There is a revolution in interior design, and it is starting from the ground up. After decades ofhardwood, tile and various styles of carpeting dominating the scene, a new trend in flooring has appeared.

Painted floors – bedecked with jaunty stripes, bold checks, or intricate patterns, rendered in a riot of colors from pale cobweb silver to the brightest tangerine and deepest turquoise — are taking the design world by storm.


As countless homeowners are finding out, painting the floor is one of the quickest and easiest waysto dramatically transform a room. It is also one of the most inexpensive, with total costs a mere fraction of what you would pay for new carpeting or hardwood. And planning and executing your bold, artistic floor makeover can be a great way to beat the post-holiday blues and winter doldrums that seem to strike everybody once the party pictures have been posted to Facebook , the tree has been taken down for another year, and the grayness of winter has set in.

More good news: you can paint just about any floor or floor-like surface you can think of. The dullest concrete, the ugliest substrate, the drabbest tile -all can be painted into anew life with ravishing patterns and strong, vibrant colors.  A good-quality oil-based paint that is formulated exclusively for use on floors will help your masterpiece withstand foot traffic.


Once you have decided to take the plunge and paint your floor, the most difficult problem you will probably face is deciding what pattern to use. Fortunately, there are plenty of design ideas to draw from; you may also find the suggestions of an experienced designer helpful.  If the patterns and combinations you see don’t knock you out, you could always design your own.

Geometric Patterns:  Amazing Illusions

Something about the repetitiveness of geometric forms causes them to be able to create convincing optical illusions, adding dimension, drama and interest to a room.  Precisely-applied diamonds of snowy white and glossy black paint really can mimic the look of marble; rows of neat terracotta or russet oblongs applied over an off-white background imitate brickwork. For a contemporary look – and an intriguing maze-like result — you can create a design of radiating squares, each enclosing a smaller one. Just make sure you start in the center of the room, and use painter’s tape for precision. Or go with wide stripes, for a fresh, streamlined look, or yellow and white gingham checks for a charming, casual vibe. It’s best to apply the paint in several thin coats, allowing ample drying time in between coats. Finish off your work of art with a clear polyurethane coating to preserve and protect it.

Dress Your Floor in Ikat and Tribal Patterns

With the help of the new user-friendly stencils, you can craft elaborate patterns on your floor that rival the intricacy of ikat pillows, Oriental rugs and lacy damask. Modellos, adhesive-backed and highly flexible stencils, allow you to intertwine elements and use multiple layers of colors and textures to create stunning and sophisticated designs. These versatile decorating tools can be employed for both positive and negative applications. In the positive usage, paint is applied through the cutaway area for an embossed effect;in the negative application, the stencil is used as a “resist,” leaving the area untouched while you darken or stain the surrounding areas. The end result, which mimics the appearance of inlaid wood, makes an elegant border for a floor design. When properly used, stencils and Modellos impart an opulent “high-end” feel to a room.


Solid Colors – Strike the Right Tone

Although interesting patterns give dimension and a sense of quality and craftsmanship, simple, solid colors can make a strong statementas well. You can use the tone-on-tone technique by employing a lighter or darker shade of your dominant wall color – elegant gray walls can be beautifully set off by a pale pewter floor; robin’s-egg blue walls are even more delicate and airy when enhanced by a deep turquoise floor. Solid shades of navyblue, charcoal gray or deep espresso on floors tend to make a room more sophisticated and formal, while serving as a perfect backdrop for infusions of regal, confident colors in the furnishings and fabric. Finally, a crisp white floor opens up the room, and adds a welcoming, inviting feel.

Now that you have an idea of the styles and designs available, you probably can’t wait to get started enlivening your own floor. We at Renaissance Painters are more than happy to help you create your “ground-level masterpiece.”

About the Author
Molly Hilton is the owner of Renaissance Painters in Toronto and has devoted more than 30 years to home renovation, painting, and custom home building. Her unique design concepts bring homes to life with colours and unique pieces that are artfully placed to draw attention to the most powerful and distinctive features of a home.