Breakfast Room

Black & White Patterned Floors

Last Updated on December 2, 2016 by Kristi Linauer

I started installing the new hardwood floor in the breakfast room yesterday, and it’s looking so good! And of course, while I work, my mind is planning and dreaming. Always planning and dreaming.

I had mentioned that this time, I’m going to come up with a whole-house design plan before I jump in with both feet, and that plan is slowly but surely coming together in my mind. And one thing it includes is a couple of painted floor designs in two areas — my office and the breakfast room. And possibly one in the dining room. I love how area rugs define a space, but after trying twice now, I’ve come to realize that area rugs and Matt’s wheelchair really don’t work. The rug in our bedroom will probably stay since it’s a fairly flat seagrass rug. But in the other areas, I don’t necessarily want flat woven or seagrass rugs, because even those do pose a bit of a challenge for him. One is fine, but scattering them all over the house would just be mean and unwelcoming for him.

So my other alternative is to use paint to define certain areas. And I’m pretty enamored of black and white geometric designs. I think this one gives a pretty good idea of what a black and white design will look like on a hardwood floor. This one is actually painted…

Of course, a black and white checked floor is a classic design.

But I think I want to venture beyond the classic black and white check design. I like a large graphic design like this one…

I’ve seen this design in a stencil, which would make the process so much faster and easier than anything I have to tape off…

But if I had to choose right at this moment, I think this design would win. It’s a mix of the classic check design with a more modern graphic look to it.

This is another modern twist to a classic design…

I also really like a tumbling blocks design, but I think I might like it more in pictures than I would in my home…

Naturally, I’m drawn to the simple, linear designs…

black-and-white-floor-design-from-alice-lane-homevia Alice Lane Home

But I also really like something like this…

Although I think the only way I can do a pattern like that is if I can find a stencil that I like. There’s no way to tape off a design like that, and I’m certainly not willing to try a freehand design.

So I’m not 100% sure what direction I’m heading for my breakfast room floor, but I’m fairly certain that there will be some sort of painted black and white design that finds its way onto that floor. I’m looking forward to getting to the fun, creative projects in there!

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I have always wondered how well a painted floor would hold up. You could try using a stencil.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 9:11 am

    I do like a black and white painted design, especially where there is a substantial border of regular wood color left around the perimeter.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lisa Garber
    September 26, 2016 at 9:13 am

    You have hit upon my dream of dreams. When I was growing up in a huge old house in Easton, MD, we had black and white tile bathrooms and kitchen and pantry floors. Have always loved them!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      September 27, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      I second what Lisa says. A black and white floor, specifically a checkered one even with the blocks set on an angle, is a classic design which I have *always* loved and dreamed about having in a home. I also love the classic bath design, above, that looks like it’s from the 20s.

      What I’m not so fond of is the designs that have an optical illusion, they confuse my eye and sometimes disorient me. My friend has a rug that has a tumbling block arrangement, and looking at it actually makes me nauseated! 🙁 It’s beautiful and I appreciate the geometry of it, but I could never have anything like that in my home.

      Cannot wait to see what you do with this idea, Kristi, it’s going to be gorgeous!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    lorin small
    September 26, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Love this idea, totally get the wheelchair problems. Yep, love it, love it, so classic.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 9:24 am

    If I had to pick, I like the 6th and 7th photos. Number 5 seems too busy and I prefer to see larger blocks of black and white. I like the idea of a border because then it would have the visual effect of an area rug.

