There’s a New Arrow Maker in Town

Do you remember the arrow maker?

I know there were about 2.75 of you reading the blog then, but if 2.75 of you remember, I was in awe.

You see, I am a hand talker.  With me there is a lot of pointing and hand-waving and excited little swoops to punctuate a really important point whenever I tell a story.  It has been hard for me to adjust to telling a story with simply pictures and words.

Without pointing.

Without hand-waving.

Without an extra swoop now and then.

So when I wanted to post on my painted bedroom floors.  I was in a quandary.

I had pictures. 

I had directions. 

But my post was sans arrows…..

Until now.

Did you see them?  Aren’t they so beautiful and pointy and arrow-like?  Isn’t it wonderful how I can clearly point out with arrows and text that I should have filled and sanded the joints of the plywood before I painted the floor?

But in my arrow excitement I am getting ahead of myself.  Too much hand-waving, I think.  More directions.

Painting a Plywood Sub-floor

(1)  Can you paint a plywood sub-floor?  Ummmm….yes.  Is it the best flooring decision we ever made….hands-down, yes.  We had vintage Berber carpet.  I wanted wood. 

New hardwoods = $3500

Painted plywood sub-floor = $120.00.

We want to send our four children to college, so the choice was clear.

(2)  We started by ripping up all the carpet, pad, and tack strips.

(3)  Then we cleaned the floor thoroughly.  I mean this.  Don’t skimp on the scrubbing.  You don’t want to be painting and find a dust bunny on your brush.

(please note that there are neither photos nor arrows for these steps because the floor was painted pre-blog and you know how I am about those before pictures)

(3)  There were several small spots that needed to be patched and sanded, but otherwise the sub-floors were in excellent condition.  I would recommend patching the joints in the sub-floor for a more unified look.

We did not.  We were in a hurry, so I told my husband those joints would give the floor character.


Here is a link to a much smarter blogger than I, who actually patched her floor.  She has pictures of her brilliant patching, too.

(4)  We primed the floor.  Please don’t skip this step, either.  We used an oil-based primer made for floors. 

(5)  We painted on the base coat with floor paint in SW Oyster White.  We painted the lighter color first. 

(6)  Then we then drew squares in with pencil placing them on the diagonal.  I really like the look of anything on a diagonal.  It makes squares look like they joined a country club.  Fancy.

(7)  We taped off outside every other pencil-drawn square with painter’s tape.  Each square is 21″ x 21.”  These squares are painted with the a darker color of floor paint, SW Rice Grain.

*sigh* ….just look at those arrows.

(8)  After it was dry.  We sealed it all with two coats of water-based polyurethane.

(9)  $120 later we had new floors and could still send our children to college.

Disclaimer:  I am not a professional floor painter.  This is how we did it.  I know professional painters everywhere are probably cringing and could give you much better advice.  Please follow directions on all products for drying times, useability and safety precautions. 

One last thing.

Pinned Image

I am a mere amateur with my squares.

Roeshel is a true professional.  This is a painted floor

Not a rug. 

A floor.

I know.  Seriously.

Pinned Image

Here’s another Roeshel creation.


Almost makes me want to line-dance to Achy Breaky Heart. 


Painted Porch Rug for Blog 3 (600x450) (2)

And for squares with a twist, check out this painted porch.



She’s a genius.

She has a painted porch and her children are probably going to graduate school.  🙂

PS  If you want more ideas on painted floors check out my pinterest board.

PSS  If you are over painted floors and want to aim a little higher, check out this post on painted ceilings.

PSSS  I am sharing this idea here and here and at Kim’s.

54 thoughts on “There’s a New Arrow Maker in Town

  1. You are so funny. I painted a subfloor once. It didn’t even have squares. I thought I was so clever just for painting it. My kids went to college and one to grad school. This was apparently in defiance of my lack of talent. Those other floors? Well, they are amazing, but I’m sure I could do that if I had a lot more time on my hands. (not)

  2. Thanks for all your inspiration! Would you be willing to provide me the details on the fun and intriguing lampshade, pretty please?

