Dream Big in a Small Room

There is something beautiful when a space can be designed to include the function and beauty of each item, instead of hiding them. That’s what I like to call simple living: making beauty out of the functional items in a space by integrating their purpose in the design. Thus, you have less “things” and the space feels more inviting because the design speaks to your every day life. Organization doesn’t mean bins and boxes, minimalism doesn’t mean sterile and empty and decor does not mean knick-knacks. Somehow over time, organization has gotten a bad rap for being unsightly and sometimes associated with the term “organized clutter.” The real way to get organized is to donate or give away what you don’t need and keep the essentials. If you might use it but haven’t touched it in 6 months….it’s time to tell it thank you and give it away (shout out to Marie Kondo).

With my laundry room, I wanted to do just that. Of course I had cleaning supplies, dog food, food coupons, appliance warranty manuals, and all sorts of random things. However, if I tried to get organized by adding more “things” to hold my “things” I would just end up with….you guessed it…more things. More things don’t bring me joy, that’s what got me in this desire to redesign the space in the first place. So here was my strategy and maybe you can do it too!

Step 1: Go through every item (don’t just think about it, actually pick it up) and decide whether it needs to stay or go. For anything that needs to go, consider donating it before adding it to the landfill 🙂 If you want to keep it, set it aside for step 2.

Step 2: For all the items you’re keeping, see if you can categorize them. For example, my categories were: laundry items, dog food/treats/toys, warranty manuals, small home tools (small tool kit, batteries, light bulbs), misc.

Step 3: Access the size of your space. My laundry room is pretty small, so we really had to use the space wisely (which is always a good thing)! Embrace design constraints, they will challenge you to be more creative!

Step 4: Envision yourself in the space and think about how you would like to use it….this is a big one because I think we can easily catch ourselves envisioning a space not by how we find joy in using it, but by how we want other people to react when they see it. But your home, this room, is for you! Envision what will bring you and your family joy when they will use the space, because when you are filled with joy you can love people a lot better. Embrace your comfort and style and don’t feel like you need to conform to the latest trends at the expense of your joy.

Step 5: Sketch Sketch Sketch! Dream away, what do you want? What would be fun? Even if you’re not skilled at drawing, who doesn’t like to dream? My goals for the space were (a) I want to cleanly store my categories in an easily accessible way because I used them multiple times a day (b) I want a space to fold laundry as I take it out of the dryer (c) I reallllly don’t want to add more things to this tiny space, so I want to keep things minimal.

Step 6: Be realistic about budget, time and space constraints. And those constraints don’t have to be negative, constraints can make you be more creative and the end result can be even more amazing. We had a super low budget because we just remodeled the kitchen and we have so many more home reno ideas 🙂

Step 7: Be resourceful. Think, ‘now how can I make this idea come to life?’ You can. It may take some elbow grease, but you can. I really wanted a cabinet with shelves so I can cleanly store all of my categories (except for the misc. items). So, my husband and I reused an old kitchen cabinet in order to make the base cabinet in the space.

Step 8: Get to it! Sometimes starting is the hardest part. My husband knows that’s not my hardest part though. Sometimes I am too eager and excited and start too early and skip a couple steps…he is good for me. He’s right, it’s worth going through all of these steps! Like I said, we reused an old upper cabinet from our kitchen renovation. (See our Kitchen Reno). The cabinet was a little too low, so my handy husband built and extension for it. All that was left was a cabinet door, a piece of wood for the top, and a peg board for all the misc. items!

I had a fun time dreaming and designing this. You can do it too!


Base Cabinet: up-cycled upper cabinet

Cabinet door: ikea.com

Countertop: scrap wood (maple)

Peg Board: ikea.com