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Our Renovation Design Process

The Painted Trim – High Impact, Low Cost (One Girl’s Journey + All The Tips & Tricks)

Earlier this week, Ryann and I were talking about post ideas and Ryann mentioned the idea of painted trim options. We then both remembered that Sara wrote an incredible post about her trim journey over two years ago when she was renovating. Why rewrite what has already been so perfectly written (personal story included!)?? So if you’ve been questioning what the heck to do with your trim then this is the post for you. Or if you just like riveting renovation stories, this is also for you. Enjoy!

I’d never had to make a decision about trim before in my life. At least, not until Mac and I bought our house. And to be totally honest, I had never really considered the trim in a room before. I’d painted a few apartment walls in the past, but I’d always taped off the trim. It’s just what I thought you did *shrugging emoji*. That all changed recently. Owning our own home meant we were finally able to do whatever we wanted, without being at the mercy of a landlord. Our ideas were only limited by our own determination to make them a reality (and I guess money, but BORING).

But as soon as the renovation got started in the front part of the house (before we had even moved in), it moved FAST. Like, having to make 1 million decisions every day fast. We only had about 5 weeks to get the house in good enough shape for us to move in, and we had decided to basically gut the place. Those days slipped by like too hot jello. Suddenly we were ready to paint the first rooms in the house (the living room, dining room, and front bedroom), and we had to make a decision real quick. SO… we went with white.

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 02

A lot of people had said to me “paint it white, live with it, see how you feel in a few months.” Which is good advice. And when my dad asked me what we were doing with the trim I quickly said “white, just the same thing all over… right?” White walls, white trim, white baseboards. I don’t regret it – those rooms feels so happy and bright. But once the initial renovation slowed down, we got to take time more time to think about how we wanted to rest of the house to look.

And we didn’t want the whole house to be white.

I started pinning all sorts of dark moody rooms. Maybe we’d do a black bathroom, with brass fixtures and green cabinets. A monochromatic gray kitchen, with lime washed walls and art ledges for vintage oil paintings. Or a deep navy library, with aged leather furniture and vintage sconces emitting a warm glow (a version of this is actually happening!!). Mac was on board, and even floated the idea of a dark accent wall in our master bedroom. I agreed and started pinning inspiration for that too. I’m a very decisive person. You don’t even have to use the (truly offensive) “gun to your head” metaphor with me. Just ask me a question and I’ll have an answer. And if I don’t know the answer, I’ll make one up on the spot. My decisions making process moves fast, and my fingers move faster often clicking “purchase,” “order,” or “send” before my emotions have a chance to even join the race.

But if I’m given too much time to think about something, I flip flop like a fish on a boat deck. I had done all this dark accent wall and moody room pinning way back in January of 2019 when we didn’t even have drywall up yet. The longer I had to think about it and the closer we got to actually painting, the more I nervous I got about my dark paint plans. Would it work in our home? I actually love a bright, airy room and the front part of our house was fine all white. Not to mention, our house is a bungalow craftsman. A style of home based on open floor plans, breezy airflow, and huge windows to let in all that California sunlight. It wasn’t a mysterious Victorian, begging for dramatic wallpaper and heavy drapes.

Finally, back at the start of January 2020, it was time to make some real decisions about how the TV room and master bedroom were going to look. I still really wanted to try something dark, but I was also sacred. I’m not a designer, so maybe making a super bold choice like an a dark room was a mistake. We compromised and decided to look for a dark-ish sage green to paint the TV room. But I was having all sorts of uncomfortable feelings about the dark accent wall I had agreed to in the master bedroom. In the end, I nixed the dark accent wall because it didn’t feel period to the home. Instead we talked about doing a medium gray all over. Secretly, I didn’t feel good about that either. If I was being really honest with myself, I didn’t want to wake up in dark room every day. I wanted to acquiesce badly, because I knew Mac didn’t want another white room. But something still didn’t sit right with me about the master bedroom, and so I was scouring Pinterest trying to understand what it was.

