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real homes: paint it black

by Grace Bonney

i love magazine homes and their perfect styling, but i’ve always much preferred learning from real homes and the decisions that regular people make around the house. not to say that regular homes can’t be well styled too, but it’s great to see design details put into practice in more attainable settings.

kelsey keith of designage recently moved from park slope to the east village and sent over some pictures of her new space. what i was struck most by were the beautiful black floors in her new bedroom. if you’re lucky enough to land wooden floors in a nyc apartment, they aren’t always perfect and a coat of black paint (well, several to be precise) can sometimes be a fantastically chic fix. i’ve always seen perfect black floors in celebrity homes and in glossy magazines but it’s nice to see the idea used in a room home. the edges may not be perfect, but i think the floor gives kelsey’s bedroom an instant upgrade from normal and expected to elegant and sophisticated.

have any of you tried black floors at home? i’ve always wanted to paint our living room floors black but we’re in a rental so that’s just not happening. i’d love to see others that have tried this. thanks to kelsey for sharing!


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  • i painted the floors in my entire upstairs; the bedroom is glossy white and the studio is an olive green. they’re pretty easy to take care of (i used outdoor porch and floor paint), and much like simply painting walls, it’s the cheapest room makeover ever.

  • I have painted my floors black and I LOVE THEM!!! However, cleanliness with dust bunnies and dog hair is a major issue…but the things we do for fashion. I will mention that the “poster” of these pics, really should clean up the edges! Sloppy work takes away from the drama of the courageous, bold effect.

  • It looks very modern with the contrasting black and white. In my grandma’s house, we used to have a black floor, it’s not paint-glossy, more to like stone glossy. I think it was a polished cement, not painted. Boy, it was very cold at night on that floor (Don’t ask me how I know it).

  • the floors are so gorgeous and irresistible, if i owned my place, i think i’d have to totally ignore the hard-to-clean comments and go for it.

    this is one of those cases where you tell yourself every excuse against all warning for the sake of beauty!

  • these pictures are fabulous! I love the way they look. I was looking for ideas and this was perfect. My house is very old, I just ripped up carpeting off the stairs and painted the stairs black and white. I started ripping up carpeting in the foyer, the luan was damaged so ripped that up, and there were old hardwoods under them ( not in good shape) I have decided after seeing these pictures, I am going to paint them black! lots of work ahead, but thank you :) I just love your pics, they gave me incentive :))

  • Black floors! We moved into a 1960s highrise in prestigeous Preston Hollow neighborhood in Dallas. The 100 yr wood floors were dingy and deep brown. We wanted a “loft” feel and decided to paint the floors glossy black. The effect is modern and sleek which transformed the unit from traditional to ultra chic. Yes they can show the dust, but the dust would be there anyway right? We always receive raves from any who visit. Be daring!

  • I have been on the fence about taking up the carpet in my house. After seeing these pictures and reading the comments, I cant wait to stop at the store on my way home to pick up my black paint to start my new project!!!! Thanks!

  • Just purchased a 1880’s victorian in the Philly suburbs. My second and third floor wood floors were previously painted “poo brown”. Considered refinishing them, but really like the look of these black floors. Did you clear coat over them? Anyone think black wood floors would totally kill the charm or appearance of the era home?

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