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I’m back from Haven.  I’m tired.  My eyes are blurry.  My inbox is full.   I was so busy that I only took a few pictures and didn’t share as much on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. as I wanted.  I had an amazing time, though, and it was all worth it.  I’ll share more about it when I’ve had a little time to recover.  Whew!

Tonight, I thought I would share an idea that’s been bugging me.  It popped up a few weeks ago and won’t go away.

I refinished my floors about four years ago.  It was a tough and rather ridiculous process, but the results were beautiful.


Over the years, though, my business has been tough on my floors.  It took me a while to figure out that I needed to put felt pads on every single piece of furniture that comes into my house and it shows.



See the floors?  Those are all of the scratches and dings and blemishes and a little plaint.  I actually have to Photoshop my floors, so they don’t look totally terrible.    So, what can I do?  Well, I’m not refinishing my floors again.  Can you guess what I’m thinking?


Yeah, you know me too well…  paint.  Of course.   I’m thinking something checkered…



…or stenciled.

I haven’t even mentioned this to my husband, so who knows if it’ll actually happen, but I can’t shake the idea.  The main thing that’s pushing me towards that idea is something I read at The Nesting Place.  When BHG came to photograph her home, one of the ladies on the crew said it’s hard to find people who will take risks in their home.  I definitely take more risks in the pieces I sell than in my home.

Maybe I should get a little risky.

What would you do?

(I found the last two pictures on several sites, so I’m not sure of the original source.  Please share if you know, so I can link to it.  Thanks!)

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  1. Kathy says:

    I say do it!! Although resale has been brought up, lets face it some people don’t like blue walls so they repaint. Or they don’t like the mauve carpet, so they replace. If they didn’t like your beautiful artwork on the floor, they will refinish. I don’t think it is a deal killer, that is part of taking the risk with your home! You live in it so love it while your in it :)

  2. JaneS says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Please clean and recondition the beautifu wood and buy a rug or paint a floor cloth. Painting should be reserved for damaged and too far gone floors. Be risky esewhere.

  3. Diana says:

    If that’s what you want just do it..You pay the mortgage do what you want! It’s only paint..

  4. I painted a small dining area in my apartment for years…White, white I painted so much that when I peeled it off to refinish the wood, that paint came off in big, thick sheets. Lol It was high maintenance, but I loved it!
    That yellow stencil looks awesome. By the way, I love when you show the dining room set I bought from you. It’s still in storage while we work on this never ending renovation so it’s nice to see it once in a while!!! Soon, I keep telling myself!

  5. I’d check with someone who refinishes floors. A local guy who does flooring for me does a special buffing process to the floors – hardwood and it really does a great job of covering up the scratches and puts a nice shine on the floor. I can see the painted flooring as unique but not practical and the paint could be peeling in the high traffic areas in only a short amount of time.

  6. Louise says:

    Those painted floor examples are lovely and very mms but I just don’t see them in your home. You have so many pieces of painted furniture and painted cabinets and I think they need a plain wood floor backdrop to look their best.

    If you really want to paint a floor though why not rip up your carpet and Lino and patch and paint the floor under those, then with the money saved (you have said you plan on getting wood) you can have your existing wood professionally refinished.

  7. You don’t need to go through the whole re-sanding and re-staining process to “fix” the scratches and dings. As impossible / improbable as it may appear – a simple coat of poly will have your floor looking brand new. You don’t even need to touch up with stain unless it’s a really deep gouge (1/8″ – 1/4″ or more).

    I never would have believed this if I hadn’t seen it for myself. We bought a 1920’s farmhouse about a year ago and have been refurbishing and remodeling for the past year – we’re about a week or two from completion and move-in. YAY! Anyway -the original hardwood floor had about 90 years of farming wear and tear -plus the major contrasts where we tore out a couple of walls, exposing areas of untouched original flooring. My fiance’ (35 years experience building and remodeling homes) tried to convince me that “a coat of poly will have it looking like new”. I smiled and said ok, ….but I was thinking no freakin’ way.

