How to paint floorboards white or any other colour – plus tips for adding a stylish stencil pattern

Discover how to paint a wooden floor that's damaged or dull
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • One side effect of spending so much time at home at the moment is that you begin to see every little flaw. That stained old shagpile. Those worn floorboards. The tired colour scheme.

    So if you’re increasingly tempted to tear up the carpet to reveal the floorboards beneath, or just want to revamp what you already have, our guide to how to paint floorboards white should come in handy.

    Find more easy projects in our DIY and Decorating channel

    We’ve also included details of how to add a pretty stencil pattern to your floorboards. Not only will this add impact to your room, but will also disguise any pesky flaws in the wood. And of course, you don’t have to paint your boards white.

    From pale pink to charcoal grey, you should be able to find suitable paint in any colour on the spectrum.

    How to paint floorboards white

    Paint is a quick, easy and affordable way to transform floorboards – particularly when compared to carpet or the cost of replacing with brand-new hard wood.

    However, you can’t just slap any old emulsion on. And you should be up for a little light DIY.

    The best type of paint to use is a chalk paint. Frenchic, Annie Sloan and Farrow & Ball are all top brands for this, but for this project, Rust-oleum Chalky Finish Floor Paint has been used. It’s a hardwearing paint that can be applied directly over old paint and varnish.

    What you’ll need


    Image credit: Rust-Oleum

    • Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Floor Paint (Chalk White and Anthracite were used here)
    • Small foam roller and tray
    • Large roller and tray
    • Paintbrush
    • Sander
    • Stencil
    • Sugar soap (optional)
    • Cloth
    • Masking tape
    • Paint stirrer
    • Paint can opener

    1. Prepare the floorboards


    Image credit: Rust-Oleum

    To start, give the boards a light sanding, remembering to get tight into corners with an angled sanding pad. Next, vacuum off the loose sawdust. And then, using a damp cloth (and sugar soap, if you prefer), wash off the finer particles.

    Leave to dry, then move on to step 2.

    2. Apply the white paint to the edges

    Take you white paint (or choice of base colour) and paint around the edges of the room using a brush. This is known as cutting in. Cut in a few inches from the walls.

    3. Fill in the floor


    Image credit: Rust-Oleum

    Now take your larger roller and get to work on painting the main part of the floor. Start at the farthest wall from the entrance to the room and move backwards towards the door – don’t paint yourself into a corner!

    You will need at least two coats of paint. In fact, it’s better to paint more, thinner coats rather than one big thick coat. Thinner coats will dry harder, and are therefore more hardwearing.

    4. Leave it white or go further


    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    If you like the look as it is, you’re all done. But if you are looking to create more impact, move on to step 5…

    5. Find the centre of the floor


    Image credit: Rust-Oleum

    Measure the floor to locate its centre. Take the masking tape, and attach the stencil to the central point. Make sure it’s stuck down tight enough that it won’t move when you’re applying the paint.

    6. Apply the dark paint


    Image credit: Rust-Oleum

    Coat the small foam roller evenly and not too thickly with the dark paint. This will ensure the paint doesn’t bleed when you apply it to the stencil.

    Remove the stencil and reposition it ready to paint the next part of the floor. You might want to wait for the paint to dry before you move it along, so there’s no risk of the paint smudging.

    7. Repeat to cover the whole floor


    Image credit: Rust-Oleum

    And there you have it – perfect white floorboards with a stunning stencil pattern. And all achievable in a weekend.

    Why not tackle the stairs next? How to paint a staircase – transform your hallway by painting your steps

    Happy decorating!

    All the latest from Ideal Home