Painted Wood Floors And The Reasons Why It’s a Bad Idea



Dear Laurel,

Please do a post about painted wood floors. If you do, I’ll be your best friend forever and ever. And I’ll have you over for Christmas too! I’ll even have a rickshaw service come and pick you up. Pretty Please?


I love the look of painted wood floors but am scared to go for it.


I mean, if I don’t like it, it’s going to be an awful bitch to put them back the way they are. Right? Except the way they are is pretty awful.

Also, do you have to paint all of the wood floors in every room?

So, what do we do here. How is this accomplished? Help me please.

What kind of paint?

And do you need to put a poly over the paint?

Will it hold up to my 4 children, 3 dogs, 2 cats and a swarm of cousins, aunts and uncles?

Oh, and how do I convince my husband that this is a good move?

We live in Cincinnati in a sixties split level in a neighborhood of similar homes.

Penny Peynted-Eenakorner



Does the rickshaw service also cook and clean? Just curious.


This woman’s great!

But I can appreciate Penny’s quandaries/questions and will do my best. But, I’m going to be straight with y’all. I live in a conservative area. (not that a painted floor is radical, but not the most conventional) We did a painted floor ONE time about 17 years ago.

Well, it wasn’t exactly painted. We called it pickled, but the floor guy bleached the floors and painted a translucent off-white paint with a slight green undertone to counter-act the red tones in the wood. And then he put 3 coats of clear acrylic poly over it. Gorgeous, it was!

So, while I can’t call myself a bonafide painted wood floor expert, after a good amount of research, and stuff I’ve learned a lot over the years will tackle this extensive subject. At the very least, hopefully have gathered some good resources in one place and good inspo.


First, a little Painted Wood Floors Primer so that we can get our terms straight


  • Of course, there’s straight painting.
  • Pickled
  • White Washed
  • Limed – This is a technique that In the past was created by mixing calcium hydroxide and chalk, but let’s not go there. There are easier ways to get the look we want.


The last three terms are often used interchangeably but the techniques are different.

Whitewashing and pickling are techniques that allows you to lighten your wood without hiding the wood grain.

The original pickling and lymed floors used harsh caustic chemicals to create the pale floors. But we’re not going to do that.


Minwax makes a whitewash pickling stain, but here’s the difference.


Whitewashing is best suited for pine.


Pine doesn’t have deep pores so the pickling stain needs to be applied with the grain of the wood.


Via Elle Decor – Mona Nerenberg


I love this dining room. The floors only have a very light stain, but it could be heavier.


Pickling is a technique best used on oak


The whitewash pickling stain is applied across the grain so that the color will seep into the deeper pores of oak.

Please enjoy this short video which explains pickling. (sorry about the cheesy music)


For a truly beautiful low-maintenance white floor, you might want to consider having them bleached before applying the stain. The best woods for bleaching include oak, beach, ash, and gum; but no pine.


Loi Thai Tone on Tone dining room with white washed painted wood floors


Loi Thai of Tone on Tone wrote a beautiful post about his gorgeous bleached and white-washed white floors.


And Bob Vila has written another great article which explains the pros and cons and techniques of different methods of bleaching


via - technique for white washing floors


Rikke of “That Nordic Feeling blog” wrote an excellent post about her beautiful white wood floors AKA as “Scandi-Style” uses a product that’s called “white oil.”

Her information is great if you’re a pro; but I do not think that THIS IS A DO-IT-YOURSELF anything.

For example, in one of the steps, she writes:

Warning: The cloths can ignite, so make sure to soak them in plenty of water and keep them in a metal tin or the likes until you can dispose of them in the proper manner.

I see… I don’t know anything about this, but it’s something that I would do but only if the place was EMPTY and I had tripled checked that the house insurance was paid up!


But let’s go now into straight painted wood floors.


Below is a very pleasant video produced by an English chap which explains his technique for painting wood floors.


And Another excellent article about how to paint wood floors from Bob Vila.


Careful consideration needs to be given to what technique you use because there are so many variables.


But here’s what I think is always a bad idea in terms of painted wood floors.


Doing it yourself. In most cases. UNLESS, you really, really, really know what you’re doing and know what you’re getting into.

Floor work, is an exhausting back-busting job. And to do it properly, requires many steps of prep, paint, sand, paint, sand, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint…

But, Before hiring someone I would also be sure to get tons of references and make sure that this person has experience doing the type of technique you’re interested in. If he looks any way but overjoyed at the prospect of doing a painted floor, then he’s not your guy. A good place to ask for recs is at your trusted hardware store that sells paints and stains.


