Our closing date for the house is quickly approaching and we can not decide whether or not we will be painting the wood trim. The argument in favor of painting wood trim is that it will brighten up the house. It will also give it a more updated look and not compete with any paint colors that we choose for the walls. The biggest argument against painting wood trim is that it will be expensive and time consuming. Plus, it will show wear and tear more quickly and could look terrible if we don’t do a great job.
**This post was originally published January 11, 2012. It was updated February 20, 2021**
Since Jesse has more leave for work than I do, he took off yesterday to go to the house inspection. I asked him to take a ton more pictures for me, 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… We had essentially already decided that we would be painting wood trim throughout the house white. Now he’s had a change of heart and I’m not sure what to do!
Painting Wood Trim – Weighing the Options
How can we compromise on this issue? It’s not like painting wood trim can be done halfway! Or can it? After thinking a lot, and losing 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) I had an idea. Since Jesse’s biggest issue with the painting wood trim is that he hates the look of hand-painted windows and doors, what if we don’t paint those? We could just paint the baseboards and trim around the doors white and leave natural wood on the doors and windows! I found a few inspiration pictures to give a visual similar to what I’m imagining.
Painting wood trim around the baseboards and doors would brighten up the space. The natural wood windows would help accent and ground the room. I also believe it would make them more of a focal point because they would be in contrast to the other trim work.
Another idea to brighten the space without painting wood trim is to paint the walls a crisp white. The white certainly brightens up the space while the wood trim grounds the space and keeps it from appearing too sterile. The biggest problem with this aesthetic is that I love vibrant wall colors. I’m not too big on white spaces. However, I could always bring color in with accessories instead, so it is something to consider.
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. Jesse did say he’d be willing to stain the windows, so long as they remained natural wood. But that also seems like a lot of work. More work than painting even.
So, what do you think? Am I crazy? We are definitely open to suggestions on this issue!
**Update on Painting Wood Trim**
We lived in this house for several years and opted to not paint the wood trim throughout. I always dreamed of painting the wood baseboards and door frames, but never could get my husband totally onboard. We did paint the trim (minus the door frame) and closet doors in one of the bathrooms.
We also painted all of the kitchen cabinets white, which updated the space tremendously. I loved the contrast of the white cabinets against the natural wood windows.
I learned to work with the wood trim rather than just painting wood trim. I chose paint colors that complimented the wood tones and didn’t compete. One of my favorite examples is the green master bathroom. I loved the way the wood complimented the green color. So much that I even stained the mirror to match!
If we had stayed in that house, I definitely would have left the windows and eventually painted the baseboards throughout. The wood trim ended up feel beautiful in a lot of spaces, though I still overall preferred white baseboards and door trim.