The more I stared at photos of rooms, the more I realized something about each room – the trim mattered. I was seeing that trim wasn’t just a “white” afterthought in a lot of the rooms I was pinning. The colors and treatments chosen for them were intentional and coordinated. It was kind of a breakthrough moment for me. A warm trim against white walls made a room feel traditional, a light wood trim gave off Scandi vibes, and a dark room with intentionally dark trim created drama.

That’s when the TV room went from being a dark-ish sage green to a dark, deep green. And the trim wasn’t going to stay white either. Nope, it was gonna follow the walls down this dark and twisted path.

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 03
left to right: livingetc magazine | design by emily henderson, photo by tessa nuestadt | craftberry bush | mia ahlskog

Meanwhile, the idea of light grey walls with white trim felt like it hit a more traditional note in the bedroom that brought me a lot of comfort.

We ended up choosing Sherwin William’s Rookwood Shutter Green for the TV room (a dark, almost black, green). Then we picked Heron Plume for the walls of the master (a soft warm gray), and Greek Villa (a creamy, warm white) for the trim. I was feeling really confident about our decisions and was ready to get paint.

The day before picking up paint I had a spiral moment in the office. I had taped up all the paint chips on my office wall, and I was suddenly washed in doubt about the decision to go gray on the walls. I don’t know what it was, but it was messing with my peaceful bedroom vision. I begged Julie to come into my office and stare at the paint chips with me. “I don’t know if I’m making a mistake going with a darker tone on the wall in the bedrooms… I don’t know why, but it feels a little too traditional maybe?” And then, in all her Julie genius she simply said, “why don’t you swap them? White on the walls, grey on the trim.” I could suddenly breathe again. Then I remembered this photo from her own bedroom inspiration.

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 04
photo & design by i spy diy

It sealed the deal for me. A creamy white wall to catch all that warm morning light, and subtle grey trim and pocket doors to give the room a bit more “life” than going all white. Paint order placed, decision made.

The white went up in the bedroom and I loved it. Still do. (SO much, in fact, that we’ve repainted the entire living room and dining room the same white. I hadn’t truly been happy with the white color I’d originally chosen back in January of last year – it felt just a touch too cool and sterile. As soon as I saw Greek Villa up on the bedroom walls I made the, admittedly INSANE, decision to repaint the entire living room and dining room. Luckily it was white on white, and didn’t take more than two coats.)

But then the first coat of Heron Plume trim went up in the bedroom… and the doubt came back fast. It was subtle. And I mean, subtle. I had wanted a soft contrast, nothing black or bright, but I wanted SOME contrast. And it just wasn’t enough for me. Heron Plume is a beautiful color, but it wasn’t giving me enough when up against my new romance with Greek Villa. I knew that switching trim colors at this point was going to slow us down and put the renovation behind schedule, but I also knew this was my only chance to switch paint colors. I didn’t have time to go back to Sherwin Williams and get new samples, so I rummaged through the samples I already had (I had brought home PLENTY when we were trying to choose the gray for the wall). Luckily I had a sample of Modern Gray – a darker, but still soft and warm gray that someone on Instagram had suggested. I brushed it on one section of door frame and knew it was the right choice. I immediately ordered new trim paint, and haven’t looked back since.

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 05

I (very stupidly), didn’t take a photo of the Heron Plume up. But I photoshopped a before and after comparison that feels pretty accurate. See, SUBTLE.

My story is one of pure insanity, I know. When you’re project managing your own renovation you do tend to feel a little (lot) crazy. But my gut hesitation led to some very quick decisions, and I’m relieved I made a change. See below for a badly taken iPhone photo that makes me actually very, very happy.

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 06

And now I’m truly #teamtrim. Trim can be a great way to bring in a little contrast, color, or mood to a room without making the walls yell. Plus, taking a risk with your trim can be a budget-friendly way to refresh a space. You really only need about 1 gallon of paint to cover the trim of a large room, while you could go through 3-5 gallons to cover the walls of a large room. And there are lots of different trim options to choose from. I found so many different variations while I was going through my mid-renovation crisis.