IMO, There are areas in interior design where one can do it themselves or save money, but this isn’t one of them.



I did find a lass who not only did her own painted wood floors, but  videoed pretty much the entire process.  If you have an old funky floor and really do not mind getting down on your hands and knees for hours on end, you could try it out. (see, all rules can be broken!) There are great comments and then a follow-up post about how it held up.*


What else to consider if deciding to do painted wood floors?


Lots, of course. And here are some frequently asked questions with my answers.


Are there certain situations where this could be a big mistake?


Well, first of all, I don’t think it’s ever a mistake to do a pickled/white washed-type floor. One can still see the wood grain and it’s not completely opaque. But the number one thing I would consider is resale.

If you’re planning on being in your home less than ten years, unless it’s a rustic farmhouse or at least a home built in the 19th century or earlier, I would consider painting the floors very carefully. But it depends where you live, too. Lots of things. My feeling is that if your home looks amazing, then you will have no trouble selling it.

People sometimes don’t know what they like UNTIL they see it. Like Albert Hadley’s fabulous home he created for Nancy Pyne.


The only exception would be that you’re someone with this kind of skill.

Charming home decor of William McClure
or today, the young, fabulous William McLure.


But Williams’s painted floors are in old, rustic converted factories. The floors are inherently old and funky. So, paint is a perfect solution!


If I paint the floors in one room, do I have to paint all of the floors?


It depends on the room and the layout.

For instance, in an open plan layout, I think that you really need to paint all of the floors. If you need to make a change, I would use a different material, like a stone, for instance in the entry. But of course, it depends on the configuration.

In a traditional layout with completely separate rooms, a logical place to paint one floor is the kitchen.

Like Ben Pentreath!

via Downintheboondocks on instagram

Or, you could paint just the stairwell, but it needs to make sense within the over-all design scheme.


And entry with a painted wood floor to resemble faux stone.

If I pickle the floor or white wash, will I get that horrible pinky stain so prevalent in the eighties?


You might. What I recommend is experimenting before you jump in and pay a lot of money for something you don’t want. But you can make a translucent paint wash with any latex paint, simply by adding water to the paint. AAMOF, about 20 years ago a friend of mine made a wash of latex for her son’s room walls and I liked the effect so much that I had my painter do it for a client and even helped him out to make sure that we had the right effect.

But getting back to the painted wood floors, this is where bleaching can help. And/or using a paint color which will counteract the natural pinkish tones of the wood. Please bear in mind that there are two types of oak. There’s red oak which is the most common and white oak which you see more in older homes. Obviously, the red oak is well… redder, thus pinker.

via Martha Stewart - photo Yuki Sugiura -handbook-opener-stain-swatches - painted wood floors

via Martha Stewart

Here is a great article that talks about making a wash from latex paint.


What if I paint the floors and I hate it?

“Make it work!” Please remember that it’s an empty room and you’re not used to seeing the pale floor. If you start with a cohesive plan, then you should be okay.


How difficult is it to turn them back into a stained floor?


I think that it depends which method you use. I would stay away from anything oily if there’s a chance that you do want to turn them back. And also if the paint seeps deeply into the wood it might not be possible. But definitely talk to a professional. Or if anyone has experience with turning a painted floor into a stained floor, please let us know how it went. (or any other experience good or bad)


What about doing a pattern on a painted floor or a border?


Absolutely. I adore the painted border that William McLure created with the white painted wood floor in his old place. and below are stripes that he painted on his kitchen floor. That one is actually an old linoleum floor!


Does a painted wood floor have to be white?


Lynn Morgan entry with a cool geometric pattern


No, it does not. I’ve seen beautiful painted wood floors that are blue or green or even red. And of course, millions of patterns. There are some wonderful painted floors here.


Do you put a poly finish over a painted floor?


For anything water-based, if you want it to hold up– yes! Three coats! If you use the paint specifically for porches, you might not need to. Whenever I don’t know something, I either call the company or speak to the guys selling the stuff, or look it up. But like a doctor for an illness, it’s wise to get more than one opinion.


Okay, how does it hold up?

See above* :]


How do I convince my husband that painted wood floors are a great idea?


Take him to Sweden.


But semi-seriously. I know that I’m always creating sweeping generalizations about male behavior

You know, of course, that I’m only half serious. It’s like the well-known difference in guys and gals giving directions.

