If you’ve got a modern-built home, then chances are its original (probably pine or particleboard) floorboards will be nothing to write home about, and are best topped with another floorcovering – but if your home is period, then you might discover beautiful boards lurking under the carpets.
You might be lucky enough to uncover boards in good original condition, which means a good clean and maybe a fresh coat of wax might be all that’s needed to restore them to their former glory – and if the distressed look is a good fit with your décor, then even patchy paint and worn areas can add to, rather than detract from, the charm of the space.
But often a little more DIY is called for. First replace any damaged boards – it’s usually easy to track down suitable reclaimed examples at a salvage yard – and fill in any gaps between them to prevent draughts. If these gaps are wide, use a strip of wood covered in wood glue, but if they’re very narrow then papier mache (with wood dye added to match the floor) is a more practical choice. Then, using a drum sander (starting with coarse and ending up with fine sandpaper), you can strip off any surface damage or finish, and reveal the wood grain.
After the surface has been sanded smooth, applying a coat of oil, wax or varnish will revive the beauty of the timber (and remember, imperfection is part of the appeal of such an original floor). Alternatively, painted boards make for a more uniform appearance, which can work with either a classic or contemporary look, plus it’s a good option if you find some modern replacement boards have been used to make repairs in the past.
For more inspirational shots of rooms with exposed floorboards underfoot, simply visit our stunning collection of images.