DIY: New England Spatter-Painted Floors

November 12, 2015 2:00 PM

BY Justine Hand

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Here on Cape Cod (where I’m lucky enough to spend the summer), spatter-painted floors are so common that we take them for granted. I don’t know why our colonial ancestors started spatter-painting their floors—perhaps they couldn’t afford rugs, or more likely, they didn’t want to constantly beat the sand out of them—but I, for one, am glad they did. First of all, spatter-painted floors hide a multitude of sins; almost nothing shows up on them. But more important, they are simply beautiful. They’re a wonderful way to add texture and interest, while still keeping the overall look minimal and clean.

Creating your own spatter-painted floor is easier than it looks; all that’s required is paint (here’s a chance to use leftover cans sitting in the garage) and a few plastic forks. Luckily, the important thing is not perfection. For best results, you want random globs and clusters in myriad sizes, not a uniform spread. But be careful not to overdo it. Think small galaxies in the night sky, not Jackson Pollock.

N.B.: To see more photos of spatter-painted floors at Salt Timber Cottage, go to Design Skool.

Above: First, apply the base undercoat (usually in a darker color than the splatters). Once the floor is dry, the fun begins. The best tool to create the splatter effect is a plastic fork. Simply dip the prongs in the paint. Then, from a standing position, gently tap the base of the fork where it meets the handle as you move it over the surface of the floor. This technique gives you a bit more control and allows you to spread the drips more evenly. Use just a drop of paint to create smaller dots; more for larger ones.

Above: For character, you’ll also need a few dribbles. For these, coat the fork with a bit more paint and turn it sideways so the paint drips off in the end. Then flick your wrist or move it in a curve.

Above: A guest bedroom floor painted green with white spatters.

Above: My kitchen floor is an unexpected shade of pumpkin spatter-painted with white and black.