How to Paint Your Floors

You'll be floored at how easy it is to transform a room simply by pointing your paintbrush downward

Credit: Farrow & Ball

Slipper Satin floor paint from Farrow & Ball makes even the most worn out wood floor look great

For an easy, inexpensive room renovation project, grab your paintbrush and get ready to transform your floors

If you’re looking to brighten up a space or change the focus of a room, it’s a no-brainer to break out a can of paint.

But if you’ve got wooden, vinyl or concrete floors, you can leave your walls alone and opt for a snazzy floor-painting job instead.

All you need are the correct supplies (none of which are too expensive), some patience and a willingness to be creative and bold.

The pros of painted floors include:

  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Painting is less expensive than refinishing your floors
  • It suits any look from vintage to modern
  • It’s the easiest way to brighten up an otherwise boring space.

Just remember not to go colour crazy and paint every room in your house. Choose one room that could use some sprucing up and leave it at that. Also, be sure to keep in mind the colour and placement of the key pieces of furniture and upholstery in your room before you go really bold and bright.

Tips for Painting Your Floors

House White and Wimborne White floor paint from Farrow & Ball (Image: Farrow & Ball)

  1. Clean them first. Before you do anything else, wash your floor with soap and water and then sand down the finish or apply a primer before painting. “When painting unpainted wood floors for the first time, ensure any joins or cracks are filled with a non-flexible wood filler before thoroughly cleaning and sanding the floor until smooth,” says Sarah Cole, director, Farrow & Ball.
  2. Choose the right paint. A 100% acrylic paint is best for floors. Don’t skimp on the quality, you’ll regret it later. Alison Goldman, brand manager of CIL Paints advises, “Today’s acrylic semi-gloss paints are much easier to use than the old alkyds. They last longer, stand up to wear and tear, and are available in vivid colours to brighten any decor.”
  3. Let it dry. Paint may feel dry in a few hours, but wait the full recommended time (usually 24 hours) before adding another coat. Give the room plenty of ventilation (windows open, fans going), and remember that humidity will slow drying.
  4. Work strategically. To avoid walking on the paint while it dries, work strategically: Leave a path, then paint it when the rest of the floor has dried.
  5. Use a wood treatment. Use a painted wood treatment on hardwood floors to give them additional depth. You can use solid paint or a paint-coloured stain to enhance your floors. Try white-washing or white-staining the floor so the wood comes through.
  6. Try a stencil. Using a stencil is a great way to add some drama to a room. Once you have the stencil you like, and you’ve done the placement in your head, the execution should be quite easy. Errors can always be hidden with the sneaky positioning of a chair or desk.
  7. Brave a bold pattern. Squares, diamonds and lines are all easy to do and very eye-catching. You’ll need your handy measuring tape as well as painter’s tape to execute the design flawlessly. Even a simple pattern in a bold hue can be quite the showstopper.


  8. Create a painted area rug. Find a pattern of an actual rug that you like and deceive your guests into thinking it’s real. Don’t forget to paint the tassels on! You can do these in hallways, at the bottom of a set of stairs and near the fireplace as well. “Often this is the spot on a floor that’s the most worn, so it’s a good way to disguise discolourations, stains, scuffs and other imperfections,” says Goldman.
  9. Start small. If painting the entire floor seems too daunting a task, try painting a border around the room. It can be plain or fancy, either way this easy DIY job can create a dramatic impact.

Vista Marine from CIL Paints (Image: CIL Paints)