Old flooring often benefits from a smooth new finish. Lucianna Samu, a decorative painter in Saratoga Springs, New York, created this star-bedecked pattern with leftover latex paint in five colors. "It's fine to mix sheens, because you finish with polyurethane," she says. After lightly sanding and cleaning the floorboards and putting down two base coats of flat latex, Samu cut two 20-inch equilateral triangles out of paper. She placed one upside down on the other to create a six-diamond, six-pointed star, which she outlined on poster board.

Moving to the floor, Samu marked the stars' center points at random 4-foot intervals, outlined each star with a pencil, and used a ruler and a fine-point permanent black marker to outline each diamond. Her palette included four colors with a similar value, plus a paler blue; rotating them gave the pattern a little spin. She advises doing the stars over time and finishing with three coats of polyurethane. "It should look hand-painted, not perfect," Samu says, to counter any nervousness. "Remember, later you'll be seeing it from 5 feet away."

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    Tools List

    • scissors
    • pencil
    • string
    • 12-inch stainless steel ruler
      Metal ruler
    • black marker
      Fine-point permanent black marker
    • paintroller
      Roller and brush for cutting in (base coat)
    • paintbrushes
      Small artist's brush, half-inch brush, and regular paint brush (stars)
    • paintbrush
      Brush and applicator (polyurethane)
    • cleaning rag

    Shopping List

    Paper and pasteboard

    Small jars with lids

    1 gallon flat latex (base coat)

    4 to 5 pints latex in other colors, any finish

    1 gallon high-gloss polyurethane

    1 gallon semigloss polyurethane