Guy giving directions:

drive 343 feet and then make an 80 degree turn right and drive 3.5 miles…


Gal giving the same directions:

drive a short way and you’ll see the Gap on the left and next to it is Ann Taylor and then there’s a light, so you’ll need to be in the right lane and then you turn right and you’ll go past a horse farm and then another one with a broken paddock. A little further down you’ll see a white church with the most gorgeous hydrangea bushes out front… keep going… and just when you think you’ve gone too far… you’ll see the prize of our town, a 400 year old oak tree…


So ladies. Please listen up. The ones who insist that their husbands will leave them if they dare even mention such a thing


Because, when you say:


Honey, I was thinking how cool it would be to paint all of the floors white.


This is what he sees in his mind:

And that is when he freaks out and you have the biggest argument ever except for the time that he said:

“Honey, do you really need to dye your hair brown? Who are we kidding? I can’t believe that it costs $185 to have your hair colored every month.”


“And that is when you need to dip a grilled cheese into the cake.”



Because there’s no way on this freakin’ good earth that you are giving up your hair dye! What is wrong with him?!?

So, you need to arm yourself with plenty of fabulous visuals. Like this post, hopefully. ;] And then you can convince him. However, you have to be very clear on exactly how it’s all going to look and make the house feel so much brighter and stylish. Good luck. :]


Let’s finish off with a few more beautiful painted wood floors



Photo by Sharyn Cairns/News Life Media/Country Style


Michael S Smith

This is a bedroom from the same home as the Gustavian dining room at the top by Mona Nerenberg

Bill Ingram


For a big post about stained wood floors please click here.

Well, folks, here we are. No round ups this year. The best of… What’s coming up and no resolutions either. Well one. Get more sleep!

But there is a lot coming up on the horizon. Big stuff. Lots of great things to look forward to and that I can’t wait to share with you!

But most importantly, I am grateful for all of the kind love and support I get from you guys. I appreciate your suggestions for posts, too!

Here’s to a healthy, successful, prosperous, joyful new year for all!




PS: If you’re interested in some fabulous sales, you can find some great deals here.

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • MIKE - February 9, 2018 - 10:32 PM

    Looks awesome. The wife and i are thinking of doing this to our loft floors. How has it worn? Any issues with traffic?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2018 - 11:08 AM

      Hi Mike,

      I’ve not actually painted my floors. Maybe someone who sees it will chime in. However, what I do know is no matter what finish one is doing on a floor, the proper prep and application methods are imperative for longevity.

      In addition, there are other things that can wreck a finish on a floor. Shoes, sand, salt, grit of any kind. Furniture. Pets. Kids- particularly boys with their trucks and cars. :] the wrong cleaners.

      So proper maintenance and day-to-day use is an important component of longevity of your floor finishes. There’s a lot more info in this post.

  • Korina Trew - January 4, 2018 - 12:33 AM

    UGHHHH. OK, so far I have a flooring person who will DO it, but they are trying to talk me OUT of it. “Antiques look better with a dark floor, white will compete with it”. Mmmmmm…no. I’ve wanted white floors for 20 years and that is what I am getting!!!

    Ok rant over.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 4, 2018 - 1:36 AM

      This is what you say to them.

      “Just STFU and do what I hired you to do.”

      And then show them this post, particularly Albert Hadley’s gorgeous room.

      Can’t stand bossy contractors who think they know it all, but only know what they know which is limited. We’re all limited, but understanding that is key to learning new things and expanding horizons. They neither know nor care to know and that’s sad.

      • Korina Trew - January 4, 2018 - 2:35 AM

        Thank you. I needed to hear that. I actually had a kitchen contractor scoff when I told him I needed at LEAST 6 burners for my stove, and would prefer a sink larger than 36 inches or do 2 sinks. Apparently, “nobody needs 6 burners”. Unless you have a big vegie garden and 45 fruit trees and can a lot of it. Or, maybe I want to cook 50 pancakes at once!

        I really am going to learn to stick to my guns on this whole remodeling business. So tired of people telling me I will not like what I know I will! Its just not that popular wall to wall cabinet look that anybody can design. I don’t want an island, I want a huge dining table.

        I am going to have to send you some before and after pics. (of me and my gray hair!)ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - January 5, 2018 - 10:58 AM

          Hi Korina,

          Unfortunately, with contractors, this is more the rule than the exception. Although, I have found a few that have superb taste levels and will totally understand your vision. Those are the ones that I listen to when they advise against something. And they will give a clear reason why it’s not a good idea and what the options are.

