A New Look for Wood Floors: Painting & Staining in Patterns

A New Look for Wood Floors: Painting & Staining in Patterns

Catrin Morris
Dec 16, 2011

Do you have older wood floors that can't withstand another round of refinishing? Or does your budget mean it is impossible to refinish or replace your floors any time soon? You may want to consider painting or staining them in stripes or another pattern.

I love the look of floors with a striped stain, as in the first two photos. Not only these floors look interesting, but are a reversible and relatively inexpensive option for those who love their wood floors but are depressed by the wear and tear. Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful wood floors left as is, but it is nice to know there are options for spicing things up that aren't permanent or expensive. In fact, painting wood floors is a far more common practice in Europe than here in the U.S.

Experts recommend that when painting wood you should use durable paint such as porch paint. If you want the grain to show through for a more washed and weathered look, thin the paint slightly. The surface can then be covered with several coats of polyurethane. This Old House has a great tutorial on painting floors.

If you decide to use a stain to design your floor, Mark Cutler of Elle Decor says you should prep the floor as you normally would for staining a floor and then tape out your design very carefully. "After the first stain dries, tape out the next color, and apply it. The effect takes a bit of work, but provides you with a more transparent finish than you could achieve with paint."

1 I adore the stripes in this Katie Ridder kitchen via Everything LEB.
2 Nora Fleming's kitchen via Design Sponge.
3 A subtle striped look from High Heel Foot in The Door.
4 This floor from Alicia B Designs is very funky, though it is unclear exactly what they used to paint or stain it.
5 My friend Richard's fabulous floor. When I saw it at a cocktail party at night it had a much darker look than it does in this photo. It was really quite dramatic!

6 And what about this amazing chevron patterned stain from Alicia B Design via Design Crisis?
7 Stained white and brown stripes in a Texan home. House Beautiful.
8 Design Crisis red couch.
9 Better Homes & Gardens.
10 House Beautiful. The owner used wood is from a small mill in Montana and she striped it herself with porch paint. She says, "I didn't want to create fake patina, so I just did one coat and it soon acquired a very authentic patina with the comings and goings of my three childrenn."

Images: As credited above.

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