Painted Plywood Sub-floor:  State of the Floor Address

Painted Plywood Sub-floor: State of the Floor Address

 

Painted Sub Floor

Three and a half years ago we painted the plywood sub floor.

Yep.

This floor.  That’s right.  It’s just the floor that was under our carpet.

We just pulled up the carpet and primed it and painted it.

Just like that.

Painted_Checkered_Floor

When I told people I was painting the floor there was a collective gasp and general confusion and a variety of reactions.

From the disdainful (said in the best Carson voice):  “You’re painting the PLYWOOD subfloor.”

To the bemused:  “You mean….you’re painting the floor under the carpet?  Just the floor?”

To the confused:  “Can people paint just plywood?  Is that allowed?”

No one and everyone were in agreement:

No one thought it would hold up.

Everyone thought it was a questionable idea at best.

Painted Plywood Sub Floor

The painted plywood subfloor is one of the most asked about projects on the blog.

And the question people always e-mail is:  “Do you think it will hold up?”

Just between us….I wasn’t sure it would.  I didn’t choose to paint the plywood subfloor because I thought it was the best design choice.  I painted the plywood sub-floor because the carpet was stinky and gray and full of wallpaper glue from where we took down all the toile wallpaper in the bedroom.

And we were out of renovation money.

And when we pulled out the carpet without really any plan as to what we were going to do next, I looked at the plywood floor and I looked at my husband and I looked at the bank account….

….and  painting the floor seemed brilliant.

Carpet Before

Just for reference, here’s the carpet and the room on the week we moved in.

I didn’t write a blog then and understand the importance of a really good before picture.

But you get the idea.

Painted Checkered Floor

And now….three and a half years later I wanted to give you the state of the floor address.

My thoughts on painting a plywood sub-floor.

How it’s held up.

What I would change and where we are going from here.

Spring Master Bedroom

1.  The floor has held up amazingly well.  Almost like the day it was painted.  I was a little nervous, especially about painting light colors like this on the floor.  But overall it has withstood dogs and cats and children with koolaid and cheetos and still hold its head up with pride.

In fairness, the floor has probably held up better because it’s had a 12 x 15 area rug in the center of the room that has protected it.

However, all around the room in the major traffic area to the closet and the bathroom, it looks almost like new.

2.  I think part of the reason the floor has held up so well is the primer.

We talked with the paint store and bought a great primer and didn’t skimp.  We followed the directions on the label exactly and the primer gave the paint a good surface to adhere to.

3.  The floors were in really good shape before we started and I think that was key to a durable plywood floor.  Sanding is also really important.  You want the floor to be as smooth as possible.  Any little part that sticks up will distress itself and start rubbing away on the floor.

Painted Checkered Floor Squares

4.  You can see the seams on our floor where the plywood was nailed to the joists.  This doesn’t bother me.  I like the industrial look of it.  But if you want a perfectly smooth floor, you may consider patching the seams before priming and painting.

5.  Seal, seal and seal again.  I think part of the reason why the floor has held up so well is because it has been sealed with several coats.  If you didn’t have the seagrass rug to protect it, I would consider sealing it again every year or so, just to protect it.  We use a water-based sealant because it goes on clear.  An oil-based sealant might have held up even better, but it would have discolored over time, giving the room a yellow-ish cast.

6.  If I painted the floor again, I think I would change the pattern.  I like the squares on the diagonal, but I’m drawn to the beautiful hand-stenciled floors on Pinterest that I see.  I think I’m going to try one of these upstairs in one of the bedrooms.

Painted Sub Floor

And where do we go from here?

The million dollar question.

I’m thinking hardwood floors….the fancy cousin to plywood.

But every time I go floor shopping, I come home to this and I look at that old familiar floor friend and my father’s words keep circling round in my head…..

….dance with the one that brought you.

So I’m phoning a friend.

You.

Let’s take an unofficial poll….to hardwood or not to hardwood….that is the question. 🙂

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Comments

  1. Relationships are an interesting thing. Take it from the 40-something (at least for a few more months) girl who has been single for 10 years now. What??? When you find that one-of-a-kind, interesting, kinda quirky match, hold on tight. Your dad is a wise one! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your painted floors.

  2. Tina Matteson :

    I love your painted floor, too… and, you’ve already done all the work! Keep it, I say.

  3. I love your floor . I would keep it as is, beautiful

  4. Have to go with the painted floor–so unique!!! Visually, impressive!

  5. I painted my kitchen subfloor 15 years ago with 12″ squares on the diagonal. I prepped (sanded, filled and primed) and topcoated with 3 coats of poly. Two children, a grandchild and two dogs later it is showing it’s age but I still love it.

  6. Cindy Eschendal :

    I think the floors are lovely. I have a friend who painted all of the subfloors in her summer home. She was creative and even painted a solar system in her son’s room. Genius!!! Dance away!!!

  7. Love this painted floor and I love hardwoods. I think it is totally up to you.

  8. DITTO – what Lisa said. And I would have said about painting the plywood – oooohhhhhh, what fun!!!

  9. If you truly LOVE them, keep them for as long as you can! Once our exchange student heads back home this summer I am pulling up the carpet in our guest room and assessing the subfloor. I’ve said before I was going to do it but this summer is THE summer!!! Hopefully the farm and tractor will both be sold months before which means the only debt we will have is the car payment and house payment. Can you say building up savings and remodeling money?! 🙂 (plus a couple of missions trips in the works too as well as helping finance one… okay that is a super cool one because it is a father who is taking his 10 year old daughter with him to help do some work in an orphanage in Haiti!! yep so cool!)

  10. I love the painted floor. I recently moved into a place with carpeted bathroom floor. I’ve started to lift carpet & will paint something similar to your floor. I can hardly wait to get the time to do it. I think it’ll be a great beginning to a very low-budget redo.
    Love your stories. You would fit right in with my friends & they’ll all love you.

  11. Robin Stephens :

    My rule of thumb for personal purchases: “If I love it, and I mean really LOVE it, not just like it a lot, and my wallet doesn’t protest, then it gets to go home with me.” I’d ask myself which of the two I love. One will trump.

  12. Leave it alone. It looks great! Invest the money on paying down your mortgage–apply it to the principal and you could shave years off your mortgage. That will make it easier for you to help with having four kids in college!!

