Shameless Bragging Moment: I started hanging gallery walls before they were cool. And by “gallery wall”, I mean I cut up an old wall calendar of black and white photos of Paris and taped them in a grid to my cinderblock dorm room wall when I was 19. I’d never been so proud of 12 sheets of paper with secretly scribbled dates on the back of them.
I wish I had a picture to prove it. But it was epic decorating for a college student.
Which, by the way, reminds me of the latest laundry room update…
If you haven’t been following along on this room’s big plan, it used to look like this:
(Want to see this room’s final reveal? Click here for the full tour.)
Then, we painted it in Sherwin Williams Slate Tile (oooh ahhh)…
I really felt stuck on what kind of art to hang in here. I wanted something a little grown-up but still fun. And chic. Can we have chic in a laundry room where our dirty piles of jammies and underwear usually party?
Really though… who’s going to stop you?
One of my favorite ways to find free art when I want to decorate our walls on the cheap is to search for public domain images. A lot of times, I can just search in the photos and prints archives on the Library of Congress website, which is where I found these vintage photographs of clotheslines.
They’re so interesting to look at.
And, honestly, they turn me into a giant sap.
Even though we’re separated by time, something as simple as doing laundry still connects us to these people represented in these photographs from nearly a century ago. Because what’s that saying? “Today I will be thankful for all of the little socks and the grass stained jeans and the endless piles of laundry. For there will come a day when the laundry basket is empty and these days will be profoundly missed.”
I’ll be thankful for my overflowing laundry baskets because I know theirs have long since been empty.
I ended up picking six vintage clothesline photographs, three that are cityscapes and three that are countryscapes. I just sent the files off to Walgreens to have printed on 5×7 photo paper for $8 and picked up these matted black frames from IKEA for $3. So around $26 for an art set of 6. Woot! (Here are similar frames, if you don’t have an IKEA near you though.)
If you want to download the 6 vintage clothesline prints for yourself, you can click here to gain access to them in the printable library, or click the button: (If you’re already an email subscriber, the prints are already in your inbox.)
The challenging part though was this annoying little electrical box smack in the way behind our washing machine.
After our last laundry room update, a lot of y’all suggested ideas to cover it up, but the big problem with completely covering an electrical box is that if there’s ever a fire or an emergency of some kind, responders won’t be able to locate it.
So I just painted it the same color as the wall and super glued these magnet sheets to the backs of the two frames I needed to hang on it. We can easily take them down whenever we need to access the panel and stick them right back up when we’re finished. It’s still not totally gorgeous, but it’s functional and tolerable.
I decided to add a little texture in here with this driftwood Roman shade too. The sunlight pours through this window in the afternoons, so that helps.
The spacing on the frames is still wonky, but considering the wall spaces on either side of the window were uneven and we had to work around a big electrical box and an outlet and a jutting out trim piece, it’s a huuuuge improvement.
So here’s where we are on the laundry room to-do list:
Paint walls Sherwin Williams Slate Tile Paint ceiling Benjamin Moore Simply White Paint cabinets and trim Benjamin Moore Simply White Replace old hooks Change cabinet knobs Replace bifold door Hang woven Roman shade Hang laundry art
- Swap light fixture
- Paint vinyl floor
- Build drying rack
- Hang ironing board
- Organize odds and ends
- Organize peg board
I’m really really hoping we get a chance to paint the grody vinyl floor this weekend, but our washing machine broke last week and flooded all over the place and it won’t be fixed until tomorrow. Soooo there’s that little snag. In the meantime, we’re all wearing “church” clothes because every T-shirt in this house is in our giant growing laundry pile. #reallifeproblems
Do you have any other public domain resources for getting free wall art? Or have any vintage photographs hanging up that you love? Or a calendar you cut up in the name of cheap home decor?
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