How to paint a floorYou may already be thinking, “WHY would someone PAINT a floor?!?” Well, there are a lot of reasons why I decided this was the perfect decision for this space. Listen up before you prejudge.
#1: The floor was damaged by the front door. It had been scratched and worn down by faulty weather stripping. {Yes we fixed this so that it won’t happen again.}
#2: There are five doors in this space that wouldn’t allow a real rug. If there was a real rug, the doors wouldn’t open all the way. Can you imagine how ANNOYING that would be?!?
#3: I wanted WHITE and a white rug wouldn’t last in an entryway. It would be black in .2 seconds.
#4: Great rugs can be UBER expensive. The rug that inspired this floor is about $2400.00, yep, too much for this thrifty motha.
After careful examination, I decided that a painted rug would be the perfect choice. We started trying out rug designs in Photoshop, and finally decided on a white and gray option inspired by the Arabesque Rug in White and Grey. I loved the same rug in coral also, but I wanted the floor to be neutral.
arabesque rugARABESQUE-RUG_GRAY-300
Image Source: Houzz                                   Picture Source Layla Grace
Arabesque rug
Image Source: Layla Grace
If you follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, you have seen some fun sneak peak posts lately about this project. It has been quite the process and I’m really excited to FINALLY share the floor today!
There were ups and downs and quite a few bumps along the way. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about them so that you can avoid the same mistakes.
Before I even began there was a lot of prep work. I started out by taping and papering off the space with Frog Tape. Then, I rubbed the floor with Klean-Strip Sander Deglosser. It is a great product that I learned about when I painted my cousin’s kitchen cabinets. It just helps prepare your surface so that the paint will adhere. Plus I lightly sanded the floor using 220 grit sandpaper and my trusty electric sander.
After I deglossed and sanded the floor, I wiped it down with a clean, lint-free cloth to remove the dust. I was very careful to get every spec of dust off before I started painting.
Connelly baptism 195Brooke's Iphone 1359
The paint colors I used for this project were Sherwin Williams Extra White and Gray Clouds. I used Sherwin Williams porch and floor enamel for concrete and wood floors. My friend Mandi {from Vintage Revivals} actually GAVE me the left over paint from her floor project at her house. {Thanks Mands!}
Sherwin Williams Floor paintBrooke's Iphone 1368
I started out painting the white with a foam roller, but the coverage was below average, so I changed to a 3/8 inch knap roller for smooth surfaces. It went much faster after that.
After a few coats of white and a day of drying time, we started stenciling the floor using the Royal Design Studios’ stencil called Contempo Trellis. They agreed to send me the stencil for FREE for review. I have never used a store bought stencil before and I was excited to try it! I made my own stencil awhile ago though.
We measured the space precisely and knew that the stencil was 21.5 inches square so I knew that seven stencils would fit into the rug area.
Royal Design Studios Contempo TrellisRoyal Design Studios Contempo Trellis
Mandilicious from Vintage Revivals, who is the stencil expert, came to give me tips and instructions. Let’s face it, she did half the floor too while she was instructing me.
#1 Rule for stenciling {straight out of Mandi’s mouth} “Pretend like you are painting a baby.” I looked at her like she was crazy, but believe me it will totally make sense to you when you start painting your stencil. You need to apply little pressure and just roll your foam roller softly. If you push too hard your paint will bleed and you’ll have a lot of touch ups to do.
#2 Rule for stenciling: Make sure to roll off excess paint onto a paper towel near by before you start painting. Put something under the paper towel so that it doesn’t paint your floor. Ha!
#3 Rule for stenciling: Make sure you wait for the stencil to dry pretty well before you overlap the stencil and paint the next area. You don’t want to mess up the intricate pattern.
#4 MAKE SURE YOUR STENCIL IS FACING THE CORRECT WAY!!  Speaking from personal experience here.
Stenciling Instructions Stenciling Instructions
After you get your technique down for stenciling, you can go pretty fast. Royal Design Studios sent me two stencils and this really helped the project go faster. I loved that the stencil had small register marks to line up the next stencil. It really helped to keep the stencil straight.
Stenciling Instructions Stenciling Instructions 
We were done stenciling in no time at all….until I noticed this:
Stenciling mistake 1stencil mistake 
DAMN. Time to move on. Must fix it.
Luckily the floor was easy to fix. I just needed to lay the stencil back onto the floor and paint a few more grey lines and touch it up with a small brush in a few tiny spaces. I am super lucky.
After the stencil was done, I taped off the edge to create a small grey border. I love Frog tape because it creates a crisp line 99.9 % of the time with no fuss at all. Look how crisp the edge is!
Frog Tape Rocks
The people at Sherwin Williams assured me that a clear coat was not necessary, but I put two coats of water based floor polyurethane to be safe. {DO NOT DO THIS}.
WARNING: I actually had to do the entire project TWICE because of a mistake from a Lowe’s associate. Do NOT make the same mistake I did. I should have read the tiny writing on the back of the can. I didn’t, and I was sorry. It read “will dry amber in color over light surfaces.”
They accidentally gave me a YELLOWING product instead of a NON-YELLOWING product and within four days, the floor was BROWN. It was especially bad in places that the clear coat had overlapped during application.
I cried until I had a crying headache. It was a justified breakdown, don’t ya agree?
brown floor
Then I put on my big girl panties and got back to work.
Take two!
Luckily the second time around went a lot faster than the first because I could use the stencils from the first time as my guides. I sanded off the first clear coat finish and repainted the white and stenciled the entire floor a second time. I consider myself an expert now, just so you know.
floor stenciling stencil
I was really mad at Lowes for a few days, but I’m over it now. I know that they could have misunderstood me, but I demanded a refund and they gave it to me.
They even gave me a discount for the polycrylic that I bought the second time. Note: I know that polycrylic isn’t rated for floors, but I used it anyway. I wanted a product that I know and trust. I think it will totally be fine. I just know that it dries crystal clear and that was what I wanted.
Stenciling Instructions Stenciling InstructionsBrooke's Iphone 1396 Brooke's Iphone 1402
The floor turned out beautiful. It took a lot longer than I thought it would, but hey, that’s what happens sometimes.
.Brooke's Iphone 1405