  13. Looks fabulius,,,,,, ilove when one can defy all the rules of decorating sometimes. We NEED to know the colors you painted it please…….

  14. I absolutely adore your floor as it is! Here in Florida all the sub-floors are concrete! If I had plywood, I would paint it, too! (I realize you can paint concrete but just not a fan!)

  15. Love, Love, Love your painted floors. KEEP!

  16. I think your painted floor looks great, so unless you are just ready for a change…

  17. Tracey Griffith :

    I would keep the painted floor. It’s beautiful. As the old saying goes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I love it! I may just paint the ugly subfloor in my hall now!

  18. Def keep the floors! Love’m

  19. Karianne I love the painted floors! Makes me wish I have ugly stained carpet to pull up so I could paint. I am even considering this route in my new pantry addition which is now an exterior porch.

  20. Well from what I read, leaving the painted floor seems to be winning. I LOVE your painted floor but hardwoods would change the dynamic of the whole space and you would find yourself wanting to change more in the room. So if you are up for that, I say you can never go wrong with the right hardwood floors!

  21. I say keep the painted floor too! It’s beautiful and I wouldn’t change a thing!

  22. Love your dad’s quote and love the floor! Anyone can have hardwoods but your room in one-of-a-kind just like you!

  23. Almost everyone has hardwood floors these days…I say …If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

  24. I would keep that painted floor until the proverbial Kentucky cows come home…then…patch it….and keep it longer.
    Just sayin. :-))

  25. I believe if you didn’t like it, it would have already been changed. On a personal note, I come from the idea ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’. You created a lot of character for that room without even knowing you were doing it…and it didn’t take a lot of money to create it. Why use a lot of money to get rid of it? Think of all the other adventures the money can be used for…☺️

  26. Valerie Chase :

    Everyone has hardwood. Your floors are beautiful and unique and creative.. It would be nuts for you to make them look like everyone’s floor!

  27. You should leave it…why mess with a good thing!

  28. Leave it! It looks great 🙂

  29. Keep it…It still looks great! use your extra money for a project you Really would love to tackle:)

  30. LOVE your painted floors. KEEP!

  31. Love your painted floors……keep ’em!

  32. Your floor looks awesome! I have wood floors and can’t afford to have them refinished but am scarred to paint them because in a resale situation it might not be a good idea! Congrats on a job well done!

  33. Michelle Rudis :

    Most of my adult life has not been spent in any one place very long. The artist in me loves to decorate and be creative but I haven’t always had the budget. I’ve used what I’ve had available and have done what I could afford. I love your painted plywood floors! I’ll be 60 in a few months and have at least two more moves in my future. I know I’ll be borrowing your painted subfloor idea in at least one of those future homes. That being said, I don’t think you would have brought up the idea of graduating to a hardwood floor if you weren’t ready for a change. Your dad was right, people should be loyal to each other but ‘things’ are not people. It’s OK to be fickle with things. Good or bad, they are sometimes a reminder of days gone by, but then it is time to move on. And don’t forget, if you get tired of the hardwoods, you can always go back to the painted subfloor.

  34. Ah, lovely! I would leave that floor alone. Change the seagrass rug if you really need a change. This is such a great bedroom! Sandy

  35. Your floor is beautiful! I’d keep it.

  36. No hardwood. All that time and work and it still looks beautiful. Spend the money on some other high traffic place. Especially if you have an area rug on it. You would just be cover expensive hardwood floor.

    Buy Reese cups and go to the beach or work on a new space you haven’t done anything with yet.

    Have an amazing day!
    ~Trina

  37. I love your beautiful painted floors. They lend so much character to your home. I vote keep them.

  38. I’m another painted-floor fan. I think the diagonal squares make your room look larger and gives the room a light, airy look without being too phoo-phoo. I saw a reference to painted sub-floors in an old Cottage Living magazine several years ago and I thought it was a brilliant move. But if your heart is set on hardwood floors and it’s in the budget, go for it. BTW, I appreciate your telling us how well it held up and what worked (and didn’t work) in your plan. Always good to know. 🙂

  39. We did the same thing for the same reason. We copied Fifi O’neil’s tutorial and ours is painted to look like wide plank flooring. We love it, it has held up perfectly, and everyone who sees it “assumes” it’s plank flooring.

    • The floor is gorgeous and so unique……ANYONE can have hardwood floors…..but this look to me is so much more beautiful and impressive! Wait till your really really tired of it and THEN do hardwood. But it sounds like you still really like it……blogland sure does!

  40. Nannette Wadkins :

    I am a true hardwood floor lover BUT………..I look at the picture of your room and I just can’t imagine it with the hardwood. Save the money you would spend on them for something else, like a vacation. Here is another BUT…..if you are thinking reclaimed barnwood floors or something creative like that, I can totally picture that!!!

  41. It was a genius move to paint those floors and I would leave them that way! It’s a fresh look and something that not everyone has. I’ve always been a rebel and had to do things differently than everyone else. I love that your floors are something different and out of the ordinary. If they start to show some wear so what !!! My grandmother lived in a farm house — a very tiny one at that. Lots of things would show wear but we just considered it “character” and left it at that. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your painted floors so don’t mess with perfection my dear.

  42. I would leave them till they really need something, like replacing, done to them. Fuggitaboutit and put your feet up and relax for now. Of course if the pictures aren’t showing the wear, or they are a pain to clean then maybe consider replacing. How is this for a wishy washy answer!

  43. I haven’t read every response, but my rule of thumb is always resale. If this is your forever house, or really long time house, then keep it as is, it is truly fabulous! I like the light it gives the room.
    But, if you are going to sell, hardwood all the way. It’s what the next family would expect. Unfortunately, it’s like tires when you buy a car, you expect the vehicle to come with them and don’t necessarily consider it an upgrade you should pay more for. Meaning that you might not recoup the cost in the sale of the house, but a building inspector is going to point it out to potential buyers and make it a possible sticking point.

    I still love the painted floor though! Cheers!

