D.I.Y Project – A Lazy Girls Guide to Whitewashed Scandi floors

February 23, 2015

how to project Whitewashed scandinavian wooden flooring d.i.y. Nordic interior inspiration

Image : Design Soda

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Nothing says chic to me quite like a white floor and alongside polished cement and Moroccan tiles it is a staple of good taste in flooring choice for me. White floors are amongst the most versatile of flooring because there are so many looks that can be projected and changed around it without loosing it’s edge or integrity.  One of the most beautiful elements of this flooring is how it projects light onto the ceiling whilst blanketing the floor in a foamy cleanliness mirroring the delight of snow.

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Image : Design Soda

I have always dreamt of having white wooden bedroom flooring, they have been in vogue for a good decade and have eluded me for various practical reasons. So, when it came to moving into the spare room and converting it into our bedroom white flooring had become a non- negotiable of the design brief. It seems everything interiors is still washed in tones of Scandi chic, and I cannot help but be a little persuaded by the Scandinavian style of white washing floorboards.Whitewashed floors are something the Scandinavians do very well and it appealed to me to still be able to see the grain of the wood. I think rooms are balanced best when there is an element of bringing the outside in, whether by choosing paint made with natural pigments from the landscape as with heritage paints, or putting some natural history on display, displaying a bunch or flowers, a Christmas tree or making the timber a feature of the room. With whitewashed floors you get the best of both worlds as they are more rustic than their matt white sister boards but cleaner and crisper than their untreated brother boards.

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Image : Design Soda

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You can buy oak floorboards that are pre-whitewashed but this is an expensive option but doing it d.i.y can be slightly daunting. There is a lot of complex and slightly baffling advice on the best techniques used to achieve a whitewashed floor and I was quite nervous of the shortcuts I took having no idea of how it would quite turn out. With the baby’s arrival imminent I couldn’t risk the fumes of high Voc paints or stains which took days and in some cases weeks to dry (let alone keeping the cat out of the room for that long!). When you look up whitewashed floor tutorials there is painstaking advice of repeatedly bleaching the wood followed by producing your own stain to treat the wood in blues or purples to neutralise the natural tones of the wood.  This all sounded a little beyond both my patience and my baby addled brain. Maybe I was lucky but these shortcuts produced the exact flooring I had in mind and it was so pain free to do I thought id share with any other lazy d.i.y.ers in search of the same advice.

We were starting with brand new pine floors after our previous floor was too far gone to be sanded by anything more industrial than hands. My husband and brother in law spent a ludicrously physical weekend pulling up the old floor and laying new slats but my did it look good. I was a little nervous about taking a punt on our new floor and free styling when the floor had just cost several hundred pounds to buy. I worked on the assumption that the floor was really no different to some grey shelves I’d painted with this technique and would only require extra sealant to make it sufficiently hard wearing but I couldn’t be sure of the blend on such a large scale but I crossed all fingers and toes and went for it.

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whitewashed scandi floor

Image : Design Soda

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The Method:

For my recipe you will need just three ingredients
1. White emulsion
2. Water
3. Water based polyurethane sealant

I made my white mixture up of roughly two parts paint to one part water after testing on a spare board, a fifty fifty ratio also works quite well but you will see more grain than white at a quick glance. Once the boards are sanded to get a key (mine only required mild sanding as they were new but if you have old boards you will of course need a good industrial sanding) paint the first of three layers of white (this is apparently an ideal task in the final stages of pregnancy as scrubbing floors helps to get baby ready for labour?!). If you are happy to achieve a rustic effect like me don’t be too precious about the application, I sloshed mine on rather roughly and then blended with a paintbrush from one end of the board to the other. I allowed about 2 hours drying time in between applications so this job is quite do-able within a day. However I did wait overnight before I started to apply the sealant. I chose water based polyurethane as oil based has a tendency to yellow over time. I was super happy with the result, it is my favourite floor in the house and actually so much nearer to my hearts desire than true white would have been as whitewashed boards give you the compliment of clean bright flooring while being able to decipher the natural knots and grain of the wood.

  

Image: Design Soda

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10 thoughts on “D.I.Y Project – A Lazy Girls Guide to Whitewashed Scandi floors

    1. Design_Soda_Ruthie Post author

      Hi Delaine,
      Thanks so much, yes, can honestly say it lasted, we have now moved but lived with it for about 18 months, no wear and tear at all, and best of all was how easy it was to spot dirt when hoovering so it was always properly clean when finished 🙂 good luck x

      Reply
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  3. Anna

    Hi. What was the name/make of the sealant you used? I’m about to embark on a similar project and am struggling to work out what to buy!

    Reply
    1. Design_Soda_Ruthie Post author

      Hi Anna
      Thanks for dropping by. I bought mine in Homebase, I’m afraid I don’t still have the tin but if you ask for water based varnish you should be able to find one with polyurethane in it reasonably easily. Good luck x

      Reply
  4. Philippe

    Hi there. Your tips are very very handy. I did mine slightly different to your steps.i cleaned the wooden floor boards to make sure they were free of any dirt. Then I sealed them with a clear pva. Let that dry for a full day. Then painted the floor with a white emulsion. Let that dry for a day. Then I took a hand Sander with very rough grit and sanded the white back to expose the wooden floors.look fantastic

    Reply

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