DIYdiy projects

DIY Painted Canvas Floorcloth

by Megan Pflug

DesignSponge DIY Floor Cloth
This spring I decided to tackle the dingy entryway of our 1910 row house in Brooklyn. As you can see, the floors are covered in what I would call “Band-Aid beige” tile. Ugh! While I would love to replace it at some point, that just wasn’t in the budget.

detail shot
My solution came in the form of floorcloths: painted canvas floor coverings. If you’ve never heard of them, they are essentially super-durable paintings for your floor. You can buy pre-painted ones, but naturally I was attracted to the unpainted ones. You can even order them in custom shapes and sizes. I used several blank cloths placed together to form an L-shape so that they covered my entryway floor completely. I then used a geometric-patterned stencil to create the look of patterned cement tiles. Keep reading for all the details about making one of your own! –Megan

Photos by Lesley Unruh and Daniel Hakansson

*You can learn to make the light shown in these pictures right here! Megan shared the DIY for this project on DS today, too!

Click through for the full how-to after the jump


Here’s what you’ll need:
-An unpainted floorcloth
-One pint of Benjamin Moore paint in Black Tar
-One quart of Benjamin Moore paint in Storm
-One quart of Benjamin Moore paint in Overcoat
-One pint of acrylic polyurethane
-Stencil brush
-Small art brush
-2-inch paintbrush
-Spray mount
-Measuring tape


Begin by marking the center of your floorcloth.

DesignSponge DIY Floor Cloth

Next, lightly mist the back of the stencil with spray mount, and position the stencil so that it’s centered on the floorcloth. You can also use a little bit of painter’s tape to help hold it in place if you like.

Using your stencil brush, apply paint using a tapping motion until you’ve filled in the pattern. It’s important not to use too much paint when you’re stenciling.

DesignSponge DIY Floor Cloth

Next, remove the stencil and repeat the process, lining up the pattern as you go.

DesignSponge DIY Floor Cloth

This step is optional, but I wanted to add a couple of shades of gray to my pattern, so I choose to paint in some of the white areas using a regular artist’s paintbrush.
After I filled in the dark gray I added the light gray paint.
Once the paint was dry, I used the 2-inch brush to apply three coats of acrylic polyurethane to my floorcloth to seal the surface.

DesignSponge DIY Floor Cloth
DesignSponge DIY Floor Cloth
DesignSponge DIY Floor Cloth

Want to read more about this before-and-after or looking for more ways to customize your home? Check out my Weekend Decorator page for tons of ideas!

How 2 photos: Daniel Hakansson

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 10.22.49 AM
final image
The Hallway: Before & After

Suggested For You


  • Beautiful! Did you choose floorcloths over painting and sealing the tiles so that you can change it later? I love it! Also, do you have a source for the ceiling light fixture?

  • love the effect! Any idea how you keep it from peeling up and becoming a tripping hazard… like the runner rugs in my kitchen?

    • jen

      it’s coated with poly, so you can clean it with water and a mild soap mixture. just make sure to dry it quickly and thoroughly.


  • Very clever showing the “Before” several pictures after the “After” – what a stunning transformation. I’ve never heard of these floorcloths before (how easy are they to clean?). But my absolute favourite thing you did is that continuation of the black half-wall across the bottom half of the door. So simple but striking, I absolutely love it!

  • I was terrified when I saw the first photo, thinking of it as the “before”. I thought it was absolutely gorgeous ! I was relieved when I saw the real “before” photo after the jump.

    This is a DIY well done. I love the pattern !! It makes me thing of old cement tiles we have here in France. I find them beautiful and love their patterns.

  • I’ve been considering purchasing making a floor cloth for my kitchen but I’ve been rather unimpressed with the options and other tutorials out there. This is stunning, and so very timely and helpful! Quick question on your stencil- did you alternate the stencil direction? It appears the pattern is slightly different. Also, can you recommend a source for unpainted floor cloths? Thanks again for this lovely tutorial!