All The Ways To Trim

The “Light On Light”

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 07
left: photo by siobhan mcfadden | right: photo by amanda kirkpatrick, design by hendricks churchill, via society letters

First up, you’ve got your traditional light walls next to light trim. This is the route we went with for our master bedroom and I think it’s a pretty classic approach to trim. Think of this style as the “highlight” of the trim world. It’s gently enhancing your doors and windows, like a 13-year-old desprately putting lemon juice on their hair at summer camp because their mom refused to pay for real highlights at the salon.

The “Light Wall, Dark Trim”

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 08
left: photo by jessica gylnn, design by blair harris, via hunker | right: design by cwb architects

Next is the style that still goes for a light wall color, but gets some serious contrast from a darker trim. If you want a modern, graphic pop, this could be the style for you. You don’t have to go clean white and dark black, but there’s clearly nothing wrong with that classic combo.

The “Dark Wall, Light Trim”

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 09
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: the ultimate family-friendly media room + wet bar

This is where I thought we were going in our TV room before we made a serious turn to dark and dramatic. It’s a nice way to add a touch of deep tone, without going full “dark side.” The light trim keeps things fresh and classic, while the walls do the major acting.

The “Light Monochrome”

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 10
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: portland master bedroom reveal (and how to pull together your own dreamy suite

This is what we have going on in our living room and dining room, and I’m not mad at it. It’s an airy, light style that Em’s used several times (like in the Portland Master Bedroom). This is honestly the one style I see used most often, and it’s timeless.

The “Dark Monochrome”

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 11
photo by gieves anderson | design by jam architecture & nina garbinas

The true inspiration for our TV room! We’re going all dark, all the time. DRAMA. This is for the risk-takers, the bold leaders, or the people who make really fast decisions despite many people telling them “no.” My dad, brother, and a handful of friends all said, “Sara, no.” While I kept chanting “Sara, YES.” Followed by a legitimate spiral on Instastories the first day after painting (the spiral begins 14 slides from the end of that highlight), and the subsequent soothing of the internet assuring me to keep pushing forward with the dark color. Either because they really do think an all dark room is cool, or because it’s not their room and they just want to see what happens (I get that).

The “Subtle Two-Tone”

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 12
left: design by satoria design | right: design by the victorian rectory, via devol kitchens

I came across this for the first time while doing research, and it’s stunning. I suppose it’s more than just the trim in these two photos, but it could easily be translated into some subtle two-tone trim action. With this style, you’re picking a wall color and trim color that are very similar, but just different enough that it’s noticeable for a deliberate gradient effect.

The “Wallpaper, Trim Meet-Cute”

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 13
left: styled by olivia gregory | via drummonds bathrooms | right: photo by carley summers | design by veronica hamlet

One day I will create the powder bathroom of my dreams using this technique. The trim color is sourced right from the wallpaper, to create a seamless transition, almost like the monochrome styles from above. But the pattern of the wallpaper brings a whole new flavor.

The “Statement Door”

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 14
left: design by imperfect interiors, via decoist | right: design by nicole balch

In our master bedroom, we’re treating our pocket doors just like our trim, for a mini-monochrome effect. But if you’re not ready to paint all the trim in your room (do it, take that risk), or you just want a pop of color, the statement door & trim is ready to elevate your space.

The “Au Naturel”

Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 15
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house “reveal”: the dining room built-in dilemma (+ the 3 mistakes we made)

I grew up with unpainted wood trim and doors in my home, and love them. But Emily really took it to the next level when she chose to use light, unstained wood as the trim up in her mountain house. A light wood is reminiscent of modern, Scandi design, while a darker wood could go more cabin-y or traditional (like in my childhood bedroom).

