8 painted floor ideas you can DIY –transform your space from the ground up

Decorative DIY painted floor ideas for a unique look that won't break the bank.

Mono stripe flooring in bathroom
(Image credit: Walls & Floors)

Forget the carpet, and let flooring steal the show with painted floor ideas that you can easily DIY to transform your space, from the ground up! 

From creating a patterned rug effect in bathrooms and mudrooms, to adding interest with jaunty stripes in the living room or bedroom, painting floorboards will give every space a near-instant uplift. Plus, adding pitter-patter personality across baron floors underfoot is a DIY job that even beginners can tackle in a day or two.

All you need is the best paint for wood, some careful prep and a little creativity which we can help you with.

Easy painted floor ideas that tell a colorful floor story

Penny Swift, writer at Zen Soundproof (opens in new tab), comments: Of all the surfaces in our homes, there is little doubt that floors take the greatest hammering. They are also a source of noise in the home, which is one reason that soundproofing our homes is so important. But I digress.’

‘Most of us cover our floors with tiles or carpets, which help to create a buffer from any noise. Both tiles and carpets are commonly laid over concrete floors. People see them as the only options. Wood, on the other hand, is usually sealed so that it doesn’t deteriorate and can be mopped clean. The realization that all floors can be painted is something that surprises many people. But the trick is to use products that will survive being stomped on the day in and day out!’

And when it comes to the benefits of painted floors, Swift continues: If you or anybody in your family is allergic to house dust, painted floors could be the answer. Even if the surface covering doesn’t last as long as carpets, it’s going to cost less, may well look more attractive, and will be a lot cheaper to replace.’

Wondering which floor paint to use? Rust-Oleum HOME floor coating (opens in new tab) is an innovative and time-saving choice for the majority of floor types. Its revolutionary technology allows you to coat over a wide variety of substrates inside the home without stripping, sanding, or priming - result!

1. Play floor games with an oversized harlequin pattern

Bathroom with large scale harlequin painted pattern on floorboards

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Learn how to refinish a hardwood floor, and seal the deal with playful painted diamonds in a contrasting shade. The harlequin pattern is a historical decor fave, and when painted (as opposed to tiled), and supersized in scale, it takes on a fresh, modern attitude. 

Sibling to checkerboard floors which are laid in a straight pattern, just like a game of chess or checkers, harlequin floors mix things up on the diagonal, changing up the dynamic in any space. 

You’ll need a bit of patience and tape skills to recreate this look, but it’s oh so worth it! Helpfully, we’re here to guide you every ‘check-point’ of the way with how to paint classic checkerboard floors

2. Create the illusion of added space with stripes

Painted wide stripes on wood flooring in soft gray and white

(Image credit: Knobs.co)

Flooring is often laid in planks (obviously), so in theory, the stripes are already there - they just need some color and pattern injection to make them sing! Introduce patterns into your home and get creative with striped flooring ideas to add depth to your space, whilst also creating the illusion of added space. 

It’s up to you how zebra-stripes you want to go with color combinations. Take a two-tone approach with contrasting shades; create an ombre paint effect with graduated tonal shades, or paint stripes in different thicknesses for a more improvised take if you’re feeling extra adventurous. 

No.29 Design has us covered on how to paint stripes on floors (opens in new tab). Which color duo tickles your toes? 

3. Create a two-tone scheme with cheerful colors

Green walls and pink painted floor contrast, with decoupage dresser

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Paint can have a transformative effect on any space. Energize and elevate your interior, whilst adding drama and depth with contrasting shades on walls and floors. Why settle for one color when you can have two? Painted floorboards are a quick project to cover up ugly wood floorboards, mid reno too. 

Shown here, inspired by nature, emotive pink and restful green make a striking yet cosseting statement in a bedroom (but would work equally well in a two-tone living room) - a swoon color duo for 2021 and 2022. For a more subtle look that still washes your space in gentle color, choose two chalky pastel shades.

4. Use stencils for a decorative rug effect

Bathroom with decorative stencilled floor design

(Image credit: Nicolette Tabram Stencils)

In areas like wet rooms and kitchens where rugs just aren’t practical, let floor stencils transform floorboards in a day, to add interest and decorative details. Browse and buy from a huge selection of reusable floor stencils (opens in new tab) from Cutting Edge Stencils. 

Kris Lippi, licensed real estate broker, ISoldMyHouse.com (opens in new tab), comments: ‘If there are faded or discolored areas on the floor, consider painting that area with a pattern that resembles a rug. This is an excellent option if placing a rug isn't convenient for you, and you can't keep up with its maintenance. You can select from a wide range of patterns and stencils accessible online, including bright Moroccan-style stencils and country-style patterns. Choose a style that complements the look and personality of your home.’

