DIY Decor Laundry Room


How to Distress Wood

Things have been pretty busy around the house lately. Greg has been occupied with his “day job”, I’ve been doing busy with graphic design clients, and we’ve both been pretty focused on Christmas shopping and gearing up for our Christmas party in a few weeks. Despite our busy schedule, we managed to squeeze in a quick and simple project before all of the cooking, hustle and bustle and tablescaping begins.

Here’s the deal… I hate clutter. Scratch that… I loathe clutter. Yes, we’re human, and our house gets messy every now and then. Though, I love having a place for everything. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re working toward the goal of “a place for everything heaven”. The thought of it totally makes my heart go pitter patter. One of my pet peeves about the laundry room has been that the chest of drawers constantly has “stuff” on it. Though I’ve yet to “decorate” it, it’s perfect for mail and keys, but every now and then we wind up putting our jackets on top of it when we walk in the back door. We have a coat closet in the front foyer where we keep our not-worn-that-often coats and hang guests’ coats, so long term coat/jacket storage is good to go. Basically, we desperately needed a place to hang everyday jackets, the farmer’s market bag, my purse, etc. The problem is unused wall space in the laundry room near the door is limited, so behind the door seemed like the perfect place. It’s out of the way and still convenient enough to grab a jacket while heading out the door in a hurry.

By the way, we hung the roman shade on the door months ago and totally forgot to mention it here on the blog. At the time, it just seemed too small of an update to make a whole post about. Regardless, here it is now! We’re actually planning on replacing it sometime soon because we don’t care for the rod used to roll it up and down. We’ve realized after living with it for a while that we prefer something with a cord. We’re still waiting for the roman shade for the kitchen to come in (I guess custom orders take a while), so we’re waiting to see if we like that one before we order a new one for this door, the half bath and the window over the washer and dryer. But anyway… back to the project at hand!

First and foremost, we wanted something practical – three hooks would do. We also wanted something rustic to bring in some warmth and tie in with the whole “modern rustic” vibe we are gearing toward. We thought that just hanging hooks in a line on the wall alone would look a little too simple, so Greg came up with the idea to mount some hooks on a board then hang the board on the wall – kind of like this (which I LOVE). We needed it to be half the size as the one in the link and if it was a fraction of the price, we wouldn’t complain.

First, the board. We went to Lowe’s and bought a 1″ x 8″ board and had it cut down to 24″ long. We ended up with three pieces, which gave us some security in case things went wrong and we had to start over. We’re baby DIY’ers. We also picked up two small cans of stain – Minwax’s Special Walnut and Dark Walnut.


Now the hooks. In my head, a “catchall hook” had three requirements… 1) Extra sturdy to hold a lot of “stuff”. 2) Oil-rubbed bronze or black to stand out from the board and tie in with the door hardware. 3) Something with a bit of personality. Then, I saw these hooks at Pottery Barn. They are made of cast iron and have a painted schoolhouse-style number on each hook. Score!

To take the wood from shiny and new to rustic and distressed, we started out by simply beating it with a hammer. Then we scuffed it up on the brick wall in the carport. At one point, Greg even tossed the board across the asphalt on the driveway. He also sanded all of the corners to make them look worn down from years of use. It still wasn’t rustic looking enough for me, though, so I beat the edges of the board with a hammer in a few places.

Once we thought the board was beaten up enough, Greg began the staining process. We weren’t going for perfection. After all, we wanted a rustic, worn look, so Greg just used an old flour sack cloth to put the stain on.

The board soaked up the stain pretty fast, but as soon as Greg wiped the stain on the board, he immediately rubbed it right back off. We actually ended up using only the Special Walnut because we liked the color so much. To make sure all of the new dents and crevices were stained well, I went behind him with a tiny paint brush. I also added a little extra stain in some places to make it darker.

How to Distress Wood

The sun was shining full force in this photo, so the board looks lighter than it actually was. After the first coat of stain, I still didn’t think the board looked old enough. Greg had the bright idea of using his drill to drive a screw through the edge of the board to splinter it and create a couple of gouges on the front. I also ended up using the claw side of the hammer to make some interesting marks. There’s no rhyme or reason to this process. Just beat it up until you think it looks good.

How to distress wood

After the final dents had been made, we touched up the stain with a very light coat, then we let it dry for two days. This was mainly due to the fact that we were really busy, but it also gave the board time to dry completely. We decided to skip the polyurethane because we thought it would make the board look too new. We rubbed our hands and some cloth on the board to make sure stain wouldn’t come off on our coats, and it seems like we’re in the clear.

The second round of distressing with the drill and the hammer really paid off and made a big difference. I love, love, love the way it turned out – especially the drill action on the edges. It definitely came a long way form the nice new board of wood.

Now, time for hanging. I love large purses and tend to carry around a lot of stuff, so these hooks needed to be able to carry a pretty considerable amount of weight. After going through a bunch of scenarios in our heads, we decided the best option was to screw the board directly to the wall. Since we’re going for the whole “rustic” look with this, we didn’t mind the idea of possibly seeing the screws. Plus, the board is dark in color, so the chances of noticing them were slim anyway. If we decide to take it down or move it down the road, we can just patch up the holes. We’re pretty handy with drywall mud at this point, haha.

To hang the board, we simply leveled it out on the wall, then Greg put a screw in each corner of the board. Since we weren’t able to hit a stud with the screw placement we came up with, Greg drove four drywall anchors into the wall, then reattached the board. They’re rated for 79 lbs apiece, so we’re pretty sure they’ll stand up to anything we throw up there.

I love the rustic wood and the fun numbers on each hook. Even though it’s such a small addition to the laundry room, it definitely cuts down on the clutter at the back door – which makes me a very happy camper.