    As I said above – if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I never would have believed it. A new coat of poly and the floors are beautiful.

  8. teresa says:

    I hate your pop-ups!
    I have a lot of experience refinishing and refurbishing floors, both for myself and professionally. Yours don’t look like anything a little gell stain couldn’t fis or the light sanding,staining and recover suggested above. Oil gloss is definitely the most hard wearing and becomes satin quite quickly.
    My own are shellac with real varnish and they wear like a dream. Of course, I wax them once a year, but with a quick buff the scratches disappear and they look beautiful. CTD
    P.S. I’m a little surprised you don’t embrace the wear given how much you like old chippy finishes on everything else. It’s the wear that gives the patina and tells a story..

  9. What a dilemma, Marian!!!
    I have paneling in ,y living room and I am SCARED to paint them. I have made the decision to paint twice but didn’t go through it.
    I have seen Nate saying to paint floors and remember one of the House Proud owners with painted floors. it looked amazing.
    SInce I am a scaredy cat, I am not giving my opinion!
    I was surprised to read comments saying you can just sand them and refinish them professionally later on! Maybe this can be done to my paneling, too??
    Can’t wait to see what you will do!

  10. Do it! You’ll love it! Be prepared to see more dirt and make sure you prep them well or they will be a disaster within a week (I learned this the hard way–Gripper primer works well). And seal them well too. I love my painted kitchen floor and don’t care that I have to mop it more often–yet…

  11. I love the checkered floors! I don’t have the talent to do it, and even if I did, my husband would never go for it…so I’m selfishly trying to live vicariously through your painting skillz! 😉

  12. I live in New England and we see lots of painted floors that are hundreds of years old and look gorgeous. I’m sure you have lots of those in Penn. also, so I say paint away! But make sure to post about every step.
    One more thing, my husband and I just finished building our house and we had old beams remilled into flooring and as we want them to wear naturally we used tung oil to finish them instead of poly and they reallly are beautiful.

  13. I vote NO on this one. The warmth of the wood floor, no matter how many dings and scratches only adds character to the home. If you really must paint, then do a small narrow border around the room framing your rug. This way, you can have the best of both worlds.

  14. Where is the “LOVE” button! I would love to do this…. but I don’t have any old wood floors and I love the wood floors I have. I have painted some of my concrete floors though; it’s a very inviting feel for a home!

  15. Laura D. says:

    Leave the floors alone, they are beautiful the way they are, just buff out the scratches and dings. I’d like to see you do some things outside though……what does your patio, porch, landscaping, garden look like?
    Venture to the outdoors, stop looking at your interior so much.

  16. Bridget says:

    I’m not sure I’d paint over hardwood floors as it seems like a waste to ruin something that could add so much value to your home. The replacement cost would be far more expensive than a can of paint. A friend has had painted sub-flooring in her family room for over ten years. The first time it was a mint green with a lattace look. The last time it was painted it was a solid pale pink as the family room is now part art studio and it’s basically her room. After a while she added polka-dots the size of paint can rounds. I think it’s a great idea to paint the subflooring when you have some children because rugs will wear out fast.not to mention how hard it is to keep floors clean with the every day wear of kids and dogs. But truly… I would not paint over hardwood. I say buff out the spots and re-poly it. Maybe add an extra (3rd) coat.

  17. Painted and stenciled floors are wonderful, however your dining room is so elegant and I feel that element would be lost if you painted the floor in that room. There are many ways to touch up what you’ve got without a full-on resanding,restaining project, etc. The floors are so rich, keep them!

  18. I am very anxious to see what you do in here! The room is so beautiful already..

  19. I agree with Amber…one room, a spare bedroom perhaps? Or the bathroom…you will have the very same problem with painted floors, probably more honestly, that you do with regular wood finished ones. Perhaps the way to go might be to strip and then wax your floors…that is easier to touch up but harder to change the finish on from what I understand. In my opinion half the charm of a wood floor is the marks that are on it…it shows a family lives there. Our house is a 100 years old and it has all kinds of “patina” I do want to sand and finish them again but no one that visits thinks they look bad, they think they are charming! Best of luck in your decision…remember though, wood floors are classic for a reason.

