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Tips and Tricks

Easy Flooring DIY on a Budget


This easy flooring idea is for the lazy DIY-er.  Someone who wants an easy flooring idea with maximum impact, that’s cheap and something any skill level can DIY.

This one is a little out of my normal wheelhouse, but I wanted to go on record with the single DIY project I’ve ever done that turned out legit.  Let’s flash back to trying a basement floor epoxy that never dried and was like the floor of a movie theater after BOGO soda night.  I found this out as huge chunks of the paint stuck to my feet.   Good times.

Time to DIY

I love our house so much, but I feel like a lot of owning an older home is finding ways to redo or live with questionable design decisions from the 70s.  Like our formerly carpeted kitchen (y tho??).  On move-in, our fabulous, sunny front porch featured a poop brown carpet and an eye-searing green paint on every available surface.  Once the poop brown carpet came up, it revealed a poop brown painted floor.  The color that just keeps on giving.  A redo was a must do.

Now if I had a magic wand, I would magically strip any and all painted original woodwork but since that wasn’t a realistic option, I first tried painting the floor a neutral grey.  I honestly had no idea you needed to seal a painted floor and it looked like trash in about a month.  Plus just a plain, flat neutral just looked fine — it got the job done, but not gonna stop anyone in their tracks by any means.  So this time I set it out to get it done and actually have it stay done plus add a little more of a wowza factor.  This flooring DIY is the easiest of easy and cheap to boot.  Anyone who knows my painting skills can attest to the fact that if I did it, it is in fact easy.   The floor I redid here is a wood plank, but after this turned out so well, I’ve tried  something similar on a vinyl tile floor and had good luck with both types of flooring surfaces.  The key to all of this is a good sealer, which I’ll get into later!

Pros to a stenciled floor:

  • If your floor is a bit rough — like when you ripped up the carpet your husband told you to sand the floor before you painted but you did not and you just had to roll with it (literally).  Unlike a flat paint, the stencil distracts from any floor mess-ups and just lets your eye roll over them a little more.
  • You don’t really need to be that exact –I researched peel and stick patterned floor tiles, but I knew I would need to get it exact, but I knew I would not get it exact as that has never happened even once.  Stencils are way more forgiving, especially when you go with shades close in color (see below).
  • It’s easy!  I was intimidated by stencils because I saw so many crisp, high-contrast examples on Pinterest, but this was so simple to execute.

Tips & Tricks for Choosing Stencils and Paint

  • If possible, choose a background color and a stencil color that are just a few shades off like I mentioned above.   This way is way more forgiving that a high contrast scenario.  If it bleeds a bit, or you miss a little on one part of the stencil, it really blends.
  • I used just a regular latex paint for both the light and dark grey that we had hanging around from other wall painting projects.  The stencil color especially is a great way to use up leftover paint that you just don’t want to get rid of but also never use.
  • Sealer is the absolute key point here.  I used Varathane Diamond Floor Finish and have been really happy with it!

Painting Tips & Tricks

  • Use a foam roller versus a fluffy one for a smoother and crisper stenciling.  Plus it keeps the paint from gobbing up in the stencil, especially when you have a stencil design with a lot going on  like the one I used.  Here’s a link to my stencil 3-pack that I used.
  • Use a few pieces of masking tape (I re-used them for most of the job) to keep the stencil in place as you go.  This is a small step but makes it WAY easier.  Pro tip, don’t let your preschooler run off with your only roll of masking tape prior to the job as he LOLs while you try to get him to tell you where he put it.
  • Use the absolute scantest amount of paint when you roll.  Like way less that you think will work, the absolute tiniest amount on the roller — that’s why the foam roller vs. the fluffy roller is so key.

Time to Seal

I can’t express enough how important this step is.  My sealer took six coats, but it’s so worth it to make it last this time.  This is a key step I missed the first time and there’s nothing worse that watching all your hard work just go down the drain.

I’d love to hear if you give this DIY a try!  Leave me your thoughts in the comments!

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