          But depending on where you live and the talent pool, that might be impossible, therefore, do your own research and stick to your guns.

          What time is breakfast BTW? I love pancakes! ReplyCancel

  • Roberta L Laprade - January 3, 2018 - 10:38 AM

    I had the red oak floors bleached and stained white in my beach cottage and love them!! It’s an expensive venture since my floor guy had to bleach them twice to avoid any pink coming through. He followed up with a white stain so the grain still shows through and two coats of matte poly. I actually loved them after bleaching and before the stain went on too!

    So much info here Laurel…great post!!

    Thanks much and Happy 2018 to you!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 3, 2018 - 3:42 PM

      Hi Roberta,

      Sounds great and thanks for sharing your experience! HNY to you as well!ReplyCancel

  • Kiera - January 3, 2018 - 12:44 AM

    I love painted floors although I suspect I will never have them since my husband is a stained floor person. I definitely second the suggestion to have floors professionally done. My husband and I installed his brother’s bedroom floor as a Christmas present. We were young and foolish and learned our lesson –
    never, NEVER again. It was 15 years ago and I still have periodic nightmares. It’s not just the layers of sanding and prep and painting (paint or poly), it’s the incessant dust that gets everywhere, no matter how much you vacuum and wipe. I had dust in places I never knew dust could infiltrate. And I always saw every tiny speck of dust we missed that got caught in the coats of poly, which was maddening in a way that I don’t think it would be have been if someone else had done the floor.

    I will say, though, the drum sander was a lot of fun to use.ReplyCancel

  • Libby - January 2, 2018 - 8:59 PM

    Happy New Year, Laurel! I learned a lot from this blog post.

    I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy another trip this year. Whether it be a vacation, a tour, or more trips to the ballet; I wish that for you.

    I look forward to your posts and am excited for 2018.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 2, 2018 - 10:10 PM

      Thanks so much Libby. I’m working on another trip that isn’t purely business. We’ll see. And thank you so much and I wish the same for you whatever your dreams are, I hope that they come true!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - January 2, 2018 - 2:35 PM

    I can’t even get my hubby to like white painted walls. He thinks white walls with white trim looks bare or boring. Its hard to explain that all the stuff you put in the room breaks up all the white. Its just hard to explain anything to people who are not visual. On a side note we are thinking of installing a wood stove insert into our fireplace and I want to update the look of our 70’s brick fireplace. If you do a post on fireplaces I would be really interested. I know you’ve done one before but most of those were painted white and the hubby is not going to go for that. thanks.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 2, 2018 - 10:09 PM

      Hi Amy,

      There are a ton of images in this blog that feature gorgeous white rooms. But he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. You know? There are also a ton of fireplace posts. Just put in fireplaces in the search box. Or fireplace mantels. Not all of them are white. ReplyCancel

  • Korina Trew - January 1, 2018 - 10:21 PM

    Ok, I’ve got a contractor coming on Wednesday. I have old fir floors everywhere except in the kitchen, which was added on later. (of course on top of the fir flooring is 3/4″ particle board and a metric sh#t ton of nails, but we won’t discuss that for now)

    I was going to do 1 inch white hex tiles. Then we discovered we have old pine TG floors but the gaps are too wide I think to paint and not collect all kinds of goobers. I have ALWAYS wanted white painted floors, hubby is on board.

    So. I was thinking I could install some wood flooring and have it painted, then I can have the fir floors painted(stop gasping, it will be beautiful) or install the new stuff if the fir is too beat up from said metric sh#t ton of nails. Question is…what kind of wood flooring do I buy to have painted??? (and yes, I know you probably haven’t a clue, but its not stopping me from being annoying and asking anyway 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Ramona Fernandez - January 2, 2018 - 2:15 AM

      What about filling the gaps with some sort of liquid which hardens and then painting over everything?

      you can test in a closet and see how it goes.