    The black and white parquet design, or its variations, are classic!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 9:30 am

    The one that really appeals to me is where the wood itself is half of the pattern, therefore adding paint or stain to only half. To me it makes it more of a built-in design. I think, go all out in your office but keep public areas a little more subdued… I’m really looking forward to seeing this.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      September 26, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Yes, Yes, I agree with Yvonne. Your office and maybe the pantry. But messing up new hardwood floors in the breakfast room just makes me shudder. Dining room would be too much with draperies. I know, just my opinion, but sometimes I feel like you want everything you like, all styles, all colors, all graphics, all in one house. I love color and pattern too, and different styles. But I can tell you after redecorating the same space 5 times in 4 years to get to where everything “flows” and I love it, ya’ gotta pick and choose. But in the end, I know you’ll do what’s best for you and your home.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        September 26, 2016 at 1:23 pm

        I agree. If you want to be whimsical stick to your office or the pantry. Remember you kitchen floors …. there’s nothing like classic, beautiful, stained hardwood floors. I personally think painted floors would be too much. You have so many beautiful elements …. while I’m sure you’ll do a great job (because you can do ANYTHING!) I feel like there would be too many design elements competing against each other …. 😉

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Sandra Stone
        September 26, 2016 at 6:07 pm

        I agree with Yvonne, Michelle, and Angie. (No sense repeating the same comments)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Marianne in Mo.
    September 26, 2016 at 9:30 am

    I love the direction your dreaming is taking you. An updated look to a classic, I don’t think it will ever go away. Dream on! There are so many possibilities in stencils out there now, even custom designs!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I’m really in love with the hallway in the first picture! I’ve covered the white marble tile in our hallway with carpet as I found the marble (cracked and discoloured…) far too cold in feel and look, but now I’m tempted to go with a wood and paint design when that carpet will be due to go 🙂 Thanks as always for sharing your inspirations!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I too love the border. And the way you can see the wood through the black & white color. It retains the wood look and doesn’t make it look like a tiled floor, at least more a distance.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Betsy Mattice
    September 26, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Even with stencils, that last one would be nearly impossible to pull off without quite a bit of freehanding. But all the others are very doable and all are very YOU, and will go nicely in your home. Personally, I like the chunky border/outline in the 7th one from the top.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 9:41 am

    I LOVE the last two pictures! Mixing gray with the black and white is a real touch of class and the design in the last one is to die for!! Agree with leaving a border of some type to give the feel of an area rug – some great ideas here!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 9:57 am

    I think those are cool, but my brain keeps going back to the painted kitchen floor and how many times you repainted it before you ultimately sanded it down and finished it with a clear coat. 🙂

    Let me suggest two things:

    1) Maybe consider an accent pattern that is designed to look like an inlay rather than painting the whole floor? We have cherry border inlay on a white oak floor (ours is real, but could have easily been done with stain or paint). It’s a pretty classic and frames the room nicely. You love Greek Key so much, that might be a neat option for you…a Greek Key border or “area rug” surrounding the table or something. Or maybe just some stenciled designs placed randomly around the room over the oak backdrop? Or maybe stain or pickle/ceruse the oak and then stencil?

    2) If you do go whole hog with the painting, maybe it’d be worth creating an “area rug” out of some 1/4 inch plywood or canvas first and putting it somewhere out of Matt’s way to live with it for a bit and make sure you really really like it. It’s so much work to redo those floors over and over again that I’d hate to see you go through that again. 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I was also thinking, too… If you were to do this in a room that’s getting new flooring (like the rebuilt sun room or master bedroom), and you could find a rug you’re willing to live with for a substantial amount of time that’s low-pile enough for Matt’s wheels, maybe you could actually install the floor AROUND where the rug would be, leaving enough depth to the subfloor so that the rug is an even surface with the surrounding hardwood. You could install the rug with either adhesive or tackless like wall-to-wall carpeting to keep it permanently in place. It’d have the same illusion of an area rug for you but be a little easier on Matt’s wheels.

    It might also work in a room with existing flooring (like maybe your office?) if you used an extremely low-pile carpet and floating flooring (Pergo) over the hardwoods. That way, you’re not actually tearing out the hardwoods or ruining them. The downside is that you’d have a thin threshold, hence only doing it where Matt doesn’t travel often.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 10:11 am

    The complicated black and white graphic floor is really cool. In a hallway where there are not a lot of competing designs and textures it would make a statement. In a large room that is going to have a lot of additional layering, it may be too much.

