How To Paint a Simple Decorative Floor Border

How To Paint a Simple Decorative Floor Border

Maxwell Ryan
Mar 7, 2014

I've always loved the pic up top of the eccentric and colorful stripes running down the stairs in this English home. Wanting a bit of guidance on how to do it nicely (I've already written about How To Paint Floors), I reached out to my friends at the Farrow & Ball store in Soho and they walked me through a simple step-by-step which I share below. Bottom line, painting stairs and floors is easy if you're patient, prep your surface, use floor paint and roll multiple thin layers. It's a great, affordable DIY project.

Painting a striped border is the basic How To shown here, but the same steps apply to laying down layers on top of one another, doing off center stripes or even doing thick color shifts.


(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

Clean your floor and prime with a tinted undercoat if necessary. Some colors require primer with a tint to help the top paint layer reach the right depth of color. Here in the pic Christine is rolling down one coat of a wood knot resisting primer (because this wood is raw, with coated or polyurethaned wood you can use a regular primer).


(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

Roll down your first coat of floor paint. Here I've chosen Arsenic. I'm rolling with the grain and keeping this first layer thin and not syrupy on the surface.

Roll a second coat if necessary. We didn't in the shop, but I would have if I were doing this at home and really going to walk on it.


(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

Lay down your tape along measured pencil marks to get them straight. Cut the ends with a matte knife so that you achieve a nice square corner. We did two parallel red lines. When painting between the lines, brush in the direction of the line just like Michelle is doing here.

Definitely paint two coats!


(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

AFTER DRYING, gently remove the tape by pulling upward slowly. This is the fun part, and the resulting stripe will have a very satisfying sharp edge against your undercoat.

The paint we used was:

Green background - Arsenic Floor Paint
Stripes - Brinjal Floor Paint

(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

Here's another view of that staircase to give you a comparison again. The paint used here is:

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Bold yellow stripes - Babouche Floor Paint
Wide Gray stripe - Dove Tale Floor Paint
Green stripe - Arsenic Floor Paint
Thin dark striping - Mahogany Floor Paint

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