DIY: (Part 1) Paint a Graphic Design on the Floor


I have wanted to post about this for quite a while. This project is a great example of how paint can personalize and improve just about anything in your house. This post is an introduction to the design process, and you can also read part 2 to learn how we painted it.

We bought our first home in 2013 and it has been a laboratory of painting experiments. The kitchen and laundry room floors in our 1952 house were covered in a white vinyl tile, with that gray speckled texture you see on elementary school floors. I am unsure if it was because it hadn’t been waxed in years, or if it is just a difficult material, but something about the surface made the floors hold onto dirt SO stubbornly. I tried everything to get those tiles clean. I spent several hours one day scrubbing the whole thing with magic erasers because the mop of the same brand was doing an okay job but it needed some more elbow grease. That worked really well! I drove to the store and bought a few bottles of Quick Shine Floor Finish, then sealed my bright white floor with several coats. About two months later, the floors were looking awful again, even though I had been mopping at least once a week since they were sealed.

Replace or Refinish?

We were questioning what else we could do to make the floor look nice and stay that way. Removing the old floor and tiling the whole thing was going to cost over $3k and we were fixing other things in the house at the same time so it would have to be put on hold. Aside from the dirt they were holding onto, the tiles were in perfect shape. None of them were cracked or coming up, and they had been stuck to that floor for 60 years. Feeling adventurous, we really wanted to come up with a one-of-a-kind solution to save money and make this floor look amazing. I had my eyes fixed on something pretty bold.



Crazy question: “Why can’t we just paint it?” We could have something totally custom to fit the vibe we want in here. But… is paint really going to hold up to the foot traffic? How will it look in a year? Will it stay clean? I admit it was way easier to invest some hope into the painting option since my husband Cal is quite familiar with heavy duty paints. He has helped his dad with paint jobs at auto dealerships, so he knows a lot about the epoxies and industrial enamels they use for garage floors in the service buildings. Satisfied with the intermediate level of knowledge we had, we got to work right away.

Designing Our Floor

Below are a few animations I made to explain how I designed plans for the black surface pattern. I was hoping to make the shapes look as seamless as possible, so I paid close attention to the square brick layout pattern of the original tile to make sure my design wouldn’t feel like it was slapped on top.


I decided it would be a lot easier to work with the long straight lines instead of against them, so we split the design up into striped sections. This allowed us space to sit while working so we could paint the first section, then work on the second section after the first was dry. The plan saved us a lot of trouble, I would highly recommend you consider working in sections when planning your design. (*NOTE* working in straight lines saves a lot of extra work in measuring and taping).


If you are interested in painting a graphic pattern on your floors, you can get started by downloading my free printable of common tile layouts in grid form. Print out the sheets and start sketching ideas right on top! Stick around because next week I’ll post a part 2 to this DIY painting project, where you can learn about all the materials, process, and efficiency tips I learned to take this from designed to finished. Here are a few more inspiring photos to get you excited, but remember, you don’t have to stick to black and white!


  1. Home Adore
  2. Architectural Digest
  3. The English Room
  4. Zimbio

Do you have favorite among all these beautiful floors? If you like the eclectic vibe of these images, check out my “Art House” board on Pinterest!


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