      I love white floors/pickled floors, what ever you want to call it.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - January 2, 2018 - 10:49 AM

        Thank you Ramona; Korina needs to speak with her flooring professional. I know that you mean well, however, I prefer to have comments address the post, not individual issues that folks are having. Right now, it’s only me, myself and I doing everything, including moderating and answering comments. Things could get totally out of hand if we turn posts into a help forum. Hope that you’ll understand.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 1, 2018 - 11:38 PM

      Great intuition. :] I haven’t a clue but I fully understand your frustration and anxiety over all of this. I would speak with your contractor about the possibilities. Good luck with that!ReplyCancel

  • nancy keyes - January 1, 2018 - 11:38 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    We’ve had many painted floors and always loved them!When I bought “the” first Atlanta house, 1979, I had most of the floors pickled, whitewashed with water base poly. We lived in that house for 29 years and always loved them. They were really easy to clean and didn’t scratch with various generations of poodle toenails. Over the years we replaced floors with oak in 2 rooms and I painted them also and adored them. A few other houses and always a floor or 2 painted. Here I have only painted the staircases and my dressing room, but swoon every time I see that Albert Hadley room and trying to take the plunge! This post has my “wheels” spinning! Have a wonderful New Year! With Love from, NancyReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 1, 2018 - 3:44 PM

      Hi Nancy,

      Oh man! I forgot that your old house had painted floors. But I do think that your current one would look spectacular with white floors. And it’s not just because I’d love to do another before and after! haha. But that would be so cool! Either way, your home is beyond gorgeous! Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

      • nancy keyes - January 1, 2018 - 3:52 PM

        Thank you # 1 fan! Nancy Pyne’s house is one of my all time favorites and I keep dreaming of those floors. You will be the first to know!XOReplyCancel

  • mary - January 1, 2018 - 11:24 AM

    Hey Laurel, Happy New Year! I love, love your blog and really look forward to all your posts. I am in the process of a huge renovation of a 1937 English vernacular cottage in Tampa Florida. I sell antiques and vintage furniture and have dabbled in interior design. I’m use antiques, with modern art, some English Chintz, chinoiserie and some mid century pieces. Regarding the wood floors, some are oak , some are pine. Did I read on your blog that you are fan of dark stained floors ? I like traditional high gloss wood floors but am contemplating the idea of having them all stained dark for a more updated look. Any thoughts.

    Thanks again for all the hard work and good advice you put into your blog.

    • Laurel Bern - January 1, 2018 - 3:42 PM

      Hi Mary,

      Happy New Year to you as well!

      I do love dark floors, but they do have a tendency to show dust more. It might be better if they are glossier. Don’t know if you have humidity issues, but if the house has been there for 80 years, it must be okay.

      My old boss from the 90s used a combo of Jacobean and Special walnut with oil-based fabulon – and her floors were incredibly gorgeous. But of course, always do samples!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - December 31, 2017 - 7:46 PM

    Happy New Year Laurel – wishing you a very prosperous one…if the addition of ads helps you achieve that end then I say your blog content and humor are well worth it!!!ReplyCancel

  • molli - December 31, 2017 - 5:51 PM

    Laurel, Happy New Year

    Love your blog! I wanted light floor in my master when I had reclaimed oak installed after years old carpet.
    I had it done pro but he wasn’t used to whitewash Listened to a blog that said use Clorox and water. MISTAKE. He soaked the old wood and had to run fans for almost 6 months to dry the old wood Never felt so stupid !!
    Finally used Sherwin Williams white base with 2xwhite added. I love it. # 3coats water based poly Love it but I can tell the water based poly is not going to be a durable as the oil based that is on the floors in the rest of my 100 years old house!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 11:35 PM

      Hi Molli,
      In my experience, you are right about the oil-based being more durable, but it tends to have a yellow tinge and so wouldn’t work for the white floors. ReplyCancel

  • Linda - December 31, 2017 - 5:39 PM

    I stenciled the nursery floor for my now 19 year old granddaughter. It was an old house in Alabama and I loved it after I finally got up off the floor. When my son sold the house he said it was that floor everyone wanted. Glad I did one but don’t think my hips and knees could do it againReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 11:33 PM

      Hi Linda,

      I bet that it was darling! Lovely memories except for the back! HNY!ReplyCancel

  • Gayle Thompson - December 31, 2017 - 2:05 PM

    I was excited when you said you were going to write about painted floors as I did this in almost my entire house! Back story: got tired of renting after divorce, interest rates were at historical lows, so bought an “as is” fixer upper in a nice neighborhood. Little did I know how much “as is” there was, even with an inspection! When they pulled up orange shag carpeting there was wet, rotted press board underneath. Couldn’t afford hard wood (because of everything else that had to be done) so had best grade sub flooring material put down. Took many hours, almost one month of working every day. Sanded, patched all seams and nail holes, sanded again. Two coats primer (sanding in between), painted 2 coats top coat, then taped various striped rugs in 3 rooms, one free form design in a bedroom and just a border around another. Taped and painted, removing tape each time so when dry, it wouldn’t stick to the floor then taping over the same places to repaint. Top coat 2 layers with a poly. They are beautiful and after almost 5 years are like new. My contractor who thought I was crazy and lots of handymen I’ve had in all love them. So yes, I think it is a DIY job, but you have to be dedicated, and maybe a little crazy. Love your blog and always look forward to it. Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 3:32 PM

      Hi Gayle,

      Thank you for sharing your great reno story! But I think that I need a nap now! lol Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Kemp - December 31, 2017 - 1:32 PM


    You are sure a bright spot in my day each time I read your “blog”, if that is the correct term. I’m still trying to keep up with technology. Also, I was laughing about the direction paragraph, men and women. Let’s face it, the details do matter.