  20. Betsy C. says:

    Personally speaking, large busy patterns all over the floor would make me feel nervous. I’d go for large area rugs with muted or faded looking colors in patterns that aren’t too contrasty. I also agree with the person who said that if you ever plan to sell your house, painted floors could be a big turnoff for a prospective buyer unless they just happen to have the same decorating scheme as you. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  21. I painted the floors in my son’s room in a checker pattern and LOVE how it turned out! Here’s a link to a post where I wrote about it.

    I say go for it!!! It will look amazing, I’m sure!! :)

  22. I love painted floors! Don’t worry about what someone else might want in the house in the future. You have great taste I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t be amazing and highly desirable. The only thing I hear that works on floors is porch paint, can’t wait to see what you do.

  23. RubberChickenGirl says:

    I just stenciled an office floor. Be warned. The whole process has been waaaaayyyy harder than anticipated! I started with old, worn laminate flooring. Forgot it is essentially plastic and didn’t prime with BIN. Painted with floor paint and realized the error of my ways. Went back and primed with BIN. Painted the floor with spendy Pratt & Lambert floor paint time #2. Screwed that up some how (don’t recall). Painted AGAIN time #3. Lots of delays and 6 weeks later, painted time #4. Got paint on baseboards and had tape peeling issues. Primed and painted them. Finally chose a stencil (that took forever as I am indecisive and there are 10,000,000 to choose from). Stenciled. Ran out of baby acrylic paint quickly. Switched to Annie Sloan (why I don’t know cuz it is spendy–but it sticks to anything right?) . Waited 24 hours and went over it all with stain. Wiped on/off Oil based stain over water based stuff (dunno if that is always wrong) but the stain “took” very unevenly. Waited 24 hours. Realized I needed to fix some eges of my laminate floor with filler. Aaauurgh. Filled those, sanded, reapplied floor paint. Stenciled there and another area that was waaay too dark. They ended up eye popping bright. I had switched to BM latex I dunno why except it is cheaper than ASCP. So, comedy of errors. Got stain on the baseboards and reprimed and painted them. Now I am sitting looking up articles on applying poly. It is sooo not perfect and it looked cheap and easy. Maybe it is, if you hit it hard for 7-14 days and you don’t drag it out and you use the right products and use the same stuff throughout. Learn from my mistakes as I will yours with your hardwoods. It’s been horrid! Cannot wait till it is over. All those beautiful stenciled floors I pinned lured me in….

  24. I say, go with what you like….whatever you decide, it will be wonderful….You are a great talent, so the floors would be gorgeous….I do love the harlequin/checked floors….They would look fantastic in the room. I kept hearing throughout the Haven conference to make your home “yours”…your personality not others…

    It was so wonderful to have met you!…I am the one who was the recipient of your “drink ticket”!!!

    Have a wonderful and hopefully restful week….you so contributed greatly to the success of the conference!

  25. OMG GO FOR IT! I love the bold pattern idea. Just make sure it is something that you will not get tired of looking at. The graphic is bold . Guess the colour is what will make it or beak it :) I would so do it. Just make sure to seal it so the paint wont chip….:)

  26. Oh my goodness, NO, NO, NO—-don’t paint those beautiful floors!

    (PS…can you but imagine what scratched paint would look like?)

  27. Definitely Not! The only things that need to be painted are the things you can easily change when the color gets old . You have to think about the resale value of your home too. Most people dont go for painted floors so that could deter many people. The best thing to do is refinish them and choose a rug in the color you would like to paint the floors. We put down laminate wood floors , which i hate because they dent very easily . I put sliders under Every piece of furniture so it would not dent the floors and used runners and rugs in the rooms and high traffic areas. There are really good sealers out there that really make a difference in the durability of the wood floors too. The house we just sold the guy refinished the floors and he put a very durible sealer on there it was more durable than the one on the original floor. I would just walk away from this job and find someone to refinish them. There are just some things worth the money you spend and this is definitely one. Breathing in the odors is terrible and you can just stay with your mom for a week until the fumes are out. I have a floor savings account where i put 100.00 in there a month because i am desperate to change them. when the time comes i wont even feel the pocketbook burning.good luck.

