated my laundry room, I used a black with white polka dot wallpaper. The black wallpaper was chosen because the room has no natural light. The room is also off the kitchen which has a black countertop. So it all works but it’s certainly not a happy place.

  2. Amazing job-looks so lovely that you wouldn’t mind doing laundry. This is where stylists can really help you. If I had that laundry room, it would have had Tide pods, bounce and spray & wash on the shelves.I really seem to lack imagination-great job once again Maria!

    • Hi Kathi,
      You could put all those cleaning products in baskets to hide them. But then if your husband is like mine, they would be left on top of the washer & dryer instead of returning them to the baskets because he can never put things away after he uses them.

  3. This truly is a room that would make one smile every time she entered it. Of course, your client has the most important thing one can have in a laundry room and she has a double at that – a window. I rue the day the original buyers of my home didn’t choose the option of having a window put in the laundry room and I rue even more the fact that our big-time builder Del Webb made it an option in the first place – STU-PID! I do the next best thing which is to keep a small low-wattage lamp on all day. I do have plans to make the room happy, however, and your client’s room is an inspiration, even to the green on the walls!

  4. Gorgeous. I love the wood floor but I’m not sure if I would use wood floors in a laundry room. Are there any extra precautions to take? Especially if the laundry is not in the basement? My sister had a flood once when her laundry room was on the second floor and it dripped down and there was a lot of damage in the family room below. I had a minor flood in my kitchen (wooden floors, still look great after 10 years) that dripped through to my newly renovated basement.

  5. Soooo, where ARE all the things one uses in the laundry room? Is there a wall of storage cabinets somewhere?
    A utility tub? We have a German Shepherd dog; gorgeous and sheds. I need a large ceiling “vacuum” that sucks all the fur out! I sometimes paint small projects in that room, the freezer is there, clean dog blankets, paper products-the list goes on. Maybe I could turn the garage into a L. rm? A couple of sun tunnels, glass-block where the G. door is…Think that would help when we decide to sell??? Oh-and HEAT…

    • Haha, well she has those cabinets that you can see and then a closet no the other side that you can’t see. I get that decorative shelves in a laundry room isn’t practical for everyone! But in this case she had the luxury of more space. Thanks for your comment! Maria

  6. It’s too damn adorable! And the ceiling paint is going to be the icing on the cake!

    “Photography by Maria Killam (aren’t you impressed? I can hardly believe it myself).” Too funny, Maria. Before reading your words, as I had scrolled onto the after-photo, I thought, wow, what a difference professionally shot photos make! Seriously.

  7. This is another perfect post, Maria! I wasn’t sure I liked either rug, but when I saw the room all put together with the great wall colour, it impressed me…I admire your beautiful skills!

  8. Maria, You are amazing! I love the way you pulled the laundry room together! Your client has to be so thrilled. The little happy faces makes a room so special. It shows that you have a love of life and a good sense of humor too.

    The main point that you made is having artwork, a rug or something to relate to in order to choose color. Sometimes it is so hard to get that thru a clients head because it seems backward to them.

    Every post that you write is valuable and full of important information! I love it.

  9. MARIA—

    The PHOTOGRAPHY!!!!! I, too, along with Susan, was most impressed. (Appreciated the tips you gave us for same in an earlier blog.)

    You are not only a designer and a color expert…but now a skilled photographer too! Super job on the whole thing!

  10. somehow catching the kitty in action brought that shot to another level. I can hardly believe it’s the same room!

    • I loved the kitty checking out how beautiful the room looks now. Well done and good explanation. Nice work on the photography, too, Maria.

  11. Such an inspiring transformation, love the flooring too! We’re having a hard time finding solid hardwood in a medium tone, do you know the brand of hardwood and what they call the color?

  12. Beautiful transformation! But, why wouldn’t the ceiling color be a turquoise that’s in the rug rather than a violet tone??

    • It’s a purply blue which is the lighter shade of the dark purple in the room. I always like blue on the ceilings because it feels like the sky so it’s often my first choice.

      • Ah, now I see the purple in the artwork. I think that the rug is bossy and I don’t see any purple in it. It will be interesting to see the painted ceiling! Thank you.

  13. I love these posts where you walk us through your process. It’s fun to see the two different options you pulled together for accessories at HomeSense. The room looks great! And thanks for the reminder that blue looks good on a ceiling. I tend to always play it safe (and boring) with white, but probably need to step out of that comfort zone now and then.

  14. Beautiful!!! Last summer I painted our guest bedroom guilford green and painted our family room silver fox. Both colors are BM’s top 2015 colors! Who knew! 🙂

  15. I love the tutorial on the laundry room it was so helpful – and I also just wanted to say that my SW collection of boards arrived today and they are fantastic! And Maria does an exquisite job of packaging! I am so happy with these that I really can’t wait to order a color collection. WORTH EVERY PENNY!!!!!

  16. I’m the very happy client of Maria’s! For those that were interested… Our wood floors are from Dansk, Mayan Solid Collection in white oak, the colour Is husk. Since I’m posting (which I never do….) I’ll take this opportunity to thank Maria again for her beautiful personality and amazing talent :0)

    • Jacqueline,
      Your laundry room is beautiful.
      What is the color name/brand of your white quartz counter?

  17. What a happy and pretty room to work in! Beautiful job, Maria. -Brenda-
    P.S: Many years ago, in our previous house I dressed the walls of my (basement) laundry room in a bright yellow background patterned wallpaper and to this day I feel it was one of the main features that sold the home …. ☺.

  18. Beautiful! If one was installing tile in a Laundry room
    that looked just like this, what type, color, would you recommend? The Laundry room in question has a door to the outside on one side and is next to medium color hardwood at the other end.
    Thank you!