Why It’s Completely O.K. To Have Painted Plywood Floors In A Bedroom

When we bought our house one of the first things we did is rip out the old gray wall to wall carpeting on our third floor. It was old and smelled of cat pee. Underneath was plywood floors (sub floor) painted brown in one room and blue the other.
I covered the floors with sisal rugs and left it that way for years. We always had plans to do a complete gut job of the space and knew the floor would probably get covered with new wood flooring or carpet.
In the meantime life happened. The older you get the more expensive life gets. I decided to stop waiting and just spruce the floors up with some paint.
In this photo I am reinstalling the beds and touching up any places I missed.

What I learned in the process is that plywood floors are perfectly O.K. They are wood and once you paint them and put down a rug you will literally not notice itโ€™s plywood.
I painted the kids room floor in Benjamin Mooreโ€™s Floor and Patio paint. The color is a color match to Farrow & Ball’s Babouche. The difference in price is about $54 a galloon vs. $137 for the Farrow & Ball. I know the Farrow & Ball color is probably a bit more outstanding and multi dimensional but I was unsure about the color and couldn’t commit. In hindsight I wish I would have just gone for the Farrow & Ball but this looks great too.

I prepped the floor by doing two coats of primer. I did not sand. After the primer had dried overnight I rolled on the yellow. Be warned: yellow is a hard paint color. It takes 4-5 thin layers to get the paint to completely cover. I did this using a small roller but also filled in spots with a brush.

Floor Paint by Benjamin Moore

I ran into a little trouble when I pulled up a the rug that was under the kids beds. It had a large worn spot from an office chair. I decided I needed to sand it.

I sanded it just enough to take off the top where the wood was hanging. I did not sand it to a full hand smooth finish. If I would have kept going I think I would have ended up down a road of me sanding the entire floor. The floor is dented and dinged but overall it’s smooth. I then mixed a cup of epoxy and poured over the damaged spot and spread with a roller. I added an added an additional coat about an hour later. I let dry overnight. The epoxy is like glue sticking everything together and down. I can still see divots but none of the wood is pulling up. The next day I primed and painted.


The floors have a beach house vibe and since plywood is laid in large sheets itโ€™s a sea of flat color with very few seams. It looks cohesive. The amount of money I saved from not laying new hardwood and painting would probably be thousands. I feel like this is a compromise I can live with and does not have me thinking I am waiting to gut it. I think unpainted plywood could be really slick too with a poly to seal. I think plywood is totally overlooked and can be seen as low brow. But it has so many brilliant uses that feel modern and smart.