  3. I have just decided (after reading your post) that I should probably go back upstairs so I can curl up on the floor of my closet and suck my thumb. Karianne! This is fabulous. And, given that I love neutrals like you do, it is even more fabulous.

    But, I’ll go to work anyway. I guess they already know my inadequacies.

  4. Fab floors!! I have 3 in college, one is pretty much independant and out of our pockets, but 2 in college, and 2 still at home keeps me on a pretty tight decorating budget!!!! One of these days……..

  5. Very nicely done! I do not have the patience, or the talent to do this. I would get no arrows I’m certain. I’m a “close enough” kind of girl, those squares would be so uneven if I had done them.
    I can’t get over the painted rugs because seriously? Wow.

  6. You are doing a great job jusing those handy arrows! Ha! I’m very impressed with your painted floors. I’m sure mine would look like a kindergardener did it. It’s nice to know there are alternatives out there to standard flooring. Yours look great!

  7. You are hill-lar-ee-ous!!!..You NEVER know what to expect beyond the title!..I try to bring a little levity into my comments, but there is NOTHING funny about those floors..they are all amazing!..Painting sub floors? Truthfully, I have never seen that done (been living under a rock I guess)..Being a former Florida girl, our floors were all basically concrete that’s another story..people started staining concrete floors..but truthfully they were cold under your feet..You did a truly amazing job..thanks for also presenting the other talented DIY’ers..those floors are jaw dropping..My porches are brick, so if I want to stay married, I would have to refrain from the paint brush!

  8. I wanted to paint our basement floors last summer when we had the great “flood”. I was already to paint the cement and wood subflooring but Bobby G. just did not get it so I didn’t do it. I already told you how much I love your diamond floors and now you show me a picture of a front porch with a painted rug. I have to do that!!

    Now what I really want to know is if that mirror on your wonderful makeup table is magnified times 5 like mine. I am always seeing that question in blogland what would you take if you had to run out of your home and leave everything behind. You get the answers like photos, lap top, grandmother’s china, etc. …… mine would be the magnified mirror. 🙂 xoxo Have a super great week Karianne.

  9. LOVE the arrows!! Looking back, it’s just amazing to see how far you’ve come. 😉

    And, those floors are awesome…is that filling, sanding and repainting on your Get ‘er done list??

    Have a great week…

  10. First of all, can I just thank you, seriously, from the bottom of my heart, that you DID NOT PUNCH DOWN THE TOP OF THAT BEAUTIFUL PILLOW resting on your chair? Something has happened in the world of decor and pillows!! Have you noticed? Folks who claim to be all professional are now SMASHING (yes, I know, a harsh word, but truth is truth) the tops of their pillows!! Pillows are not secondary to decor!! What would your chair do for the room without that lovely cushiony beauty in repose? A pillow is accessorative (a word from the KTP dictionary – that’ll throw you!!) and quite necessary, I might add. A pillow is not to be humiliated by being made to look like some cheesy cartoon character with strange pointed ears!!! Pillows are submissive! They can NOT de-point themselves!!!! So. Thank you, Karianne, for allowing a pillow its dignity in your home.

    Now to the floors.

    I can’t figure out if you’re my HERO, some kind of a DECORATING GODDESS, an OLYMPIAN OF DESIGN or if YOU and I would be the last two standing next to each other in Phys Ed while all the other sporty girls got picked and we nervously awaited our names to be called (you know? that last one is how the BFF’s came to be formed!!! ).

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE AND ADORE YOUR FLOORS (throw a little envy in there, too)!!



    —–> —–> —–> —–> —–> —–>

  11. I’m not sure what you like more – those fab floors or your arrows?!

    I am one of the 2.75 people who remember the arrow proudly pointing to your pantry but this arrow is an arrow to top all arrows!

    First painted floors, then arrows, next world domination!

    Of course, being from Jersey, I’d never even fathom doing the Achey Breaky but when I saw your painted floor, I almost broke out my Hammer Time!


