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Can You Paint A Varnished Wood Floor? (Bedroom Makeover | ORC, Fall 2021, Week 2)

A simple floor painting process that actually worked and took our dated dark wood

floors to bright white and fabulous.

To paint, or not to paint?

We are certainly not painting adverse. Give me a wall, a ceiling, an old piece of furniture, a can of paint and a brush and I will fearlessly get on with the job. But, doing floors is a little bit different. It's such a big commitment. Taking everything out of the room. Staying out of the room until it properly cures. And, what if it doesn't take? Or, the colour doesn't feel right?

These are the questions we had when we were weighing out the options of painting over the perfectly good, almost-new oak floors we inherited with the house. They are in fine condition but have a nasty brown-orange hue that was not going to work. The other consideration is the layer of hard shiny coating on its surface that made us wonder whether anything would stick to it.

So this was our challenge for Week 2 of the #OneRoomChallenge. Now, just to be clear - spoiler alert - we did paint the floors. We took the leap and slathered the entire second floor of our home in a bright white and we did it a number of months back (so, we had a little head start on the season's ORC).

Are we happy that we did?



The One Room Challenge™ occurs in April and October. Each round, twenty design influencers take the challenge as Featured Designers. Every Wednesday, the designers document their progress over six weekly posts (bumped to eight weeks due to the pandemic). Better Homes and Gardens is the official media sponsor.


Everyone with a blog or Instagram account is welcome to join as a Guest Participant by linking their own room transformations up each Thursday, flooding the internet and social media with interior design inspiration, ideas, and encouragement. You can also visit the One Room Challenge to follow along and cheer on the hundreds of home-loving kings and queens working their magic.


This is our third #OneRoomChallenge and being involved has certainly spurred us on to keep improving and #LovingLeuty. So far, we've chronicled the transformation of our backyard into a cutting garden and flower studio (see here) and overhauled a laundry/bathroom (see here). Now, we're making over our main bedroom. Please come along.


Week 1 | Week 2 (you are here) | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 |



We investigated and evaluated the pros and cons of a number of options to save our house from the less-than-ideal floors. We could sand and refinish them with stain or paint (that would be a lot of work, messy and noisy), we could take them out and replace them (but that seemed wasteful and expensive), or we could paint right over what we had (pretty straightforward, cost-effective and something we could do ourselves).

We've seen all kinds of painted floors on the IG and we loved the fresh and casual look they bring to a space. But we were really worried that because of the existing high gloss urethane coating on the floorboards, nothing would stick properly. We had visions of scrapes and scratches emerging on the floor in no time.

The Painted Floor Solution

But then like a beacon we started seeing DIYers talking about Rustoleum's new floor paint. I scoured the reviews and how-to videos and became convinced that this new product would be the answer.

Tips On Painting Your Floor

Here's what I learned about painting our floors with this product (you can get the exact info from the company here):

  • Prep. Prep. Prep. Clean the floor first with a degreaser. Then vacuum and vacuum again. Get all the dust and particles out of the way of your new paint.

  • This is a two-step process.

  • Step 1 is the base coat which you can get in a number of different colours. We went with the plain white base coat. The instructions say one-to-two coats, but we did three to get a really solid white colour and cover every last bit of brown.

  • Step 2 is a clear top coat that you can get in a shiny or flat finish. We chose flat. We did three coats, although I think the instructions say you only need one.

  • The key to success is drying time and curing. Follow the instructions regarding the time you need to wait in between coats and the amount of time it needs to set before walking on it, and especially before putting furniture on it. If you can extend the time you leave it bare, all the better.

Do We Like It?

We are absolutely thrilled with the finish and durability. To our very pleasant surprise, the paint adhered beautifully to the floor. The coating is smooth and hard. We've had no problems at all with the stick of it. Over time, we've only had a few tiny nicks (unavoidable when life happens in a house).

The best part, goodbye darkness and hello airy lightness underfoot.

Next Week

What to do with a window that's in the wrong spot.


Check out some more.

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