  28. I think you should go for it! Layla talked me into painting my playhouse floors and I love em!

  29. I would TOTALLY paint the floors. Yes, you may get tired of it but then you could repaint or sand and stain again! Knowing you – you will make it fabulous! I would say start with a smaller floor area in your house and live with it for a little while. Also, sometimes a pattern can be a bit much but a solid color like white seems like it would feel “fresh” for longer and be easier to touch-up as needed…. Plus, now that you have felt pads on everything these newly finished floors should last longer, right?? Can’t wait to see what you decide! ~ Jennifer

  30. Is the painted floor going to hold up much better than the wood? Think of how much use your floors actually get with or without felt pads. If you have lots of foot traffic and guests that’s going to cause so much more wear and tear on paint vs wood. Personally I like the rich color of the flooring you already have. Anyway, if it’s something you really want then go for it, but don’t just do something out of fear you’re playing too safe.

  31. I painted the bedroom floors of the first house I bought because I could’t afford to to get all the floors refinished. It was a cottage, and I was going with a cottage look. Some people thought I was nuts at the time, but I loved the floors, and they held up well to my dog and cat’s antics. The only issue was when I was ready to sell the house, thre realtor told me painted floors can turn off some buyers, so you may just want tto keep that in mind if you have any plans to move. It didn’t cause any issues for me however.

    We just had to move ourselves, our pets, and everything out of the house while our floors were being refinished–and let me just say, painting is a much easier option!

  32. Karen Pottinger says:

    I LOVE painted floors. But to protect the hardwood, I would lay down pine planks on top of the existing hardwood (with a protective layer in between) THEN I would paint the pine planks. Relatively inexpensive to lay the pine planks and you can paint them any colour or any time your heart desires! When you want the hardwood floors back, take up the pine planks and reuse/recycle into some awesome furniture

  33. Why not I say? It’s only paint…that’s the other thing I always say. We put down (glued b/c we’re on slab) hardwood in ’93 and since it was not the solid hardwood that you sand, stain and poly or wax, it didn’t hold up as well as I had hoped it would. And it was beveled edges (big mistake) it splintered…and yes my children were the victims of those splinters in their feet. However, remember I said ’93 and we still have the flooring and I can’t afford to replace it, so hubby and I have talked about painting our floor for several years now. Truth is, it’s affordable and if it gets scuffed up that makes it even better.
    So I say; do it! and don’t look back. Be risky and proud of it.

  34. JolieAnne says:

    I love your idea for your floor. I adore wood floors and I do not mind
    scratched ones-I have 3 sons, 5 dogs, 1 husband+a lot of traffic on
    that wood floor in our Living Room.
    I saw a blog called flea market trixie and I love her kitchen floor-she
    did a beautiful stencil-see, side bar has her kitchen
    remodel, (I am not a blogger) but I love her style as well as yours!
    I love a painted floor-you are an expert painter so you could do it! I
    love your floors-just the way they are-but I agree about risk, too.
    There are so many of your projects that are so amazing!

  35. JolieAnne says:

    I love your idea for your floor. I adore wood floors and I do not mind
    scratched ones-I have 3 sons, 5 dogs, 1 husband+a lot of traffic on
    that wood floor in our Living Room.
    I saw a blog called flea market trixie and I love her kitchen floor-she
    did a beautiful stencil-see, side bar has her kitchen
    remodel, (I am not a blogger) but I love her style as well as yours!
    I love a painted floor-you are an expert painter so you could do it! I
    love your floors-just the way they are-but I agree about risk, too.
    There are so many of your projects that are so amazing!
    That first photo is from Country Living magazine, I don’t know if anyone
    wrote that already!

