Should You Lighten Your Wood Trim with Paint?
The choice to paint your wood trim is a particularly perplexing one for many of us. Though a popular choice, simply 'painting it white' comes with much deliberation, thought, and constant internal questioning. Will I regret it down the road? Is white a trend? Should we keep the trim as is to honor the history of the home? Often we ask ourselves these questions with samples in hand amid a dizzying internal dialogue, wishing we had another person to bounce ideas off of before making the final choice.
Dallas designer Jean Liu of Jean Liu Design understands. What seems like a simple choice is part of a broader discussion. "The decision to go light or dark with trim is part of a much larger conversation about the overall look and feel a homeowner wants to achieve in their home," she says. "In general, if they're leaning towards a more modern approach, then lighter trim may be the answer, but if they want to keep or heighten a home's sense of age and historical nature, then a darker color trim can be a more effective way to create that look."
Katie Davis of Katie Davis Design says it also depends on what style a client wants to achieve. "You can either own the wood tone as an accent or paint it white if you are going for a more classic look," she says. Either way, there is much to consider before finalizing your choice.
If you're currently weighing the pros and cons, you're in luck. We've asked some of the South's top designers to share their advice and experiences. Whether you're building a new home or embarking on a renovation, read on for sage design advice you can trust.
More Expert Advice
Enjoy 'Carte Blanche' In New Construction
"In a new home, I believe you have carte blanche to pick painted or stained trim based on your design preference," says Flanigan. "If you're renovating, consider whether it makes sense to keep the trim as is or simply paint. In some renovations the existing trim is unremarkable, so the renovation is a great time to replace and update."
Use Your Wallpaper as Inspiration
"Historic homes tend to have more character, and my design selections are more likely to include a wallpaper," says Nashville designer Tori Alexander of Alexander Interiors. "In this case, I recommend pulling a color out of the wallpaper palette to use on your trim and ceiling. If you are willing to be adventurous, I recommend taking the extra step of a contrasting ceiling color."
Go Lighter In Modern Homes
In a historic home, Liu loves to see a trim color that might have been consistent with the house's age. "Keeping this architectural consistency in mind highlights the historical qualities that make the space unique," she says. "In more modern homes, we tend to go lighter. Keeping trim and wall the same color helped to keep ceilings feeling taller and thereby allowing more of the room's focus to be either on artwork or furniture."