  44. My vote is for the painted floor. It is unique. Nothing unique about hardwoods, although they are beautiful.

  45. Why didn’t I know you sooner. We found ourselves in the same place years ago, removed the stinky builder’s carpet and painted the subfloors, but they weren’t in that good of shape. It was YUCK. Glad we finally covered them. However, we painted our stairs and never have done anything else. Made it really rustic and I painted the spindles and staircase black. Some hate it. Some love it. It will be as is until we get enough money to get real hardwood steps. My vote is hardwood, something that will last forever. Now, having looked at your amazing painted floor, let me tell you what takes my breath away. The fireplace with the pottery. White is my favorite color and it only truly shines when it’s layered with shapes and texture and this is one of the best examples ever ever. You’re so amazing. I’m going to start redoing my office and I’m going to channel my inner KariAnne.

  46. Your painted floors are sort of like your adorable red lipstick and big earrings. Not everyone can pull those off with such cuteness! Not everyone can pull off painted floors!

  47. Yes…leave the painted floor. I think it’s what fits your house. Did you ask your house what it wanted? Sometimes they’ll tell you if you ask sweetly! 😉

  48. I have to say I love the floor just as it is. It really works in your space. Of course if you REALLY need something different then spend the money for hardwood. You can’t go wrong with hardwood. It’s a classic! However, since this in the bedroom and not a main living area, I would keep what you have. The nice thing about it is that if you get tired of the squares or the color you can change it for a little effort and not a lot of money.

  49. Because you are a rock star, i cannot see you installing “just” hardwood, but hardwood with a touch of Karianne! Stencil your hardwood or mix it up into a pattern with variuos colors of hardwood. What would Karianne do? Lol

  50. Kar…before you spend thousands on hardwood, why not try another design like the ones you’ve seen on Pinterest? It’s only paint! : )

  51. Your floors are stunning! Keep them and do another floor if you really want to install hardwood.

  52. I really like the floors as they are, it’s unique and looks great. But, I also think hardwood floors would love divine in that room (not too dark, not too light). Dark really shows dust and dirt quickly as I’ve learned! Good luck with this one. Is there a flooring program out there like the paint sites where you can try on different floors in your own room? I’d do that and see what it might look like.

  53. Oh Girl, I adore your painted floor. Why not keep it and change the rug up if you are wanting a bit of a refreshed look. I just love it.

  54. I say keep it as it is for now. Save the money for something more pressing, you never know when an emergency might pop up. And, your kids will be in college faster than you can blink. ☕

  55. Keep the checkerboard floors. It gives such character to the room. You’d lose that with hardwood floors.

  56. Hey, this is something to consider, we did this in our fireplace- fog the fireplace bricks with black heatproof paint and the inside of the firplace will be uniform in color-just a thought. Love your blog~

  57. I love, Love, LOVE hardwood floors so I can’t believe I am saying this but I LOVE your floors exactly as they are! Beautiful, and why spend more money when you already have perfection!?! Take that money and get a Sweet Ice Tea -Supersized. 🙂

  58. Your bedroom is beautiful. If it were mine I would not change a thing. My daughter has been thinking about doing this in her bedroom and I am definitely showing this to her. Keep the floor as it is!

  59. KariAnne life is short. Do what your heart is telling you. Don’t let other options persuade yours. You already know what you want. Go with it. I know you will be happy with your choice.

  60. Karianne,
    hardood it all the way, baby customers you came a long way, Virginia!

  61. Well. Looks to me like a lot of people weighed in on this! Frankly, I love the consensus. Keep the painted floors! I just simply love the way they look. The styling of that room is so impeccable, the colors so flattering to one another, the textures – oh my! I could drool on and on but I won’t!

  62. We bought some acreage in the country several years ago which had a very small and rustic little “cabin” on it. Cleaned up and repainted inside the cabin from top to bottom, including ripping out disgusting carpet in the two tiny bedrooms so we could use it for our weekend get-away. Very soon we painted our plywood subfloors with a 12″ square-on-the-diagonal pattern and love it still. It felt soooo righteous to have it clean and attractive while spending only a few dollars. Later built a new home on the property, moved to the country place permanently and now our children and grands enjoy the “bunkhouse” (as the cabin was re-named) with the painted floors when they visit.

  63. I love hardwood floors, but your painted floor is so pretty, I wouldn’t change it 🙂

  64. I love your painted floors. I have hardwood in my family room, eating area, kitchen and I have always loved the look, BUT it is dark and it does scuff and scratch and I still ended up putting a 15 X 15 rug over the family room area because it just seemed noisy with all that wood. If I knew what my plywood looked like under the living room and dining room carpet I might consider painting my floor too.

  65. I love the painted floor, I had a painted floor in my kitchen years ago and it held up so well
    With kids and easy to take care of.

  66. We decorators are a restless folk! We are constantly challenging ourselves (or our houses) ,how can we improve what is already there. The artistry your husband and you put into this floor, shines. Don’t touch it, memories , uniqueness, individuality, anyone (with pocket change) can have hardwood. Stand out, be different, that’s what I love about your decorating. And the room is nothing short of AMAZING!

  67. I think the floor is great, KariAnne, but you can always add a stencil to some random squares and paint over it if you don’t like it. Sorry to say, there’s a huge mistake in your blog – everyone knows it’s “dance with the one that brung you.” Sheesh, kids today!

  68. I love the look of your painted floor. Many times when the funds dictate a economical solution our gut reaction is what we need to do. Keep your floors as they are a tribute to your resourcefulness and your “eye” for beauty!!!!

  69. Hello, this is my first post. I really enjoy reading, seeing your creative hands at work and reading your fun stories. I love the creativity of your floor and its eclectic look; however I understand change. We actually own flooring Co. and have hard wood all throughout our home accept bedrooms because I put me foot down okay I really batted my eyes works every time! I apologize in advance if u know this just bare w me for a long moment. Here a few things to ponder: 1. Would u prefer nail down or glue down? 2. Do u prefer a handscrape or just sand and finish?
    3. If something does scrape your floor or ding it will that bother u or would want to be able to redo? 4. What is your budget allowing? There’s advantages to both. The nail
    down is by far our favorite it’s gorgeous and there’s so much u can do w it as far as design. However it does scratch easily and if it gets a nice size dent if u don’t like it u have to sand and refinish. It all depends on u. Also nail down is quite a process so depending on time and patients level that’s another thing to consider. The wood needs to acclimate in your home for 2 weeks so raw wood, then u sand and finish. Depending on the time of year u do it if the weather where u r iscanything like our wonderful Oklahoma then it can be a booger to work with. Because when it’s sanded there is a lot of dust I mean a lot I think myself and our cleaning lady found dust even in our ears

  70. Judy MacDonald :

    I love your painted floor and I would keep it. It’s one-of-a-kind and just beautiful.