I wish you could see it in person. It is stunning. The pictures don’t do it justice. Stay tuned for more pictures from this space. It’s accessorizing time!

UPDATE! The room is finished! Check out the Entry Way Reveal!

entryway decor

Hope you had a great weekend!


  1. says

    Looks awesome–great job! I nearly shed a tear for you too!! There's a dresser in my girls room–I repainted it and stenciled the top–and put Polyurethane over the top (I didn't know!). It's turned yellow…and I haven't brought myself to redo it yet.

  2. says

    looks amazing. But I think I would have gone on a rampage if I had to do it twice. wow. Happens to everyone at some time but man….this was a big project!

  3. says

    As soon as I read the words "water based polyurethane" my brain started screaming NOOOOOOOOOOO! I made the same mistake (after being promised by the guys at HD that it would NOT yellow)when I painted my bathroom countertops and cabinets.
    Your floor turned out to be breathtakingly amazing! Bet it makes you smile every time you look at it now. You should be very proud of yourself.

  4. Mekenzie @ says

    Brooke! This looks stunning! I am inspired to paint a runner down my hallway now. I'm sorry for the frustration. I've definitely had projects that leave me in tears of frustration. I can't wait to see more from the space.

  5. says

    I love painted floors and this is GORGEOUS, Brooke! Beautiful stencil, love the colors! {I also made the same mistake you did. Once. That's all it takes…now you are a floor painting expert!}

  6. says

    Wow, beautiful! I came to see this because Mandi suggested it in a Facebook post, and I'm glad I did. Thank you so much for the excellent, detailed walk-through. I've been dreaming of painting my floors, and now I might have to do just that, thanks to you!

  7. says

    This is beautiful and twice oh my! I have made that kind of mistake on a project before so as soon as I read the words I decided to use a polyurethane I gave an audible gasp. It was worth it though your floor is unreal!

  8. says

    Right on time as usual Brooke! I start painting the bedroom floor in our new house tomorrow. I'm SO SO glad to have one of your tutorials to guide me. :) You're a life saver, im just glad i bought the right kind of paint already, its my lucky day for sure!

  9. Kelsey says

    That looks A-MAZING!! What a great idea! When I read that you had to do it all over again to fix the discoloring from happening my heart sank for you… I hate it when that stuff happens! I feel for ya girl :) I'm interested to see if there is much wearing down of the paint over time even with the clear coats. Love your blog… one of my favs! Keep it up :)

  10. The Yoder's Four says

    Fabulouuussssss!!!! I can't believe that stupid poly coating ruined it! I would have had an aneurism!!!!!

  11. says

    You are seriously FEARLESS! I would be stark-raving terrified to paint on a hardwood floor but there you go without a second though. Totally amazing! I am so freaking excited to have you come and teach here in SLC in February!

  12. JoEllen says

    This is an awesome project and you did an amazing job. Absolutely heartbreaking that you had to repeat the entire thing, but the end results are really stunning.

    Excellent job!!

  13. says

    oh, i would have had a crying meltdown too honey!!! bless your heart, thats horrible. had the same kinda thing happen to me at home depot. they said i needed gray primer to go under yellow paint for my sons room. this was a bad call!!! we had to repaint his whole room!!!!! i love this painted rug though! i wonder if you can paint vinyl tile???? hmmmm….

