How to Make Plywood Floors Look Nice

Transforming plywood floors into a stunning and aesthetically pleasing surface is a creative endeavor that adds warmth and character to any space. Plywood, often considered a utilitarian material, can be elevated to a stylish flooring option with the right techniques and finishes. Whether you’re on a budget or seeking a unique, rustic charm, enhancing the appearance of plywood floors is an accessible and rewarding DIY project.

How to Make Plywood Floors Look Nice

From selecting the right grade of plywood to implementing various finishing methods such as staining, painting, or sealing, this article will guide you through the step-by-step process of how to make plywood floors look nice. Emphasizing both form and function, we will explore innovative design ideas, color schemes, and protective coatings that not only enhance the visual appeal of your plywood floors but also ensure their durability and longevity.

Discover how to unleash the hidden potential of plywood and turn your floors into a focal point that reflects your personal style and creativity.

Importance of Enhancing the Appearance of Plywood Floors

Plywood floors are a popular flooring option due to their affordability, durability and ease of installation. However, the downside is that they can look dull and unattractive if not properly maintained or finished. This is where enhancing the appearance of plywood floors comes in.

By following a few simple steps, you can transform your boring plywood floors into a stylish and visually appealing part of your home. In this article, we will discuss how to make plywood floors look nice.

Choosing the Right Plywood for Aesthetics

When it comes to making plywood floors look nice, choosing the right type of plywood is crucial. There are many types of plywood available in the market today, but not all are suitable for flooring purposes. Here are some key points to consider when selecting plywood for your floor:

Plywood Floors Are a Popular Flooring Option


Plywood grading systems categorize wood panels according to their appearance and intended use. When it comes to flooring, you want to go for higher grades such as A or B which have fewer knots and a smoother surface.


Different wood species have their unique grain patterns and colors. Some may not be suitable for aesthetic purposes, while others can add character to your floor. Popular choices for plywood floors include oak, birch, maple, and pine.


Plywood thickness can vary from 4mm to 18mm. Thicker plywood tends to be sturdier and more stable, while thinner ones are prone to warping or sagging over time. The right thickness for your floor will depend on the subfloor condition and the amount of foot traffic the room receives.

10 Methods How to Make Plywood Floors Look Nice

1. Sand and Refinish

One of the most effective ways to make plywood floors look nice is to sand them down and refinish them. This process involves using a sander to remove the top layer of the plywood, revealing a fresh, smooth surface. Then, a new coat of stain or paint can be applied to give the floors a new, updated look.

2. Paint or Stain

Painting or staining your plywood floors can also drastically improve their appearance. Choose a color that complements your home’s decor and use a high-quality paint or stain for best results. You can even get creative and create patterns or designs with different colors.

3. Add Area Rugs

If you don’t want to completely cover your plywood floors, consider adding area rugs in strategic places. This not only adds warmth and texture to the room but also helps to hide any imperfections in the wood. Make sure to use a non-slip rug pad to prevent the rugs from slipping.

Use a High-quality Paint

4. Install Carpet Tiles

Another option for covering up plywood floors is to install carpet tiles. These are easy to install and come in a variety of colors and patterns, making it easy to find one that fits your style. Plus, if one tile gets damaged, you can easily replace it without having to redo the entire floor.

5. Use Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is another great option for covering up plywood floors while still giving them an updated look. It comes in various styles and is durable enough to withstand heavy foot traffic. Plus, it’s easy to install and maintain.

6. Apply Polyurethane Coating

For a more natural look, you can apply a polyurethane coating over your plywood floors. This will protect the wood from scratches and give it a glossy finish. Keep in mind that this option is more suitable for low traffic areas as it may require regular maintenance.

7. Create Patterns with Stencils

To add some visual interest to your plywood floors, use stencils to create patterns or designs on them before painting or staining. This is a great way to personalize your floors and make them stand out.

8. Fill Knot Holes

If your plywood has noticeable knot holes, fill them with wood filler before sanding and refinishing for a smoother surface. This will also prevent dirt and debris from accumulating in the holes. For a more rustic look, you can leave the knot holes unfilled.

9. Cover with Laminate Flooring

For an easy and quick fix, you can cover your plywood floors with laminate flooring. This is a cost-effective option and comes in a variety of styles to choose from. However, keep in mind that this will add height to your floors, so make sure to check for clearance on doors and transitions.

10. Use Decorative Tiles

For a unique and eye-catching look, consider using decorative tiles to cover your plywood floors. These can be placed directly on top of the wood or used as an accent around the edges of the room. With the wide variety of colors, patterns, and textures available, you can easily find one that fits your style.

Using Decorative Tiles to Cover Your Plywood Floors

Things to Consider When Making Plywood Floors Look Nice

Plywood floors are a popular choice for many homeowners due to their affordability and durability. While they may not look as elegant as hardwood floors, there are several ways to make them look nice and add some character to your space. Here are some things you should consider when making plywood floors look nice.

1. Quality of the Plywood

The first thing to consider when making plywood floors look nice is the quality of the plywood itself. There are different grades of plywood, and using a higher grade will result in a smoother and more visually appealing surface. Look for plywood with a smooth, sanded finish and minimal knots or imperfections.

2. Sanding and Sealing

Before you start any aesthetic improvements, it’s essential to sand and seal your plywood floors. Sanding will help smooth out any rough areas or imperfections, while sealing will protect the wood from moisture and wear. Make sure to use a high-quality sealer specifically designed for plywood floors.

3. Staining or Painting

One of the easiest ways to make plywood floors look nice is by staining or painting them. You can choose a wood stain in the color of your choice for a more natural look, or opt for a bold paint color to add some personality to your space. Make sure to properly prep and prime the floors before applying any stain or paint.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to installing plywood floors, there are a few common mistakes that people tend to make. These mistakes can result in an unsightly finish, uneven flooring or even structural damage. To ensure your plywood floors look nice and last for years to come, we have put together a list of the most common mistakes to avoid.

Using Low-Quality Plywood

One of the most important factors in achieving a nice look for your plywood floors is using high-quality plywood. Low-quality plywood is more likely to have defects, such as warping or knot holes, which can make it difficult to achieve a smooth and even finish.

Not Preparing the Subfloor

Properly preparing the subfloor is crucial when installing plywood floors. This includes sanding down any high spots, filling in low spots, and ensuring that the surface is clean and dry before starting installation. Skipping this step can result in an uneven finish or cause issues with adhesion.

Ensuring That the Surface is Clean

Not Using the Right Tools and Materials

Using the right tools and materials can make a big difference when it comes to achieving a nice finish on your plywood floors. For example, using a flooring adhesive that is not suitable for plywood can result in an uneven finish or even cause the planks to separate over time.


In conclusion, creating a beautiful and unique plywood floor doesn’t have to be a daunting task. As we have discussed throughout this blog post, there are multiple techniques and tips on how to make plywood floors look nice. Whether it’s through sanding, staining, or painting, there is an option for every budget and creative vision.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try something new! Take inspiration from the various examples shared or come up with your own design. The possibilities are endless when it comes to transforming your plywood floors into a stunning focal point in any room.

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Jennifer Branett

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