  71. Oh no lol I don’t think the other part of my comment made it so sorry if u do have any ?’s please feel free to email me I wish I was closer to help u shop and make sure someone takes good care of u , if u choose this route however I don’t know how much we’d really get accomplished!

  72. I love your painted plywood, but if you want to change and save yourself tons of money, go with high-end laminate wood flooring. That’s what we did in our entire main floor, and not one person that comes in can tell that it’s actually laminate. Almost looks like a rustic barnwood, but without the worry of kids, pets or furniture scratching it. We love it! Plus we did heated floors, which is Woooonderful!

  73. I love the painted floors! It really makes the room look larger and more interesting. I would love to know the colors and Brand Names you used for the paint. We have old,old linoleum on our 70 yr old home…I would love to change them but can’t afford to at this time. All the rooms lead to the living room. so we would have to change them all at once! I would love to paint them…I could afford that!

  74. I love the floor. It makes the room. It is one of the things I have oooowed and awed over since I found your blog. It was a brilliant idea!

  75. Kind of well strange you ask my opinion when you know what you want!! Maybe your finances are in a better place to where you can have a floor over the subfloor and less drafts?? Where I live our subfloor is cement so people often do remarkable stuff with that but if I’d known how cold it is, id have used vinyl plank wood look alikes!!
    Truthfully I never noticed your floor as anything but flowing so elegantly with your bedroom. I’m kind of glad you used squares and not curly cue paintings. Looks timeless. And choice of rug can change the look. Should youndesire to switch your look. I think do what you deep inside want to do. This was your holding pattern til you could afford…a bit tired of them but not ready to part? Buy a new rug!! I think they look great. Buy want better wood. Go for it. College will soon eat all your funds. It’s okay to splurge.

  76. Wait until this floor really starts to look bad and then replace it. With four kids, I am sure that you can find something else to spend the money on.

  77. Keep them, spend the money on something else faboo that will stand up to the test of time, tastes and loves!

  78. Elizabeth Sellon :

    Hi KariAnne!
    NO. While hard wood is beautiful and warm and easy to clean, it does not carry the charm of your paint. When I picture your current furniture on hardwood it seems not as balanced as Your looks usually do. I lived for years in an attic bedroom with painted plywood floors, Dark forest green (the late 80’s) Pale sage green (somewhere in the 90’s) And then taupe soft serene beige. How I miss those floors. It’s like walking on soft beach sand or through a meadow. Once the floors are wood they will alway just be that. I LOVE PAINT. Besides if you are really itching for a change just paint it again! Can’t wait to see what you do.
    P.S Your story about your health recently really inspired me. I just finished a three day cleanse and am heading into a 30 day challenge. I already feel so very different! THANK YOU!

  79. I say do whatever YOU want to do since its your house and you live there. I live your painted plywood floors! If they don’t bother you I’d opt to spend my money on something that does bug me. I tried to convince my hubbie to let me paint the plywood subfloor in our sunroom- but he thought it was stupid and wouldn’t hold up. I can’t wait to show him this post! Maybe now he will change his mind!;-)

  80. KariAnne, I’ve have always *loved* this floor of yours! Every couple of months I look at our 10-year old carpet and dream of yanking it up and painting the subfloor. honestly I would keep it as long as you can. It’s totally charming and sophisticated and I see no need to cover it with hardwood, no matter how gorgeous the hardwood might be. You also mentioned stenciling instead: the diamond pattern you have is timeless so I would leave it 🙂

  81. If you are ready for a change, go with the hardwood.

  82. First, let me say I adore hardwood floors. But I love the lightness your painted floor gives the room. It fits your farmhouse style. Even a light hardwood will darken your room. They are not the blank canvas one would think. Plus dogs, cats, life, etc can scratch even expensive, heavy coated wood over time, and wood floors are quite expensive, and stinky, to repair. My vote….keep the floors, change the rug if you want a different look. Plus you can always repaint the floor differently. Or put the hardwood money in a 12 month CD and decide when it comes due if you still really want wood. I have done this several times….and decided what I had wanted desperately wasnt so desirable a year later. But in the end, please do what makes you, and hubby, happy. You see the room daily. We see it on occasion!

  83. I vote for the painted floor of course!! It’s gorgeous. Actually, it sent bells off ringing in my head..we have the original gold shag carpet in the living room. hmmmm. You’re the best!
    Linda

  84. You have to keep these floors, they are amazing!!

  85. Not yet! It is SO pretty and so light and airy. When you’re tired of it, yes, go for hardwood. But for now it is so beautiful and it sounds like you’re still in love. 🙂

  86. Those floors make that room….they are gorgeous. Wish they were in my house instead of my light oak floors. They are stunning, really! I’d leave the rug off….it covers up too much of their beauty!!

  87. Love the painted floors……I think I’ll try that one of my guestrooms!

  88. Elaine O'Connor :

    Love the floor. I say keep it!.. Would love to know what color paint you used on your bed and chairs?? A great look.

  89. Karianne, I’m with the majority! I have hardwood throughout our 100-year-old house and while I love them I’d like to paint them. Hubby says a resounding no!! Don’t worry about resale. There’s a pot for every lid. You are so original and your creativity shines through those floors!

  90. It looks unanimous so far….keep it! I absolutely love it!

  91. Same your $$$..enjoy the floor you created:-)

  92. Love it! Keep it and use the money you would have spent on the hardwood for another project. It will remind you of what how you made do with what you had and made it beautiful on a shoestring. 🙂

  93. Love your floors.
    What did you use to sand the floors?
    Did you use a water based paint and polyurethane?
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.

  94. Keep it the way it is! Then fly on up to Seattle and come help me paint ours! I love they way you did it. So much more unique than hardwood (which they just don’t make like they used to)….everyone has hardwood anyways. Keep on being unique and fabulous;)

  95. I would leave them the way they are since they looks so pretty and are so unique. I’d rather spend the money on something else that actually needed to be done because it was outdated or in bad shape. 🙂

  96. KariAnne, I sense you must be wanting hardwood floors. And, I understand because I want hardwood floors in our bedrooms. My problem is that our bedrooms have super…nice carpeting, and my husband loves it under his feet. I told him to be prepared just in case it ever wears out. lol

    Hardwoods would definitely change the feel of your room. And, I personally love it exactly as it is.♥ I say do what your heart desires. We only go round once, you know.

