Friday, June 3, 2011

Painted wood floors

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In the new house, there is an extra space that ended up framing out quite nicely, so we have designated it ‘the craft room’.  We are finishing this space at a very basic level, and as such we were planning on using vinyl tiles on the floor. In a play on the 16”x16” limestone diamond pattern in the entry, we were planning on making the tiles tone on tone contrast in a similar pattern.

I have been looking for vinyl tiles over the past week, and have not been too thrilled with what I have found. I wanted a simple solid color, but what seems to be prevalent in the big box stores are vinyl tiles that are trying to emulate the look of stone. I am not opposed to that look, but it is not the look I have in mind for the space.  I am also having a hard time finding 16”x16” or 18”x18” size; most of the vinyl tiles I have seen are 12”x12”.  If I go the vinyl tile route, I might group four tiles of the same color to give the look of a 24”x24”.
When I visited my friend (and artist) Nancy Westfall a few weeks ago to look at a painting that was a prospect for the new house, she showed me the room that she had just redesigned for her 10 year old daughter.   A central design component of the room is the painted wood floor, which she created as a way to give the room personality and character without using an area rug (as her daughter has allergies and doesn’t do well with rugs).  Nancy did the project herself (she is an artist after all) using white floor paint and a stencil to create the pattern.  The light fixture is from Worlds Away.  The stencil came from Sunny's Good Time Paints (http://sunnyspaint.com).

I found this to be very inspirational, and thought it might be a good option for the craft room floor. As part of my research, I uncovered some beautiful pictures of painted wood floors. Painting wood floors is a centuries old tradition that was often employed in Colonial Days when carpets and rugs were luxuries that were simply not available to the average person.  Painting the floor allowed for an artistic design element that was not possible in any other way.

Elle Decor has an entire article on painted wood floors, noting that they were a standard in home decor by the late 1700s, and are now experiencing a resurgence in popularity.  http://www.elledecor.com/home-remodeling/articles/how-to-paint-wood-floor.  This beautiful painted wood floor in an entry makes quite a design statement. Interiors by Suzanne Rheinstein.

Surprisingly, when looking through images of painted floors, there were a fair number of kitchens with this treatment.  Design by Gil Schafer.

Painted floors lend themselves to vibrant color selections, and the casual nature of a craft room would enable a bold choice that I would probably not choose to do in a public room.

When searching for painted floor inspiration, this picture that I featured on my blog a few months ago came up – a beautiful kitchen by Jackye Lanham.  Although I love the thought of a bold color for the floor, the tone of tone, soft contrast of the diamond pattern on this floor is what I originally had in mind for the craft room floor.

A painted wood floor in a  room designed by Phoebe Howard also has the soft contrast diamond pattern.

Here is a good middle ground: a classic diamond pattern, but use of green to contrast with the white. Source: http://www.countryliving.com/

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This Brooklyn apartment, featured on apartment therapy (and also in Domino Magazine) Source, provides a lot of painted floor inspiration: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ny/house-tours/jason-and-johns-hyper-saturated-home-house-tour-108981.  I love how they played with the natural pattern of the parquet floor to design the pattern. I also really like the solid edge of green used in the space.

This painted floor in a house with interiors by Nate Berkus connects the entire space together.  I love the pattern and colors that were selected.

Gracie Mansion, the official residents of the mayor of New York City, has painted wood floors that create the look of a marble foyer.  Source.

This Old House has a great tutorial on creating a diamond pattern when painting a wood floor: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20312013,00.html

Another inspirational painted wood floor project – the before and after pictures are amazing to see.  The homeowner ripped up 5 layers of flooring and finally got to the original wood floors, and transformed them by painting a fun pattern with a foam core stencil that she designed.

Alas, any option that involves newly installing and finishing wood floors (and not resuscitating an old wood floor) is above my budget – even using the cheapest wood floor possible.  I am actually looking at commercial vinyl tile options for the simplicity, practicality, and budget friendly nature of the product – more to come later after I do my research!

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  1. I swoon when I see the green a blue kitchen floors. I like the idea of the craft room having a sturdy industrial style floor. Is the proposed craft room floor plywood or concrete?

  2. Holly I love the patterned wood floors, really beautiful. The yellow and white is amazing!

    The new pears for your shop are exquisite.