Trim Tricks & Tips

Throughout this whole renovation, I’ve painted my fair share of trim, and I have just a few tips I’d like to leave with you with. Some of them may seem “common knowledge,” but to trim newbies they could be helpful:

  • If you’re painting your trim, it’s worth taking some time to look it over and see if there is any old paint build-up that you could sand-down, using a putty knife to clean out build-up in tight corners, and seeing if there are any big nicks worth filling in with plaster before you paint. And if you do sand, make sure you vacuum up after your bad self. Doing so will give you the freshest, smoothest trim possible.
  • For your walls, you’ll probably use a matte or eggshell finish, but for your doors and trim you should use a semi-gloss. Your window frames, doors, and door frames are more likely to get a whole lot more skin to skin than your walls, so having the ability to easily clean them is essential. We painted our entire fireplace mantle and built-in shelves with eggshell, and I immediately regretted it. Any dirt or dust didn’t wipe away and just got smudged into the paint more permanently. And our cats use that fireplace mantle like it’s their own private living room freeway. So we re-painted with a semi-gloss and it’s so much easier to keep clean. Whichever paint store you go to will have a good recommendation!
  • Rollers for the walls, brushes for the trim. Brushes will allow you to get into all the cracks and crevices that rollers won’t, plus brushes will help you get a smoother finish with a semi-gloss paint.
  • If you’re taping off walls, wait until your paint is completely dry and then use a straight razor to go along the edge of the tape before you pull it up. Otherwise, the dried paint that’s on the tape could end up pulling up sections of dried paint on your trim. I have made this mistake plenty. And if I’m being honest, I’m usually lazy enough that I usually make it several times before I finally cave and go get the box cutter.
Emily Henderson Painting Trim Ideas 16
photo by gieves anderson | design by jam architecture & nina garbinas

If you’ve got more trim painting tips, I’m ready for them. We still have plenty more rooms to paint in our house over the next few years (the front bedroom, the master bathroom, the kitchen, the guest bathroom…). And has anyone painted their trim a bold color they love? Or tried the all dark monochrome (please, tell me I’m not alone).

If you want to see real-time progress check out my stories on Instagram. And, feel free to catch up on my entire home renovation series (you know, if you’re bored): Sara Buys A House Part I: Six Tips For First Time Home Buyers | Sara Buys A House Part II: The Renovation | The Designing Begins: A Floor Plan Design Agony | The Designing Continues: Time To Pick Furniture | The Final Design Plan | A Fireplace Design Agony | How Much It Really Costs To Work With A Designer: The Final Tally Of Sara’s Project | Sara’s Moody TV Room

Opening Photo Credits: Photo by Matthew Williams | via Country Living

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4 years ago

If your house is pre-1980s, please test for lead before any sanding! Especially if you have kids in the house. You can get a test kit at any hardware store.

4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

this is good to know! thank you, Emily! 🙂

4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

SO IMPORTANT. Not trim-related, but I wanted to DIY re-glaze my apartment tub (because I’m nuts, and also it’s ancient) and learned it had lead. My ugly tub lives to see another day!!!

4 years ago

What state was your trim in before? My husband and I have dithered about painting our 1946 original stained fir trim, but I’m loathe to deal with the prep work and too cheap to hire it out for something we aren’t 100% certain about. I hate all the sanding and stripping work, but if a primer exists that I could slap on top of the wood stain, I’d be all over that!

4 years ago
Reply to  Virginia

I’ve used Zinsser Cover Stain primer over glossy stained wood trim and cabinets and it works like a charm. No sanding or deglossing necessary, just a good cleaning and you’re good to go. It is oil based, so make sure you can open a few windows when painting. Good luck!

Brandie Carlson
4 years ago

I feel like you made this post for me, haha. I am STRUGGLING with the trim in our living room big time.

Our situation: I don’t know what to do with the trim in the living room. Our walls are white (and that won’t be changing), and our living room is open/connected to our kitchen. The window trim in the kitchen is white (painted before we bought the house, but they look good white). There is a bedroom off of our living room and it has wood trim, and it looks good in there so I don’t really want to change that either.

