My apartment is slowly but surely starting to come together. Today I’m sharing some photos of how the space looks now… as well as a how-to for my checkerboard floors. The project was a bit challenging (it took me about a week to complete) but I’m so glad I did it. At the end of the day it only cost me about $100 to do, and it really makes the space. I hated my floors. Hated them. They were a dingy looking gray painted plywood that looked like concrete. I know it may seem silly to spend so much effort on a rental, but it was inexpensive and makes the space so so so much better.
Anyway… you may remember that a couple weeks ago I shared some decor inspiration for the new place. My main colors are going to be emerald green and blush pink, and I’m going for a mid-century/Beverly Hills Hotel sort of vibe. There is still so much to do but it’s come really far in just a week! I feel like now that the floors are looking good I can really focus on making the living + dining areas really special and interesting. I am working on a dining room feature with one of my all time FAVORITE home brands (so excited), and still trying to figure out the couches. (I want to do two matching sofas, vertically oriented to face the TV… that way people can focus on each other without the TV feeling intrusive… or stretch out on the couch on the long way to watch a movie). This week’s big thing will be my credenza and TV, which arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday… I’m so excited for both items to get here. Like I said, there is still a LOT to do… but I think it’s kind of fun to share the process… so that you can see how things come along, rather than just one big grand reveal.
Also: you guys went wild on Instagram stories for a few things that I featured… the first being this brass middle finger sculpture and the second being these book cases! Instagram is a little annoying as I can’t link to stuff directly (I try to remember to put links on twitter but sometimes I forget).. so hopefully this post helps.
Product Details: Vintage lamp (it’s a million years old and has been in my family forever) // Pottery Barn Couch (you can’t tell from the back – or under all the pillows but this is really old and incredibly dirty and gross… I am going to donate it once I make the next big investment: a pair of matching couches) // Society Social Bar Cart // Weird Cat Wine Bottle Holder (a birthday gift from a dear friend!) // Chanel Book Set // Mud Australia Vase (a housewarming gift from my sister!) // Ladder to hold blankets (this is the best solution ever – I am always cold so have a million throw blankets, but they can be so cumbersome). // West Elm Curtain Rods (obsessed with this hardware, I think it looks so sleek!) // West Elm Velvet Curtains
Product Details: Pale Yellow Leather Moroccan Pouf // Horchow Coffee Table (last seen in my old apartment in this post!) // Palm Leaf Pillows (bought at Chairish, but sold out – these are similar!) // Rebecca Atwood Marbled Pillows // Brass Middle Finger Sculpture // Floating Book Cases (a word about these: on Amazon it says that they will take weeks to come… mine shipped within a few days – weird!)
Alright, so here is the tutorial!!! (Apologies for the less pretty photos – most of these were taken with my iphone.) Honestly, I want to tell you that this was easy and that you should do it too but it was actually really, really hard. If I had known how hard it would be (particularly the taping, which took me a few days to finish), I might have thought twice. That being said, I am SO happy with how it turned out… it has really transformed the space and like I said, only cost me about $100 to do! Also, my room is really big (18×30) so if you live in a smaller space, it will be easier!
Emerald green is my favorite color, and every time I walk into my living room I just get so happy.
Start by vacuuming the space. Vacuum as if your life depended upon it. I went over my floors five or six times… the last thing you want to do is paint over dust, cat fur, your own hair.. gross! If you are painting over old paint or something that is not just paint (my floors were literally just painted two weeks ago) you may want to prime the floor, but I did not.
- Two gallons white paint (I used Behr satin finish in Swiss Coffee)
- One gallon colored or black paint (I used Behr satin finish in Garden Cucumber)
- Lots and lots of painters tape. I think I went through 3 or 4 rolls!
- Cardboard template (I made two 22″ squares).
- Larger Paint roller + tray
- Small Paint roller + tray
Night One: Section everything off with Painter’s Tape. Paint on the first coat of white. Hide your cat.
I opted to paint in sections… I did the checkerboard area, and then painted the area to the side a solid green. This let me have access to my computer and a place to store stuff while I painted. When it was all done I did two coats of solid green in the side area which was really easy!
The next morning: Paint on the second coat of white!
The next few days: Begin taping! This is (definitely) the hardest part. To be honest, it made me feel a little crazy. It took me a couple days to do and I actually started to see squares. The thing is, because of the negative space (the white diamonds need to be smaller to account for the space that the tape takes up), you really have to tape each diamond individually. I am a style blogger and not a decorator/professional painter/rocket scientist so there may be an easier way to do this, but I couldn’t think of one. So I spent several hours each day over the course of 3 days individually taping down my diamonds. I will say that the most important thing is the corners. Getting those nice and straight is what makes the biggest difference. Some of my diamonds accidentally ended up slightly larger than others, but no one can tell as my corners are all perfect.
I had a crack in the floor from where the plywood intersects that ran straight down the middle of my floor. I used this as my anchor to get my first row of diamonds straight. I started out by placing my two templates around the crack and taping around them.
From there, I taped the next row, and then the next.
It looked like this…
And then there was wine and cheese and my friend Stanley hanging out in the crawl space…
And then after a bit of wine it looked like this! (Just kidding, the below photo was taken a full day after that first one.
Once I finished taping, I started the green! Using a small paint roller I added the first coat.
Note: You will probably mess up at some point. It’s fine. That’s why I kept a wet rag next to me at all times… anytime I accidentally colored outside the lines I could just wipe it off. The paint will easily wipe off at first, but once it dries you have another situation on your hands.
And then the second coat. And then I left it overnight. In the morning I peeled off the tape… it felt like Christmas. (I also ran around with a white paintbrush, dabbing paint over the nails – those are what those “holes” are, above. Some people recommend coating in polyurethane to seal it in/give it a shiny finish. I skipped this as I didn’t want mine to be shiny and actually think it will look cooler a little bit scuffed up.
(Just in case you want to pin this project for later… here’s a handy little graphic!)