    Are you talking about the entire floor or smaller areas like an 8×10 to define a sitting or table area?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 10:13 am

    I know whatever you end up with will be beautiful as usual 🙂 I personally don’t care for the b&w designs as they’re just too busy for my taste, and I think it may overwhelm a small space. But, you always end up with it being beautiful, so maybe I just need to wait until then. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 10:18 am

    I’ve always wanted to try an oil cloth rug or a canvas ‘rug’. They are essentially flat and only the thickness of a piece of canvas. That could give you the design you like without the thickness of a rug.
    Our wood floor was put it in so that some of the wood is geometric (just rectangles and lines between one room and the next) and stained a darker color.
    Whatever you do it will be fun to watch the process and I know it will turn out just amazing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Congratulations, Kristi, on all your progress! You are simply amazing. I, too, love a painted floor. When I had planks installed,in my living room several years ago, I used a polyurethane paint made by Benjamin Moore. They can color it any color they make!

    I put on two coats and it has worn amazingly well, especially considering it’s been subjected to two inside/outside dogs and me…the gardener. The only sign of real wear is right in front of the chair I settle into most evenings. They no longer sell that paint in New York (because of the VOCs), but I believe it is still available in nearby states, so you may have to hunt around for it. The only downside is that it is real poly and it smells for a few days.

    By the way, based on your experience with WaterLox, I used it on my hardwood kitchen floor. Again, in order to get the Original formula, I had to go to a neighboring state which has different regulations regarding VOCs, but it will be so with it when I start to wear it down in front of my food prep areas!

    I am always pleased when I see that you have a new post up and appreciate so much the time and energy it takes to do such a good job. Thank you.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anita Carden
    September 26, 2016 at 10:44 am

    I make and sell custom stencils if you would like to have some made. I think the last one is doable.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I love, love, love black and white patterned floors. But, I really agree with your plan to come up with 1 cohesive design after you’ve done all of your structural, base-layer remodeling. If you look through those pictures that you’ve pulled, there’s not a lot of color in those rooms. Most of those rooms are black and white, with black and white flooring. If there is color, it’s neutrals (so not really a color). Just an observation, since you really like color.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Michell B
      September 27, 2016 at 10:19 am

      I totally agree, Theresa. I love the idea, Kristi. Especially the high gloss finish floors. Not sure if that’s the look you want in your house, but I like those best. Just remember, the more bold the paint pattern, the more everything else will need to recede to compliment it. Otherwise, it will be a visual fight for first place if everything goes bold. For that reason, I like the smaller patterns better. Maybe just a border of a bolder pattern…?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 11:31 am

    If you really love an idea, my inner “maker” started coming up with ways materials/ways to play with a pattern and see it in your room. Sticker/Vinyl or black posterboard may be a good trial materials. Enlist a scrapbooking friend to borrow a cutter for more small intricate shapes. Don’t forget a projector is a budget friendly way you can play with the scale and shapes.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 11:44 am

    If you end up deciding on one of the more complicated patterns that you can’t find a stencil for, could you create your own stencil? Then you’d just need to create the design once 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    I like the suggestion of a floor cloth or oil cloth. It will allow for the wheelchair, but it is not as permanent as paint. Might be a good option to consider…..

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Patricia’s idea of an oil cloth rug is the way I’d go. They are fairly quick and easy. Live with it a while before you put all the work into a permanent floor. It might even work well permanently for Matt’s needs. If not, you could surely use it somewhere else in the house. I’ve even seen holes punched through the ends, and fringe knotted onto them.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    My sister’s husband has been in a wheelchair for over 15 years. They were told that it is best for him to have no rugs or changes in flooring throughout the house. Their house has hardwood floors in every room, even bathrooms. What we see as a minute threshold is harder when you have to go over it in a wheelchair. From their experience, those wheels on the chair keep the floors dirty (my BIL is very active for someone wheelchair bound). Walls and furniture gets marked up all the time. They have put down a huge mat in the garage into the house so that some of the outside dirt goes onto it instead of coming inside, but it doesn’t keep it all out. I would think hard about the painted floors. If you don’t have a lot of dirt brought in, I would say yes. In my sister’s home, it would be a big no.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sharon H
    September 26, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    I love how everyone has really good ideas or advice, and is willing to share it. The one thing I noticed about almost every picture above, is how the floor design is the Key Focus of that area. In other words, it isn’t competing with anything else, rather is is complimented by nearly blank finishes, which totally allows that design to pop. And the ones with borders definitely look more finished.

