I've lived in older homes most of my life, so I've learned a few easy and affordable renovation tricks. For example, if you'd like a new floor but your wallet is telling you that ain't gonna happen, think about painting for a different look!
One of my friends had an old, faded vinyl floor in her kitchen. Here's a "before" photo. Besides being marred by dark wear spots, the floor color made the whole room dark. She's on a tight budget and still hasn't won the lottery, so she decided to paint the room - and I helped.
First, we washed down the floor with a strong cleaner, then sanded off the shiny finish. We used a simple hand sander and 220 grit paper - took about an hour to do the whole floor. You can see the floor at the top of the photos is lighter and less shiny than the bottom. Of course, you have to wash the floor again to pick up the sanding mess. After that, we primed the floor. We only needed one coat, but if you think the primer coat is too thin, slap on another one! After waiting the appropriate recoat time, of course. Oh, and we worked on the area under the fridge first. It was a great way to test ourselves, and if our great plans hadn't worked, no one would have seen the mistakes! They still can't!
We allowed the primer to cure, then painted the floor with water-based porch and deck paint. You can also use latex or acrylic paint, but if you do, be sure to add polyurethane or your work won't hold up. We added two coats - in some places, three - then stayed off the floor as advised by the paint manufacturer. Paints differ, so do read the label!
Then, because my friend is artsy-craftsy, she began stenciling in a complementary color. She says she screwed up some of the flowers, but I can't see it. Anyway, because she used a latex paint, she decided to lay down an overcoat of water-based polyurethane. It's not a huge room, but the materials' drying time extended the process. All told, start to finish took ten days. If you don't stencil or use poly, cut that time in half.
And, ta-da! The work was not difficult - well, it is hard on the knees, so make sure you have a kneeling pad. The final cost totaled less than $75. The lighter floor color brightened the entire room, is easy to clean, and can be covered with either another paint or a more formal type of flooring once my friend's lottery win happens. I keep telling her she's got to buy tickets to have a chance of winning...