Hey everyone, I have a very special guest for you today! Her name is Caitlin and she is a fabulous interior designer. She lives in the San Jose, CA area with her wonderful husband and their two adorable daughters.
She and I share a similar design style and I use her as my sounding board. (Maybe more often than she would like.) She’s arguably one of my best friends, but she and I have been known to fight on occasion too. I also know a lot of embarrassing things about her, but she’d kill me if I told you them like she used to be able to belch like a full grown man when she was TWO!
Why am I embarrassing this poor gal? Because that’s what sisters do! It’s true, she’s my littlest sister and Caitlin has agreed to fill in for me on occasion when I need a break.) Please welcome her with open arms (or I’ll have to beat you up…that’s sister talk for you better not mess with my baby sis.)
Hi everyone, this is Caitlin, a loyal admirer of Pretty Handy Girl from the start.  One might argue that I am one of her biggest fans.  Thank you Brittany for allowing me to pop on over and visit you and your Pretty Loyal followers.  As an interior designer, I am a sucker for all things home design and today I wanted to give overdue attention to the workhorse of our homes.  Day in and day out the floors we walk all over don’t get enough love. Sure, the walls are the first place we typically think of dressing up with paint, wallpaper, artwork and stencils.  But many times our poor floors get covered up and forgotten about. Not anymore! Today we are celebrating those hardworking horizontal surfaces we couldn’t do without.  Here are my top fifteen picks for hand painted floor treatments and even one for those of you afraid to commit.  But be warned, you’ll love these floors so much you might want to get rid of all your furniture just so you can appreciate them even more.

1. Let the Old Shine Through

No need to sand out the imperfections of a worn out front porch, just create a cardboard stencil and paint over it to add sophistication and charm. I’m a sucker for the bare wood showing through.

Remodelista_painted_floorSource:  Remodelista

2. Geometry – Taking it Out of the Classroom

The beauty in repeat patterns is undeniable. A classic white, yellow and black color palette helps keep this painted floor from looking outdated. A little bit of painters tape and some paint and you have yourself a fabulous new floor.

Source: Cottage Living via My Home Ideas

3. Floral Fantasy

Fresh flowers fade over time but not this stunning floral stencil design. I’m in love with the fact that the pattern winds its way around and under the furniture and drapes. Ashley created her own template from a fabric pattern and stenciled her floors. 

4. Rug Inspired

Oriental rugs can be pricey, especially if you need an odd size or one to fill a large room. Roeshel from The DIY Showoff really saved her pennies by stenciling this faux wool rug.

Source: The DIY Showoff

5.  Lift your spirits (and cabinetry)

This fantastic floor is such a show stopper that the designer chose to float the cabinetry to show it off even more.

6.  You Are My Sunshine

This stenciled masterpiece has stolen my heart and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to try this out at home.  I love how the rest of the room is neutral and non-descript so the floor becomes the true show stopper.

7. Everyone Loves the Chevron 

Simple and sophisticated.  This chevron design can work in any room in any color combination to create a subtle or bold look you won’t soon forget. Am I the only one who swoons over the pink and orange color palette?

8.  Straight TalkI’ve been known to use horizontal stripes in my designs to create drama and interest.  Here’s a perfect example of how to call attention to the floors and tie in the wall and trim colors from the rest of the room.

Source: My Home Ideas, photo by Robbie Caponetto

9. Stripes, A Change of Direction

This is the design that goes straight to my heart (ha, ha, get it? Sorry, Brittany and I get our Dad’s sense of corny humor.) Kristin painted over her worn floors using a floral inspired color palette.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens Digital

10. Words to Live By….and Stand on

Everywhere you look there are wood plaques, wall decals and framed art with inspirational words to live by.  Check out this ingenious floor application that would make me excited about doing laundry.

Source: DIY Showoff

11. Dog Beat and Little Boy Feet

Holly’s floors were destroyed by her dogs and her young boys. Instead of ripping out the old and installing new, she turned to her trusty Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to hide the imperfections.

Source: Storywood Designs

12. The Artist

If you have the ability to draw and paint by hand, why not show off your skills like Alisa Burke did in this amazing trompe l’oeil floor runner.

Source: Alisa Burke

13. Solid Baby, It’s Solid

I get it, the tedious task of taping or painting hand drawn designs is holding you back. Have no fear, this next idea is cut out for you. One color, one floor, lots of character!

Source: Cottage Living via My Home Ideas

14. Taking it to New Heights

Still apprehensive? Are you fearful of walking on your art? This amazing painted staircase was painted only on the rises, no feet will weather those brush strokes.

Source: Close2MyArt

15. Commitment Phobic – Elegant Bamboo

We don’t all have the luxury of being able to paint our floors.  Whether you are renting or don’t have hardwood floors to paint, that shouldn’t stop you from being able to customize them to your liking.  Here is a great DIY tutorial for creating a custom handpainted area rug.

Instructions for Painting Floors:

So you are ready to get the paint brush out right away? Whoa doggy, there are some important steps that should be taken to insure your masterpiece stands the test of time.  The initial prep work can be tedious but it is important not to skip this step.

  • Clean – In order for the paint to stick well to the existing flooring, it is important to thoroughly clean the flooring to remove any dirt and grime. A powdered cleaning agent works really well.
  • Sand – If you are painting over hardwood make sure to lightly sand the floors down first.
  • Prime – Be sure to prime your floor if you are using regular paint (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and other Paint + Primer paints may not need this step.) The primer will act as a bonding agent and will also protect any stains or knot holes from bleeding through.
  • Paint – Latex paint is the easiest to work with, but oil paint will be more durable. However, given the length of time it takes oil paint to dry I’d stick with latex.
  • Varnish – Allow at least 24 hours between coats and follow up with several layers of floor specific varnish that works as a protective top coat. You should try to avoid putting your furniture back on your newly painted floor for at least a week.

