Paint can be a dramatic, low-cost floor covering

Painting a floor, whether it's wood or concrete, can be more affordable than tile, carpet or other floor coverings. And in homes that date back more than a century, painted floors are more historically accurate.
BY DIANA MARSZALEK Published: September 10, 2012
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Even if you hire a professional painter, however, “You have to be willing to embrace the idea that it's going to be a different solution than what most people tell you to do,” Lewis said.

“There are going to be friends that come over who don't get it, and your mom is not going to get it,” she said. “But I love the notoriety that comes with pushing the envelope and going for it.”

Painted floors are not as durable as some of the alternatives, especially in high-traffic areas, said Sidney Wagner, a Charleston, S.C., interior designer.

“Over time, even with polyurethane, they will show scratches and the paint will scratch off,” she said. “However, a tip to help combat your floors from looking too shabby is to paint a contrasting layer of color underneath. So when that second layer of color comes through with the scratches, the marred floors will look planned with your color scheme.”

Carol Charny, a Larchmont, N.Y.-based interior designer, said that painting floors requires a bit of throwing caution to the wind.

“You can do anything you want. The world is your oyster,” she said. “You just have to disengage from fear.”

In the home interiors shop she used to own, Charny used black and white paint to make the floor look like it was covered with an area rug, complete with fringe.

She warns that the margin for error grows with the complexity of the project. “You're not going to paint an Oriental rug,” she said.

On the other hand, the beauty of using paint is that, if something goes awry, you can cover it up.

“You have to relax,” she said. “It's only paint.”