  97. I have hardwood oak floors throughout the main level of our home and love them. On the second floor is the master bedroom and then a balcony room that is open looking down to our living room. Those two rooms are carpeted. The carpet needs to be replaced. we have thought about hardwood up there too but now I’m thinking of trying your idea of paint. I love your painted floor. I love that you used neutral colors. It seems like you went to a lot of work to paint them too. I’d keep them. Can you share the type of paint you used and the colors?

  98. Hmmm… I think your Dad is a very wise man. There’s something liberating about learning contentment… Besides, the floor is absolutely gorgeous!

  99. First, I’d like to say you are part of my morning routine. Feed pets, then cup o’joe and read Thistlewood.
    There are other things. But, let’s keep it simple. 🙂
    Your floors are gorgeous! I’ve been contemplating that for years now. Just need a kick start. Plus, several projects going at once. Hubby says finish one room… pleeeease.
    If your polling your fans? I say stick with your floor and like another fan said put the cash towards another Rock Star project!

  100. Bailey wife @Irishman Acres :

    If it’s not broke… ?? If you love it….?? Then I’d spend the money on something else, or save for a rainy day! ~Kim

  101. Perfect just the way it is!

  102. As Cindy Brown commented – here in Florida our sub floors are concrete. I like that you have done all the work on your floors and it looks great after 3+ years, but my preference is hardwood if the budget allows.

  103. I LOVE the floor just as it is. If I had a good plywood floor in my house, I would do the same thing. It is beautiful!

  104. keep them! they are just so perfect.

  105. I agree with Lisa Howard and not just because I’m 2 days out from kissing my ENTIRE 40’s away **gulp**

    Your floor reminds me of a comfy pair of slippers and hot tea…

    No one wants to toss-out their comfy slippers and hot tea for a pair of wooden Chinese slippers 😉

  106. Keeper!

  107. I love hardwood floors, but I also love your plywood floors. If you decide to go hardwood then you will have to make a choice. What color, how wide, what kind of stain?? LOL, too many choices. If this is your forever house then I would do hardwoods. They are timeless style wise. But truth be told, I have come to terms with being content with my home to not change everything. Your beautifully painted plywood floors are you Karianne. Even if they were done that way because there was no money left in the budget. your house is a home because it’s a reflection of you and your family. By the way, you do home so well. I am sure whatever you choose it will be lovely. Just for the record, I can’t imagine that rooms floor any other way. It just wouldn’t be you. ; )

  108. LOVE your current floors. Ultimately it is your choice, but you have really put your hearts into the floors and there is history there. Whatever you decide I’m sure it will rock! My husband and I are in the process of buying a home in our new state of Massachusetts. I can’t wait to get in and do “my” thing. Have a wonderful week!

  109. I do love hardwood floors, but if I were you I don’t know if i’d be ready to part with that floor just yet. You did a great job, and it still looks amazing. I would hang off for at least another year 🙂

  110. I love them and think they look beautiful! I say keep them if you like them!

  111. In my thinking hardwood, even a light color, would warm the room alot. In doing so you would go from the country French feel the room has now to a more American country feel.
    The room is beautiful the way it is. Gotta ask yourself why do you want to change it

  112. I love the painted floor. Unique. Everyone has hardwood.

  113. Keep the “beauty” you have!

  114. If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it !!!! Spend that money somewhere else and remember…
    Father ALWAYS knows best !!!! The painted floors are unique and gorgeous…wish I
    owned them !!!!

  115. Your floors are beautiful and unique, just like you. I agree with the other posters…everyone can have hardwood…your floor is a labor of love that you and your husband did together! Keep it and use the $ for a different project. Maybe just buy a new area rug or change the bedding if you feel like the bedroom needs refreshing!?

  116. Courtney Cloe :

    I’d keep it. It’s beautiful and unique!

  117. I love your painted floor, it is a wonderful foundation for all of the other beautiful things going on in the room. If you decide to change it out all those other beautiful things will still be going on so it will be another wonderful foundation adding more color and texture to the room. Like someone else mentioned I am always about resale. Although that may not be in the plans at this time it is always in the back of my mind in case a great opportunity for another house would present itself and we needed to sell. Also like someone else mentioned, in my area many of the new builds are choosing high end laminate wood flooring and it is beautiful, easier to maintain and you can’t tell the difference from hardwood. When we bought our house the kitchen/dining area flooring was not terrible but it needed replaced, however there was always something else more important that needed to be done and the flooring was sidelined. Our kids became teenagers and there were more expenses and then college. Other things in the house began to age and we were fixing those things, we needed to replace the furniture and the car. We had always planned on wood laminate flooring we would install ourselves, we hope to still be able to do that (maybe after replacing the roof) but wish we would have completed it while we were a little younger (easier on our body) and the price was less. The Yellow Cape Cod blog has a good post about hand scraped look laminate flooring she purchased at Sam’s Club and had installed in her downstairs living area..it is beautiful. She loved it so much she then used it in her upstairs living areas. While I love your painted floor if it’s in your budget maybe go for it now and check that off your list before the kids get too much older or other bigger projects come along.

  118. Lynnette Martin :

    Well due to fantastic photography, the room looks just like we would expect for Thistlewood Farms character! From my current viewpoint, my ranch open floor plan expanding with cherry laminate, I do dream of the next level of flooring, beautiful hardwood. We make choices based on the same ones you mentioned & those led us to the laminate. It has served us well, but now the kids are grown & we have some ‘Ooops’ spots that remind me of that dream again. For Thistlewood Farms, you would be increasing the formal value, but remember your artistic value. If you have plenty of cash I’m sure you can find a beautiful hardwood that enhances your beautiful home!

  119. I love the painted floor – leave it and move on to the next painted floor, maybe this time with stenciling of an intricate tile design.
    Lovely post – heart-felt. Thank you.

  120. Francis C. Moore :

    Do you really want to cover up a beautiful floor? Think of all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the project. Well, maybe not, but I love it with the rug.

