linoleum, friend or enemy? happy as we are to have a place in is still sight unseen, which is a bit frightening for me, who is:
1) extremely, um, discerning
2) in love with everything designy (that is a word, trust me.)

So when our lovely landlady said the floor was linoleum (after I tried to convince her to put down something else, cheeky girl that I am), I started to Google.

And I've actually found out a couple of interesting things:
1) linoleum is quite environmentally friendly in that it's made from renewable materials such as solidified linseed oil (linoxyn), pine rosin, ground cork dust, wood flour, and mineral fillers such as calcium carbonate, most commonly on a burlap or canvas backing; pigments are often added to the materials (thanks Wikipedia)
2) you can paint it (which probably cancels out the environmental happy sticker.)

Here are the instructions and results (from a fellow Vancouverite who has a great blog)

Degrease the floor as much as you can, either with a proper degreasing liquid or just some strong soap, let it fully dry and then sand the linoleum thoroughly. 80 or 100 grit is fine – you can go finer but avoid anything finer than 150 because the grit does tend to clog a bit. Buy a couple of cans of a tough, dedicated floor paint. Most paint companies carry floor paint, but I got mine from Home Depot – I can’t remember the brand but it was water-based, not too smelly, and could be tinted any colour you wanted. I used a semi-gloss pure designer white. Between coats and when recoating, make sure you only walk on it in white socks, and follow the recoat times to the letter. Before moving heavier items back in, wait a week while the paint hardens.
From Unono

And here are a few other inspirational lino photos...


  1. If it is actually genuine linoleum, in does have the potential to not be totally hideous. And yes, I believe it can be painted. I just hope it's not really vinyl flooring - a lot of people refer to vinyl as "lino." I'm pretty sure that you can't paint vinyl floors. If you can, I've been living with crappy vinyl unnecessarily for the past four years!