  12. Karianne, You make me smile! I think you did a great job on your painted floor. Oh and your arrows are super. The other painted floors you shared are gorgeous. I’m pooped just reading your advice. Have a great day. Joyous Wishes, Linda

  13. A girl with arrows is a girl after my own heart. :))

    I just WISH the floor I am about to expose by ripping out carpet is going to be concrete. O WOE IS ME…..I am pretty sure I am going to paint it…. can’t afford wood….don’t want carpet….tile ?? not sure at this point. I would paint it in a New York Minute if it WERE wooden sub flooring.

    You surely did an amazing job and I want to paint SOMEthing in the Rice color you mention often !!

  14. That is truly awesome!! Our upstairs has three bedrooms and its where the kids live… I am very close to ripping the carpet off the steps and was a little apprehensive because of the hallway floor.. it is a gross tile… maybe I could paint it????

  15. I love painted floors. Beautiful!

    Our Dallas McMansion had way too much carpet. I wanted to paint the concrete first floor, and the subflooring on the second floor. This was before anyone was really doing it much. Oh, the pityiing looks I received. Clearly, that gated community wasn’t a good fit for us! 😉

    Sending kids to college is definitely a more rational choice and has such a homey feel.

  16. Amazing! I would have never ever guessed. What a savings. Your children are going to thank you for it!

    I noticed the jewelry box in your room…I have the same one…I painted it an off white and haven’t sanded it a bit yet but it is the same one!

    Love the arrows by the way. :0)

  17. I think your floor looks great and that you just have an amazing eye for decorating! When do we get a tour of your house?????

  18. We have this, well I guess we could call it a porch, with unnamed paint finish on it….I was hoping to do something like you did with chalk paint in large squares. The problem being it might be a Fiberglass finish, or it might be something else..It might require a bit of research first.

    Love your floor, had no idea that you could make a plywood floor so beautiful.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  19. Get out of my head…and then come over here an help me paint my floors. More fodder for convincing my hubby that this is the way to go… It’s taken me a year, but I think he’s finally comin’ ’round.

    I’m guessing you already had the plywood subfloor in place…am I cO-rrect?

  20. Do you know how funny you are? You would if you could see my hands talking with I did paint a plywood subfloor once. A huge country kitchen that needed something to make me smile until we could afford the ceramic tiles. So the plywood got a cream dress with gorgeous stenciled fleurs bordering everything. I liked it better than the new tile we eventually put down but that was in a house long ago and far away.
    And I’m standing in line with Kolein V. Carlson about the pillow punchers – way to go, Kolein!

  21. Your painted floor is gorgeous! I love everything that you decorate, you make it look easy. But I know it isn’t, I want to do that on my back porch. Hubby thinks it will look terrible, perhaps I will show him your photos, hopefully he will let me do it this summer.
    I remember that arrow post, perhaps I’m the .75 blogger from back then.:)
    Hugs, Cindy

  22. Oh SERIOUSLY!!! I am so in love with those floors! But first, I need to tell you that I am mega jealous of your arrows! I need to take an arrow class. I am so tech deficient! It would most likely take me ALL day to figure out how you did that! ??? I really need help, my own personal Geek Squad!
    On to those floors, which we all got a peak at last week when you showed us your gorgeous Master Bedroom. –I was just thinking this morning (before reading this) how I desperately need to do something with the floors is my Master closet. My carpet in there just looks a mess, and even when I re-carpet later this year, I decided that I DON”T want carpet in the closet. This morning I was wondering to myself, (if I share my reno thoughts aloud, it makes Mr W shudder) how hard would it be to install a cork floor?? You know those cool new large cork tiles that come in a gazillion finishes at the home improvement stores? But, hold. the. phone! I think, after seeing what you did here, I may just be motivated enough (dumb enough) to try painting my floors!! Definitely something to seriously consider, since it’s just the cost of paint, and I probably even have some that I could use, so then it’s just the poly.
    HMMMMM. Must go shop and ponder. 😉
    Girl, I bow to you! You are a genius among mere mortals! Thanks for the fabulous share!
    Have a great day!

  23. I gotta get me some arrows cause I don’t see painting floors happening any time soon, although….. I do have a good spot.


