Step it up. 

Southern Living Painted Floors
Credit: Laurey W Glenn

"Painted floors are great ways to wake up a small space like a stair landing. They can also make serious spaces like a kitchen or living room seem not-so-serious," says interior designer Lindsey Coral Harper. The designer connected us with her secret weapon decorative painter Jay C. Lohmann for his expert advice to get looks like these. Here are his best DIY tips for painted floors:

Get Comfortable

"Projects like this have great results, but take longer than you think. Always follow the directions for drying on each paint can. Knee pads are also helpful," says Lohmann, "And start small with a large and simple pattern first. "Otherwise, you may never finish." Get inspired with some of Lohmann's own designs.

Prepare Your Floors

Begin with clean and porous floors. Sand them if possible, but it's not always necessary. Then prime them. Jay prefers using 1 coat of oil based primer and letting it dry for 24 hours then cover the floors with one or two coats of paint. "Tint the primer to save you a step," he recommends.

Make Your Patterns

You can draw out a pattern on the floor and tape it off. "I use 3M's Scotch Blue Painter's tape, to make straight edges and designs," says Lohmann who also makes his own stencils by cutting designs into heavy paper. "I know paper sounds odd, but the paint dries on it creating a sort of seal for it."

WATCH: Modern Cottage Ideas to Try at Home

Seal, Seal, Seal!

"Like martinis, a couple are okay, but three coats are optimal," says Lohmann who favors a low-sheen, "each coat adds more sheen," water based sealant Minwax's Polycrylic Protective Finish. "Let each layer dry before you apply the next one or it becomes a gooey mess. And don't worry about wear and tear. They get more beautiful as the layers start to show through."