easy thrifty vintage charm update stained wood floor checked pattern
Photo: Robbie Caponetto
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7. Stain a Wood Floor with a Checked Pattern

A checkerboard floor is inherently playful. It's also timeless: During the colonial era, a decorative painted floor was a major upgrade over bare wood. For an updated tweak on the tradition, trade painted squares for stained ones in a dark espresso hue, like the one shown at left. Start with a clean, freshly sanded floor. Next, plan the pattern by determining what size squares you want and arranging the squares so that they result in half-diamonds on all four sides of the room; paper cutouts can help with the design experimentation. Use painter's tape to outline each square, marking the ones that won't be stained with a taped X. Stain the appropriate squares using a cloth or a brush. Allow to dry, and remove the painter's tape. To seal and protect your handiwork, apply two to three coats of clear polyurethane.

Cost: $110 for an average-size room. Varathane Premium Oil-Based Wood Stain, $40 per gallon; Clear Premium Polyurethane Floor Finish, $63 per gallon; and Frog Tape Pro Painter's Tape, $6.49 for a 60-yard roll; truevalue.com for stores
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