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by Kathleen Nalley

You’ve seen the photos on Pinterest and Houzz: seaside cottages with wooden floors painted in soft shades of green, cream, and blue harlequin patterns. Or that NYC loft with scarlet-red concrete running through kitchen, dining, and living areas. You’ve pinned them, liked them, even dreamed of them, but never considered doing such a thing to the floors in your Upstate home.

Paint transforms a stairwell.

Why not? Painting floors can be both an inexpensive and easy way to quickly and radically transform the look of a room. And this treatment is not just confined to hardwoods and concrete; some homeowners have even painted old vinyl and tired laminate (see for a laundry room floor makeover—from dingy and dinged vinyl to navy and cream stripes!).

This is a project you can DIY (although it’s recommended that you speak to a paint pro first): Determine your colors and design (if any). Painted floors often appear one uniform color, or in a colorful pattern: stripes, blocks, chevron, basically anything you can conjure up.

Next, scrub and clean the floor to remove any buildup, dirt, pet hair, and grime. Then sand to remove any wax or shine for better paint adhesion. Next, fill in any cracks or dings with caulk, then sand to level. Don’t forget to prime the floors before painting, and use a porch, outdoor or floor paint—anything else may yield undesirable results (think bubbles and peeling).

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As with any painting, cut in the paint from the corners and walls using a brush, and then simply roll on the rest. Most floors will need two coats, with plenty of drying time between. Give the floors a minimum of 24 hours to cure before use (a couple of days, if possible). As a rule of thumb, never paint when it’s raining or humid outside!

If you’re not feeling quite as adventurous, why not paint a faux rug in a small area? One homeowner purchased stencils from a local arts and crafts supply shop and simply stenciled a design directly onto her old oak floors. Instant makeover and a conversation piece!

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