    Lastly, my son works for a company that watches and displays those annoying ads on your site. This type of marketing in “PPC”, pay per click. My son remarked, “Mom, know everything about you”. Now how frightening is that! Not really, but you get the picture.

    Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:47 PM

      Hi Barbara,

      Happy New Year!

      Yes, this is a blog, which some may not know is short for “web log.”

      I do like numbers, so I’ve always been a little more man-like in that one area.

      Actually, these are not PPC ads. They are RPM ads which for the 99.9% who have no idea what that means, means rate per 1,000 page impressions. Very interesting how it works.

      I could’ve gotten even more “annoying” lol and had a bottom “sticky ad” they call it, but I hate those things, even though they pay very well which is why so many bloggers have them… They are better than they used to be. I wrote something in a previous post or note to subscribers that I’m trying to strike a balance between not being too annoying and also being able to fulfill my financial obligations.ReplyCancel

  • sharon - December 31, 2017 - 1:30 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Happy New Year! Love your blog and looking forward to next year’s topics with you.

    Years ago I painted my daughter’s large bedroom wood floor white. The walls were navy with white trim. The color of everything else was blue and white with a blue and white striped Dhurrie rug. Loved it and recently we are looking for a project house. I am leaning toward painted floors with a border or maybe a large tile pattern. We live in a coastal city and I think it would be lovely and a bit fun to do throughout a home.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:37 PM

      Hi Sharon,

      That all sounds wonderful! Happy New Year to you as well!ReplyCancel

  • Jo Galbraith - December 31, 2017 - 1:29 PM

    Love this post Laurel! Wishing you all the best for 2018 dear!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa D. - December 31, 2017 - 1:04 PM

    Great post Laurel. Very informative with lots of valuable links, but for some reason, and this may be my poor tech skills, I could not pull up the English guy’s you tube video.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:35 PM

      Oh dear, she said all red-faced! Thanks for pointing that out! It was a mistake. I had left the raw link up for reference but forgot or didn’t notice that I hadn’t hyper-linked it so the only way it would’ve worked, is to copy and paste it directly into your browser. I fixed it, though. Yeesh. My internet was giving me fits last night. I think that my entire building must’ve been home watching netflix or something. :/ It only happens at night, so it must be something like that.ReplyCancel

  • Eleanor Clark - December 31, 2017 - 12:35 PM

    For anyone considering this, here is my experience painting floors. In our old house we refinished the 1st floor oak but the upstairs flooring were 100 year old pine floors and were painted a very dull brown. We repainted them using white floor/deck paint and a speciality primer. We did several coats and allowed it to cure. It turned out similar to the McClure image and was a great look. Like any other floor, it will scratch and scrape but it will be way more obvious. We had some vicious scrapes from furniture being moved which revealed the brown underneath. If I was going to do it again, I would definitely use several costs of water-based poly topcoat and just use regular paint. It would give the extra protection. Also, white floors are not as difficult to clean as one might think. We had a Dalmatian and two toddlers with those floors. His nails never created a deep scratch that we noticed..but these were 100 year old pine floors to begin with…ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:32 PM

      Thanks so much Eleanor for the great rundown of your experience. I think that the poly is a must, unless one wants the worn look. ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - December 31, 2017 - 11:55 AM

    Hello Laurel, You never even mentioned spattered paint floors. During the time when literary people and exurbanites were restoring old Colonial houses, everyone oohed and aahed over old (or new) spattered paint floors. with the wilder patterns it must be like living in a Jackson Pollock painting!

    Happy New Year!