  • Super class and stunning. Great project. Also, love the bottom-half door paint. And the scones- I’m determined to have sconces one day.

  • A little putty in the corners might keep it from rolling up or prevent you tripping on the edge, but I would be a little worried about it sliding around unless the whole thing was lined with non-slip rug backing.

    This is a surprising solution though to some very outdated and ordinary looking tile. Of the completed space, I’m particularly drawn to the chair-rail height paint continuing onto the door.

  • An easier and more affordable material than canvas is sheet vinyl flooring. Buy a remnant of inexpensive vinyl flooring (not the expensive stuff that has cushioning) and use the back of it. A couple of coats of primer, paint your design, then at least three coats of water based poly and you’re good to go. You don’t have to finish the edges and it lays flat. Easy to clean; I use a steam cleaner.

  • This is an incredible transformation, you have a great eye for detail! Do you have a source for the fabulous green umbrella and lion door knocker? Thanks so much, favorite D*S before and after…

  • I have been toying with the idea of doing a black wainscoting in my kitchen. Love your chair rail and paint job! Well done!

  • Oh so beautiful. And further proof that a little elbow grease and know how can transform the most tired of hallways.

  • Do you know how thick it is? I’ve been looking for something for my entryway but there’s very little space between the bottom of my door and the floor. This might be the answer though!

  • Love your floor cloth. I have been painting floor canvases for a while now. They are durable, easy to clean and lately I have been making them for the outside too………Love your blog!

  • Use a painter’s dropcloth to create a floorcloth surface for the project. Easy to do and more cost effective.

  • great, but I am sure the landlord flipped when s/he saw all that black paint on the walls

    • Plenty of landlords allow paint, whether or not they require that you paint over it before moving out of the rental. In the city I live in, paint is often left as-is in duplexes and small apartment complexes as long as it was well-done. Really, I think the improvements made to this apartment mean that the landlord could get more money for rent when s/he rents it out in the future–it looks way better than before.

  • I’m considering doing this in my new apartment. I’m making the entire bedroom a navy blue, and needed a solution to cover the floor since I can’t paint it. Floorcloths I’ve looked at recently are not super cheap, is there a place you’d recommend to buy them? Thank you!

  • Do you know if this would work in a bathroom? I’d like to cover my entire floor in an easy way but I’m a renter and probably need to find some impermanent. Ideas?

  • I have made so many floorcloths and they are GREAT in my home. They also make wonderful gifts for friend’s entryways. Everyone loves them and they are SO EASY to make. Yes, it takes some time but the rewards are great.
    I would suggest that they NOT be used in a bathroom because of the possibility of the floor getting wet. It’s a possible slip and fall hazard.
    To answer the question: are they expensive to make? No they are not. I have used linoleum that is very very inexpensive. Flooring stores almost give it away because linoleum is not used very much anymore – most vinyl is used for flooring (or wood). If you flip the linoleum over to the blank side (don’t use the patterned side), you can draw your design on the undecorated side.
    Another thing that I have done is used fabric and made the floorcloth look like a quilt. I have glued down the fabric pieces with ModPodge, turned the edges of the fabric to the other side, ModPodged that down and they gave the floorcloth four coats of polyurethane. It takes a while for the glued down fabric to dry and then the poly to dry but you will have a really fabulous floorcloth.

  • I am sprucing up my patio and began painting a piece of linoleum a friend had given me some time back when she found out I was wanting to try my hand at painting floorcloths (I paint furniture, hippie style is what is what I call it, being an old hippie myself). I am painting the back side with acrylic paint and was going to topcoat it with polycrylic, but my son questioned whether that would protect the paint. Would it, do you think? And if not, could I topcoat it with something like marine topcoat over acrylic paint? I have hours invested in this already and want it to be right and to last. Any advice?

  • I love this so much! I couldn’t find a link to where you purchased a blank floor cloth. Is it just a vinyl flooring piece upside down or a drop cloth?
    Thanks so much!