Interior wood trim comes in all shapes and sizes, from the simple to the more elaborate, but in the majority of homes it’s just about everywhere. Yet all too often wood trim and molding get overlooked when it’s time to consider how to redecorate - instead, all the focus ends up on the color of the walls, the finishing of the floor, and the designer furnishings and finishing touches that you’ll add to bring out each room’s character.
The truth is that it’s a mistake to ignore the decorative possibilities that come with your interior wood trim. Trim covers such a large overall area in your home that, when finished and maintained properly, it has the potential to make a lasting impression. It’s only through lack of thought that many homeowners end up simply leaving their wood trim the same color it has always been, often without much sprucing up or ongoing maintenance. But when you decide you’re going to give your wood trim the central role it deserves in your home, you’ll find that there are numerous ways to do so. Stained wood trim is common in many older properties in particular, and keeping it just as it is (or staining it yourself, if that’s not already been done) is popular as a way of adding warmth, texture and a rustic charm. It’s also a great means of retaining the classic look of a home with history and character.
What about the alternatives? Few of us would likely choose to paint our trim in bright pink or green unless we were really aiming to shock (though more subtle, pastel shades can do a good job of accentuating the cottage-like appeal of a colorful vintage kitchen or bathroom cabinets). Black wood trim, though, makes for a dramatic effect that most don’t even think of. It can add a sophisticated look to your rooms, making doorways and windows stand out like boldly framed pieces of art, as well as giving elements like attractive wood flooring the chance to shine.
But perhaps the most popular choice of all is to simply paint your interior wood trim and moldings in brilliant white. This is a total all-rounder, which works well with a whole variety of wall designs - from those painted in white to match, to others dressed up in brighter, more adventurous hues, or even carrying busier, more involved designs. At Sharper Impressions Painting, we’re big fans of this classic white approach to wood trim - so if you’re giving it some thought but aren’t yet convinced it’s the right choice for your home, consider these scenarios when white just works.
You want to break up more daring wall designs
Bright and brazen walls are great - whether just on one accent surface or across the whole room, they can brighten up a space to no end, and add lively personality in place of dreariness. That said, it’s easy to go overboard. White trim offers an easy way to tone down strong colors, so that you get the bold, attention-grabbing effect you’re going for, but without it consuming the decor of the entire room. And even if your walls sport relatively subdued designs and colors at the moment, who’s to say that in the future you won’t want to switch things up and go for something more extravagant? If and when you do, white trim will stay by your side - it works well alongside even the most out-there of designs, so you won’t be left needing to repaint your baseboards and moldings in a desperate attempt to avoid an undesirable clash of colors after redecorating. More practical still, the brightness of white trim on doorframes helps to emphasize the transition between different rooms, so that spaces with vastly different color schemes don’t overtly clash with one another, and you avoid sensory overload as you move around your home.
You need your basic trim to take a back seat
Not all of us are lucky enough to live in homes blessed with ornate trim and elaborate molding, the kind that looks like it’s lived the high life for centuries and has the stories to show for it. In fact, the less glamorous reality is that most of us have to put up with what seems like the most plain and uninspiring trim around, apparently lacking any real design personality of its own - and oftentimes made from little more than cheap MDF. There’s good news amidst all the gloom, though; even if you don’t plan on doing anything spectacular to bring your economy-grade wood trim to life, a coat of white paint will at the very least make it a little more inconspicuous. As it blends quietly into the background, it’ll allow other more dramatic elements of your room’s design to take the limelight - and no-one will notice that it’s not the world’s most remarkable trim.
You want your dramatic furnishings to steal the show
What’s the point of filling your rooms with stunning furnishings if you don’t give them the chance to shine? The right paint job for the space in question, properly thought out and well executed, will of course work to dramatic effect all by itself, but there’s no doubt that its real role is as a foundation for the other finishing touches you’ll add later. The great thing about plain and simple white trim and moldings is that they throw every ounce of attention at the other standout design features you’ve picked. Whether that means extravagant animal-print rugs or elaborate light fittings, white trim lets them take center stage.
You’re torn between the countless wood trim options
Perhaps making decisions isn’t your strong point, and all the merits of white painted wood trim are doing more to leave you flustered than help you settle on a firm choice. If you’re torn between either keeping your stained trim or taking the plunge towards black, white or even blue, then it turns out white is probably still your best option. Again, the simplicity of white will work well - unlike black, stained wood, or other colors - no matter how you choose to decorate the rest of the room. As a result, you’ll save yourself from the disaster of the lime-green-and-black trim combination you’re secretly tempted by.
Of course, you don’t even have to settle for just white trim and nothing else. In fact, pairing black and white can transform a space in its own way - either by creating a greater sense of space with black baseboards and white crown molding, or by leaving the baseboards white while painting the crown molding black in order to draw out the details of chandeliers and other lighting fixtures suspended from the ceiling. Equally, just as white trim does wonders in enhancing the natural charm of rich wooden floors, combining white trim with stained wood doors and window frames - or vice versa - can help you to strike the right balance between rustic and contemporary, and so achieve the unique personality you want for your home.
It might seem like the hardest part of your wood trim job is deciding which color you want it - or even whether to make the switch from stained wood at all - but the painting itself is no mean feat, either. Simply applying a coat of color over existing paint or stain won’t make for a lasting finish, so you’ll need to wash, sand down, and prime your trim or molding before you even give a second thought to the type of paint you should be using. If that all sounds too much like hard work, and you’d rather the difficulties ended with the white-or-wood dilemma, simply give the team at Sharper Impressions Painting a call instead. We’ll take care of the task from start to finish to make sure you get the interior wood trim that shows off every one of your rooms at its best.