To paint, to check, to bleach, to stain? … These were the questions, and I had all of them!

I wrestled with painting my entire downstairs white, but my ultimate desire was checkered floors – I’ve been drawn to the look since I can remember. I decided to put not just a toe in the pond, but to do a cannonball!

While I hired a professional to do this one, I have painted many a floor with designs and checks, so this is a doable DIY.

Step 1: Sand the floor down to the raw wood. Rent a stand-up sander for large spaces.

Step 2: Bleach the floor after a good vacuuming. This step depends on your wood. Mine is mahogany, so the sanded floors were very pink. If the wood was anything else, I think we could have skipped the bleach.

Step 3: Stain! We used white stain and did the entire floor.

Step 4: This is the real you-know-what! If you are doing a large connected area like my house, it will take some time to figure this out. But in a single room this would be a breeze. I decided on large 4×4 squares. I wanted drama (have I mentioned I love dramatic pieces?!). With a yardstick and T-square, the task is to decide where you want your pattern to start and end. Play with it; every room is different.

Step 5: The fun part. Use a good painter’s tape (from Home Depot or paint stores) to trace the pattern you have made, and tape it off. Remember to account for the width of the tape to be included on the white square.

Step 6: Stain the squares. Only you can decide how many coats you want for your look. I chose a more translucent stain to show the grain of the wood.

Step 7: This is the payoff! Let the stain dry overnight (on the white and black). Then remove the tape. This moment of reveal felt like one of those extreme makeover shows! (Insert me actually jumping up and down and screaming “I love it!”)

Step 8: Apply the finish coat. Use a water base. (I choose a low sheen because I’m not a fan of shiny floors.) Apply three coats – the water base dries in two hours, but we waited overnight to reapply each coat.

Step 9: Wait at least 24 to 48 hours to put furniture down. No rugs for three months! (Besides, who wants to cover this masterpiece up, right?!)

Step 10: Have a glass of wine or a cocktail and bask in the absolute feeling of accomplishment!

I have been living in my master bedroom, and while there, much to my husband’s chagrin, I have discovered my next project! What was a small exercise room off the bathroom is going be the most delightful sitting room. When I removed the exercise equipment, I discovered the most beautiful views of the vineyard, and the best lighting in the house! I will be sure to share with you the stain types and bleach used on this project.

Like I always say, it’s everything I never knew I always wanted!!!


Comments (3)

  1. New to blog and love it
    We could be related esp how your husband gets on board or gets suckered in lol
    I will be at b&w in Isleton week of June 28-July 5
    Would love to see your store if possible
    Please get in touch
    Thank you

  2. Beautiful decor great eye and I never realized how something so rustic could look so charming . I’ve learned so much from seeing all your designs

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Winsome Nest

Winsome Nest