How to Makeover a Plywood Floor
This living room plywood floor makeover has been a long long time coming.
I had too many ideas that I loved and I couldn’t decide which one to go with, so indecision kept me from doing anything at all.
Don’t you just hate it when that happens?
They say making no decision is actually making a decision by default, and I didn’t want that.
So a little while ago I gave myself a good kick in my DIYing butt, and I made the decision to dive in with the idea that I thought was the most me.
Even so, there was still a chance that the outcome in reality wouldn’t match the vision in my head.
But once the decision was made I jumped in with both feet, and I’m so happy I did.
Here’s what the living room floor looked like before I started this whole makeover thing, which seems like eons ago.
We had that laminate floor for quite a few years and it’s expiration date was long past.
I felt the need for something happy and colorful.
Honestly, unless it’s garden soil showing off pretty flowers I’m not really a huge fan of brown.
So off with the click-together floating laminate floor.
Once the laminate flooring was gone, we were left with an old plywood floor that we put down shortly after we moved in twenty years ago.
The original wood floors in this room were not in great condition so I cut the plywood to look like wooden floor planks.
You can see where I didn’t cut into the plywood in this pic, in front of the wood stove .
We had a heavy area rug there when I did this, and I didn’t do under it.
The plywood floor is pretty messy looking because I painted the walls and ceiling before starting the floor makeover just so I didn’t have to worry about paint drips.
And no matter how careful you are, there are always going to be some booboos.
How to Make Plywood Look Like an Old Wood Floor
So, I needed to cut my plywood floor in the area that I didn’t do all those years ago.
To do this you just need a few simple tools: a ruler, a pencil, and an xacto knife. That’s it!
When I originally did most of the floor I tried using a rotary tool, but the bits burnt out too quick and the lines were too straight.
Whoever heard of an old wooden floor with perfectly straight lines? Not me, that ‘s for sure.
Certainly not in this house.
To get a real old and worn floor look it’s my opinion that doing this by hand is best.
Sometimes the old fashioned diy way is still the best way.
I measured and drew out my lines with pencil.
My lines are about 6″ apart, but again I didn’t want to be too perfect with that.
I cut into the pencil lines on an angle, going one way first…
… and then going the other way along the same line.
It’s super important to use a sharp blade, not to go too deep, and not to apply too much pressure.
Here’s my plywood floor all done and ready for a lot painting.
I always wrap my painting trays with a plastic grocery bag, which I now only get at thrift stores because I use a couple of grocery baskets for my actual shopping.
We’re on a well, and it takes way too much water to clean a paint tray.
For my floor makeover base coat I’m using a ReStore latex white paint and primer combo, and just a brush and a roller.
First I did around the perimeter of the room with the brush.
I wasn’t at all sad to see all the dings and dents and drips and ooopsies disappear.
There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint, and you could of course leave the floor painted just the one color…give it a couple of coats of Stays Clear Poly by Benjamin Moore, and call it done.
But for me the white is just the beginning of this plywood floor makeover.
This is where the fun starts.
How to Paint Colorful Stripes on a Plywood Floor
My floor is getting a colorful stripe treatment, and to do that I need to use a separate brush for each color.
Here are my five colors, all are latex paints that I already had.
I used small aluminum meat pie trays for my paints because this treatment really doesn’t take much paint at all.
I started with pink, and I just followed the lines that I cut into the plywood.
Now you’re probably asking yourself a couple of questions.
First, why did she paint the floor white if she was just going to paint over it?
The short answer is because I wanted the colors to have the brightness that a white base coat would give them.
I didn’t want to be disappointed with how any of the colors looked over that beigy browny color.
Second, why did she cut the lines into the plywood when she was just going to paint stripes?
Because taping off the lines would make them too straight and perfect, not at all what an old floor would really look like.
And, I already had the floor partially done from years ago… so I had to go with it. Also, if I ever repaint the floor in one color I’ll still have those cut in lines that make it look like a painted wooden floor.
I added my stripe colors randomly, not worrying about it too much at all.
If one didn’t look right when I was finished I figured I could always paint over it.
Thankfully that didn’t happen.
Whoa! Put on some sunglasses, lol, that’s a little bright.
Even for this color-loving gal.
No worries… I’m toning it down a bit, just so the floor is smiling at me rather than laughing hysterically. lol.
If you can take hysterical laughter every day and you want to leave it at this I say more power to you.
Just give it a couple of coats of the Stays Clear poly and call it done.
But for me it was on to the next step. What’s that you ask?
And this is where it all falls into place, and the vision that I saw in my head hopefully becomes a reality.
How to Dry Brush a Painted Plywood Floor
Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like.
It’s painting with a dry brush to get an aged effect quickly and easily.
I always use one of my most worn and used brushes when dry brushing because it seems to work better.
You just dip the brush in the paint and wipe the excess off under the rim, not on the rim.
I’m using the same white paint that I used for the floor base coat.
Then whatever excess paint you still have on the brush you brush off onto miscellaneous newspapers, until you have a really dry brush.
If you’ve never done this before it might be a good idea to practice before trying it on something you really care about.
Then again, if you don’t like the outcome you can always paint over it and start again.
Now, with a light hand you just drag the brush across the floor.
The trickiest part is making it look seamless all along the floor.
You don’t want to see where your brush starts and stops.
The cool thing about dry brushing is that it picks up all the imperfections and highlights them.
That’s how you get the old worn look.
Here you can see the difference between the before dry brushing on the right and the after dry brushing on the left.
I have to say that it’s even a more dramatic difference in person.
Here’s my colorful striped floor again, before dry brushing.
And here’s the after.
When John came home from work that day he thought I had sanded the floor to get that aged look.
That would definitely work too, but it would be so much more work and a lot of mess with all the paint dust.
I’m super excited with how my plywood floor makeover turned out. For me, it’s actually even better than what I envisioned in my head.
That doesn’t always happen so believe me when I tell you that I’ve been doing some happy dancing on my colorful living room floor.
Two top coats of Benjamin Moore’s Stay Clear poly in a matte finish are the icing on my striped floor cake.
(And no, I’m not an affiliate of Benjamin Moore. lol. I just love this product, and have used it for years because it doesn’t yellow.)
There’s nothing worse than doing a project and having it start discoloring and yellowing over time, unless that’s the look you’re going for.
So here’s what we see coming down the stairs every morning.
It’s a very happy way to start each day, and as if that wasn’t enough to start us off right… we also have the JOY mirror sign on the way down the stairs.
And the Monet water lily throw that I turned into wall hanging art.
Decorating is all about how your decor makes you feel, and what it brings to your well-being in your every day life.
In the summer this living room is basically a walk through to the upstairs, but in the winter it’s where we hang out to read while basking by the wood stove. And this is where I escape the chaos of my craft studio to write on my laptop at my decoupaged floral desk.
I decorate my home for the cold snowy winter months, when we spend a lot of time inside, which is why I want it to be happy, warm, and colorful.
So the next time indecision is stopping you from accomplishing a project, maybe you need to give yourself a kick in your DIYing butt like I did and just dive right in.
Thanks so much for reading, and until next time…
keep on keepin’ on!
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