  14. says

    It looks amazing!! I love your since of style. I was cringing for you as I saw the yellow pictures. I've had stuff like that happen too! It's SO frustrating! Turned out great in the end!!

  15. Anna says

    This is beautiful! I would've had a total meltdown. I've painted a floor before and it's hard work. (I have knee pads now for projects like this!)

  16. Nora Nuno says

    Amazing! Oh and PS we had to redo our ENTIRE upstairs floors because of the dumb Ambering coat. We painted the floors white and wanted to seal them for easier cleanup, well yup home Depot assured me that product would do fiiine on white floors.

    I felt your pain!

  17. Richard John Jordan says

    I've try to paint the floor on my room with my imagination, I painted it with what I really want and I ended up happy and proud because the outcome of my work really looks great eventhough it's hard and I feel nervous that moment.

  18. says

    Hi Brooke,

    I am so glad I found this how to. I’ve seen your picture of your foyer and kept trying to find out where you got that “rug” and now I know. I’m head over heels for this stencil and must get it ASAP.

    You are a trooper for doing this twice, it looks amazing!

  19. Taylor says

    I’ve been sitting here reading your blog for the past 2 hours an am seriously in awe…& so inspired ! You’re stuff is amazing, and I love how detailed you explain everything!

  20. Leslie says

    Your painted rug came out great, and the tutorial was just as well done. I just painted stenciled my bedroom floor, and remembered your post. The only thing you left out was how you applied the acrylic top coat. What type of brush or roller did you use? Did you sand in between coats etc etc. I would & all of your followers would appreciate this added information.

    • Brooke says

      I wouldn’t use the polycrylic again. It hasn’t held up as well as I wish it would have. I would go to Sherwin Williams and ask them what they recommend for the top coat next time.

  21. says

    The floor is great. I can imagine the trauma over the yellowing from the poly!
    I’m sure it went something like omg I want to die.. Crawl along ruined floor beside the mess
    For a few hours,, then realize there is no way out I HAVE TO DO IT ALLL OVERRR WAAAAAAAaaaahaahahhh:”'( I’ve been through this! It Was not a happy thing !
    I had spent a month straight between 4 kids 7-5-3&1 , painting a wide board floor which I put in
    Myself ( THAT was another major project spacing the boards in the space right, the authentic square floor nails , staining to look old, poly etc day after day) then the puppy( a 100 lb mastiff ) wrecked it with his claws) to fix I used oil paint , primed etc – days..then made a very detailed combination stencil
    Hard to do over the spaces in floor,, it had say 5 -6 different parts all used together for a fancy border in several different colors.. It was a damn masterpiece lol..took a month! With brushes of all sizes. I polyed it twice with Parks poly& it yellowed!!! Lucky for me after all that work, my base color to floor was YELLOW!!& the Japan paints on the stencil were black &greens!!! So the yellow poly effect just made the floor look older!! Ha! Otherwise you wldnt be reading this! I would have hung myself lol. The parks poly did hold up very well under a lot of traffic… I had to do it over& restore several years later Bcuz of the even bigger now 200 lb ‘pup’ spinning in circles all the time,,, but painted floors are not for the faint of heart or lazy ones!!!! Somewhere in my albums I have pics of it,,, I have since ripped out the floor& put in a real wood Armstrong for the neutral minded Buyers and sold the home. I have started one on my third floor in Boston& am currently restoring to period what wld have been there in an 1885 Victorian servants space. It is a major job , as the floor is 23’x 14+’ … I look forward to hearing more on your projects… ~ A.

    • says

      OMGoodness, this gal, Andi, should do “standup”…she had me laughing outloud. I don’t think she even knows how funny she is. What’s not funny is having four kids within 7 years, now that’s a lot of work, just ask me how I know!! As far as doing that job over again, yeah, I think I would have slashed my wrists and then hung a rope over the chandelier and hung myself. (“sorry, God”) good thing you’re a Mormon. It reminds me of times when I’ve sewn something and find I need to rip out all the stitches that I didn’t notice were smaller than normal or a seam which was serged.
      However, you’ve given this 79 year old the courage to finally take it on, I AM going to stencil that foyer floor. I just knew that someone on the internet could tell me how and you’ve done a great job of explaining all of it, even the things not to do. Now, about that top coat?

  22. Lulu Lockwood says

    Did you prep the floor at all?? I didn’t see where you did anything prior to painting the white. maybe i missed it. just curious

  23. Pooja Reddy says

    The floor is great. I liked the whole entry way concept. Can you tell me where did you purchase the console table…


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