Much Ado About Trim

In the midst of getting stuff together for the Imagine the Impossibilities Challenge, I’ve also been thinking about house stuff. So much house stuff! As many of you know our inspection was yesterday, and it went well. The heat pump needs to be serviced and the french doors in the dining area (they lead to the back yard) need to be replaced, but those are the only really large repairs that we are asking the seller to fix. Aside from that, and some minor caulking and drainage spout extensions, every thing looks really good! We are so happy about that!

Which takes us on to the aesthetics of the house, and what I can’t stop obsessing over thinking about… the wood trim! Since Jesse has more leave for work than I do, he took off yesterday to go to the inspection. I asked him to take a ton more pictures so I could show you all, and to help with my room planning and decorating visions. Well, while he was there snapping pictures he came to the realization that he LOVES the wood trim… yep the wood trim that I previously posted about wanting to paint white (more on that here). 

How can we compromise on this issue? It’s not like you can paint half the trim and stop! Or can you? After thinking a lot, and loosing some sleep last night (I’m one of those people that can’t turn off my brain at night so I lay there FOREVER thinking about random crap) I had an idea. Since Jesse’s biggest issue with the painting is that he hates painted windows and doors, he just doesn’t like how they look, what if we don’t paint those? We can just paint the baseboards and trim around the doors white and leave natural wood on the doors and windows! Have I lost you yet? Take a look at these pictures I found:

The thing most of these pictures have in common is pairing white trim with dark wood. Even though the wood is usually in the stairs or furniture and not the doors or windows. What I’m getting at is white looks good with a dark, rich wood tone! So why wouldn’t white base boards, door frames, and chair rail look good with dark doors and windows? It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the house, so I’m not sure if the windows are dark enough wood to pull this off (I know the doors are), but Jesse did say he’d be willing to stain the windows, so long as they remained natural wood. I’ve been looking into Mahogany and Espresso for a deep color, but it depends on how dark things are already. 

So, what do you think? Am I crazy? We are definitely open to suggestions on this issue!

Images found here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

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Much Ado About Trim — 25 Comments

  1. I loke the dark trim against the white walls. We have dark wood doors in our house and I left them and painted the trim around them (similar concept) and it looks great! Thanks for those inspirational photos!

  2. I have wood trim all in the downstairs of my house. It bugs me sometimes but for the most part I haven’t had a problem with it.

    If you have good room separation you might be able to have wood trim in some rooms and white in others. Or you could have wood downstairs to make Jesse happy and white upstairs.

    • Yea… we thought of that. But I’d still have the window problem. Jesse is 100% anti painting the windows. He doesn’t mind the painting the trim as much.

  3. Interesting idea. It looks like your trim is cheap builders-grade oak stained that 80’s orange-ish color. You would *have* to darken the wood to pull of the look. Oak grain shows through *a LOT* unless you pick a really dark stain color. Speaking from experience, we have white oak 20 year old hardwood floors that were stained 80’s orange when we moved in (the prior owners had already painted all the 80’s oak cabinetry, thankfully). We had them handscraped and stained a dark brown (coffee brown by dura seal, maybe?). The grain still show through but it’s dark enough to look “hip”. We also had our extra-large solid oak front door refinished in an extra-dark color. It looks great now (link to pics below).
    Before Door
    After Door

    Another thing to consider: Brown/dark brown is trending out in colorways right now. The “in” thing is greys. Here’s a link to a blog post about the grey trend: So do you jump on the dark brown wagon now or is that going to be a mistake that make your house look outdated again? This is coming from a person who *loves* dark brown and has a lot of it in our house.

    • Thanks so much for the tips! And I love the way you transformed your front door! I’m not so much worried about the “outdating” because we are planning on making this our “forever” house, so reselling isn’t in my head at all. I just want it all to match. I’ve been dreaming of a white kitchen for a while now, and my husband is on board with that, so I want things to flow and be cohesive out of the kitchen, hence the white baseboards and chair rail. The dark windows were the only thing I could think of that could possibly balance out with white baseboards and look good. My husband is absolutely 100% against painting the windows.

