DIY White Washed Floors with Chalk PaintTM

The floors in the two bedrooms are both pine. A wash of Old White paint has made them look very soft and mellow, and also lightened up the rooms considerably. Bedroom floors generally don’t need any protection, so I’ve left these to wear in their own way.

The look is inspired by the traditional Swedish way of painting wooden floors using lye. This very strong alkali made from  potash was used with soap on floors to bleach the wood and soften it’s appearance. My method does not give exactly the same beautiful look but it is a very good alternative, as it is quick and economical.

Both these floors had never been varnished, stained, or waxed, which is best if you want to pant them because the paint is easily absorbed into the wood. Varnished wood can be treated in the same way but the paint will possibly wear away more easily unless it is lacquered. However, if you’re after a worn look, then this technique will be fine.


You will need

  • Old White Chalk Paint™
  • Medium to large brush
  • Damp sponge
  • Bucket of water

Step 1

Plan your progress through the entire room so that you paint the entire floor and don’t end up painting yourself into a corner! Starting the furthest away form the door as you can, paint the floorboards in small, easy-to-reach sections.

DIY white washed floors |

Step 2

When you have finished painting a section, wipe over the floorboards with a damp sponge, spreading out the paint until you achieve the look you are after.

DIY white washed floors |

Step 3

Move on to the next section, painting and sponging the floorboards in the same way. Make sure the colour is consistent, adding more paint or more water, as appropriate. Have a bucket of water nearby to wash the sponge out and to gather up more water.
DIY white washed floors |

TIP: When old wood is painted, sometimes the tannins come through, causing a yellow-brown stain.Test to see if this will happen by painting a section of your floor that is unseen and leave it for a week. If the stain comes through, you will need to seal the whole floor with a clear stain blocker. If you are going to apply a lacquer or varnish, test this in advance, too. The final colour may not be as you anticipate.

DIY white washed floors |

DIY white washed floors |

For Australia and NZ, look for your nearest stockist of Chalk Paint™ here. Other countries click here, to search for your nearest stockist. Look out for more advanced furniture painting projects on Havven soon. Further inspiration for all levels of painting projects can be found on the Annie Sloan website, also the Annie Sloan step-by-step tutorial series via YouTube.

Images courtesy of CICO Books and Christopher Drake, Photographer.

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