So… should our living room match the kitchen? Or the bedroom? Or neither??

IF we paint the living room trim white, how do we transition into the bedroom? Paint one half of the door jamb white and leave half wood? Should the door itself be white or wood?

So many questions.

Sara, Emily, other internet humans, please feel free to weigh in. I just want this decision to be made already! lol.

4 years ago

Brandie, I’m here with the same questions! How do you transition from one room to the next in terms of both trim and doors? Hoping the EHD team has some ideas, and even better, photos!

4 years ago

I too have struggled with this in my house- wood trim in living/dining and white-painted everywhere else. It’s a 1939 house and I think the living/dining wood is mahogany and probably the rest is not as nice. We like it, so we’re keeping it for now. The transitions from dining to kitchen is wood for most of the door molding (used to be a door here but no longer) but paint on just the kitchen side. From dining to hallway, the door is fully unpainted and again molding is painted on hallway side but wood on dining side. This door opens to the dining room and is almost always open so it works to have it fully unpainted. Confusing but maybe this helps someone? Somehow the split door frames totally work and I never notice it really.

1 year ago
Reply to  Lynn

in the ‘public’ spaces of older homes, money was spent on trim – and therefore often not painted. That wood (and often trim style) was more expensive. In my view this trim should NEVER be painted. Such beautiful old growth wood shouldn’t be covered and is irreplaceable. In the private area, cheaper woods were often used – and so were painted. And in kitchens, same thing, They were more private, so cheaper woods used (and there was a move towards seeing white paint as more hygienic). The trim in these areas is therefore not worth sanding down or refinishing to show the original wood. It does create some design dilemmas when old houses are ‘opened up’ to follow trends in design. But I am still in the camp that the old wood should remain unpainted

4 years ago

I love this look so much. Your house looks great! And yes to a warm, creamy white! We bought a brand new home with beautiful trim work and they had painted the walls taupe color with lighter taupe as the trim color. We ended up painting the walls white because everything felt brown and boy, was it beautiful. It really highlighted the gorgeous trim work throughout. We have since moved and I am planning on doing the same thing with our remodel – creamy white walls with a darker trim.

4 years ago

I really enjoyed this post and I’ve never had that thought alone before. Thank you for sharing your personal story along with inspiration and tips as well as results and worries along the way. It was written beautifully and told a very good story.

4 years ago
Reply to  Mandy

So glad you liked it!

1 year ago
Reply to  Mandy

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4 years ago

I did an almost black navy in our tv room/library. We’re talking walls, all trim, all doors, AND the ceiling. It’s awesome and makes the 10×10 room seem huge. It’s open to our living room and helps both spaces feel more symmetrical and comfortable. BE BOLD.

Paige Cassandra Flamm
4 years ago

This grey trim is giving me all the feels! This space looks amazing!


4 years ago

At some point I’d love to know more about designing trim (and doors). Our home was updated before we bought 4 years ago, and I’ve never loved the trim. Painting them might be interesting, but someday it might be worth updating them too, and I’d love to know how to think about that. (So I can start daydreaming now :).) Thanks!

4 years ago
Reply to  Tracy

This is such a great idea! *wink wink* editorial team!

4 years ago

Great post!! We are big trim as decor people but we usually keep it monochromatic (or light with white) because the trim that we use (box moldings, dental trim, etc.) is so ornate already. Would love to see a post about moldings in the room beyond the ceiling and floorboard trim. Also, I dont know how I missed the post about your TV room but it’s serious eye candy. The dark green room rendering you shared is to die for and now maybe I need a dark green guest room.