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:30 PM

      Hi Jim,

      Happy New Year! Hmmm… a spattered floor is what mine looks like after I attempt to paint the walls. haha! ReplyCancel

  • Alice Wohlgemuth - December 31, 2017 - 11:51 AM

    Thank you for a wonderful year! I look for your posts and always share your humor!! You’re a funny woman with exquisite taste-a rare combination. Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:27 PM

      Hi Alice,

      What a kind thing to say; thank you so much! Happy New Year to you as well!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - December 31, 2017 - 11:35 AM

    Dearest Laurel,
    Wishing you a Happy New Year! Just want to add that I’m so glad I found your blog, as you have helped me tremendously with figuring out my own style. Love your writing and humor and always look forward to reading the latest post!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:22 PM

      Hi Lisa,

      Happy New Year! And so glad that I’m able to help you through the blog. That’s so cool!ReplyCancel

  • Sylvia Gillis - December 31, 2017 - 11:18 AM

    Happy New year to you Laurel!
    I know that you have had a very busy year, and I am excited to see and learn all that you have in store for all your followers in 2018.
    I absolutely love and enjoy your blog. I read it from top to bottom,always learning something, saving every article….and always enjoying your amazing humor.
    Thank you for all you share with us, and know that you are a gift to me!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:20 PM

      Oh, that is so kind Sylvia! I’ve learned so much too! And I’m at the point, where I can’t even remember all of the posts and sometimes when I’m looking for something, I’ll go back and reread and think, “did I do that?” I really do often go into a kind of a zone– almost trance-like. It used to drive my kids nuts, but they’re long out of my hair now. Happy New Year to you too!ReplyCancel

  • Tricia Heliker - December 31, 2017 - 10:15 AM

    Great post, Laurel. I second your suggestion to hire someone to do this kind of work. I painted large diamonds on my foyer floor in black. Some years later (when I was some years older) I decided to make them gray to better suit my new color scheme. I wasn’t sure my back was going to recover. Seriously, it was not good! Looking forward to a New Year of your posts.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:17 PM

      Oooh… sorry about your back, but it’s true which is why the warning. In fact, one of my favorite floor guys pretty much lost his career by age 50. Done. Kaput.ReplyCancel

  • teresa Stanley - December 31, 2017 - 9:48 AM

    Some of those floors looked marvelous. I found myself liking a light floor. Then tomorrow I’ll see a dark floor and love that, haha. This makes for difficult decision making. Harvey has taken away but also given me an opportunity to make some much needed changes in flooring. A lot of flooring. The good news is that I’m looking into local design help because…..I may have priors for screwing things up:DReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:14 PM

      Hi Teresa,

      It’s so easy to screw things up. This is not easy stuff. I mean, would you do your own root canal? lol I like dark floors too. Sigh… but if someone forced me to choose, I’d go with white on white and gorgeous windows and mouldings and then maybe a dark, moody library or den.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Dietz - December 31, 2017 - 9:44 AM

    May the best of the New Year come your way. Thanks for the humor, beauty, and advice. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Donna - December 31, 2017 - 9:16 AM


    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:11 PM

      They are there to pay for all of the annoying bills I have. ReplyCancel

  • Mary - December 31, 2017 - 8:59 AM

    Happy New Years, Laurel!
    Thank you so much for the past year of decorating, design, & humor.
    I do have a question…Maria Killam has said that white painted rooms look best in spaces that get a lot of natural light. Do you think that applies to painted floors also?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:09 PM

      Well… when the sun goes down, all rooms are dark. ;] But yes, I would tend to agree but if it’s a situation where all of the floors need to be painted, then of course, it’s fine.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - December 31, 2017 - 8:36 AM

    Really helpful post. Thank you! What are your views on painting stair risers trim color white (and leaving treads the floor stain)? We have been advised if we go with a darker floor stain (e.g. dark walnut)that the white risers will help open up the stairway visually. We are in a small post-war 1940s colonial home so stairway is not that big/wide. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:07 PM

      I always paint the risers the same color as the trim which is usually white. I’m not fond of stain unless the entire room is paneled and stained or for some other reason that the white wouldn’t make sense.ReplyCancel

  • moema - December 31, 2017 - 8:34 AM

    So happy to read this post! We have an early 1800s home with painted floors in the kitchen/living room (although not original floors) and a painted staircase (all painted Revere Pewter). I wasn’t sure i was going to like it, but it’s very nice. Problem is that it shows every speck of dirt, dog hair, human hair, etc., even a moment after it’s been cleaned. Still love it, though–for the look and the cleanspiration.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:06 PM

      Well, like I always say: “just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there!” haha But I love painted just about anything! Not that I don’t like wood; I just like it more sparingly.ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia - December 31, 2017 - 8:27 AM

    Love you and your blog, Laurel. Found you 4 or 5 years ago when we needed to get our 1785 Georgian ready to sell and realized the trim colors in every room were different! I googled best white trim colors and voila, there you were….have not stopped reading or singing your praises! Great info and always a few chuckles along the way.