The details in the “faux distressed” wood are great, and they go perfectly with the schoolhouse-style numbered hooks. I’m a big fan. And so is Greg, so that makes me happy.

Now, as for the rest of the laundry room… ugh…

The laundry room would be an easy room to put on our “done list” if we just had a plan for it, but we don’t actually have one yet. Something keeps blocking me from being able to come up with a plan of action, and I think it might be the wall color. I love the blue – I really do! -but I’m wondering if a moody neutral gray would look more refined. There’s a lot of sunlight in here, so we could even get away with a dark moody neutral gray. Honestly, I think I could be perfectly happy if every room in our house were a different shade of gray. Gray is sophisticated and modern, and it lets you get creative when it comes to using color in the room’s decor – which is something we’re aiming towards in the long run. Adding topic to list of things to blog about later. BUT I could go in another direction entirely…? Maybe I’m just looking at it too hard. I’m pretty certain that’s Greg’s opinion. But, painting isn’t his favorite thing to do, haha. What do you guys think? To paint or not to paint?!

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  • Reply
    Christina @ Homemade Ocean
    December 5, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I love it….those hooks are to die for!

    Your house is always so clean, can I move in haha πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      December 5, 2012 at 11:27 am

      Haha! Come on over ; )
      Though I must warn you, we do have messy days…

  • Reply
    K @ Shift Ctrl ART
    December 5, 2012 at 11:56 am

    It looks really great! Love it!

  • Reply
    anne @wit wisdom and food
    December 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    That looks great. Love the stain on the board.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I vote paint it! I love this project. We’re reno-ing our side entrance/ mud area of the house, and I had my eye on the same Pottery Barn piece. You’ve given me the drive to DIY!

  • Reply
    Gina Nye
    December 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Love the DIY rack! Looks store bought! Painting your laundry room? I really like the bright cheerful blue you now have but if painting it would make you happy go for it! I’m sure no matter what color you choose it will look delightful and inviting.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Such a great project + love the results! I always stress to clients that instilling organization by the door is key.

  • Reply
    Jenna G
    December 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I like your coat rack better than the one you originally wanted to purchase for $200! Great job!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I love your coat rack and especially love the hooks! They’re just what I’ve been looking for to use in our bathroom. We’ve got 4 in the family though and these only go up to 3. Drats! Can you share if the white number just seems to be painted on, or is it more etched on? I figure if it’s painted I can probably get an extra #1 and change it to a #4.

    • Reply
      December 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks! They are painted, but also etched every so slightly. I actually think if you change the 1 to a 4, you’d only notice if you’re close up to it. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Sarah Kyle
    December 5, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Love it! Great job! We DIY’d a sofa table with the same distressing ‘technique’ and we love how it turned out.

    I say go gray!

  • Reply
    December 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Love!! Thanks for the link to the PB hooks- I’m going to buy them now for a future mudroom project! My vote is to paint the laundry room. I’m a big fan of gray on all walls in the house, so that’s the automatic answer from me! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Staci @ My Friend Staci
    December 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I think if you continue adding dark/gray/aged/vintage aspects, the blue will be toned down. If you think about it, a light blue like that is definitely a “vintage schoolhouse” color!
    Adding dark art/doormats/accents will go a long way to make the space seem more mature. Like a huge print over your green dresser–this one immediately came to mind!

    • Reply
      December 5, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Definitely something to think about! Love their prints! Thanks for the link πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms
    December 5, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    What a fun and simple idea. I really love it! I’m trying to think of places I need to hang things now! I say go for dark and moody in the paint. It’s a small space that you don’t spend all that much time in, so it’s a small investment I say!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Paint it gray!! I love how the wall looks in the first “grayish” photo! Although, the small wall that has the coat rack does look nice in blue.

  • Reply
    December 6, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Banish the blue!!! Go gray!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I also LOVE your hooks. But I have a question. Did you stain with the lighter stain first then distress with the darker stain in the nooks and dents or apply one stain on the entire board followed by the other stain on top everywhere?

    • Reply
      December 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

      I totally forgot to mention that! We ended up using just the Special Walnut. We made the variation in tones by adding a little more here and there. Off to update the post now, haha!

  • Reply
    Ammy Belle
    December 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Beautiful! Well done! I love it and it inspired me to try something similar!

    Just a question: Where did you get that purse? I love it!

    • Reply
      December 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks so much! The purse in the first photo is from Urban Outfitters and the farmer’s market bag in the after photos is from Terrain.

  • Reply
    December 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    This looks great! Love the technique for distressing. I know what you mean about clutter — all our mail, keys, phones, etc. end up getting thrown on our dining table and it drives me crazy!!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    So pretty! I love how you always have such a simple and clean look with touches of rustic! It is just the right mix! Your coat hook turned out so great! I have to say, as much as I love love love gray, I am also liking the blue. I know I am in the minority… but I am used to that! πŸ™‚


  • Reply
    December 7, 2012 at 1:29 am

    No no no!!! Do not paint!!! That blue is beautiful.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2012 at 2:21 am

    I was discussing this with a friend yesterday, how humans love to be organized – well, most of us anyways. We can’t quite think straight with lots of clutter around us, and much of what we buy is to organize everything else.

  • Reply
    Alana H.
    April 7, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Love the faux distressed look. I have to admit – it looks so easy that I’m almost embarrassed that I didn’t try it out a long time ago. I think that a coat rack can be one of those things you can hang a ton of stuff on given its versatile nature. Thanks for the post!

  • Reply
    Marie Bustamante
    August 5, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Love it! Absolutely in love with the distressed look. Thank your for all your organizational tips/projects. Your blog site is one I will be visiting over and over. Thanks once again for all the great ideas.

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