We’ve always loved the white painted floors that are especially prominent on Scandinavian design blogs and magazines, like these from the home of Danish stylist Sidsel Zachariassen.  We wondered  what the secret is to making them both pristine and durable. We found the answer in a Dwell slideshow about the smart, frugal renovation of a small two-bedroom apartment by two very clever Finnish designers who weren’t afraid to d-i-themselves.

“It took Susanna several layers of sanding—and then finally tossing her water-based paint and selecting the proper oil-based formula—to get the floor as white as she’d envisioned. But she couldn’t be happier with the result. ‘The apartment looks bigger when there are white surfaces for the light to bounce on,’ she says.”

Patient sanding between coats + the right paint are the keys. Add this information to this great how-to from Real Simple, and advice we clipped years ago from the now defunct Cottage Living, and you can paint your own woods floors white, or any color you like.

Petra Bindel/Dwell

“Painted floors are a favorite for many reasons: They’re easy to maintain, they cover up a multitude of flaws, and they add a light and cheerful quality to any room.

Whether you’ve just uncovered hardwood floors or enjoyed them for years, a new coat of paint can instantly freshen the room. You’ll probably have to sand hardwood floors first so the paint will adhere well. Experts offer different opinions on what type of paint works best: Options include exterior or porch paint, as well as interior wall paint. (We recommend the former. If you choose interior wall paint, you’ll have to seal it with polyurethane.)

But don’t worry too much about durability—painted floors tend to improve with age. Foot traffic inevitably scuffs and wears down the paint, giving the floors a soft patina. Some people have even used sandpaper to hurry along that weathered look.” — Cottage Living

Top photo via Desire to Inspire.

Related posts: fling and be flung (jackson pollock)
a painted (floor) rug
dept of painted floors: apple green
painted floors with a surprise

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5 replies on “the secret of white painted floors

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  2. We painted our master bedroom hardwood floors white using Valspar Porch and Floor paint (latex, not oil). Because it is designed/formulated for floors, there is no need to use a sealer on them. It’s been 4 years and they still look great!

    Of course there are a few little dings but that means we live in our home 🙂

    We have also used Sherwin Williams Porch and Floor paint in latex on our outdoor deck. It’s our main entrance to the house, gets lots of use and gets shoveled off in winter. It needs a few little touch ups every spring, but it has held up very well.

    Porch and floor paints are made for well…..porches and floors. Use them and you’ll be quite happy!

  3. Thanks for this great info (always great when it’s the result of first hand experience). I recently repainted my floors with Benjamin Moore Porch and Floor paint, which is truly great stuff, with a way better technology than when I first did mine 7 years ago.

  4. Where is the floor from pls ?

  5. Sorry, I don’t know. It was a random photo found in the early days of Improvised Life. But good info: I’ve painted my own plywood floors. Search “painted floors” in Improvised Life and you’ll find a lot of info.

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