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Best foot forward – paint your floor

From the Resene decorating blog

Broadening your outlook when it comes to painting your home can pay off, providing colour in a fresh and enlightening way.

One way of doing this is utilising part of the room that often gets overlooked – the floor. Applying colour here is unexpected, as many of us only think of painting our walls when using colour in a home.

Historical hues create a sense of cosiness

Historical hues such as yellow green, creamy white and warm brown offer a comforting sense of cosiness and homeliness. This is made even more prominent with the emphasis on the handmade by way of rustic textiles. The chequered floor pays homage to traditional interiors, while the use of white and green has an artistic flavour, uplifting and rustic, adding to the comfort of the room.

Chequered floor painted in Resene Dingley and Resene Quarter Spanish White, wall and seat in Resene Pale Leaf, bud vase in Resene Spanish White, cabinet in Resene Clover, chair in Resene Brown Pod, hook rack and shelf in Resene Toorak and vases (on cabinet) in Resene Triple Spanish White and Resene Half Villa White. Project by Gem Adams, image by Wendy Fenwick.

A blue music room

Choose a basecoat in a colour you adore then bring in a pattern that adds oomph to your space. In this music room chalk was tied to the end of string, and swivelled around to create circular shapes that were then painted.

Walls painted in Resene Zircon, floor in Resene Bullitt with ‘sound waves’ in Resene Alabaster, sideboard in Resene Matisse, piano shelf in Resene Alabaster with keys in Resene All Black, record centres in Resene Dust Storm, Resene Lemon Ginger, Resene Half Rivergum, Resene Bullitt, Resene Matisse and Resene Vesuvius, boxes in Resene Matisse and Resene Vesuvius, books in Resene Half Rivergum, Resene Lemon Ginger and Resene Bullitt and vases and plant pots in Resene Dust Storm, Resene Lemon Ginger, Resene Half Rivergum, Resene Bullitt, Resene Matisse and Resene Vesuvius. Music stand and guitar wall hanger from KBB Music. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

We all know the difference painting walls can give to a room, adding personality through an extra layer of colour. It also allows you to apply patterns via different shapes of your paint application.

Our floors are hardwearing and enduring, taking in their stride the daily dose of footwork and traffic. Painting your floors, whether chipboard, cork-tile, concrete or timber or any hard surface, not only makes them look good but can keep them in good health too.

Your room may have plain walls in white or neutral; bringing a painted floor can lift the space in a unique way. If your walls are already coated in colour, a painted floor in a complementary or contrasting colour will breathe new life to your space and provide an instant refresh.

Of course, if you have heritage timber floors such as kauri or rimu, you may want to simply retain their natural beauty, using a stain product such as Resene Colorwood that lets the grain show through and protects the wood.

Style statement

Painting a floor can transform the style of an entire room, whether it be a plain block of colour or a patterned effect such as stripes – which can make a small room feel larger. If you’re timid about going bold, a small bathroom or toilet is ideal for bringing in colour and personality.

Get playful with paint in children's bedrooms

Children’s bedrooms are perfect for getting playful with paint, and what better way to do this than by painting the floor in a bold colour. In this bedroom the paint colour has been extended from the walls, saturating the floor in a shade that’s echoed in the furniture and décor. Upper wall painted in Resene Quarter Frozen with lower wall and floor in Resene Spinnaker, icebergs in Resene Sea Fog, Resene Frozen and Resene Blue Moon, dresser in Resene Quarter Frozen (top section) and Resene Spinnaker (lower section), stool in Resene Frozen, box in Resene Matisse, plant pot in Resene Matisse, vases in Resene Matisse and Resene Fuel Yellow, pencil cup in Resene Fuel Yellow and penguin hamper in Resene All Black, Resene Sea Fog, Resene Bright Spark, Resene Smoke Tree, Resene Ayers Rock and Resene Roxy. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

One way of bringing in colour onto your floor is by painting stripes, especially eye-catching in older-style homes such as villas and bungalows. Each plank can be coated in a different colour or alternate colours for every two planks. You might have some old drab carpet with timber flooring underneath – now’s the time to lift the carpet layer off and apply this budget-friendly approach.

To get started, sand back any nooks or bumps, filling in any holes and sanding these back too. Clean any dust away with a wet cloth or mop. Simply apply masking tape to the side of the planks you want to paint.

