Design Interior Living
Effects with paint
Painted floors can look fresh and breezy – reminiscent of seaside duck-boarding – and require much less violent exertion than sanding and sealing. They do have to be scrubbed clean, but not necessarily sanded to glassy perfection. Make sure any loose boards are secured. If you have to replace a floor, you can forgo real wood floorboards: hardboard
Stone floor A handsome bluestone slab floor adds character to a modern American house. It caused havoc to begin with – the owners painted the stone too thickly with boiled linseed oil and went away for a week, instead of wiping off the excess and wax-polishing a day later. The abandoned oil set like toffee and they had to strip the entire floor.
Tiled floor This marvellous mixture of rich natural colours and textures articulates a change in level between half-timbered cottage and extension. Small touches, like laying the pammets diagonally and alternating terracotta with black, make a huge difference to the floor’s success grooved to look like timber planks and laid on a chipboard foundation can be just as effective once you have painted it with theatrical panache.
For an overall background colour either stain the wood (see below) or apply a paint primer and an undercoat. The design itself will need hardwearing eggshell paint or a mix of powder paint and varnish (use matt varnish, if you dislike a shiny finish). If your penchant is for the theatrical, you could paint your floor in great swirls of autumnal colours. For a slightly less dominant look, you could fabricate a harlequin pattern of tiles – dark red and British racing green look good together; or fake a Turkish carpet or a simplified French Aubusson rug in soft colours.
If you want something quicker and easier, simply paint a wide border round the room – a geometric design on a plain ground looks very effective.
For perfect finesse, you could distress the area just inside the door, to make it look footworn, and leave the paint under the window slightly more opaque to look time-bleached. Finally, seal the whole floor with several layers of polyurethane varnish.