5. Go bright in white

Japandi living room scheme with white painted floorboards

(Image credit: Dulux)

A favorite color choice for white living room ideas owing to its light-bouncing properties, space-enhancing wizardry, versatility, and timelessness, to name but a few, this go-to neutral dazzles wherever it goes - walls, ceilings, and flooring. 

Painted floorboards retain the textural warmth of the natural grain for a gorgeous rustic look, but with a chic Japandi edge, making them a perfect choice for relaxed settings with a sense of style. (Don’t forget the best mops for ultra-clean floors to keep your white delight floor spotless!)

6. Fill unused spaces with a graphic chevron design

Graphic chevron painted floor design in black and white

(Image credit: dosfamily.com)

Banish messy flooring molehills, and elevate your wooden boards into a striking mountainscape with snazzy chevron zig-zags in a monochrome palette. What’s not to love about a stop-in-your-tracks statement full of modern sass!

Kris Lippi, licensed real estate broker, ISoldMyHouse.com (opens in new tab), comments: ‘Each house has a number of empty floor areas. These are typically found in entryways or in between rooms in a home with an open floor plan. Painting those sections with a chevron pattern is a terrific approach to give your home a fresh look and fill empty space. When painting a chevron pattern, choose colors that complement one another. An effective color scheme for chevron designs are black and white, or try an interior paint color trend 2022.’

Conquer the ‘twin peaks’ flooring dream, and recreate this look with  Dos Family’s fabulous tutorial on how to paint a chevron floor (opens in new tab)

7. Combine paint with decoupage paper on stairs

Colorful stairs painted in mint hue with decoupage paper idea on risers

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

This effective staircase paint idea will transform your hallway into a highlight of the home - bursting with pattern and personality. And it’s a fun and calming craft for any age and ability to try! Create a unique look with mix and match decoupage paper designs, or use a single wallpaper design for a more cohesive run. Paint railings and steps in a complementary color to balance busy patterns and unify the overall look and feel. 

Breathe excitement into well-trodden stairs. If you fancy the idea of a DIY scrapbook paper stairs makeover (opens in new tab), Color Me Thrifty will lead you all the way up the stairs (literally.)

8. Cheat and use a vinyl decal in a kid's room

Kids' room with racing track floor decal

(Image credit: Oakdene Design)

Whatever your little munchkins are into - racing cars, sailing, nature trails, etc, try this fun kids’ bedroom idea and utilize the floor space as a play area with a fun vinyl sticker that doubles up as an interesting focal point. If you’re feeling artistic, you could try painting a bespoke design instead. 

Surprise your cheeky monkeys with TenStickers’ fantastic collection of vinyl flooring stickers (opens in new tab) - and let decals spread delight! 

What are the best ways to paint floors? 

Penny Swift, writer at Zen Soundproof comments: 'There are many ways that you can paint floors, but the best involves a bit of creativity. You don’t have to be a talented artist to achieve a great effect, but some artistic vision does help.' 

Here are some ideas:

1. Create a marble effect on floors, dividing it into sections that look like marble tiles.

2. Do the same by creating a granite effect, which is a lot easier for an amateur paint technique enthusiast to achieve.

3. Try marquetry on a wooden floor. All you do is seal the entire floor, and then when it’s 100% dry, tape the floor to create a simple marquetry effect with alternate light and dark squares. Seal every alternate square with a darker sealant. 

4. Use stencils to make patterns and borders that look like pretty carpets.

5. Paint a carpet on the floor using either stencils or graphics. 

What are the right materials to paint floors?

You need durable paint to withstand high traffic, so avoid using latex or water-based paints that aren’t resistant to moisture and chemicals. 

Swift continues: 'This takes a bit of research because not all materials work on floors. Ultimately, the key to a successful floor finish lies in the topcoat that will protect the paint finish below. Just be aware that many hard-wearing varnishes tend to yellow. If you take this into account when you design the colors for your floor, you’ll be okay.'

Valspar has some good options for wooden floors and porches which you can find on Amazon. (opens in new tab)

Holly Phillips

Holly is a Content Editor at Real Homes, and has previously worked at Future Homes brands including Country Homes & Interiors and Livingetc. She has a background in interior and event styling spanning a decade, which previously took her from coast to city and beyond to Australia. 


Holly loves working with creative minds and discovering fresh, indie brands, and is a firm believer that no home can have too many cushions, unruly blooms or decorative details of happy

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