How to Paint a Rug on Wood Floors

This post is for those who have requested a “how to” for painting wood floors.
Painted Diamonds with a Border

Ebony and Natural Stained Checker Board
Under the bench is a striped black and white distressed painted rug.
These are just a few that I have done myself.  I show them so you can get an idea on design.
1- Paint Thinner/ Varnish Stripper
2- LOTS of Paper Towels and old T-shirts
3- Metal Spackle Knife/ Scraper
4- Face Mask (and proper ventilation, fresh/dry air flow)
5- Disposable Rubber Gloves (several)
6- Hand Sander or appropriate sanding method for the size of space you are doing. I use a 120 grit sand paper – not too strong to scratch the wood but strong enough to move the varnish off.
    (I use an orbital hand sander for a “rug” or smaller area)
7- Vaccum and Tack Cloths
8- Paint – I use Benjamin Moore Metal and Wood Enamel 
(Talk to your local paint specialists for a recommendation if this paint doesn’t come in the color you desire) OR Floor Stain.
I like Low Lustre rather than High Gloss – depends in the look you want
  9- Polyurethane for Floors
10- Large T square – a must for measuring!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Oil based paints can go on top of water based paint but NOT water based paint over oil.  If you are repainting or using two paint colors.
This job is messy and dusty so if you have items you wish to protect move them out of the area or cover them in sheets. (speakers and electronics should be covered)
Where protective gear such as gloves, safety goggles and clothes that can be destroyed.
For a “rug”:
Tape off the outside border of your rug with a good brand of blue tape.  I stay on seams of the wood where I can.  It’s easier to measure out and paint straight lines.
Follow the directions on your paint thinner can to remove the existing stain or varnish.
Use your metal spackle knife to scrape as much of the varnish off as possible.
Strip and sand the area so it is very dull and clear of stain.

Once your wood is dull and clear of varnish.
Vacuum and wipe away dust with tack cloths to free the area of dust particles.

Use a pencil or chalk to measure out your pattern.

For squares or diamonds it’s best to decide how many squares you want across your floor.
Always start in the middle and end on a full or 1/2 square.  Take your width measurement and divide it by how many squares you want.
Then do the legnth measurement and divide your desired number of squares into it.
You most likely won’t be painting an exact 16″ square (example).  One way might be 15 3/4 inch and the other side might be 17 inches.  The end result will look like squares.

I am going to show you my foyer project in pictures:

Foyer floor all stripped of varnish:
Once the floor was striped I used acetone to wipe the area after the sanding and vacuuming.
I used an old pie dish to scoot my stain a long with me – for drips.

I taped off my pattern and put a taped X in the boxes that were not getting stain.
Clean each square really well before staining.
Brush the stain on in your squares.
(make sure your tape is on REALLY good by rubbing your finger over the inside edge several times.
Stain will bleed so easy. You will have a little touch up no matter what.

Wipe the stain…
Wait for 24 hours…..
Peel tape slowly.

This is “bleeding” – I used a razor blade as I went along to scrape it up.  I also used the acetone to wipe those areas down and to remove any pencil marks.
(I would rather work with paint than stain)
It looks like this.
Now it’s time for the top coat.  I used a polyurethane in semi- gloss.
Three coats of poly is recommended.  I used a brush for the first coat but then I used an applicator on the end of a broom handle.  That went much faster.
Follow the instructions on your poly can.

This wasn’t the funnest DIY I ever did but I am really happy with the results.

If you are brave enough to try this…. GOOD LUCK!
It’s really pretty.

25 Replies to “How to Paint a Rug on Wood Floors”

  1. Your floors look amazing! You do the coolest stuff! I can't wait to own a home one day, hopefully with wood floors! ~ Jamie Asper

  2. You always do a great job Holly! I want to attempt the top one on our stair landing if we end up staying and end up ripping the carpet up.

  3. You said it best when you wrote \”if you are brave enough to try this\”. How awesome does your foyer look! I would like to see more photos of the other floors you did too. I'm kinda loving the 1st one with the white, and especially the rug under your island. I love the look of a rug under my breakfast area, but it's just not practical. A painted rug however would be great.~Bliss~

  4. I'm really liking this. I don't think my man will let me try it though. I wonder if somehow this can be done on a concrete floor in the basement. We ripped out the carpet, this is our main entrance, the living quarters are upstairs. Anyways, if this could be painted on the concrete. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you for this post, however, I noticed that it started out talking about painted wood floors but instead showed how to do stained wood floors. Could you give me any advice on how to achieve a painted look similar to the photo with the bench? More specifically, I am about to attempt refinishing all the wood floors in our house (old 50's rambler) and want to give it kind of a white washed/distressed look. I'm hoping to avoid sanding or removing the old finish and just applying a watered down paint (or paints) and sanding to get that look. Any suggestion? Thank you!

  6. Hi,What do you suggest for the stair paint? I love your black and white staircase and am trying it myself. What color black did you use and what type of paint was it? Also, would you use poly or no?Thank you!Lauren

  7. Outstanding tutorial, i wasn't aware that it will be this much easy to paint your floors like this, really appreciate for sharing this post.

  8. I just wanted to say that I have looked at this a thousand times. I have a small little landing in my split level entryway, and it is faded from the sun. I think I am going to do this there. Great tutorial!

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