  121. I think this is the ONLY time EVER that I’ve thought, “No, not hardwood floors!” lol. Your painted floors give the space so much personality that I think would be lost even with the most beautiful hardwood floors. It’s your space though, and we will love what ever choice you make. 🙂

  122. I love your painted floor. What a creative solution!
    As to hardwoods – who doesn’t love a hardwood? But, while incredibly beautiful, they
    are an additional cost. In a perfect world, you could find reclaimed wood and have them
    stenciled.

    But for now, why not keep enjoying the painted floor – knowing it can be repainted and quickly
    change the entire look of the room. I love the versatility of the painted option!

  123. I have 5 kids and did this in my dining room right after we moved in. I used a gingham pattern on the diagional,used latex paint and two coats of poly.I also glazed it so it looked a little antique. Everyone loved it including me but we put hardwood after a kitchen remodel after 10 years and had to join the rooms. I miss it! It wore so well even with chairs sliding. THE ONLY THING IS THAT A SUBFLOOR IS A LITTLE MORE BOUNCY THAN A HARDWOOD FLOOR AND YOU CAN HEAR WALKING AROUND MORE. I did my hallway upsairs too and it has held up GREAT.
    PAINT IS GREAT! BUT SO IS WOOD. AS for carpet in your room, that could go but it looks nice too. Love your house and all you bring to us.

  124. I love the painted floor. I vote you leave it. I showed my husband trying to convince him we need to rip up our living room carpet!

  125. My mother would say “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” or “make do with what you have” (she has lots of sayings). I say, if you and your family like it and it looks good, keep the floor that way. You might want to start a little fund for the future hardwood flooring, for when and if the painted floor wears down.

  126. Oh…I vote to keep the painted floor! What alot of work that must have been,,, and I love it!!

  127. Stay with the painted plywood. Its obvious you love it, and if you still want a change, paint a different design or color. Once you put down hardwood, you’re pretty much stuck with it for life.

  128. Karianne,

    I LOVE the painted wood floor and have even pondered painting my hardwood floors in my house. My vote is leave them.

  129. Mama always says… “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” LOVE that floor!!!!

  130. I wouldn’t change it. If you still like it, keep it! If you want a change, repaint, or get a new rug. I really love hardwoods, but if you’re happy you should just save the money and use it someplace else.
    I did the same thing in our living room several years back for the same reasons you mentioned. I chose a high-gloss white and I absolutely love it! I wouldn’t think of having anything else! Depending on the seasons and my pillow choices I’ll use a rug in there, but in the summer I leave it bare. If I could talk my husband into it I do it throughout the whole house.

  131. I love the painted subfloor…you know that I do….but at this stage in your life, at this stage of your home…I think you would be so happy with hardwood floors…and I know that if that is the route you will take, I know you must have just the type in mind….I say, reclaimed vintage/antique planks?….We have a place in the area that did that when we were building our home, but we went the route of least dollar resistance…regular oak wood floors….in my next house….I am going full steam ahead with the antique reclaimed wood floors!….

  132. I’m another vote for keeping it. It looks fantastic and I’m surprised how well its lasted. If you want a change do a stencil pattern, but I wouldn’t, I would leave it just as it is, its so bright and airy. Now I know how well it will last, I’m thinking of doing our bedroom. I’ve hesitated before because I thought it would wear quickly. Could we have a tutorial, say, which paint you used etc. I will go water based sealer too, because I don’t like the yellowing of the oil based. Many thanks Lynne B.

  133. I have to agree with keeping the floors as they are if they were mine! They are so unique and look how much money your are saving. With that said…they are yours and you should do what your heart tells you to. Thank you for the update on how they are holding up. They are fabulous!

  134. Ever since the 1 st time I caught sight of your bedroom, my HEART has gone PITTER pat! Keep it~ it’s just perfect!

  135. Leave it painted, it is gorgeous. One of a kind.

  136. Hmmm….Hardwood is beautiful, but in my house the only kind of wood floor I’d be comfortable with is the rustic kind that only looks better with scratches and worn spots. I love your painted floors. When we moved into this house 8 years ago we were in the same predicament as you – trashed carpets and no fundage to replace them. So, we painted ours white, too. I love them. They’re beginning to look kind of shabby now, but we live hard in this small space and have a big dog. I would definitely make the same decision if I had it to do over again. Looking forward to see what you decide. 🙂

  137. Although the painted floor looks great and may be holding up well,you will probably go with the hardwood at some point. Now or then (when)? If $$ isn’t a big issue now, then go for it. Wishing you the best.

  138. I adore this floor…but I also could see a beautiful rustic grade hickory white washed;)

  139. I LOVE the painted floors. I’d keep them for another 3 years and see how you feel then. They look great.

  140. Debbie Esparza :

    IT IS JUST BEAUTIFUL! Leave it as is. Enjoy your blog so, so much Kari!

  141. I like your floor. I like your bedroom. Now I am wondering after reading comments how it would hold up in a high use bathroom??? We have mini elephants who use it…water everywhere!

  142. RoseMary Knight :

    I wouldn’t replace it as there is no need. If you really want the wood flooring, go for it. You guys are the ones that have to live with it. I like the look of the painted diamonds. And, since they aren’t worn, why spend the money to replace something you are happy with.?

  143. I say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, it looks beautiful you did am amazing job!
    Great share:)

  144. Hardwood!! 🙂

  145. Hardwood would look beautiful and really set off your lighter furnishings! Go for it!

  146. Love it!! It is gorgeous! This is what I have wanted to propose to my hubs for a floor in our home. He will look at me like I’m crazy and I will show him your floor!

  147. Martha Lovingood :

    I love it! What colors did you use. Ive been thinking of doing this in my mudroom which is concrete. But if the budget allows, I say go with hardwood;)

  148. I have always wanted to rip up the carpet in our master bedroom and paint the subfloor much to everyone’s dismay and condemnation. You make me want to do it even more now — thanks for the inspiration! Your floor looks great and regardless of what we all say in our comments, you know what you love and you know what you want your house to feel like – home. You will make the best decision because it will be your decision and it will be in your home where all of your dreams are.