  4. I think it would look good if it was done well. I would steer clear of a red based trim though. I find it really limits what other woods you can pair with it – that’s just my opinion and probably isn’t worth much. I think you just need to be consistant. If you’re painting the trim white and staining the doors and windows dark you need to carry that look through the entire house – again, just my opinion. You guys will figure it out. Once you actually live there it will be easier to envision.

  5. Don’t you love when guys have funny ideas in their heads? Kevin HATES curtains, all curtains, we can not have curtains in our house!! He thinks they belong on a shower and that is it. What is up with that? So far I have added some curtains, but he hasn’t said much, so I think I will keep adding them here and there. Maybe you can start with one small room and he will appreciate the beauty, lol!

  6. Staining or doing a wash (have you looked into doing washes? Ithink it’d be the perfect compromise for you two!) would definitely be the way to go!

    • We have looked at washes, but for something like the baseboards and trim we think it would look half-a**ed. A white wash kind of looks like a single coat of primer, so we think it would look like we started to paint, but didn’t quite finish. It looks great on certain furniture, but is a little to “shabby-chic” for us. We wouldnt want it throughout the house.

  7. I’m actually with Jesse . . . I love wood trim, especially on doors/windows. We’re planning on one day replacing all of our windows/doors for this reason. But, I also love the contrast of the white baseboard and such with the wood. The dark wood is gorgeous too! So many decisions! :)

  8. I have to admit that I’m a fan of painting the trim white. There is just something about how crisp, clean and bright it is. All of the trim in our house had been painted when we moved in, except for the trim in the kitchen. I couldn’t wait to get a coat of white semi-gloss on it.

    That being said, I do loveee the contrast of our white trim against our dark hardwood floors…but again, I’m a fan of the wood grain just on the floors, not on my trim. If you guys do leave the wood, maybe you could think about staining it dark (brown undertones vs. red undertones) to give a more updated and rich look.

    Good luck with your decision! I can’t wait to see what you guys choose!

  9. I think if it’s a nice, dark wood and your other colors compliment it, then keep it! We left one room with the wood trim and painted all the kitchen trim. Once we painted the cabinets white, the dark trim looked out of place. I do think you have more options with white/painted trim, though! If you don’t think you’ll look back and say, “Man, I wish we hadn’t painted that trim” then go for it!

  10. Deep, dark espresso would be my second color choice right after white! I think if you have a big enough place & “interesting doors” (we certainly don’t) dark doors and windows can look great. And I’ve certainly admired white trim with dark doors! The doors are usually paneled though, and not completely plain (I don’t know what you have).

  11. Hmm, while I like the looks some of those pictures achieve it looks like you would need a darker wood to pull off the stark white with wood grain. I would think that would require complete refinishing of the windows and doors which could be costly and incredibly difficult.

    Also, I wouldn’t throw out the thought of being careful to not make everything look dated. My sister painted her room a very “in” color scheme she loved and then a few years later she hated it. Sometimes we grow out of fads really quickly.

  12. I absolutely love dark wood floors with white trim. It looks so classy! We did that in our home (which was a fixer-upper). It turned out so great!


  13. This is a tough one. I am a huge fan on consistency in trim work, but I still think it could work. I actually think if you tinted the stain darker, you’d like the trim work as-is. But, I’m excited to see what you decide. I’m sure it will be right for you.

    Maybe you could Photoshop white baseboards to see what you think in your rooms?

  14. In most cases I’m a paint the trim white person but I really love dark wood trim in certain style homes (like craftsman). Honestly I think it depends on the house and how you plan to decorate it overall. And I’m just not sure there are any rules about this- go a head and mix wood and paint. Just do it in a consistent way and make it well thought out and intentional and I’m sure it’ll be great. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

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