4 years ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

Funny story, I accidentally painted the guest bedroom in our house a dark, bold green (Congo by Behr). I wanted a medium sage green but somehow the paint can I took home from the store was not my color (Mixup with another customer? Misread by the paint computer? Who knows.) But I was buying paint for multiple rooms at once and didn’t notice the mistake. Yeah, green, good, thanks, bye. Got home and started painting the neon pink bedroom and just assumed I was “reading” the color wrong because of the nauseating glow of the existing pink walls. Just imagine how atrocious that looked as I was painting, dark green on neon pink. Blegh. Ran out of paint, was about to run back to the store to get more, and I look at the can to see the name of the paint is definitely not the one I picked. What to do – go back to the store, get correct paint, and START OVER, or just lean in, buy more of the wrong paint, and finish this damn room? I leaned in. The guy at the paint counter looked at me with the strangest look when I brought in the… Read more »

4 years ago

I think you convinced me to add some contrast with the trim in our living and dining spaces (currently white-on-white).

We painted our already-dark cave of a library a dark color, similar to your TV room (we went with BM Soot), and I would love to go monochromatic BUT the pocket doors lead to the all-white dining room. I feel like it would be super odd for the doors to be dark on one side and white on the other, but dark on both sides feels wrong, too. Plus all of the windows in the house (including the library) are white and painting them to match the walls/trim seems like a hassle. Any thoughts??

Emily (not Henderson)
4 years ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

Or do what Emily did on her daughter’s bedroom/bathroom door and paint that strip a completely different color?

4 years ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

Thanks, Sara! Can’t wait to see how your paint turns out! I’m also keeping an eye out for when you start selling your ceramics 🙂

4 years ago

We did this in a remodel, I tend to like crisp fresh white walls (BM Super White has been my go to) so that my art and accessories can be the pops of life and color and with trim I usually go white but this particular house had almond colored vinyl windows and they functioned perfectly not to mention that it wasn’t in the budget to replace them all. I had originally bought white trim paint but right before painting pivoted because my gut knew it would look terrible with the almond frames. I felt like it would just make them look dingy and dirty all the time. I picked up a few samples and decided on a really good greige color that hides the fact that the windows are almond but ties nicely with the walls. It really ended up highlighting the fresh craftsman trim we installed and turned out really great looking!

4 years ago
Reply to  MelissaB

This sounds beautiful! I love a good greige, forever and always. 🙂

4 years ago

Love this! Lots of good inspiration. One question: Should trim color stay consistent throughout one’s house? Or is okay to mix and match them here and there for different looks? Love the idea of a contrast/bold trim as I have a dark, moody tv room, but not sure how to transition that throughout the house. Thanks!!

4 years ago

Very on trend! I’m been seeing contrast trim EVERYWHERE right now. Which is fine, because it’s very pretty. 🙂

4 years ago
Reply to  KAH

totally agree!

4 years ago

We just bought an early 1920’s craftsman and the prior owners had (recently, and probably just to sell) painted all of the gorgeous trim and wainscoting with FLAT, matte white paint. Even in the bathrooms. It’s awful and needs to be redone, which is such a bummer. It looks fine, but isn’t at all wipe-able, so everything sticks to it: dust, hair, pet fur, dirt. If anyone has tips on repainting the trim in your whole house, please share! Is it best to try to knock it out room-by-room, or section-by-section (all baseboards, all crown, etc.)? Any tips would be appreciated!

4 years ago
Reply to  amy

I just read in today’s The Grit and Polish about spraying paint. They mentioned that you can get a spray tip that is a very small arc, suitable for doing trim. Seems like you could prep and mask your whole house (a massive task!) and then get several thin coats sprayed very quickly. Or you could do one room at a time. If it was me, I’d block off several days to work with a partner and do the entire house as one huge job.

My neighbor painted all the trim in her house a couple of years ago, using a paintbrush, and it took her all summer. She did a great job, several coats, lots of drying time between coats….cost almost nothing except the paint and the summer. But it just ate up her summer.

4 years ago
Reply to  Ann

Thanks, Ann! Spraying is a great idea if we don’t want to sacrifice an entire summer (hats off to your neighbor, though)!

