Floor Painting Tips

A painted floor is an excellent way to add interest to a room. Whether you opt for an intricate pattern or a classic coat of white, painting your floors is an easy and cost-effective way to transform a space (and add new life to well-worn boards). To help those who may be considering a floor-painting project take the plunge, we asked TSG Co-Founder Christy Ford, who has tried a number of treatments on her own floors, to weigh in on the subject.

It’s a doable process. Let’s be clear: painting your floors will take days, and it’s definitely hard work (unless you hire an expert!). That said, according to Ford, it’s a manageable undertaking and worth the effort. So what does floor-painting entail? “It’s all about the prep,” Ford says. You have to sand down your floor to achieve a smooth surface, vacuum, prime, paint, and depending on your paint preference, add a sealant on top. Factor in lots of drying time, and don’t plan to use the area during the duration of the project.

It works anywhere. While Ford cautions that the practical-minded might want to confine their floor-painting projects to low-traffic areas, the look works anywhere. Particularly good places for painted floors include the dining room, where a subtle pattern can add elegance (and traffic is generally low); a powder room; upstairs bedrooms that can benefit from some brightness; and patios. The less faint of heart might want to consider painting the floor in the kitchen, as Ford recently did. While it’s a high-traffic area, a little wear can add charm, and you can always re-paint it.

Anything goes. According to Ford, when deciding on a look, there are no rules. Painting your floors is a decorative choice, so go with whatever achieves your aesthetic. In Ford’s house, a black-and-white pattern in the butler’s pantry that emulates marble is classic and adds contrast; in the living room, a subtle tone-on-tone pattern provides a sophisticated base; and in the kitchen, a white floor keeps things clean and bright. While Ford felt a more matte finish was appropriate for the age of her home and the understated look she had in mind, those going for a more modern or high-impact look might want to opt for a high-gloss paint.

TSG Tip 219 from Christy Ford, Co-Founder of The Scout Guide and Co-Owner of And George in Charlottesville, Virginia.