How to Paint an Old Wood Floor Using a Small Amount of Paint

Learn the simple steps of how to paint an old wood floor by following along the progress of this attic room makeover.

These painted floors started with a surprising start. Check out how they first were painted purple here!

Although the color was a shock, it cleaned up all the mess of the attic room’s old floor…

How to Paint Old Wood Floors (when you just have a small amount of paint!)

1.Paint the previously stained boards with a primer base coat.


Obviously, the color of it isn’t the most important issue. What is important, however, is that it is a coat of paint that both adheres well, and seals in the previous stain from bleeding through.

Ask your local paint store what type of paint they would recommend for that.

2.Brush on the top coats (in the color you want) by “washing” it on

Purple wasn’t the color I was aiming for.  A rich, dark “panther” color was what I wanted, but I just had a small sample can of it.  In the spirit of budget friendly, I decided to use a technique that I use when I paint signs.  I “washed” on the color.

3.How to wash on paint to achieve the look you want:

Here’s how to wash on paint:

  • I filled a cottage cheese container half full of water.  I dipped my brush ever so slightly into the water and then the paint.  Working quickly across the boards, I “washed” it on.  The paint dries quickly this way, so I tried to blend as I went.


Although that is a terrible picture, it shows the method that I used.  It was amazing to me how such a little amount of paint changed the color of the floor completely.

color washed paint

{The board on the left is washed, and the others aren’t yet.} By the time I finished washing on the first coat, I still had well over a half a small can of paint left!

There was one area of the original floor that was in good shape.  It was in the corner under the built-in shelf area.  I wanted to keep that part of the floor, just cause I thought it would be a neat part of the “history”.  {Pretend the dust is removed from the photo below.} Here is the finished color along with the original color I wanted to try to match.

finished floor color

Once the first coat of washed on paint is completely dry, wash on another coat.

This technique worked very well for this budget friendly makeover.

As you can see in the final reveal post of this Attic Room Before and After Makeover, much of the floor ended up being covered with a large rug. 

If, however, you plan on painting an old wood floor that will receive lots of traffic with this technique, sealing it with a clear sealant would probably be a good idea.

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