The Little Utility Room That Could

New year! New Goals! New Resolutions!  It’s funny, because, I actually don’t typically make resolutions, but as we approached the new year, the hubs and I looked at each other and decided that we needed to get ourselves in gear, so we could start feeling a bit better about the state of our little fixer.  So when Better Homes & Gardens shared our January Challenge, I got excited to tackle the organization of our “utility” room:  the little room that could.  I’m going to be honest, I had no idea what I’d call this little space or really what it’s purpose would be when we bought this house.  It’s a small room, just after the mudroom and just before a small hallway that leads to the kitchen.

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Before: we refused to use the cabinets so everything landed on the counter and lived there.

It’s located at the rear of our house, but it is near the door that we use most often, so we have to look at it ALL.THE.TIME.   It’s a small little space that had some vintage built-in cabinets (which we never used) because they were oh-so-grimey. But we always plopped cleaning supplies and all kinds of randomness on the counter, and we were just SO SICK of being greeted by that mess every time we walked in the door.

So my first course of actionafter the hubs removed the top cabinets, was to give them a good cleaning, remove the hardware, fill the screw holes and sand them down. Once that was done, he gave them a coat of gray paint and primed the countertop to prep it for paint.

Now this is where the fun began!  I ordered some fun hardware from Better Home & Gardens sold exclusively at Walmart.  (Bin Pulls/Knobs).


Next, I lined all the drawers with Better Homes & Gardens Ayana Persian Peel and Stick Wallpaper, this wallpaper works perfectly for this purpose.  It has the texture of contact paper but it’s quite stronger, and bonus–it’s BEAUTIFUL (you’ll be seeing a bit more of this paper elsewhere next month!).  This was a great way to start with a clean slate for the drawers. 

I then picked up some drawer organizers  and a cutlery trays to keep my smaller tools neat, organized and within reach. 

For the cabinets, I picked up these large weaved bins to store cleaning supplies and hand tools on one side . . .

Bin pulls// weave bins // storage cubes // scented candle // white “vase”

 and Gracie’s supplies on the right side.

Removing the cabinets and replacing them with wall to wall shelves really opened up the space and made it feel much less claustrophobic— I was able to gain some storage here with the use of some great sized hyacinth baskets to store my extra candles in one basket and table linens in the other.

In Progress: Once I realized that I would have to remove some of the paneling in the space so it would make sense visually.

To add a little design/styling into the space, I added some art, books, and plants.  We played around with the idea of building a bench in the space, but I really wanted to make the most of this little room, and I feel like I was able to accomplish just that!  I used 1x2s to create shelf supports and I cut down 1×10  boards for the shelves. 

So although my husband really wanted to demo the entire room,  I’m really glad I convinced him to keep the bottom cabinets as they still functioned pretty well and would provide great storage.

On the wall when you enter, I hung this cute black wall hook for keys, purses and scarves.

Better Homes & Gardens has great prices on frames, so I framed a recent family photo and hung it above the hook—and it just makes me smile every time I walk by.

One unexpected item I added to the space were some LED strip lights, under the bottom shelf.  They are so nice to keep on at night . . .

and are virtually unnoticeable during the day.

I also brought in a small stool so this area could be used as a desk/workstation when I’m working on small crafts/projects, or if one of the kids wants to use this as their homeschooling area at any given time.

I am so happy with how this little space turned out! Although there are still a few tweaks that need to be made, it is so much more functional (and a whole lot prettier to look at!) and it didn’t require an excessive amount of work, just a little repurposing, organization, and vision!


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knobs // bin pulls// peel and stick wallpaper // hyacinth baskets // black weave storage cubes //low storage cubes // black frames // Wall Mounted Metal Hook Rack, 4 Hooks// hurricane vase // battery operated candle // cutlery tray //drawer organizers //faux aloe plant // scented candle // led lights // small white faceted vase/cup


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  1. Patty
    January 5, 2021 / 8:25 pm

    I love what you did with this space! Beautiful and functional!

  2. Tanida
    January 5, 2021 / 10:40 pm

    I love the way the room turned out! Looks great ❤

  3. Denise k
    January 6, 2021 / 12:38 am

    This is beautiful! And do so functional too!!

  4. Colleen
    January 7, 2021 / 10:11 am

    this room is fantastic! you made great use of it and now I’m jealous.

  5. Claudette
    January 7, 2021 / 1:38 pm

    This makeover is absolutely inspiring! A space that is often overlooked, you turned into a beautiful serene yet practical space. Looks amazing!

  6. Diane
    February 2, 2021 / 7:08 am

    I just found you via a comment on Bless’r House, and I am so glad! LOVE everything about your style and approach to projects. Thank so much for sharing your home.

    • madebycarli
      February 10, 2021 / 12:34 pm

      You’re the sweetest! Thank you!!

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