  36. I’d go for the paint! I think it will look amazing.

    The floors in our home are reclaimed from a Civil War home and have so much character because of the dings and scratches….but every now and then I think about painting them. Maybe just one room. :)

  37. I’m not super risky either, mostly because I know we want to move at some point and I don’t want to have to undo things. I don’t know that this will work, but I’m trying to post a photo link of a friend’s GORGEOUS painted hardwood kitchen floors. She is a photographer and this is a sort of 50s inspired shot featuring the floor. If it works. If not and you want to see it, shoot me an email! I think if anyone could do it, you could!

  38. Laura D says:

    No paint!!!! Are they really that bad that they can’t just be screened and top coated? It is a one day job for a pro, no dust and they look new again.

  39. What an thought-provoking comment by the BHG staffer … not enough people take risks in their homes. I’ve taken risks with wall art, but I always have resale in mind when thinking about paint, wallpaper, floors, etc. Since I know we plan to move in 2-4 years and since I live in a brand new house in a bland suburban area, I fear doing anything that will turn off a potential buyer! I want our next house to be a fixer-upper in a more blended community where risk-taking is appreciated and even encouraged.

    Regarding your floors, I LOVE LOVE LOVE painted wood floors. My only fear for you would be that the furniture would scratch the paint. But maybe not if it has plenty of coats of poly on top. Would love to see what pattern/color combo you would choose!

  40. MelissaG says:

    I say, no way! I love the classic look of the floors and I think it gives so much more room to play with furniture, accessories, colors. BUT, I am SO not a risk taker and I do believe that the results would be amazing. Just not for me specifically. Thanks!

  41. Nanci Neenan says:

    Paint them! The absolute worst case scenario would be that you have to refinish them again…no biggy since you feel they need that now. Love your site and your work…thank you!

  42. Betty Grawcock says:

    I like the fun suttle Kitchen check…The calm dining room keep natural like above picture…Not everyone would be able to change every time they tire of a bold floor like the above. I like your suttle tastes in color…very calming but fun with a splash of color here and there…

  43. Betty Grawcock says:

    I for got to mention I love Karen Pottinger’s idea for planking over the hardwood. That would be the best of both depending on the mood…I so love your ideas.

  44. Petria says:

    Certainly paint if you want. I rent my house and unfortunately the owner painted awful dark brown over the wood. Truly, I would prefer the scratched, nicked wood. Isn’t it funny that people do buy wood that looks as if it has been walked on for centuries, but we don’t want scratches on our own? I understand how you feel though. I felt the same when I owned my home and the wood floors got marred.
    I think that my landlady would let me paint the floors … solid color…not a design :( But it has to be a relatively dark color as I’m not going to strip what’s already there…(would I Really have to?) Would appreciate some suggestions as to what color to use.

    Have fun with the floors. You can rent a sander if you don’t like it!

  45. Michele says:

    I notice some commenters are very pro paint/stencil your floors and others are really pro refinish. You should consider the use of the room and the decor of the room. Even with the shabby chic vintage style you’ll notice each room exudes its own mood. By all means go with your gut feeling because you really have a natural knack for creating beauty and balance.

  46. alice says:

    Good morning! When we moved into our home it was covered in white carpet. I have 5 kids so the first thing I did was pull the carpet out. Only plywood sub floors….no money….no cool furniture..did I say no money?. I painted the floor a lignt kakhai and put a red and kakhi color in a gingham pattern. (need to learn how to spell kakhai) it was great until we put real wood over it. My friends loved it and still talk about my cool floor even tho it’s been gone for some time.

    ls. It wore great with a couple of coats of varnish on it. i even used latex paint on it. I have also seen a very translucent paint with some wood showing through. Look forward to seeing it! Perhaps you could put an area carpet size pattern over your floor. If I painted again I would not go to the wall over my new wood.

  47. I absolutely love the look of the painted floor. The hardwood is gorgeous as well however the painted floor would show your personality and style ~ anyone can have stained hardwood these days. I have hardwood and wood love to do this in my kitchen except my kitchen, family room, dining room and foyer either border or flow into each other and It would be difficult to know where to start and stop. I would absolutely do it with your DIY wisdom and painting talent – it will be stupendous!!!!!!!!!!!


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