    I am hosting A New very Exciting $250 Giveaway from Tracy Porter

    Art by Karena

  3. Before we moved into our current house, I had the living and dining room floors painted white. I love the way they look, and expected a 'worn' look after a few years which is what we currently have. Now that we're starting a big remodel 've opted for another look because the worn is going to look 'shabby' soon. Have you looked into Marmoleum? They come in 12x12 sq and poss bigger and come in lots of colors. Extremely durable too. I used it for the laundry room of our last house. Look forward to seeing your new house!

  4. I will be watching this very closely! We have a similar space which is being stubbed behind the walls as an upstairs laundry (which we will likely never finish as a laundry). It is being finished as a craft/gift wrap room. I am budgeted for inexpensive ceramic tile in there but love the idea of a more creative solution for a creative space!

    Have you looked at sheet vinyl? You can do whatever you want to with that - from simple to complex inlays. The cost would be in the labor though, I guess. There are also a handful of very contemporary geometric vinyl floors which are cool looking - different from what you described but could still look great. Good luck with your search!

  5. Thank you for wonderful painted floor inspiration. We used VCT, vinyl composition tile, in a diamond pattern in our old kitchen. Loved it so much that when we renovated our house, we put the same material in our laundry room. It's close to $1/sf (!). It's the speckled flooring that you see in schools and hospitals and comes in a wide range of colors. It looks fabulous when polished, requires very little maintenance, and is nearly indestructable. Ours are 12" x 12". I don't know if they come larger. Perhaps sheeting can be cut to size. Our diamond floor is a muted blue-green that reads like robin's egg blue. I was surprised by the selection of color available.

  6. Holly..this post sure does beautiful justice for painted floors! Love the idea, I guess the key is to get them sealed very very well and maintain them accordingly. A friend of mine in CT. had a small sitting room off of her living room handpainted in a diamond pattern, a creamy ivory with a taupe and it was just gorgeous, they put this beautiful trellis like pattern between the big diamonds..it was amazing looking. She has since sold that house but I am sure the lucky new owner is still enjoying it! As far as vinyl, can't really comment because I don't know too much about it, but it does seem like its come a looong way!
    Hope all is going well with you, Holly!

  7. Holly I love the light contrast diamond floor or a stipe. Have you checked one of the big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes for two colors of porcelain tiles? They often get box load shipments and offer a special pricing on those. Two different colors might be just the ticket. Good luck,Kathysue

  8. Such a great post Holly! I have brick floors throughout my home and have loved them forever. I don't think I've ever been tempted by a possible change until these painted wood floors! Oh, I love them! Especially for the kitchen or the laundry room. I heard Alexa Hampton speak last year and she painted a sisal to look like an antique Oushak! I thought that was brilliant... expensive, but a fraction of an actual antique Oushak! Maybe I'll paint the harlequin pattern on a sisal for my dining room! THIS is what blogging is all about! I love that idea!

  9. You're going to laugh at this, Holly, but when I saw the "Before" photograph, my first thought was that it was a trompe l'oeil painting of layers of flooring being ripped up! Now there's an interesting idea. But certainly the diamond patterns are more beautiful and calming. And I really get a sense that you've been aiming for beautiful calm.

  10. Just FYI - a girl I went to high school with does that for a living and a couple of her floors are in your pics - Sunny Goode. Here is a link to instructions to how to DIY . . . I am not up to that but it would be very cool!


  11. I love painted floors!

    Could you ever just get a plain linoleum and have it installed on a diagonal and then just paint it in the two tone diamond pattern? That would get you a totally custom painted floor look at a low cost. You could even have it waxed after it is painted to give it a nice glow and the seams of the linoleum would act as guidelines for the pattern.

    Also, if you were lucky enough to have a concrete sub-foor in the room, why not just stain or paint that.

    I am sure whatever you do will be stunning!

  12. I'm a huge fan of painted floors. Those apple green ones are so charming. And I'm also a huge fan of any room done by Jackye Lanham! She is perfectly brilliant.

  13. Love the painted floor pictures! VCT is a great option for your space. Lots of colors to chose from, you could make a great design with it, and it wears like iron!Here is a link so you can check it out http://www.armstrong.com/commflooringna/products/vct. Good luck!

  14. i painted the floors on our 2nd story to save $$ on re-finishing them... they were previously stenciled with grapes & leaves circa 1986. i LOVE the look- a creamy, warm white that makes the rooms feel bigger & reflects light well. i HATE that a neighbor boy ran through all the rooms with dark soled athletic shoes & made long, dark skid marks. i'll have to repaint them to get rid of the stain- not even magic eraser is working. : (
    just something to think about with your room! is it a barefoot space?

