A beautiful transformation

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I’m so proud of this project and can’t wait to share it with you!  My husband, Joe,  and I have been discussing new wood floors to replace our nasty carpet for the last, I don’t know, 10 years!!  When we purchased this house, it was full of carpet everywhere — every bathroom, the dining room and the kitchen!!!!  We replaced the carpet in the kitchen with hardwood before we ever moved in, and decided we would remove the rest of the carpet as we go. . . . flash forward 10 years and we’ve only changed one bathroom.  Ugh!

Christmas 2014 was approaching.  Usually my mom hosts Christmas, or we go out of town.  This year she had surgery in early December, so I offered to host Christmas at our home.  On a whim, I told Joe we had to get the carpet out of the dining room before Christmas — it was just too nasty!  We weren’t ready to make a quick decision on flooring for our house, so I decided to make a bold, temporary choice — paint the subfloor!

complete room

Pinterest is filled with ideas on painting subfloors.  Here are a few that I looked at:  Young House Love did their bathroom here, DIY Showoff completed a couple of floors here,  some examples of stenciling concrete here, and some stencil added to a deck here (this may be something I try on our deck in the future).

I’m so happy with how it turned out, but it wasn’t easy and took quite a bit of time (meaning I was up until about 3 a.m. for several nights completing, yawn). The finished product, though, is a showpiece and now we aren’t in a hurry to cover it up!!!  The most common comment from guests in our home is, “it looks like a fancy rug”.  Pretty cool!

complete floor

So if you want to give this a try, here are the steps I took (I did this project before starting my blog, so I don’t have pictures of all of the steps):

  • First, we pulled up the carpet and pad, and removed all of the tack strips.  Our floor is OSB, or chipboard, which is not a smooth surface.  If you are serious about making this a more permanent flooring option and you have OSB for your subfloor, I would recommend screwing down particle board for a smooth surface to work on.  Either way, your next steps are the same.
  • Once you have bare floor, use some wood filler to fill in the seams of your subfloor (if you screw down a particle board floor, fill and sand your screw holes too).  This doesn’t take long to dry, but read your product’s recommendations.  Once dry, use an electric sander to sand the seams smooth.  WORD OF CAUTION:  wear a mask and eye protection, and open windows!!!  I’m just saying that because I hear if you don’t (not that this happened to me, um, um, no this didn’t happen) it can make you cough for the next 12 hours.  Actually, it is dangerous to inhale the sawdust created and you need to take precautions to protect yourself — lesson learned.  Also, be prepared to dust your entire house after completing this step!
  • Once your seams are smooth, you will need to clean up your floor the best you can.  Sweep with a broom and vacuum to clean up as much dust as possible.  I even had to wipe down my walls and subfloors that were covered in dust too.  At this point, tape off baseboards to protect them.  Now you are ready for the fun part!
  • Before applying any paint, I used an oil based primer I purchased at Lowes, Kilz Odorless.  It has low odor and dries fast, plus it seals the OSB before applying a latex, water-based, paint.  I used a regular paint roller for walls attached to a pole to apply the primer and paint.
  • Next apply your base coat paint.  When working with OSB, you will need to use some pressure to get paint into all the crevices.  Be patient and prepared to do two, or three coats if needed.  Make sure to let your paint dry thoroughly in between coats.  For my project I ued Valspar Signature paint in Muted Ebony for the base color, and Sherwin Williams Versatile Gray for the stencil and border (this was a sample size I had purchased and never used).

base paint

  • I decided on a stencil from Hobby Lobby, here.  But I also wanted to add a border to the stencil area for two reasons:  1) It will look nice and add another dimension to the pattern and 2) If you run your stencil up to the baseboards you will need to figure out how to paint part of your stencil pattern (fold it up the wall, etc.).  By having the border, I created a natural stopping point.  To paint the border, you will need to tape, paint the area with your base color, then paint with your border color.  I followed these instructions when doing my border to prevent bleeding edges.
  • The instructions on my stencil suggested using pencil marks to line up the pattern, but because of my base color the pencil marks didn’t show (neither did a white sewing pencil).  So, I ended up using sewing pins to mark the placement of my stencil.  This worked good at first, but towards the end I kept losing them only to find them with my foot — OUCH!  I used a small cabinet roller to roll my paint on the stencil which worked well.  Another issue I encountered, was keeping the back of my stencil clean.  If I didn’t wash it off every time, paint started building up on the back leading to fuzzy lines.  Because I didn’t wash every time initially, paint dried on the back and I had to work harder to clean it off.  This caused my first stencil to tear, and I had to purchase a second one.  For that reason, I decided it was easier to wash lightly every time.  Because painting was taking so long, I kept my paint covered with saran wrap to prevent it from drying out while I was working.  So again, my recommendation is be patient and keep things clean.  This takes time, which for me meant trying to keep the kids and animals out of the room until it was finished.


  • Finally, I used two coats of polyacrylic to seal the final project.  For this, I simply used the same roller method I used on all of the other steps.

complete floor    complete floor    complete floor

Since I was hosting Christmas, I also added some new decorations:

  • An old tool box turned planter.  I found this for $40 and stapled a plastic liner on the inside, filled with florist foam, greenery, and flowers!

table decor

  • A simple window with tin and a wreath.   This will be fun piece to change with the seasons and holidays!

wall decor

It is now the end of March and the floor is holding up well.  We both love it and are in no hurry to cover it up.  There is one spot that has some paint chipped and my husband suggested I add another coat of polyacrylic (you can do it too, honey!!!)

complete room   complete floor  complete room

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and please let me know if you have any questions, or if something wasn’t clear.  Would you consider doing this to one of your floors?  How about adding a stencil to your concrete floors?  If a major floor project is too overwhelming, what are your thoughts on adding a stencil to your wood deck, or fence?


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