  24. First of all, hilarious. I would never have thought to paint sub floors but now………the carpeting on our basement steps is SO old, so groos and I hate it. Now I know I can PAINT IT!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the inspiration. LOVE the squares (and the arrows). HOW did you put arrows on the pics???????? I am very UNSAVVY on the computer! XO, Pinky

  25. Years ago, I convinced my dear sister and BIL to rip out the carpeting in their dining room and install large sheets of smooth brown melaminish over the sub floor. The next step (poly the floor) just about killed them and sent them running to Mom’s till the smell was gone! But the result was fabulous! She even mentioned to me last week she wanted to repeat the idea in her family room (which currently houses the ugly step sister to your berber carpeting!) I’ll have to show her your idea to just paint the sub floor… Oh the things I can talk her into!

    Great floor, great photos and as always….. great post!
    dee dee

  26. I soooo want to attempt this but I am skeeeered!! I do want to send my rascals to college though so I may have to fight through the fear. 🙂 And now I just like you even more knowing that you talk with your hands! My hubby always says that when my mom and sister and I are all together you have to duck if you come too close to us when we are talking. LOL! Your floor is absolutely gorgeous and I’m just super impressed!

  27. You’re floor is gorgeous! (you crack me up every time too – love the arrows!) I love the diamond patter and colors and the rest of the room too! And those seams? I call it ‘character’ and no one would have noticed if you hadn’t pointed them out. 😉

    Thank you so much for the shout out (now if only my server wasn’t down…lol). So my apologies to anyone visiting the link. “They’re working on it” (all day long…grrr).


  28. The beach house where we are staying has a floor like this! Only in blue and white and it is well worn. It looks fabulous.

    We have decided to spend my husband’s next vacation trying this out in our house — if we screw it up, we’ll just get some carpet and cover it. I am so amped now!

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  29. Your floor looks great! I think you did it correctly and so rewarding isn’t it? To know that you did it…made it look great…and for so little money.

  30. Ha, vintage berber! We had vintage shag in our basement till last summer when I ripped it all up and painted the concrete. I haven’t written a fun and creative post about it yet though, so I am thoroughly enjoying yours. It looks great!

  31. love the floor…great job…great pattern! i want to paint a floor in my house someday…
    this is unrelated, but i am glad to see a pic of you on your blog…it’s exactly how i pictured you…blond and beautiful!!

  32. First exclamation points and now arrows ————–> girl you’re killing me!!!!! 😉 Okay so now seriously, your floor are gorgeous and I am just slightly envious because I REALLY wanted to do this in my dining room and Bama Boy refused to let me! Can you believe he actually had the nerve to refuse a DIY attempt of mine?!! I gave in and got the hardwood, but secretly I still wish I had painted the plywood. Hoping when I show him yours, he’ll let me try it in another room. You <—————– my friend are beyond talented! grin!

  33. Thank you, thank you, thank you for commenting at my blog so I could find yours. This paint the floor project is exactly what I need in my life right now – especially with such “pointed” instructions! I love your writing style and I will probably have to subscribe by email (though I did the Linky follower thing, too, just to be nice – I just don’t use it to read blogs). You rock 🙂

  34. still hoping i can convince the hubs to let me paint a rug onto the porch floor since he won’t let me touch the floors inside. man i love paint.

  35. I’ve been wanting to rip out the carpeting in our back room and hall to do this. I like my squares tipped on their sides too! You floors turned out bee.u.tee.ful. Now I need to go follow those links to see more floors! Great job girl!

    Oh…I forgot to mention in my last comment how glad I am to see your smiling face up there! I love to put a face with a blog…uh…name. And such a lovely face it is too!

  36. I always love visiting you, Karianne, because you always leave me in stitches! lol! Your floor (arrows and all!) turned out just beautiful!! And I’ll bet your kids are happy that they’ll be going to college….whether they like it or not. hehehe!

    xoxo laurie

  37. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love your home. Your floor and Master Bedroom is absolutely gorgeous! I featured your bedroom last week by the way! Thanks so much for linking up! Did I tell you that I’m following you too? 🙂

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