Design For Bedroom
Transforming new boards
A little artful distressing, wood stain and the rich colours of this stencil design combine to give the impression of an authentic old floor, even though the floorboards are new, inexpensive pine boards.
Stencils are the classic painted floor finish. A repeated all-over design is simple to do and gives a satisfying richness to a room. Pick combinations of colours from old carpets that feel comfortable with the rest of your room and its contents.
Look for, and copy, illustrations of eighteenth-century floors stencilled with seductive irregularity and panache: decorators then considered the floor as a huge canvas to be enjoyed as a whole – with great vigorous borders, strong designs of wreaths and fan-shapes in the corners or around the edges, and medallions with birds or beasts or heraldic devices in the centre of the floor.
For a large choice of colour, use pow der paint – if possible, first grind it very finely in a pestle and mortar. Mix the powder w’ith varnish. The finished floor will need many layers of clear varnish – with extra layers for areas of hard wear – to protect the paint and allow the floor to be cleaned. Allow at least 24 hours between applying each coat of varnish.
1 New floorboards need some ruthless treatment before you begin to paint, to make them look old. Use a screwdriver, blades and a hammer to scratch and bruise the wood.
2 Apply a stain to the bare boards. Choose a medium-toned colour for the stain – nothing too rich or dark which might overwhelm the paint finish. These pine boards are stained with walnut.
Once you have decided on the pattern for the floor, mark out the area. Find the middle of the area first, with string fastened diagonally across the corners, and draw up reference squares for repeating patterns.
4 Mix powder paint with varnish until you have a thick, viscous consistency. Following the guidelines, lay the stencil on the floor and apply the paint with a stencil brush. When dry, apply several protective coats of varnish.