So, people. To paint white? Or to stain dark? That is the question. And I need your help!

Wearing pyjamas, dust masks and furry Primark ear muffs (last-minute but surprisingly effective ear drum protectors) the boyfriend and I just spent the best part of three days sanding all of the floorboards in our house. It’s been dusty. It’s been noisy. It’s been exhausting. It’s been scary (the sanders came covered with labels warning about explosive sawdust and spontaneous combustion which made us a bit OCD about emptying dust bags and the like…) but ultimately, worth it. The overall process was a cross between walking a large disobedient dog, mowing the lawn, and using a supermarket trolley with a dodgy wheel. But now, there’s no trace of orange, minging varnish and although my shoulders hurt, our boards are bare and beautiful. All these lovely images are from House to Home:

I’ve fantasised about white painted floorboards for years. Shooting in lovely location houses, you see a lot of gorgeous, airy rooms with white floors. I’ve even been to Leyland and bought the floor paint…

…but suddenly, at the last minute, I’ve got cold feet. Because I keep seeing houses with gorgeous dark brown stained floorboards and it’s MESSING WITH MY MIND.

White is impractical. It chips – but does that add to the shabby-chic charm? It shows every bit of dirt and fluff (and we have black cats who shed lots of hair). However, it’s much more practical than pale carpets! AND, it will make the whole house, which is quite dark, feel spacious and light. Discussing white floorboards, the interior designer Gill Richardson once said: “Be prepared for scorn and ridicule, but never apologise for harbouring such a deeply impractical desire – the effect of creating a light, airy space will be worth it.” My parents (staunch advocators of the 1980s orange pine look – they believe that to cover natural wood is sinful, criminal and practically style suicide…) and the in-laws (who possibly favour the pine look, too…) have all helpfully branded the white painted plan ‘ridiculous’. But then again they don’t ‘get’ the cake plate collection, either. Or the vintage bus blinds. So WHATEVER. There are some lovely blog posts about floor painting on Door Sixteen, which almost persuaded me to take the plunge. But then I opened our November issue and saw Catherine Williams’s beautiful home on page 62, complete with dramatic, black floorboards. And I love it!

Dark brown or black floorboards would hide the dirt – but my home’s a dark Victorian terraced house. Would dark floorboards make the house feel gloomy? Oh, woe is me. What should I do? Do you have white painted floors? Do you have dark stained floorboards? Which do you prefer and why?! Please leave a comment below with your advice. If you can be bothered. If not, I understand. It’s mostly me who cares about this, after all. The boyfriend seems indifferent, my friends are bored by my constant floor chat, and the cats don’t seem to mind about anything much really, except for food and sleep. Sigh. – Ellie

Advertisements