Interiors: Tips for designing a cheap utility room upcycle

We had plans in 2020 to tackle more renovations, including the utility room, exterior of the house and upstairs bathroom but lockdown has put a hold on that. We have chosen not to have workmen in the house due to having little ones and my mum now being part of our extended bubble. We're also very aware that this whole business may kick off a big recession so we're proceeding with some caution for now.

So, after having our lovely new kitchen fitted last year, we really wanted our utility room to reflect the same style and decor but having a cabinet maker and trades in just wasn't an option, so I thought we were going to be left with it for a while longer. Bearing in mind it was our makeshift kitchen when we couldn't use ours mid renovation last year, for 16 whole weeks!! Oh the horror!
It's a small room and quite awkward to photograph. Our WC and boot room are separate rooms next door to each other,  They have both had a refresh recently but the utility was tired, brown and in need of a place to store cleaning stuff in a more orderly fashion. One weekend we decided to try a quick, cheap upcycle to make it a bit more live-able for a while longer. 

We used left over paint from when we had our hall done last year. The colour is Farrow and Ball Ammonite, colour matched using Johnstones, which the trades use as its longer wearing and cheaper. 

Given re-tiling wasn't an option, we decided to pick up some tile paint from B & Q and give it a coat of white to freshen it up. It needed 3 coats to cover the mix of cream and brown tiles but gave excellent coverage from a 0.75l tin for about £15. It needed a good wash down with washing up liquid and method all purpose cleaner before we could begin, to make sure the paint would stick.

Already looks fresher after one coat....
Two coats....
3 coats et voila...
It also give the matt tiles a very glossy look, even though they were bumpy and textured....

I then used a dark grey grout pen, which cost £3.99 from ebay, to match the white subway tiling with grey grout we have in the WC next door. I used a ruler to try and keep the lines straight but the tiles are the bumpy, textured kind, so it wasn't as easy to stay within the line as I imagined it would be. A good steady hand and patience is all it takes . It didn't take particularly long to do, as it was a small area, but if you were doing a kitchen it would need some patience.

We then used self adhesive in a marble design to recover the wood laminate worktop. We weren't sure whether to go ahead with this, as the wood worktop looked ok with the new tiles and the grey appliances but decided to go for it as at £25 a roll, we could always take it off if we didn't like it. 

Again it's a fiddly job unless you have a very steady hand but certainly within the realms of an amateur DIYer. It took two of us at times to fold back the sticky back and smooth it down and we still ended up with a couple of bubbles, But we were being tailed by two irritable toddlers who wanted our attention at the same time. Many snacks were thrown at the situation to buy us 10 minutes. But it really did take under half an hour to do given it was a small area. It has certainly brightened it up a lot and the light bounces off it but we are still living with it to see if we'll keep it.

We added a cupboard previously from the Howden's Fairford range in light grey, which cost about £60, to match our kitchen and to store little things and we would have liked to use the same cupboards to box in the unsightly boiler and fuse box, but that requires a bit more joinery skill than we have, so will have to wait.

But the Carnivore did put up some shelves for our overflow cleaning stuff, using Ikea Bekvram spice racks that are £3 each that we already had lying around the house. We also used some Ikea wall hooks that were £5 each, to mount our drying racks off the floor but behind the door out of sight. We used hooks from the tool box to mount our mop, brush and hoover on the door to save space. A rattan basket which was about £7 from Amazon, contains little bits that congregate in our utility and kitchen roll.

I bought this nifty drying rack from eBay for about £25 as I'd seen a gorgeous grey one on Garden Tradng for £200 that I loved. Sadly it was out of our budget at the moment but this one works just as well. I keep our pegs and laundry tablets up there in these lovely Wilko tins (a few years old).

We also used to have our Samsung Washer / Dryer and then a whole lot of junk next to it but now we've mounted stuff on the wall, we had space to put in a wine cooler just in time for sunny, summer barbecues, and an under the counter freezer, as we have a split fridge freezer in the main kitchen which is always rammed full. They are all in anthracite grey from AO, so even though they are on show, they look smart next to each other. 

Obviously the appliances cost the most in this DIY upcycle project but aside from those the whole thing was shopped from our house and the only things we bought new, were the tile paint, grout pen and self adhesive, for a grand total of £45. Not bad for half a days work too. 

It's certainly not my dream utility room and I'd love to have integrated joinery and paneling one day soon, but it has refreshed it and made it tie in much better with our kitchen and other rooms. I'm now looking for other quick projects to do around the house ourselves....

Have you completed any lock down DIY? I'd love to hear about it....

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