So what do you think?  Do you have a room that needs a floor makeover?  Or have you already taken the plunge and painted yours?  I’d love to see what you’ve done or other ideas for show stopping floors.

Have a great week!

caitlin_signCheck out Caitlin’s Interior Design site for more information.

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  1. Becky Pelphrey
    Becky Pelphrey says:

    I am changing my bedroom after about 8yrs; and some if your ideas are very appealing , Right now my floors are plywood and I have a large carpet with magnolias on a dark green background. However, it does not cover the entire floor and I want to paint it. Also, painting my bedroom furniture (except the bed which is fine and a cream-white color). I found a recipe for chalk paint and will use it on my furniture and floor.I appeciate your ideas and instructions; but especialy the comments from others that have done this.

  2. Robin
    Robin says:

    I love this idea. Our home is almost 11 years old. There are things in our home that either need replacing or repurposed.
    We picked our lot, we picked our floor plan and we picked every single thimg that went into the house down to where we wanted the plug ins. however, the choices we had were out of a notebook the builder had put together. when we chose the hardwood floor from samples he had, the choice was light or dark. Whatever color floor we chose, we got the same color cabinets.
    We only had hardwoods in the foyer, kitchen and downstairs half bath, we could have upgraded from carpet to hardwoods but it was very expensive and we felt confident that we could have them done later at half the cost.
    With two teens and all the friends teens bring home and three dogs, that standard grade carpet wore out fast. We changed all the carpet downstairs to hardwoods. I think back now and wish I had done things differently. Instead of adding the same floor we already had that I hated, I should have put more thought into it and gotten something I loved.
    I’ve heard engineered hardwoods can be sanded down once and stained whatever color you want but our kitchen is ruined. It is down to the raw wood and there is no way it can be changed. It needs to be ripped out…..but I may can paint it to get us by until we can afford to replace the entire downstairs.
    Finally my questions….once painted, how do you keep it clean? Do you mop it and with what?
    Also, I would love to rip out all the carpet upstairs but I don’t know what I want to do. Does every room upstairs excluding the bathrooms and the laundry room have to be the same thing? If we go with hardwood, should we put hardwoods in every room including the hallway? If we go with a nicer grade carpet like a berber should we put it in every room? If we decided to do hardwoods in the hallway, should we do carpet in every bedroom or is it okay to have a different flooring for each bedroom. Now that our kids are grown, I’m going to do one bedroom for the grandkids and the other bedroom either a guest room or a hang out media room for the grandkids and the third extra bedroom I wanted a craft room. Should the flooring be the same in every bedroom?
    Thanks for your help. Love to hear from anyone else who wants to pass on their advice.

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:


      If you paint your kitchen floors, finish it with a flooring grade urethane. Then you just sweep and mop (just like with the wood floors.) Regarding your question about carpeting the bedrooms. Most people do use the same carpeting throughout for a more cohesive look. Having different colors in each room and a different color in the hall would make the home look more choppy and partitioned. That being said, this is your home and if you want to do a different color carpet in each room, you go for it. Make your home your own. 😉

  3. Debbie Gartner aka The Flooring Girl
    Debbie Gartner aka The Flooring Girl says:

    Wow, these floors are beautiful. I have a few customers with stenciled floors, and I’m always in awe. Because these are a lot of work (and can be expensive if done by a designer), it’s usually good to put on extra coats of poly and then screen periodically (e.g. once every 3 yrs). I’m guessing for most of these, esp those that have white, that you really need to do an water based poly to avoid yellowing.

  4. Julia
    Julia says:

    Celebrating our floors is definitely something to embrace! Hand painted floor treatments are not only beautiful, they also allow you to be creative in a way other than just the decor. I love #7 “Everyone Loves the Chevron,” it is so simple and sophisticated.

  5. Ben
    Ben says:

    My wife has been wanting to paint the hallway floor for a while now, now that I know I have some ideas maybe I will actually do it.

  6. Hector
    Hector says:

    These are such creative ideas! My favorite has to the #12 the artist. I’ve been thinking of painting the hallway floors in my house now I have some inspiration on what to do! Thanks for sharing!

  7. jb @BuildingMoxie
    jb @BuildingMoxie says:

    while I have considered painting or doing decorative staining on a floor several times … I just have never been able to bring myself to it. Great examples here and a great write up – thanks Caitlin & thanks Brittany.

  8. Lindsey
    Lindsey says:

    I’m inheriting a 1960’s Rambler with very worn hardwood covering the entire main floor. Love this idea! Excited to refinish the floors in some areas and paint and embellish in others. Thanks.

  9. Dana
    Dana says:

    I just bought a house with faded painted floors in the living room and bedrooms. Your post has given me a few ideas on how to spruce them up. Thanks!

    • Alana
      Alana says:

      If your floors are already painted, be sure to use the same base type of paint which was originally used, i.e. oil or latex/acrylic. Otherwise, your new paint will continue to crack and peel as it won’t bond with the original paint. A simple way to determine if you have acrylic/latex paint is to try to remove the paint with denatured alcohol, aka paint thinner) or ammonia. If some of the paint comes off, then it is latex/acrylic. Alternatively, you could sand until all of the original paint is removed and just bare wood remains. Or apply an oil-based primer which would allow you to use either oil or latex/acrylic on top of the primer.


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