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Weird places to decorate your home

Joan Fieldstone

April 12, 2016

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: Interior Design

I recently ran across an article on a laundry room makeover. It included a mosaic backsplash, wall art, and an area rug. "How lovely," I thought. "Why not?" But when I was growing up -- and I presume in quite a few older homes still -- the washer and dryer was usually in an unfinished basement. Not in my house. My parents, always on the lookout for the latest conveniences, bought a washer-dryer appliance all-in-one combo and installed it in the kitchen.

Our home was a tiny 1950's split level like nearly every other home in the neighborhood. Knowing how much my mother hated even the little flight of stairs from the main level to the bedrooms, I'm sure she put the laundry in the kitchen because she didn't want to walk down and back up the additional two flights to the basement with several loads of laundry each week.

They squeezed that washer-dryer into a tiny, eat-in kitchen with all the usual appliances, a dinner table, and five chairs -- and a dishwasher, too. But we did have the pleasure of doing the laundry in a cheerfully decorated space. My mother did a kitchen makeover in the '60s that included painting the knotty pine cabinetry white, antiquing it with a blue glaze and adding white hardware. The walls sported blue flowered wallpaper on a spring green trellis pattern against a white background. The backsplash consisted of small stainless steel tiles.

I don't recall my friends' laundry areas being quite as pleasant even in those homes with finished basements. Later, when my parents first moved to Florida, the laundry was in the garage as it is in many warmer climates. They did not decorate the garage. Their subsequent homes had dedicated laundry rooms, but Mom reserved her decorating passion for the "living" areas, bedrooms, and bath.

Many of today's newly built or remodeled homes include a separate laundry and mudroom off the kitchen, or upstairs next to the bedrooms (which Mom would have loved back in the day.) These laundries make fair game for some improved décor. My upstairs laundry is clean and organized, but it could definitely use some classier décor than the sign that reads, "Normal around here is just a setting on the dryer!"

Closet or garage décor, anyone?

Aside from adding built-in storage, have you thought about decorating your walk-in closet? I was intrigued by a suggestion to display collections and memorabilia on the walls of the closet for those who can't part with certain sentimental items. What a clever idea for treasures that have been boxed up for years because the house lacks a designated trophy room, man cave, or she shed!

If you're planning closet storage and can spare the space, reserve a wall or a section of shelving strictly for decoration. I have a box of antique handbags from my mother and my grandmothers that's currently inaccessible on the top shelf of the closet. How much more fun would it be to see those bags displayed on the wall every day? After spring cleaning…

Got art? Don't let it languish in storage because it doesn't fit the current décor of your home. If you loved it enough to purchase it and spend another fortune for framing, enhance your walk-in closet's walls, vanity area or, yes, even the laundry room with one or two pieces. A friend of mine decorates her garage walls with framed art prints. When I get around to painting my unfinished garage drywall one day or finish the floor in epoxy paint, I might consider adorning the garage walls with art - unless I actually need the walls for shelving and storage.

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