decorating, diy, laundry room

DIY Laundry Shelves

I am absolutely OB-SESSED with how this project turned out! I wanna do laundry all day, and I might even sleep in there tonight. Ok, not really…but I am loving this simple and easy DIY project! 

At our old apartment Joe had a raised garden bed, (he has one at our new house now too) so when we moved we brought all the wood with us. It had been sitting in a pile for the last month, while we’ve been completing other backyard projects. Joe mentioned he was going to buy some new wood for his new garden, and just throw or give away the old wood. Well, like I always do, I asked him to keep it for awhile cause I could make something out of it (insert Joe eye roll here). I’m always saying “save me those bottle caps, don’t throw away that can, save this, save that, I can make something”. My famous last words, and he always saves whatever it is I asked, and then I never (well hardly) make anything. Not this time! 
I don’t know how I came up with this idea, as random things pop into my head all the time. I’m actually thinking I need to start writing ideas down when they do, cause sometimes I forget what I have planned for a certain project or space. Anyways, I wanted to build some shelves for our laundry room. Our laundry room is pretty standard, but on the smaller side. It is not a pass thru into the garage, therefore not a mudroom so there is no extra space for the room to be anything else but it’s sole purpose – laundry. 

The laundry room is on the “owner’s” end of the house, just off the living room. There was an option for upper/lower cabinets and a sink. I wanted to get both upper and lower cabinets, however while at the design center with the builder, we chose to put our money elsewhere like upgraded floors and bath and only chose to go with  the lower cabinets. As of right now, the lower cabinets alone are plenty of storage. There is also four drawers, and two of those are still empty. So, without upper cabinets naturally my thought was shelves as a replacement. 
I already had some brackets I picked up at Target a few months ago. They were on sale and a Cartwheel offer,  plus an extra 5% off with my Target REDcard. I think I spent five bucks for two sets. 

So with the support brackets taken care of, next was wood. I picked the best out of the pile, and by best I mean – the most worn, the most rustic, and the most weathered. As Joe said, I call it “weathered and rustic”, he calls it “dirty and water damaged”. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? 

I brought one of the brackets outside with me to make sure it would fit correctly.  The wall of the laundry room is 5 feet wide, so I measured the wood to be 3 1/2 feet wide so I could center them on the wall. Joe then cut the wood with a handsaw for me. I then sprayed the pieces of wood with a water hose to clean off some of the dirt. They dried pretty quickly and then I started sanding.
This wasn’t a step I originally planned on but while cleaning the wood, I noticed a lot of rough edges. I wanted a rustic look, but also didn’t want to hurt myself installing these suckers. I used my good old mouse sander, and just used the sandpaper that was already on it from the last project. I’m guessing it was a 220 grit.  Next, I coated each side with polyurethane , just in case something was ever spilled on the wood, I wanted to maintain that weathered look. 

The raw wood soaked up a good amount of poly, and I was worried I’d lost my rustic look. I didn’t panic, but instead thought the darker wood was better because when I start painting the walls of the house, I’m gonna go with a grey tone and the darker wood will be a better contrast. Happy accident! 
After letting the wood dry and weather in the sun for a few more days, I finally got around to installation. It was pretty easy, with just a few hiccups. I followed the instructions that came with the brackets. Without getting into technical details about shelf installations, it’s basically a few easy steps. First, hold the shelf (I put a small level on mine) in desired place on wall and mark with pencil. Then, because there are no studs where I wanted the brackets I used  drywall anchors that came with the bracket hardware. Using a drill and drill bit, I drilled a hole into the wall and screwed in the drywall anchors. I repeated this step eight times (2 holes for each bracket). Next step, was simply screwing the brackets to the wall, or drywall anchors. 

After the bracket is attached to wall, place shelf on top and use another screw to anchor shelf to bracket. I did pre-drill my wood a little just to make it easier on myself and to prevent some wood splitting. At this point, I started debating if I should’ve painted the screws black and then I thought if I never get around to it, oh well  it’ll just have more of an industrial look.
One down, one more to go. You can see all that drywall dust on the lip of the counter, don’t worry I vacuumed it up when I was done. I repeated the process with the next shelf, that I placed about a foot above the bottom one. But when I took a step back, it was crooked! I placed the level on the shelf, and it was level. I then realized the wood was a little warped on one end, making it appear slanted. I then removed the wood and switched the front and back pieces. Each shelf is actually two pieces of wood. Confused? 

There are two pieces of wood butted up together to create one large piece. After I switched the front and back piece, the level and my eyes agreed that both shelves were straight. Sorry for the weird angle, but with the small room it was hard to get a good picture without standing on a chair. I placed the shelves a little higher than eye level for a couple reasons. One, I knew these shelves would be purely decorative, and I didn’t intend for them to support the weight of any heavy laundry detergent bottles. So, the shelves would not get any daily use. Second, because the room is so small when we are doing laundry we place hampers and baskets on the counter instead of the floor. I wanted to make sure there was enough clearance and nothing was getting knocked over or in the way. We have such high ceilings, so I was able to do this, but I’m not sure if I would of made the same choice with standard ceiling heights. Maybe just one shelf instead of two?
Next was the best part, decor! I had no idea what I was going to put on these shelves. So I walked around the house, went into my craft closet, and grabbed a few things I thought could work. I knew I wanted the large scale clothes pins, and some green plants. I started placing things around until it looked right. 

Done! I’m sure these shelves will get a couple more tweaks when I see something while shopping, or find more “laundry” themed items. For now, I’m off to find my bag of clothes pins to fill up that glass jar!

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