How to Paint a Vinyl Floor + Linen Closet

How to paint a vinyl floor and even make it look like a tile floor.

This week I passed a huge milestone in my life.  I was able to cross off the last space in my house on my declutter/purge list.  If you have been following my blog, you know this has been an ongoing project… decluttering every room. It started with my attic a few years ago. I have been going slowly from room to room since then so the job would not be too overwhelming.  The basement purge took a few weeks; this linen closet only a few hours.

Opening drawers and doors and seeing fresh, tidy and organized instead of postponed decisions of what to do with all the un-needed items has energized me. It is a great feeling.

I started my total house declutter/purge when I thought we might be moving.  Who knows if we ever will, living with long-term unemployment has become our way of life, but I know now that if we do move, getting the house ready to sell will be easier.

Decluttering a linen closet before and after budget makeover

When we first moved into the house 20+ years ago, I was so happy to have a big closet for linens and bathroom supplies.  Over the years I kept it semi-organized, but since my daughters moved out on their own, the closet became a dumping ground of old towels, sheets, rugs, and bedding.

I started the purge by removing everything. I bagged up what we didn’t need and cleaned each shelf and then only put back what we use. Everything else went to the trash, thrift store, and thanks to Lynn, a blog reader…I have a bag going to our veterinarian’s office. She told me that vets and animal shelters often are in need of towels and blankets when taking care of animals.

Decluttering tips

Since this bathroom is used only for guests, I wanted to make it feel hotel-like. I bought fluffy new white towels at HomeGoods and only kept one extra set of sheets for each bed in the house.

I didn’t want this to be a major project and opted not to paint the walls and shelves. I only painted the floor.

Storage and organizing ideas for bathroom closets

I did add white ribbon and upholstery tacks to add a bit of style in the way of shelf trim.  I bought the silver upholstery tacks at Lowes. I posted about the dollar store baskets in my last post.

 How the Vinyl Floor Looked Before Painting:

How to paint a stained vinyl floor

Many years ago, the vinyl floor in the closet became discolored from rubber backed bath rugs.  I tried everything from Clorox to lemon juice to try to remove the discoloration, but nothing worked.  In one of the previous houses we lived in, I had painted a vinyl floor with success.

That is how I fixed this floor. I painted it and used a sheet of adhesive-backed crafting vinyl to make the black squares.

How to Paint a Vinyl Floor

How to prep a vinyl floor to paint it

1. Sand the floor with 60-grit sandpaper to remove some of the surface shine.  Sanding gives the surface some “tooth” so the paint has something to adhere to. Since the closet is small, I just used my sanding block. If you are doing an entire room, I would use a power sander. It will make the job go much faster.

2. Once the floor is roughed up, clean it well with detergent and water and let it dry.

What is the best primer to paint a floor

3.  I used this primer from Behr on the floor in my fitness room. It is called Behr Multi-Surface Primer & Sealer.  Roll on one very light coat. Let dry. Roll on another light coat and let dry. If needed, add one more light coat.

  • The key to perfect adhesion is rolling on more light coats than fewer heavier ones.  Let dry overnight before applying paint.
  • Check out my Paint Anything FAQ’s for more advice on painting projects.

Painting a vinyl floor tips

4. I used semi-gloss interior/exterior paint in white to paint the floor to match the vinyl’s sheen and color before it became discolored. Using a glossy finish is easier to wipe and clean.  You can also use Floor and Porch paint in a glossy finish.

5. Let the floor dry for a few days before walking on it or placing anything on it.

How To Create The Look of Black Tiles On a Vinyl Floor

I redid the bathroom floor that this closet is in 3 years ago. It was a $10 makeover with a roll of adhesive backed vinyl that is sold in craft stores.

Budget floor makeover ideas

1. For the painted floor, I used the same method I did for the bathroom, but needed to create new lines to connect the black squares. I used a silver paint marker to do this. I drew over the line impressions in the flooring. If you look closely, you can see them.

Budget decor floor makeover

2. Using a clear ruler helped me make sure I was on the lines.  The paint marker dries immediately. I made a few mistakes and had to dab some white paint over them after I was done.

3. Let dry.

4. I did not seal the floor, but if your floor is going to get a lot of traffic, use a water-based sealer. I like Zinsser Ultimate Polyurethane. Make sure to use water-based as it will not yellow your paint.

Vinyl Floor After Getting Painted and New Faux Tiles Added:

how to paint a vinyl floor

I could have tried to match the paint to the rest of the floor, but since this is closed off, it didn’t matter to me. I also had white paint on hand which kept this makeover very budget-friendly.