  149. My 1938 river cottage has real fir and oak floors throughout, so when we added a room we laid oak tongue and groove. The sub floor stared back while we stared at the pile of delivered oak boards for 6 months before we got brave enough to actually start fitting and nailing! Now I want to find the courage to paint a fir bedroom floor and get rid of the ancient dark stain. Perhaps it’s just a case of the grass being greener elsewhere BUT I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOUR PAINTED FLOOR!!!!!

  150. We grow, change, evolve. Why shouldn’t our homes do the same?

  151. I totally think your painted floors are awesome, in fact I have told other people about your painted floors that are wondering what to do with plywood subfloors. We have a century farmhouse that had awful carpet in the bedrooms. We pulled it up and revealed the plywood subfloors. We pulled them up too reveal the original softwood floors, they had nail holes and other “character”. I cleaned the cracks between the floor boards then we sanded them down and clear coated them and they look great!!

  152. Enjoy the uniqueness of your painted floors and don’t be drawn to establishment mediocrity and uniformity. Love your style!

  153. I am such a fan of painted floors. I actually like it when they get scuffed up. It means we live there, it’s home and it provides the perfect foundation for my little cottage. A more sophisticated home would probably lend itself to hardwoods. Your choice!!

  154. I would dance with the one that brought you
    on the painted floors you have. You can
    always change one day,…. if you really
    feel passionate about it. But I think they
    are beautiful.

  155. Lady Delores LeBoeuf :

    Love the painted floor and fits your personality…would a different area rug(s) bring on a change that you might be looking for? Wood floors are always so beautiful and never a wrong choice but really, really, really? Perhaps go dark rug to get the idea of the change over to wood……..weigh the costs and then say, hey, could I use that money on another project that is screaming to be done and then go wood down the road?………..’nuf said, good luck, I’m sure you will make the right decision.

  156. Love, love, love the painted floors! No matter the reason they were done, they are uniquely beautiful, and totally fit with the style sense of your light, white farmhouse decor! I would not cover them with simple “everyday hardwoods” … I would only consider rustic, reclaimed wide plank boards … something in lighter woods that would complement such a beautiful room.
    And even then, you have to follow your heart ~ are you really ready to cover those beauties …
    cover the hours of work that went into preparing, and painting, and sealing them …
    cover the memories etched into the surface from the kids running to and fro across the room … ?!

  157. Not to hardwood!! Love the paint.

  158. Today we signed the paperwork and purchased my late father in law’s house. Within the year (after we finish the remodeling we are in the middle of) we will sell our home of 25 yeàrs and begin the renovation and master suite addition to Pop’s house……our “new” old home. The thing I will most regret leaving in our house? The painted plywood floor in my son’s old bedroom which is currently my sewing room. When he was eight years old, he wanted one of those rugs that were being sold at that time that looked like an aerial view of a city with roads on it. Well, we were broke and couldn’t afford one but I had a gallon of green paint and lots of acrylic craft paint………sooooooo, a month later, he had an entire floor painted with roads, a river, a pond, a forest, a baseball diamond, a football field and a “Welcome to Duncanville! Population 1” sign! He was in Matchbox cars heaven! He is twenty nine now. I retouched a few bad spots on that floor and resealed it about three years ago. Still looks pretty good and tickles people half to death when they see it for the first time! It’s definitely one of a kind. When we renovate Pop’s house, the existing master suite will become my sewing studio. The carpet’s going to be removed and the subfloor will be painted……although probably not with a city scape on it! The rest of the house has hardwood under the carpets and the carpets will be pitched out to the curb (why on earth would you want to cover up beautiful hardwood floors?). And while I adore hardwood floors, I want one room to be special and unique. Since the master suite was a 1960’s addition (the original house was built in 1950) and it has only a plywood subfloor under the….. wait for it…..colonial blue carpet it’s the perfect candidate!
    Long winded way of saying that, unless you’re just sick of your painted floor ( it’s gorgeous!), keep it and put the money into another project…….. I’m sure you have another dozen or so brewing in that super creative brain of yours!

  159. Mary Lynn Beshara :

    Keep. It’s so unique. I love it.

  160. Hi Kari Ann,
    You are asking for an opinion… I have two. First, I am personally a fan of harlequin patterns. Second, I like hardwood floors. This would be a tough choice for me to make.

    The question to be asked is, are you ready for a change? If so then go with wood.

    Do you want flooring that is going to make your space warmer? That is what wood flooring will do. It would be beautiful. It would have a French farmhouse feel.

    Do you want to keep your space airy and bright? Keep your beautiful harlequin floor.

    I can’t tell you what I would do either because I would be torn. If I were to walk into your home right now…. I would want the painted subflooring as it is now and I would keep it for a very long time. You’ve lived with it for a long time and everyone tires of styles after a while.

    No matter what you decide, it’s the right choice and it will be beautiful.

    🙂 Olivia

  161. I love your painted floors. So much so, I painted mine in the same way. Same pattern, same colors, same technique. Mine have not held up as well but in a higher traffic area. I need to touch up and reseal this spring. I also go shopping for other floor options but the selections and labor costs stop me in my tracks. I agree with your wise old Dad!

  162. It’s quite pretty. And airy. And as my grandfather used to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

  163. I cannot believe how great it looks and cannot imagine the time it took to get there. After 3 1/2 years, I’d say you’ve had better success with plywood than most people have with hardwoods, and as one that loves painted floors, I say keep it!! Great job!

  164. EVERYBODY has hardwood floors…you don’t want to be like everybody, do you? Be different…keep the painted floors.

  165. I love the painted floor!I would continue to dance… after all not everyone dances like that.

  166. Looks great the way it is and as someone in the earlier comments said when you find the perfect quirky companion don’t look for something you think is better. And on a minimalists note….why spend money on something that isn’t really necessary when what you have already works perfect! I say use the money you would spend for hardwood floors and take a family vacation…..your kids will look back fondly on the memories of a vacation…..I doubt they will grow up commenting on how much they loved your hardwood floors!

  167. So long as your painted floors are holding up well, I’d keep them. I’d do the very same thing if I had plywood! Either way, I know that it’ll be gorgeous!

  168. Absolutely love your painted floors and the way they work with the room. I’m getting ready to create the same look in my home…..not for budget reasons but because I love the clean but decorative simplicity of it. My vote is keep them……hardwood is an option that is always there if you change your mind.:)

  169. I’m thinking if I had plywood subfloors there would be paint on them in my future. I LOVE yours. I’d keep them but hardwood is beautiful too. Not sure how well they hold up to dogs, etc.

