What Color Should You Paint Your Trim?
hether simple or ornate, interior trim is a finishing touch that often doesn’t get much thought, frequently being left the color it’s always been without consideration of the multitude of beautiful alternatives. Whether you’re thinking fresh white, a bold hue or somewhere in between, here are ways to treat your trim to get the look you want.
Classic white works well for plain trim as well as more elaborate molding styles. It’s great with white walls or colored walls, so it really is the ultimate no-fail option, which is probably partly why it’s such a popular choice.
It can be an excellent way to tie various styles of molding together, and it won’t fight historic details like stained glass, so everything becomes harmonized.
- You want to highlight the subtle undertone of neutral walls
- You want to break up bold walls with a breath of fresh air
- You have simple moldings you don’t want to highlight
- You want to leave all the attention on dramatic furnishings
- You aren’t sure which other color to pick. It’s hard to go wrong with white trim!
When trim is dressed in a midtone neutral shade, it immediately gives it a certain sophisticated, stately appeal. The trim becomes a feature, for sure, but in an understated way.
- You love a transitional look (one that balances traditional and modern elements)
- You want an authentic heritage feel in an older home
- You want to highlight doors or windows for an architectural look without touching fresh white walls
Bold, colorful trim can be either part of a wild, eclectic look or actually a very livable element in a more sedate home. Because trim usually has a relatively small surface area, painting it a fun hue like lemon, pink or sky blue adds a pop of color (and definite personality) without adding as much drama as a full wall treatment.
- You want to add a new hue without going all-in on the walls
- You want a quirky, eclectic or unique look
- You have colorful cabinets in a kitchen and want to tie the room together
Wood trim can be anything from rustic to modern, depending on the tone and finish of the wood. Either way, it adds a deeper sense of texture, which can make a room feel welcoming even without much else in the way of decorative elements.
- It’s already there. Most trim is MDF or the like, so celebrate real wood if you have it!
- You want to add an element of warm wood but don’t want wood floors
- Your space needs a little extra texture
- You love a rustic look or need a masculine counterpoint to feminine details
Black trim is definitely statement making, yet it’s timeless, so unlike with other bold colors, you don’t have to worry that this dramatic choice will grow dated quickly.
Even more so than white trim, black trim frames each doorway or window like a picture, for instant high-fashion appeal.
- You want a dramatic look that’s classic and sophisticated
- You want to contrast wood floors or cabinets
- Your neutral scheme needs some edge to bring it to life
- Your beautiful views demand to be framed like portraits
Treating trim with a slight gloss finish is a great way to subtly highlight beautiful moldings while maintaining a clean palette for effortless-looking designer appeal. I often use a consistent paint color for walls, ceiling and trim, using a matte finish for walls and a satin finish for trim, so a hint of light bounces off the trim’s curves to subconsciously draw the eye.
Trim is often more likely to be touched or leaned on than the walls themselves, so using an easy-to-clean paint finish is practical too.