Kate

Paint Colors for Rooms Trimmed with Wood

So many of the images that appear on the pages of magazines have white painted baseboards, door casings, molding, and window trim. There’s nothing wrong with that, white is fresh, bright, and always classic, yet many older homes possess wood trimmed doors and windows. They may be Arts & Crafts style, Victorians, Colonials, or simply older homes where exposed woodwork adds to the architectural appeal.

Many a homeowner gets the itch to paint wood trim white, black, or even a bold color, but others recognize the beauty of wood trim and wish to preserve it in its original state. Bravo! Choosing a paint color to complement isn’t difficult, get inspired by these spaces that show how well both color and neutrals partner with wood trim.

Because of its organic makeup, wood is a warmer tone so pairing it with colors that possess cooler undertones is a smart choice. Blue in its various shades from navy to slate to sky offers a balanced approach and allows the wood trim to be beautiful in its natural state.

slate blue wood trim

blue painted walls wood trim windows bhg

 

Green sits adjacent to blue on the color wheel and is also considered a cool color. Opt for a verdant green or one in a paler or less saturated shade. Just about any green will partner well with wood trim, especially when the casings or baseboards are stained with yellow or red undertones.

wood trim green walls bhg

 

A palette reminiscent of warmer climates is always appealing so consider a mid tone or mustard yellow, which brings the feeling of sunshine to a space and is sure to cheer even when skies are gray outside. Also consider a blush pink as a feminine nod to balance the weight of wood.

yellow walls rustic beams

A no fail approach to choosing paint for rooms trimmed in wood is to opt for a neutral hue. Choose one that has gray undertones (often referred to as greige or taupe) so the brown tones don’t overwhelm.

cream walls wood trim bhg

wood trim taupe walls

Finally, add interest to a neutral space trimmed in wood by introducing texture (think silk, lambswool, linen, leather, woven materials) or vibrant and colorful accents in the form of pillows and rugs.

For those of you living in homes with wood window casings and door trim, take a step back and resist the urge to coat them in paint. Preserve their integrity and add color to the walls instead!

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18 Comments

18 Responses to “ Paint Colors for Rooms Trimmed with Wood ”

  1. With all the glossy but for many homeowners/renters unrealistic pictures we often see and adore in interiors magazines … this is an article that’s really practical. Here in Germany in rentals you often have built-in features (kitchen etc.) in colours or veneer you would not have chosen yourself – so it is nice to see a choice what to best do with what you have. Thanks!

  2. Would love to have the names of the lovely paint colors in these pictures! Great article, very practical!

  3. Thanks so much for this article! I live in a log cabin, and decorating is difficult. Wish there was more available on decorating when dealing with wood walls & ceilings.

  4. We moved into a cabin that has honey pine ceilings, trim and cabinets, partially bead boarded walls, and medium stained wood floors. Glad to know we made the right choices in paint colors to brighten and contrast all the woodwork . . . off white paint for cabinets, pale mint/blue for main walls) (similar to second picture, medium lime green for sun room and spa pool blue (deep shade of aqua) for kitchen.
    And hints of orange here and there (pillows, decor)
    seem to go with the gold/orange and honey tones of the woodwork,

  5. I know this will be an unpopular comment, and I have to say that ordinarily I use your decorating advice like a bible Kate… (I have been actually licking my laptop,, drooling over your pick-backed white bookcases for the last 4 days) and I was SO excited to see the title of this post, and when I saw who had written it – I couldn’t open the article fast enough to soak up the info. and I was really disappointed. you are right in saying there are NOOOOooooo inspiration photos to be found anywhere for those of use with wood in our homes. Heck, even someone as knowledgeable and talented as yourself was limited to photos that are worn, and over-recycled on the internet. I have seen photos #2 &6 a million times and the wall color in photos #5 &6 look pretty awful with the trim, really. Sorry, I don’t mean to be harsh, I was just really disappointed. Guess I will keep plugging away with trying on my own to make good decor choices that harmonize with my original 1953 wood trim. and continue to ALMOST paint it white on a monthly basis, and then come to my senses… surely as most trends come full circle, about every 20 years or so, my wood will once again be stylish and I will find scores of inspiring photos………someday!!! I still love your decorating style, and I am going back right now to stare at visions of white cabinets with pink backgrounds ~sigh~ so pretty! OH!! how about pale pink walls, with wood trim?

  6. [...] Better Homes & Gardens, I wrote about paint colors for rooms trimmed in wood and also shared some inspiration for bold spring color at Lamps Plus [...]

  7. Julie,
    My feelings exactly! I had seen all these pictures before and was hoping to get fresh ideas but unfortunately didn’t get any from this article. Oh well.

  8. Thank you!!! Please write more on this subject! Just say no to white!! :-)

  9. I really need the couch table that’s in the last picture. It’s come to me like a vision. Where can I get that table from? Please, help!

  10. Thank you for the article. So many of our customers have the stained woodwork and they’re keeping it. I like how all the paint choices are not your old school neutrals.

  11. any chance you have the paint color names/brands for the first three photos?

  12. Hi,

    Could you please share paint color info for pictures #2 and #3. We bought a new home with wood trim, and I just love this article. Thanks for the ideas.

    Best,
    Kavya

  13. [...] I’ve never liked unpainted wood trim, but these images are making me come around. (bhg.com) image via [...]

  14. Thank you so much for this post. My house has lovely wood trim everywhere and finding great colors that work with the wood is tricky. More on this topic would be appreciated. Thanks

  15. [...] Image via BHG [...]

  16. [...] the link to Better Homes & Gardens Style Spotters which is where you’ll find the rest of the [...]

  17. Hello Kavya, I am so sorry, I don’t have the source guide or names of the paint colors listed, I’d advise you to grab similar samples and try them out on your walls next to the trim, again, my apologies.

  18. This is quite interesting to have color combinations for interior designing with wood introduction. That’s cool. Well Kavya have you implemented the designs ever or just these are demos?