Dear Debbie: We have built a small cottage from scratch and are at the stage where the plywood subfloors are in place, and our budget is totally depleted. Have you any tips for a super low cost floor covering that will last for a few years? I'm hoping paint will do the trick. Thanks. - Ben
Dear Ben: As long as the plywood is good on one side so that you have a smooth surface on which to work, then you cannot only paint, but have some fun with designs too. I have painted over plywood floors in kitchens, bathrooms and in the rustic cottage living room featured here.
By applying textured paint techniques such as ragging and stenciling, you not only add character, but the various textures camouflage any imperfections.
The smooth plywood was primed and given a base coat of cream paint. Diamonds were taped off and ragged with aqua and apricot glazes. The glaze recipe is one part water-based paint to one part water-based glazing liquid. I had some fun with the border. Ask a friend to help you. We used chicken wire as a stencil, held it down tightly against the floor and painted over it with a dry brush using the aqua glaze. It is meant to look slightly uneven. Once the paint was dry, I sealed the floor with four coats of varnish. It’s important to let it cure for at least four days before you move any furniture back in.
Enjoy your cottage. Building it and painting it yourselves is just the beginning of lots of happy memories.
Dear Debbie: I have a couch and chair made by Flexsteel that I bought used awhile back. I love the colors and design in the upholstery – it’s very graphic Southwestern. However, it is time to re-cover them. Would you suggest reupholstering them, or having slipcovers made? They are odd-shaped, large pieces with wood frames on the outside, and the arms curve out. – Jeannie
Dear Jeannie: You have chosen good-quality pieces, so it is well worth having them recovered. The curved details and wood finish will be hidden by slipcovers, so in your case, I recommend having them professionally upholstered. You will find an endless range of fabrics, and your upholsterer will help you with a choice that wears well and is within your budget. The couch and chair do not have to match, but they should complement each other in some way. Fabric designers have done this for you, and you will discover mix-and-match solutions in the fabric books.
Dear Debbie: Do you have any tips on removing wallpaper that has been hung directly onto drywall? It was in place on our cabin walls 30 years ago, and it’s time for a change. Thanks for your help. – KK
Dear KK: There always should be a sealer primer rolled onto new drywall before hanging wallpaper (or painting). This seals the drywall and protects it from rips when the paper is later removed. If you are having difficulty taking the paper off, then that important first step was skipped. Proceed with caution.
Work in sections, starting at the top of the wall. Gently score the paper using a scoring tool, not too sharp. Apply wallpaper remover, which comes in liquid or gel form. Don’t soak the paper, as this will damage the drywall. Wait for 10 to 30 minutes, and gently pry paper off with a putty knife.
Check that you are removing the wallpaper backing as well. Let the drywall dry, then sand off any paper or glue residue left behind.