You’ve looked at paint chips till you are bleary-eyed, but you’ve finally found the perfect wall colors for your home’s interior. Unfortunately, your job’s not over. What color will you paint the trim? Here’s our primer on what to consider when choosing trim paint colors.
Though we generally focus first on the color of a room’s walls, the color of its trim — the window and door casings, baseboards, doors, crown molding, cabinetry, wainscoting and/or mantel — can have an enormous impact on the overall look and feel of a room. Think of trim like a picture frame. The color you choose for it can help define the room’s style and character. It can also emphasize or de-emphasize certain features.
Some general rules:
- It’s best to paint all the trim in the main part of your home the same color to give a sense of unity, particularly if you have an open floor plan. Do the same within an individual room unless you want to emphasize something like a mantel or cabinets with a different color.
- When choosing trim paint, traditional homes generally look best with a trim color that is lighter than the walls.
- If your design is more contemporary, paint the trim the same as or similar to your walls.
- You can emphasize the historic look of a colonial home by painting trim a dark color with white or light walls.
- Painting trim the same color as or lighter than the walls will make a room seem bigger and more open and its ceiling seem higher.
- No matter the color, semi-gloss paint is the best choice for trim. It is durable and easy to clean. Always use a higher level of sheen on the trim if you are painting it the same color as the walls.
- If your wall paint has a cool undertone, ensure your trim also does. If your walls are warm, choose a warm-trim paint.
Painting trim white
When choosing trim paint, many design experts consider white or cream the best option. It makes dark wall colors pop and lighter colors look clean and fresh.
If you want to paint your room’s trim white, choose a creamy shade if the walls are an earthy or warm color. Cool walls look best with a crisp white trim.
Keep in mind that often, the lightest color on a paint manufacturer’s color card will function as a white against the darkest colors on that card and harmonize well.
Painting trim a color
Colored trim provides drama to rooms. Colored window frames can highlight an attractive view.
Trim painted a neutral color like beige or gray is a good choice for rooms that mix traditional and modern designs. Dark trim colors look particularly good with walls painted in neutral tones or soft blue, green or gray. Black trim adds a sophisticated touch to a room’s decor.
If you’d like to use color on a room’s trim but aren’t sure of the best choice, pick a paint the same color as the walls but several shades darker.
Colored trim can be particularly attractive in wallpapered rooms.
Some homes, particularly those built in the late 1800s or the 1970s, have stained wood trim. Wooden trim can add texture to a room. Stained wood trim draws a lot of attention, however, so paint it if it is not attractive or made of high-quality wood. If a room has dark walls, it’s generally best to avoid dark-stained wood trim to keep the room from being overly dark.
If you decide to leave wooden trim unpainted, make sure its stain matches the stain used on the room’s floor.
Related – How to Choose the Right White Paint