Linen closet makeover

If you want to start decluttering your home, a closet is a good place to begin before taking on a bigger space like an attic or basement. Once you get it completed, the feeling of accomplishment will give you the energy to keep at it one space or room at a time.

budget bathroom organizing tips


How to fix a damaged vinyl floor. Use this paint to do it so it lasts. | In My Own Style

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  1. What a great/inexpensive idea!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nancy – Thanks. It was a cheap fix that lasted a long time. :-)

  2. Looks great! My whole linen closet needs updating!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Cathy – I miss that linen closet. In the house I live now, there isn’t one. I use drawers and a section of a guest room closet to store and organize all my bed linens. When I did paint the floor in the closet I did take everything out and go through it. I got rid of so much I didn’t even remember being stored in there. It felt good to get it purged and organized. Maybe on a cold or rainy day, you can dig into yours. Once you get started you may even find the process enjoyable :-)

  3. Very nice project! It looks great.

  4. Jiselle Greene says:

    Roughing up the vinyl is a great tip! I have done that with super slippery wood decks and it can work decently there. Usually the wood isn’t quite so plasticy though. Have you ever tried painting a lighter color on older dark vinyl? Like a tan on a charcoal? I’m worried that it may take too many coats!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Use a good primer first, then you won’t need as many coats.

  5. Joey Smyth says:

    Thank you sooooooo much for this post, I’ve been thinking of doing something similar with my bathroom for so long and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. But you’ve given me some great Ideas, thanks again! :)

  6. Great job on organizing the linen closet; it looks wonderful. You also did a great job painting the floor and you definitely really paid attention to the detail. Thanks for sharing!

  7. christine gowing says:

    I thought you were crazy when I first read that you painted your vinyl floor.
    Now, I’m the crazy one! It looks perfect.

  8. Looks fabulous! Don’t you think it would have been easier to draw the lines before you put the black squares down?

    I was going to rip up my kitchen vinyl and paint the plywood underlay, but now I’m rethinking that idea …

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cussot – Yes, it would have been easier to draw the lines first :-) When I did the bathroom floor 3 years ago, I didn’t need to add the lines since I didn’t paint the floor. When I started the linen closet, I started in the same way and then realized I would have to draw the lines. A little backwards thinking, but it worked.

  9. Beth Coburn says:

    This is so awesome! We re-did our laundry room a number of years ago and it looks great…except the vinyl floor. It’s yellowed and really takes away from the updates. Thanks for all your before and after shots. This is truly inspiring me.

  10. You give me hope of actually getting through decluttering everything. I’ve set a goal for October, but I was wimping out about the basement in spite of knowing that anything not done by the end of October is off the table until January. So, I’m going to push as hard as I can to climb the mountain. Your hard work and resourcefulness always inspire me.

    And the vinyl floor looks great. Gave me an idea for my laundry room. AFTER I declutter.

    Tell Ed he’s a tough guy and an inspiration as well.

  11. Great job! You are inspiring me to get on my decluttering!

  12. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    And you are totally finished with your huge house? Oh my, I have not finished one closet, much less one room. I am such a slob lately. I am going to use my fur babies born on Christmas morning for my excuse….. poor little cutie pies, they are not really the reason. I guess I am just lazy.

    Everything sure looks great. I remember when you remodeled your guest bath and did all of that work. Every tiny detail looks just perfect.

    I am hopeless.

  13. Connie Nikiforoff Designs says:

    Looks terrific! I too recently reorganized a couple of hallway storage closets. Those thrift store and dollar store baskets work great ;-) Organized closets are a joy to use.

    Many years ago I read in Good Housekeeping magazine (long before every one had computers at home) how to paint a vinyl floor. I was SO thrilled to be getting rid of the avocado green kitchen floor! The paint job lasted for years and if it got looking too bad, I’d merely repaint which took less than a half hour in our small kitchen. (Remember, once all the prep work is done, the repainting takes far less time.)

    I also repainted our bathroom vinyl floor. I never did seal it with poly but for some reason it never chipped or wore off.

    I’m tellin’ ya Diane, when you share all these great DIY projects with paint, you’re talkin’ my language. Love your ideas! Love that you share projects for small budgets and those who enjoy DIY :-)

  14. Well Diane another beautiful job well done. I need to put down my coffee and get busy around my house de-cluttering. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Congratulations on finishing your decluttering projects! You have inspired me to do the same! The pictures from this project made me smile because I have the same quilts that are on your top shelf! They were on my girls’ beds when they were very little and I still love them! Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend!