There are many, many things I love about my apt - the location, cool landlord, good layout, high ceilings, two floors, storage space, freedom to paint, etc, etc. The one thing that I hate? The floors - they're the original hardwood floors, which would be great except that they have NEVER been taken care of! water stains, scratches, and areas where the finish has just worn off - leaving raw wood! The kitchen was really the worst, and the most visible!!
My landlord won't get them refinished until we move out (which I understand, but bummer!) so I tried getting indoor/outdoor mats to try to hide the ugliness in the kitchen, but they never looked good and slid around, and I though about installing some kind of floating floor.....but sometimes the best solution is the simplest (and cheapest).
I urethaned them. EEEEEK! Before I get comments about how what I did was not the "proper" way, yadda yadda, I am fully aware this is not the proper way to treat wood floors. I decided that since they are so far gone, my landlord is going to have to have a professional crew come in and do some major fixing, so the hair thin layer of finish I added wasn't going to do any harm.
Day one: I scrubbed the floor with hot water and vinegar, following with a dry rag to pick up as much moisture as I could (kind of a wax on, wax off thing). Day two: Two hand applied coats of oil based urethane satin finish topcoat, left over from my furniture refinishing projects.
WHAT a difference!!! This floor is never going to look "good" in the traditional sense, but boy does it look BETTER! AND...now it's protected from further harm, at least for a few years.
before: (gray areas are raw wood!)