If you don’t have floorboards and want to paint stripes, measure your stripes with a ruler and mask the edges – then paint the exposed area.

Choose your look

Pale and serene may be the path you want to go down with your painted floor; you may want a change from the natural timber tones but don’t want a bold colour. The Scandinavian look is the perfect answer, bringing in a whitewashed effect with Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Because the whitewash is slightly clear, it allows the beauty of the timber grain to show through.

An interior painted with harmonious blue tones

Subtle, gentle tones of patterned colour are easy on the eye yet still hold plenty of personality. Multiple tones of blue retain harmony throughout the space. Wall painted in Resene Half Spindle with rainbow in Resene Frozen, Resene Spindle, Resene Gelato and Resene Zircon, floor in Resene Half Spindle with rainbow in Resene Frozen, Resene Spindle, Resene Gelato and Resene Zircon, peg stools in Resene Frozen, Resene Gelato and Resene Black White, pendant lamp in Resene Black White and sideboard cabinet in Resene Frozen. Project by Emily Somerville-Ryan, image by Bryce Carleton.

Apply your whitewash in the direction of the wood grain. Apply a second coat if you wish, finishing with Resene Aquaclear for a layer of protection.

By bringing in patterned colour on your floor you can play with your room’s design even further. If you want to play around more with shapes, a checkerboard style is on-trend, allowing you to bring in two colours.

Checkerboard patterns on floors have made a strong comeback, giving the nod to their place in grand European buildings. Simple yet effective, they pack a punch in a room, even if in a pale colour palette. While a traditional checkerboard pattern is black and white, a softer neutral can work just as well. The perfect duos that go hand-in-hand are pale beige Resene Umber White with Resene Apple Blossom, a soft mid-toned red.

To get started, ensure your floor is very clean. Then, mark out your pattern using a pencil and tape measure before applying masking tape, which can be easily removed once your paint is dry.

If painting concrete that has been painted already, apply Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat, then paint two layers of your palest paint colour in Resene Walk-on. Using masking tape, section off a grid using a set square. Roller-paint your dark colour on the exposed squares. If you are painting onto bare concrete, coat a concrete sealer before your colour in Resene Walk-on.

If you want to get more playful with your floor patterns, customise a stencil shape using card and a craft knife and apply this in a repeat across your floor. You can also buy these if you don’t feel confident crafting your own. Apply your base hue then, once dry, use a sponge to apply the top colour, avoiding soaking too much paint on or it will seep through the shape.

There are endless ways to be creative with your flooring, such as a simple painted colourful strip running around the edge of your flooring, where it meets the wall. Even just a narrow line in a bold colour such as Resene Turbo in golden yellow around the edge of a floor in Resene Corn Field, pale yellow, will add zest to a room.

Colour combinations to try

When choosing your colour, remember that it can play an essential role in your home, bringing colour cohesion between rooms and uniting spaces.

Take your wall colour and apply a lighter or darker version of it on your floor. For instance, if you’re drawn to the on-trend tones of blue-green, apply Resene Ziggurat to your hallway, half strength Resene Half Ziggurat to your lounge and a checkered floor in quarter strength Resene Ziggurat paired with the soft grey of Mountain Mist. These colours are slightly different from each other yet relate well to Resene Ziggurat to give your room continuity and cohesion.

You might have two rooms in different strengths of terracotta, such as Resene Dark Buff with darker Resene Korma; unite the two with a shade on your floor that complements wall colours in each room – Resene Alpaca in creamy neutral.

Or take a contrasting colour – use the green of Resene Hemlock – that accentuates your walls, creating tie-ins such as décor that repeats your floor colour. Think vases, picture frames and bookshelves in the same hue as your floor; it’s a chance to link colours between rooms. The trick is to select hues in complementary colour groups such as blue and orange, where you can bring in varying tones or navy and azure next to apricot and peach.

Consider what rooms are visible when you’re standing in your kitchen – ensure your floor colour complements these. If you don’t, your home will feel busy and disjointed – lacking visual flow.

December 19, 2022

For help choosing colours to suit your projects, visit your local Resene ColorShop, ask a Resene Colour Expert online or book a Resene Colour Consultation.

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