4 years ago
Reply to  amy

Over the last couple of years, I have repainted all of the trim in our house from a flat paint to semi-gloss. The good news is that the paint sticks really well to the flat and since I’m not changing the color far, it covers well. I got a good quality paint and a brush and started in the rooms we were working on and tackled all of the trim for that space before moving on. Eventually, I got to the hallways and rooms we didn’t plan to touch. I never spent more than an hour at a time working on it and it didn’t feel like too much of a chore that way. I found my patience waned after that and I ended up making more mistakes. I didn’t tape off or tarp or anything, just cut in carefully and used a small artist’s brush when I needed to get in tight spaces.

4 years ago

I am thinking about taking on this project but – I have a log home. The trim and interior doors need work and I would love to paint them. Any pics or advice on color? I am always afraid to paint but I think it would modernize the space.

4 years ago

I think it’s important to recognize the size and quality of your trim before you give it the lead role. I have lived in an old Victorian home where the trim was the super star but I have also lived in a poorly constructed 70’s ranch where the trim was like the family’s fifth cousin that no one talked about. The older homes were built in an era when wood was plentiful, the carpenters were craftsmen and the trim work usually had much more generous proportions, even when it was simple. Contrasting colors accent these valuable assets. The skimpy trim, if you don’t have the time or $$ to replace it, could work better with a monochrome or a subtle two tone.

4 years ago
Reply to  Rita

This is such a good point! This post got me thinking about adding some color to the trim in my apartment, but it’s definitely more in the “fifth cousin that no one talks about” world versus actually being interesting. Thanks for chiming in 🙂

4 years ago

wonderful informative post with great explanations and great phots. thanks!

4 years ago

Thanks, Sara! Can’t wait to see how your paint turns out! I’m also keeping an eye out for when you start selling your ceramics

4 years ago

My rancher is 50 years old.
At some point the trim that was originally stained got painted white but the doors all were left stained. Hardwoods throughout the house. Because there are 6 doorways in the hallway it just looks like a bowling alley with lots of doors. Picture orangey stained floor and doors.
I decided because the trim was already white I could just paint the doors.
They are now all painted peacock blue on the outside and it just made a ton of difference . Eventually I will paint the inside of the doors white but I have an accent wall in three bedrooms that I love so I may actually paint the closet doors and the entry door the color of the accent wall. The rest of the walls are white.
People seem to assume doors and trim have to be white but just like the fifth wall( ceiling) they can be a color too.

Monique Wright
4 years ago

Love the taupe-y trim! With white walls it’s dreamy!

4 years ago

I have dark green walls with the same color for my trim. The windows have black for the trim and my curtains are green with a texture too them. My floors are a light bleached oak. I love monochromatic and have lived with this in my main living space for more than 10 years now. Hope you love yours!

4 years ago

So curious how to work with transitioning trim from room to room if you go dark in just one room? I would love to do dark walls and trim in an office, but the Adjacent hallway will remain white trim/light walls. Do you simply paint one side of the door dark and leave the other side white? And the door jamb transition is tricky as well.

4 years ago

Great post! Trim has been on my mind a lot lately… We moved into a very southwest home in NM. It has pretty orangey solid wood doors, vigas and latillas, trim and window sills. Our paint throughout the home is a pretty creamy white and we have large windows that fill the space with a ton of natural light. The space feels airy and warm and I think the natural wood is pretty. However, our baseboards are very wimpy (like a contractor grade height) and unfortunately the contrast is really accentuating that, in a bad way. I think eventually it’d be pretty to replace them with more substantial baseboards but we’ve got a ton of other projects on our list that take priority.
My question is would it be odd to paint the baseboards the same color of the wall? Where do I stop? Do I do the trim around the doors and just leave the doors their natural color? Or leave the trim around the doors alone too and just paint the baseboards?And window sills? It seems like a tricky game on knowing where to stop. Any opinion would be appreciated 🙂

4 years ago

This is an excellent and incredibly useful post, thanks so much for pulling it all together – the inspiration images are fantastic! Enjoying following along with the renovation and can’t wait to see the dark tv room come together : )

Natasha Corrieri
4 years ago

I painted the foyer and dining room baseboards in our 1890s house navy blue (Hague Blue by FB). Paired with a greige in the foyer and white in the dining room, it is such a contemporary twist in our historic home. I absolutely love it! I learned early on to go the extra step and caulk the edges. It is absolutely worth the effort to achieve a cleaner, more professional look.