    Best to you in 2018!

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 1:04 PM

      Hi Cynthia,

      Oh, that is so sweet and glad that google sent you my way! Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • Val - December 31, 2017 - 8:26 AM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am “Penny Peynted-Eenakorner”, or rather one of them 🙂 What a brilliant post and a lot of references to other sources. Have a great New Year eve and a great New Year, Laurel!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 11:54 AM

      Hi Val,

      Thank you so much and especially for all of your kind support for quite some time now! It’s funny, speaking of sources, but about an hour ago, something told me to check Loi’s link. This never happens, but I saw that I linked to his post, but when I hovered over it, it was the wrong freaking link! Must’ve been the link fairy looking after me!

      But I was having massive internet problems last night and so writing this thing was like slogging through mud for about 4 hours which should’ve been two hours. I think it has to do with folks being home and watching netflix or something because it only seems to happen at night. Happy New Year to you too!ReplyCancel

  • HeidiP - December 31, 2017 - 8:21 AM

    Happy new year Laurel!! Thank you thank you for all of the amazing postsReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 11:49 AM

      Thank you so much Heidi and Happy New Year to you too!ReplyCancel

  • Caroline @ The Hyphenated Home - December 31, 2017 - 7:54 AM

    My parents have floors painted black throughout their entire house in the Hamptons, which was the way it was when they bought it. The previous owners had some sort of dark, safari/Egyptian vibe to the house, which was horrible, but my parents (well, my mom) decided to keep the black floors and see if they would work. They look BEAUTIFUL. As long as you have some decent size area rugs (like seagrass) it doesn’t make the room look dark at all and all colors + wood furniture look lovely next to them. I wish I had a photo!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 11:49 AM

      Hi Caroline,

      I believe you, but the thought that someone would do a safari/Egyptian thing at a beach house in New York, is a little odd–even for me! haha!ReplyCancel

  • Allyson Kirkpatrick-Clark - December 31, 2017 - 7:06 AM

    If its done right, painted wood floors can be stunning, as your photos show when done by McClure, Ingram, Smith, etc. Hire the right professionals to do it. The title of this blog is misleading. I thought to myself, Am I going to totally disagree with Laurel for the first time????? But then you show many of the examples that have inspired me to go for a painted floor.
    Happy New Year,

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 11:47 AM

      Hi Allyson,

      Well, I never lie in my headlines, there are reasons that it’s a bad idea. It’s a bad idea to do it yourself in most cases. But yes, the ambiguity is what makes it hopefully compelling to read. Believe me, when I do a boring headline, it is read far less. I also have only so many words I’m allowed to use. Who knew?

      Happy New Year! And please send pics of your painted floor if you like.ReplyCancel

  • joanna - December 31, 2017 - 5:43 AM

    Wonderful, Laurel ! ( & yet I still can’t decide whether to paint mine ). I’ve only been considering it for 10 years.

    Perhaps 2018 is the time to bite the bullet…just hope I don’t choke on it.

    Much love for a happy & healthy New Year.


    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 11:42 AM

      haha! on the ten years consideration part. I can relate! I forgot to mention in the post that whoa back in ’96 when we got rid of our disgusting pink carpeting. (yes, we bought a home with wall to wall pink carpeting!) We finally after 5 years of living with it put in a hardwood floor. Every hammer of the nail made me so happy! The day before the floor was 100% in, we went on vacay for a week, but as I walked past the fresh floorboards with that heady new wood smell, I ADORED the pale oak color so much, I wished that it could just stay that way. I love them stained too.

      Actually, we had Swedish neighbors who had just moved away but they had a white floor and it was so, so pretty!ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - December 31, 2017 - 1:41 AM

    We own a historic home (1919) that had white painted floors when we moved in. The painted floors were original to the home and had, at some point, been covered by hideous carpet. So they were in fabulous condition considering their age.

    Our floor guy just sanded the paint off and revealed gorgeous heart pine flooring.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 31, 2017 - 2:09 AM

      Oh sounds wonderful! But I’ll never understand how folks can buy a historic home with such beautiful materials and cover it with gross carpeting.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Crisp - December 31, 2017 - 1:16 AM

    Wishing you a happy and successful 2018! Thanks for these brilliant articles and the humor you do so well!ReplyCancel