Like the Instagram account of the same name, we've always had a bit of a thing with floors. But who knew that sprucing up their surface could be as simple as adding a few coats of paint? In the new book How to Decorate ($32; amazon.com), British paintmaker Farrow & Ball proves you're able to change the feel of a room at an affordable cost without pulling an Extreme Makeover. Whether you want to make a decorative statement or simply increase your square footage, the right flooring makes a world of difference. So roll up your sleeves (and your carpets) and try your hand at these six easy-to-execute techniques. You can thank us later.
1. USE STRIPES TO STRATEGICALLY DIVIDE A ROOM
Covering your surface area with two-toned stripes may feel chaotic for some, but for others, it's a creative way to section off parts of a room without a physical divider, like a sofa. Above, a combination of stripes ("Brassica" and "Manor House Gray") of varying widths separates the corner secretaire from the rest of the space.
2. Maximize natural light with pale colors
It's no small secret that pale colors bounce the most light around the room and make the room brighter. To achieve the full effect, paint the doors the same light shade as the wall so they virtually disappear into the background, like in this kitchen, which has been painted head-to-toe with "Slipper Satin."
3. Anchor a big room with a bold hue
The bigger the floors, the greater impact they make. So why not pick a standout hue? This striking shade of "India Yellow" on the floor of a simple white room, above, is the primary decorative statement, but it doesn't feel overwhelming since it's so far below the eyeline.
4. Create the illusion of more floor space with a darker hue
Though this may seem counter-intuitive, using a dark paint on the floor can actually make the room look wider. To execute this trompe l'oeil successfully, make sure that the walls are a lighter hue than the floor. But be sure to sample the color on the floor first, since it may look different when light hits it from above.
5. Highlight small details with eye-catching designs
Perk up a monotone room, like the one above, decorated almost entirely in muted shades of white, with a controlled dose of color. The two simple "Cook's Blue" stripes around the hearth draw attention to the traditional tiles and adds an unexpected touch.
6. Establish defined spaces with contrasting shades
While using the same floor color is the perfect way to create a seamless flow throughout your home, choosing two distinct shades, as shown here, can differentiate rooms very effectively, especially when when paired against a single wall color. Above, "Mouse's Back" is featured in the foreground and "Off-White" in the background.