  15. Really thorough and fabulous post. I painted a wood floor in a 1918 farm house after pulling up carpet and 3 layers of previous tile and linoleum. It was a huge labor of love and the diamond pattern result was just as I had hoped; only to learn a few years later that the lady my ex-husband had rented our home to, painted over it. Would very much like to try a striped floor next! Thank you for the great inspiration.

  16. Ultimate post. Will surely bookmark you. Lovely painted floors i mean you have given a great idea. I am planning to take lot of ideas from here. Lunawood

  17. Holly,

    I'm loving this post, not only the floors are amazing, but also the entire rooms. I'd love to have it at home, but I'm not sure if it actually would be a good idea with 3 small children. I can see so many scratches happening! :-)

    Have a great day!


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

  18. I absolutely LOVE my painted floors. We have them in all of our upstairs rooms (a budget-based decision in lieu of refinishing the sad hardwoods up there) and they are so durable and beautiful. I did very wide stripes in the rooms following the lines of the hardwoods as a guide, and finished with Verathane (3 coats) and they have withstood my two young sons and our Great Dane-- no small feat.

  19. OMG what a great group of pics! I just finished reno'iny my 1880's house (www.mytowncottage.blogspot.com) and I painted the bedroom floors white. I think they look great, but let me say, they sure do catch the dirt at the first opportunity, and not great to clean either. Anyways, I know they are back in fashion and so forth, but most people look at me strangely when I say the floors will stay painted white. Most just can't conceptualise it till they see them done, but even then, they aren't convinced, so set in their boring old ways!!! stencils are a fab idea, albeit very personal tho.

  20. Holly,
    This is an idea I never really think of....but, upon seeing how amazing each room looks, I really could embrace painted floors!!!

    xo Elizabeth

  21. I love the idea of painted floors. I did my office in a previous house a gloss black with simple grey pattern against grey walls. It was wonderful...except the keeping them clean part!


  22. Gorgeous inspiration rooms. We'll be painting a wood floor for our 2nd story landing and possibly all the wood in the house! For the kitchen, we face a dilemma similar to yours...our budget will prevent us from putting in new wood. So at this point, we're living with the 1980s linoleum the previous owners installed.

  23. I painted the porch floor in our old house. It turned out cute. It was an easy but time consuming project.

    I wanted to let you know you can paint any kind of wood floor. It does not have to be a higher end interior wood floor. I recently saw a precious painted floor in North Carolina. The outdoor restaurant had painted plywood floor. You can not get more basic(inexpensive)than plywood. They had masked off a diamond pattern and then painted the whole thing for a two- tone diamond pattern. I found a tiny pic on the top of their website(see below for link). This may work for you if this is not too rustic.

    Hope this helps.


  24. Painted wood floor is a great idea! I like it since my daughter has an allergics with rugs.

    Holly I also love the painted floor by nate Berkus. That's elegant!

  25. Awesome! Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos!

  26. Thanks for the brilliant ideas! So many different things you can do with floorboards and concrete floors which are now huge in Europe! Hope you might swing past my site one day at http://decoratedlife.com and tell me what you think.

  27. I love the idea of painted floor rugs, painted floors and even painted concrete floors. Love your photos! Very inspiring!

  28. can you paint just the ply wood floors?

  29. All,
    I have an existing wood floor where we are going to paint a pattern down, but the designer wants it to look "worn" out. What installation process would you suggest for achieving this look?

    Would you paint after the final coat of varnish or before?


  30. Fabulous roundup, very inspiring and I have this linked to my painting floors post as well today!

  31. I love the idea of a painted rug on a wood floor. As an artist of 44 years, I can't believe I didn't think of it. I want to paint a rug under my dinette table in my small dining room. The wood is a honey-blonde laminate. What should I use for paint and how can I seal it because it will get a lot of shoe prints and chair prints. (they have casters and heavy traffic)


  32. when you paint a floor you sign up a floor guy in the future to sand it off,and it sucks.ive refinished hundreds of painted staircases and 100 year old fir they all go natural eventually when money comes back to the project.

  33. I personally love the fact that more and more concrete floors are getting attention because of their beauty and not just their durability. The first two pictures of painted/stenciled floors are just amazing. They fit so well with the overall theme of the room and is not too loud neither is it too soft. Thanks for the share!

  34. Thank you for the inspiration. I am finishing my basement and had thought of painting the subfloor rather than covering it. Truly appreciate the entire website.

  35. Great Post. I have not been visiting the site recently. Took a visit again and there were some great comments on the site. Excellent post. Keep up the good work.


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