How to make my bare concrete floor look nicer?

by Louise

Quite a while back, I removed carpeting from my lower-level "family room" (aka currently a catch-all space). There was also carpet from that room into the garage (poor planning on the home builder's part to have carpet in that area) so I removed it. So the concrete has been bare a long time. I have cats and over time, they've thrown up from time to time on the concrete and even tho I clean it up as soon as I see it, stains have remained and it's unsightly. I've tried cleaning it with detergent and bleach to no avail.

Once I saw on HGTV where they were showcasing a former manufacturing building turned into loft homes and they mentioned they'd left the concrete floors but applied a thinned paint to make it resemble stain. And they put poly on top. It looked great.

So, I want to do something similar by starting in the small "hall" area between the room and the garage -- about 4-5 ft x 8 ft. I saw online that concrete should be etched for paint but I'm not wanting it to have a heavy coat of paint. Any ideas for a shortcut to try on this small area? What if I clean it well, let that dry, then thin some paint and apply it and when dry, put poly on top?

If I like the result, I'll do it in the soon-to-be cleaned out "catch all" room. I might end up tiling that area but I want to try this first.

how to make my bare concrete floor look nicer
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