  170. I would paint the floors. You did such a great job with your bedroom floor, why not try to stencil the next one. You have given me the inspiration to paint my floor in the enclosed porch off of the bathroom. Had to remove the carpet due to cat accidents. (*Yuck*). Thanks.

  171. Oh my, love this. We just signed a purchase agreement on an old house that needs everything. We must try this! Great idea. Love the look.

  172. The floors are very pretty! I’m curious about what you did in the transition areas/thresholds from that room to the hall/other rooms…?

  173. You have worked so hard on this floor and it is the bomb! It is beautiful! Anyone can have a hardwood floor…but a painted floor is very unique. I just love the whole room!
    You have inspired me so much. (By the way, I just purchased the Sea grass rug and I love it). Thanks for your help way back when I asked for your opinion. I really appreciate all you do. You are the best “Rock Star”.

  174. I love the painted floor. I did the same thing many years ago but used porch paint. I loved that it was different and very durable. It stood up to four dogs plus.I do understand the hardwood thought. I just cant afford the hardwood I want!

  175. Absolutely. Hardwood.

  176. Suzanne Melton :

    As my Mom told me 55 years ago (when I was 13), “Your taste will change.” And, yes of course, Moms are always right.

    Sooner or later, you’ll get the bug to redecorate. When that happens, think about what you’d want for the rest of the room. Same floor? Sub-floor with a different pattern or color? Hardwood?

  177. Keep the floor you have the floor instead of the wood floor. Your floor is amazing@

  178. 1.) The hardwood floor project would be such a big mess.
    2.) You can never have enough money in the bank once the children get older, not just college age.
    3.) You are unique and so is your bedroom floor–keep it.
    4.) Your floor would make any magazine cover; per comments above we all want it!!!

  179. Hi KariAnne, If you still love them, keep them! Can’t wait to see what you decide!

  180. KariAnne, I have to ask you a question…. Why do we Pinterest? It’s to find something “different” not what we see in everybody else’s home!!!

    I personally think you have succeeded in making a mark on your home. The painted floor is gorgeous and still highly in style.. Plus, I bet you have some wonderful memories… Some sweat and tears and probably some funny memories while creating your floor…. If your goal is to have what everybody else has …what everybody can get down at your local home store, then go with the wood floors… However, if your goal is to be different and original… then listen to your other post… and keep that gorgeous painted floor….

    If you are questioning whether it is time to change it… then it’s not… The time to change it is when you just can’t stand looking at it one more day… Like your carpet and wallpaper… I’d give my left boob… ( not the right one lol ) to have your home… Till then.. I will pin… and copy my favorite lady…. Like the burlap smocked curtains.. I am going to make… 😉 Now back to deciding.. Ivoiry… The other beige lol …. Mindful Gray or the lighter one..

  181. I say if you’re still happy with them, leave them. When it gets to where you HAVE to make a decision because of the condition of the floor or that you’re just sick of them then change them. Once you do it you can’t go back! Well, you could, but… 😉
    xo Heidi

  182. Judy Westmoreland :

    Beautiful floor. I say keep it. Thanks for asking.

  183. Ok I love this! Course, I did something similar in our old house in the kitchen. Pretty much for the same reasons. We had some linoleum that was coming up and tearing. It was about 10 years old. I HATED it. We had no budget for new flooring of ANY kind. So, I ripped it up and spent days removing the adhesive that was left on the cement floor. Yes, that’s right…CEMENT floor.

    Faced with staring at Gray cement for the next few years, I decided it would be worth it to give paint a try. I too decided to paint squares on the diagonal. Since I didn’t know how to measure off perfectly straight squares (this was before Pinterest and decorating blogs), I painted the entire floor in a light taupe color with a roller. Once that dried, I took a 12 x 12 square of foam, glued it to a piece of wood the same size. I then rolled a Sandy/beige color onto the square and winged a diamond pattern across the floor. I basically eyeballed it. It was rustic, and worn looking. I loved it! Then I rolled on three coats of Valspar diamond clear coat. That floor held up for five years! It would have gone longer, but we decided to put in tile. And can I tell you something? I missed that old painted floor! It was so easy to keep clean! Sigh… The only drawback was if someone spilled water on the floor and didn’t wipe it up, you could easily end up skating across the floor like a newbie at the ice skating rink. Ask me how I know. 🙁

    So my answer is, do whatever makes you happy. If it were MY bedroom I would love some antique pine floors in there, but I’m not the one living in your house. Follow your gut…

  184. You are so brave. The pictures look so nice. I was thinking of doing the same thing with my stairs. But my hunny bunny thinks I’m nuts. But you just helped me make my case. The carpet is just awful. I’m shooting for black and white. Or something like that. Our goal is hardwood but then so is a month in Italy.
    Can you tell me which sealer you used? We don’t have heavy traffic just us two.
    Thank You Barbara Ann
    etsy.com/shop/barbaraannscreations

  185. No hardwood…love this floor!

  186. This project is what brought me to your blog and I am so glad it did as I have enjoyed following you and all of your cool projects. I have to agree with the majority here and say keep the floor but only if you really want too. You have changed so many things by just moving furniture around, adding this or that that I am sure if you need a change you could totally change your bedroom without changing the floor and people would be amazed. You have got creative abilities beyond what I could ever hope for in myself. I am still hoping to do my gross dingy subfloors sometime this spring. Like you I had dirty stained carpet flooring throughout most of my house. Some of what is still down but in the entryway, stairs and family room I yanked it up in one of my crazy “get it out of here I can’t stand it anymore” moments, and haven’t regretted it either oddly enough! Not sure it looks better without the gross carpet but at least its a project underway, well sort of, it just glares at me now! If you have the “recipe” for what you did, sealer, primer, paints, drying requirements, etc…that would be greatly appreciated as I want to start seriously preparing for this massive project! With 3 boys and lots of animals (3 large dogs and 3 cats) I will need to strategically plan how to make this work. I, like you, have dreamed of beautiful hardwood floors but am unable to afford such a luxury at this point in time. Keep up all your creative adventures and know whatever you decide it will be just perfect!

  187. I love your painted floors and would keep them!