4 years ago

I collaborated with my best friends on painting their dining room in the “dark monochrome” style. The paint color is Sherwin Williams Roycroft Adobe, a dark Terra Cotta. They were unsure about which parts of the trim to paint or leave white and I encouraged them to paint more of the trim than they were originally considering. We ended up leaving the ceiling moulding and ceiling white because it brought your eyes up to the top of the room and kept it from feeling heavy. But painting out the window trim and baseboards (which included a long higher area from baseboard heating) made the room look so much bigger and taller. It’s a warm, inviting space and looks so beautiful in the evening light.

lisa mascolo
4 years ago

I am curious about the light unsanded Scandi look in EH’s mountain house. I love the look in her photos, but unfinished in my house looks, well, unfinished. Did she seal it at all to prevent water damage from rain? I love the look of warm matte raw wood. paired with the warm white walls.

4 years ago

Great post and breakdown with great pics to inspire me!

4 years ago

What a great post and so many interesting comments, too! My 1966 mid-century home is interesting in that there is not a lick of molding anywhere, just a narrow reveal of the wood frames, posts or header beams, all of which have a dark, espresso stain. Even though I can’t use any of these ideas, I still enjoyed reading!

4 years ago

This will help me a lot. I’m going to repaint our room, it’s so hard to choose because I don’t want to go white.

4 years ago

Do you have to keep trim consistent throughout a house? Like, can you do light walls with darker trim in some rooms but have light trim with a beige wall elsewhere or does the trim color need to be all the same?

B Prasad
4 years ago

Amazing your post is wonderful. Thanks for sharing this post all tips and tricks are good to get the latest offers on . Thank you

4 years ago

Not quite trim, but …. I am going for a all white paint bedroom. Do I use the same shade of white paint for the ceiling?

1 year ago
Reply to  Janice

I would LOVE to see an in-depth post on STYLES of trim base and case. This stuff is really tricky even for a renovation pro, and it’s something that DIYers frequently get wrong. Trim should match architecture and era of a house. If breaking away from that general rule, you need some guidelines to finish with trim that works for the space, and takes into account the datum lines, ceiling height, door shape and height… Especially for post war ranch homes which usually have that small, sloped trim, I really dislike it and always come up with a different option. OH, and most homeowners are surprised when I tell them they must change the baseboards when installing new floors (not the historic architectural gems, but even those, sometimes it’s best to replace). Please go for it, EHD team!

1 year ago
Reply to  Christa

Yes! I was so hoping this would make it into Emily’s last book. Brent Hull has a video about it for an 8’ high room but it leans traditional:

1 year ago
Reply to  Janice

Oh, didn’t meant to reply to your post – but yes, you can use the same shade of white. Often designers will spec the ceiling to be 50% of the wall color (have paint supplier mix in half the amount of pigment). My go to us to keep walls and ceilings the same, flat/matte sheen, then do the trim the same as the walls or 1-1/2 times the color formula, in Satin sheen. I like simple and minimal though.

1 year ago

Please update us on how the paint has held up on the vinyl window sashes. From examining pictures I see she painted her sashes-that had scared me a bit for some reason. Holding up well?

Alexina Alonso
1 year ago

This post is the best timing!! Thank you 🥰🥰🥰

1 year ago

Many years ago I dated an artist who had dark blue trim in his white apartment. Since then, I’ve used many different colors for trim: white, taupe, greige, green, blue…. love ’em all.

Monique Wright
1 year ago

That Imperfect Interiors green is SO good. I love painting trim – it reminds me of classic Parisian interiors.