Paper Bag Floors
Feb 13
(This is a re-post. Yesterday a friend said she'd never heard of this, so it's time for a paper-bag-floor refresher.)

Someone told me the other day that they were going to re-do their floors with paper bags. Um, what? Oh, the humiliation! I hate not being up on every trend. To be honest, though, I'm used to the feeling.

If you haven't heard of paper bag floors, you are in for a treat. Actually, several treats. First of all, the reason people are in love with this flooring option is its cost - ridiculously cheap. If I am doing the math correctly, it may be as little as $3 to $4 per square foot.

First, from Lovely Crafty Home we have a tutorial for installing paper bag floors over plywood sub-flooring. And here's what she had to say about cost: "I did about 650 sq ft in my home for around $200." Whoa. She posted a ton of pics, too, so check them all out.

The good folks at Domestic Imperfection used the Lovely Crafty Home tutorial for their floors, modifying for concrete sub-floors. Cool. Now you have a tutorial for both. And this tutorial is great, as the writer made mistakes, had problems, and still got gorgeous floors. Check out the photos.

Following links led me to An Oregon Cottage and their FAQs about installing paper bag floors. This blog received a ton of questions about this process, its longevity and viability, and tried to answer them all. What a great blog! Check out all these Qs, plus check out the related YouTube videos.

Now, let's spin this a little. If you can do this with paper bags, what about using other paper? How about old photos, maps, magazine print, sheet music, fashion images, your kids' drawings? How about tea tags? Or movie stubs? How about using paper bags with accents of any of the above - scattered, to make a pattern, as a border, whatever. Now, let's move to the walls. To me, the biggest challenge to paper bag floors would be longevity. I want my floors to last a lifetime and I'm not moving, but most people move, remodel before moving, don't want floors for longer than ten years anyway. Please note that the posts above tell you how to repair paper bag floors, patch holes, conduct other maintenance on them. What about furniture marks and fading? My wood floors have those issues, and lord knows carpeting does too. So will paper, but not any more than what you've already got. But if the floor option worries you, what about papering your walls? They're usually a less traffic-y area and offer tremendous impact to a room that needs a lift.

To that end, check out this 8-minute video about a Tiny House in PDX with paper bag walls. This is NOT a traditional space, which is fun. It contrasts nicely with the way the floors in the above pics look. This look can definitely be adapted for your style. Personally, I would go for Trader Joe's bags, logo showing, for my floors. It's a good store, though they do have more plastic packaging than I would like. But those bags would look awesome on the floor. Maybe with tea tags spelling out my initials. A real statement.

P.S. Do you have Qs about polyurethane and its off-gassing, etc.? Here's a helpful link to get you started on your research.


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