    I have a friend who inset her dining room plush carpet into the center of the room, surrounded by beautiful stained wood flooring. It’s very nice, but it would still be difficult for a wheelchair to maneuver across, even though there is no noticible rim or edge. It is still thick, plush carpet.

    Another thought might be to use the wood flooring itself in a unique design as opposed to just straight lines or rows. You could actually use the flooring material to define a “rug appearance” under the dining table by creating a border and then making the inside a cool and distinctly different pattern. Just a thought.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I do love a black and white floor but am not sure which pattern would be best for your breakfast room. I guess that is something you would have to decide. I like someone’s idea of doing the design on an oil cloth and placing it where you want it to see if it’s something you would like. At any rate, I’m sure I’ll love whatever you end up doing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I love a painted floor, too, but am just wondering if you have to use a special paint? The reason I ask is that my SIL said they painted their study floor and she’s noticed things tend to stick to it. The floor itself doesn’t feel tacky or anything, but she said stuff just sticks more to it than the rest of the wood floors that are simply stained.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      September 26, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Latex paint tends to stay sticky for a very long time, and then if there’s rain/humidity, it can become sticky again. A topcoat is always a good idea on a floor.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    I contemplated a black and white tiled floor for my kitchen about 15 years ago. The “decorator” at the flooring store said it would be too “busy.” I began to suspect at this point that I was as much or more of a decorator than she was. If I’d found the right black and white tile, I would have gone with it but all I could find was ceramic and an industrial vinyl-type tile that had to be waxed and buffed. Hopefully, the options are better now. I settled on a light gray and white quartz tile that looks like marble. I’m happy with my choice, especially since it coincides with the grays and marbles that are now “in.” She suggested a dark gray grout but I close one that matched the tile. I’m happy with my choice. I guess the moral of this is, don’t let a “decorator” talk you into anything you’re not sure about. Follow your own instincts.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gilmer Gal
    September 26, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Why not try canvas floorcloth first and see how you like it? Easy to pick up off the floor if you decide on something else! They’re so thin, so shouldn’t be a problem for Matt. They won’t bunch up either if you put a couple of coats of poly on them to stiffen them up.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I tend to lean classic so photos one and two get my vote. I would tire quickly of the more geometric designs. I can’t wait to see how this turns out. I’m sure that end result will be beautiful no matter what you decide.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    You tried this before and didn’t like it! Please stop!! Don’t make unnecessary work for yourself. I’ts painful to watch you have to redo things. Makes my heart ache for you!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      September 26, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      I actually did like it very much. I didn’t get rid of it because I didn’t like it. I got rid of it because after I added the gold to the cabinets, the painted floor no longer went with the kitchen. I still might have kept it except that I made the mistake of using Waterlox over the top of it, which terribly discolored the white stripes.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 26, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    I really don’t like this idea for the main part of the house, but think it’d be really cool in the back room (future family room, right?) when it gets redone. I feel like elements like that start to feel mishmashed if they’re in a couple random places, while it would be a rightful focal piece in the big family room with lots of Windows at the back of the house. Plus you could see the floor from your entry through the cool black sliding doors.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sara White
    September 27, 2016 at 5:41 am

    Have you ever looked at painted floor cloths?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Susan L.
    September 28, 2016 at 9:16 am

    B&W floors are the bomb! Can’t wait to see what YOU do with yours.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Judy N.
    September 29, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Consider floor cloths instead of painting the wood. I have made one that is in a high traffic area and it hardly shows wear. I used duck sailcloth, acrylic paint and poly protection with a large Shaker tree of life stencil that I made. It was a fun project, right up your ally! A wheelchair would have no problems!