The Laundry Room Makeover: Stencil Painting and New Light Fixture.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

end cut wood grain wall stencil
Continuing with the laundry room makeover today, let’s catch up with the stencil painting and replacing the ceiling light fixture!  Yeah!  Progress!  We like progress.  Lots!

The old light, ugh, was just one a' those way sad boring cheap a** why did anyone invent this style "boob" lights.

boob light fixture base on ceiling
The most offending portion was previously removed here so it wouldn't spray broken glass pieces over the guys unstacking the stacked washer/dryer when inevitably knocked.
"Boob" light = bad design case in point?  I set the old fixture out in the alley for any taker to take, all parts included, and no one took it.  And you can get rid of anything in a Chicago alley.  Yeah, bad design.

Just the other day, I fell upon this little ditty from Architectural Digest, It's Time We Loved Our Laundry Rooms.  And they are so right.

In total emphatic enthusiastic agreement, I've always maintained that the smallest of spaces, as well as the most mundane of spaces (especially the mundane spaces) in your home, deserve big design love.  Big.  In fact, small spaces such as a closet are the precise spots to let loose, take all the design risks and chances, make yourself happy. 

Then again, if you're me, you let loose in every space.  Ha.  Ahem.

Each area of your home deserves renown, honor, to be exciting, and to fill you with joy.  Do what makes you happy.  It's your home.  Live it up and love it.  Every last inch.

Hence, here we are with this laundry room makeover.  Nice to know I was ahead of Architectural Digest though thanks for the backup, AD.

Oh so to start from the laundry room makeover beginning, see its original sadness here and each post following will connect to catch you up.

Last we left off in the story, the birch plywood waterfall counter enclosing the laundry machines was in and whew, done.  Whew!  Next on my to-do list was a new light fixture because again, boob light, yuck. 

So I hit up eBay for a fixture* as I've done in the past.

Thing about that, or any site including Amazon* that has budgetarily friendly fixtures, especially ones that replicate trends, be forewarned that parts that could be sized for overseas markets or other kooky weirdness.

Jeez louise, for someone who is so anti-trendy, I buy some trendy-ish things.  Ah, ya know why?  Because I know I will like whatever it is for the long haul.  Avoid trendy otherwise as, among other things, it's environmentally unfriendly when the trend has lapsed, you're over it with the item and kick it to the curb.


While waiting for the fixture to arrive, I zipped up the stencil painting, painting in general.  As expected, stenciling was tedious but it is motivating and exhilarating watching the design unfold on the wall.  Walls are definitely easier going than floors.  Pffftt, heh, by far easier!

wall before
Yawn.  Before.
I mentioned this before but it's always a good reminder:  if you've got one of those dull gray utilitarian-looking breaker boxes right smack in the middle of a cool paint job, no problem.  Mask off the area with some paper or a tarp, erase it with spray primer* then paint right over it.  Voila, so easy!

spray primer over electrical breaker box
Extra cool about this particular wood end grain stencil and likely my color choice:  you would barely even know the breaker box was there, it's so well hidden in the pattern.  Niiice.

wall stencil progress
The box is out of this shot so see photos below.
As I definitely plan to use this stencil* (it was waaaayy less expensive when I bought it) again somewhere else someday, hopefully many times, I was doing everything I could to not snip it up.  

Be sure to clean your stencil often too as the paint build-up can cause the pattern to change or cause leaks.  Here that didn't bother me since it's a rough look pattern; crisp edge perfection was not forefront on my mind as it would normally be.

Using a sponge roller* since the surface area was gigantic, smushing the stencil into nooks and crannies, painting myself more than the wall in tight spaces, it was finally done and done.

The color blocking changed here and there, straight across then a diagonal white part and then eh no on the diagonal, back to straight across.  Finished up the solid color edge around the stencil painted blocks and ahhhh....

Painting complete.  Yes!  So satisfying!

All right, the fixture arrived and what I like about it, a sputnik variation,* is that it has several bulbs that spread out meaning light spread throughout this minuscule room rather than focused in one spot.  Goal to brighten a dark, windowless room up, met.

Ok.  So power off, always power off at the breaker, off with the old, in with the new.  Sort of.

The connecting wires were unconventional colors so I needed to look that up.  And then hoped for the best.  Yikes.  Don't do as I do, ok?!**  Then, as I foreshadowed above, the base of the fixture was not American-sized, aka too small.

rats nest of wiring
And ummm, be prepared for rat's nests of wiring should you opt for a multi-socket fixture.  Yikes-a-palooza here.
Lots and lots of swearing and fighting with this fixture throughout the installation.   Had to hop over to Menards once or twice, of course, as one would expect. 

I found a black foam rubber type of gasket* to fill the empty space between the ceiling mount piece and the box.  Scary, I know, but my options were limited.

foam rubber gasket with mounting bracket

Hot tip:  make sure when you're dealing with lots of little parts whether you're wiring or assembling something with oodles of screws, have a box or bin or tarp or cardboard or something under your work area in case of droppage.  Nothing worse than losing that extra important screw to the netherworld.

Ikea light fixture installation hook
By the way, if you ever buy a light fixture from Ikea, keep this hook.  It is one of the most effective tools I own when it comes to installing wall or ceiling fixtures solo.  Or, bend your own.  Either way, this has been a today's hot tool tip.
Eventually I got the darn thing up and discovered my initial choice of 40w bulbs was omg way too bright so I went down 20w per socket, I believe.  Still Pleennnty bright.  Definitely horrible light for photos though.

gasket around fixture base at ceiling
Gasket doing its fill-the-gaps job.

Do note, many fixtures with multiple sockets have a wattage limit that you should not exceed lest you set your house on fire.  So, heh, make sure you note that.  It's either on the fixture itself inside the mounting area or in the manual.

new ceiling mount light fixture
All right!  Progress!  Right?!  Almost done.  A few more additions and tweaks to share and it's complete!  

finished wall stencil painting and new light fixture
Ok, all right, yes, I am out of order.   Light fixture, paint, then waterfall counter.  Busted.

Or heh, in my world, as I sit here, complete enough for now.  I've reached the point of doing the stand-and-stare, what else does it need, does it need anything, artwork, what, no, yes, we'll see there's no rush.  Stare stare stare.

new paint and fixture after
Pretty exciting!  You can see why I am super duper in love with this stencil.
This little room has definitely come a long way without mountains of energy.  Exactly another reason to pump up those small spaces with design oomph:  the size doesn't require oodles of time nor effort, it's easy breezy lemon squeezy.

Next time on the laundry, the full monty!

To see that full monty, hop to the next post here!

*The light fixtures and sputnik variation fixtures are eBay affiliate links.  The spray primer is a Home Depot affiliate link while the stencil is an Etsy affiliate link.  The Amazon light fixtures, sponge rollers, and foam rubber gasket are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

**Disclaimer:  Electricity is dangerous.  It can hurt you.  It can kill you.  Bad wiring can burn your house down.  It's best to hire a qualified, licensed electrician if you don't know how to wire things.  Do not attempt to wire anything without the proper knowledge.  Do not ever take wiring advice from me.  And do not blow your house up. 

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