19 Colorful Ideas That Will Put Boring Woodwork Out of Business

Bright Country Blue

Accentuate the positive! Highlight your home's finest architectural features (or give plain-Jane details more oomph!) with look-at-me paint colors. See how 19 innovative homeowners used jewel tones, rich neutrals, and sassy hues to improve interior views while drawing attention to window trim, door frames, woodwork, and more.

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Fashion Forward

colorful painted woodwork, office

Coral paint turns formal paneling into a whimsical wall treatment in sync with a homeowner's love of elegant, eclectic, and slightly eccentric digs. The fiery hue highlights the upper wall's geometric shapes, takes the chill off the room's white furnishings, and garners a fair share of appreciative comments.

Image via: Thistlewood Farms and Sherwin-Williams

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Natural Selection


It's nothing but blue skies, or at least blue-framed views, when you paint windows and window trim to mirror the hues on the other side of the glass. This room handily balances the vivid woodwork with crisp white walls, whitewashed floors, and pretty patterned fabrics sporting motifs rendered in a paler shade of blue.

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Delightfully Defined

green painted woodwork

White woodwork may be too tame for those who decorate on the wild side. Here, glossy green paint (cued by the tub tile) plays up built-ins and woodwork and energizes the design.

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Color Reverse


This kitchen proves there are cabinet color options other than white to create airy work spaces. Saturated yellow window trim, cove molding, and cabinet finishes move forward when paired with white walls to supply a generous supply of sunshiny warmth that brightens moods even on cloudy days. Another nifty use of paint? Dark gray on the window details repeats the countertop's deep hue.

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High-Contrast Companions

blue painted woodwork, breakfast nook

Choose midtone paint colors that provide a punch without overshadowing a space. Glossy delft blue paint makes a good-cheer statement that draws attention to this bay's windows, woodwork, and paneled banquette. The blue hue and complementary orange furnishings combine to create a high-energy design that is both zesty and welcoming.

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Personality Plus

green room

Colorful painted finishes, like the brilliant Kelly green bedecking these paneled walls, tell the world that you don't take yourself or your decorating too seriously. Using unexpected colors in unconventional ways modernizes how traditional rooms look and feel. It also makes way for contemporary-cool furnishings and textiles that underscore your freewheeling design vision.

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Two-Tone Statement

Instantly elevate your room's style with a two-tone look. Here, two shades of blue on the walls and picture rail create a one-of-a-kind look. Watch to learn how to create your own picture rail with this step-by-step video.

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Perfect Blend


Painting bookcases to match a room's wall color streamlines perimeters, which in turn amplifies the perception of space. In this living room, seafoam green walls deepen in tone on the window wall. Painting the seat, shelves, and window trim the same color and incorporating similar-hue fabrics gives the expansive installation a built-in look and easy-on-the-eye appeal.

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Statement-Making Structures

blue room

Blue-painted beaded board, molding, windows, and built-ins demand attention in this sun-bright living room. Color connects the different components while highlighting their diverse shapes and textures. The room's bright blue borders complement the chambray blue, citrusy greens, and saturated golds that pop up as fabrics, furnishings, and accessories.

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Citrus Slice

Decorating Gallery

Contrasting color combos captivate the eye but look their best when one color is cool and the other warm. This yellow-heated lime green window sounds a sprightly note, which is amplified by the blue-chilled gray wall around it. The whimsical window works in concert with tomato-red lockers to give the mudroom playful panache.

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Shades of Difference


Earthen colors in varying tones draw the eye around this kitchen, differentiate one element from another, and give the space a harmonious viewpoint. Dark brown crown moldings separate the khaki cabinets from the pine-clad ceiling. Lighter brown paint draws the windows out of the corner and allows shelf brackets to stand out against white tiled walls.

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Textile Treatments

blue and purple bedroom

When paint just won't do, look to colorful fabrics and wall coverings to add interest at a room's upper levels. Patterned and solid navy blue fabrics combine to create a charming cornice treatment that brings the look of crown molding to the windowed wall; lilac grass cloth creates a striking striped effect across the ceiling.

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Underscoring Opulence

living room with fireplace and pattern ceiling

High-contrast paint colors provide an interesting interplay of dark and light in this architecturally rich study. Coffee-brown paint enhances the presence of the paneled fireplace wall. Bright white finishes highlight the mantel's shape and carved details, as well as the elegantly embellished ceiling. White crown molding works with the white ceiling to reflect light and make the walls appear taller.

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Peaceful Perimeter

small home office

These homeowners used color to fashion a peaceful workplace that promotes deep thinking. Painting the doors and trim on the closet wall the same color as adjacent walls generates a calm feeling. The teal hue also showcases the door and moldings' dimensional details, giving the wall a more elegant outlook.

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A Bay Takes a Bow

conversation room

White-painted trim set against these light walls would have caused the bay windows to fade from view. Instead, color-smart homeowners painted the window trim a dark green to play up the contours of one of their home's finest architectural assets.

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Step Softly

white stairway

Color tiptoes quietly into this stairwell, proving that even pastel tones have an appealing impact in all-white spaces. Aquamarine greens seen in the the adjacent space move into the stairwell, reappearing as color-washed stair treads and as shutters that sport a more opaque finish. Applied in a thoughtfully edited manner, the watery greens make a splash and further the home's beachy theme.

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Main Feature

Innovation Kitchen

There's no easier way to turn ho-hum furniture into focal points than with paint. Choose a paint color that ties into your decorating palette but will stand out as a very special piece. This apple-green bookcase advances off light gray walls to partner beautifully with the turquoise chairs. Analogous schemes -- created with two hues that fall next to each other on the color wheel (like blue and green) -- fashion vibrant looks that offer less jarring contrast than complementary combos.

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Serene Scene

Green walls, green paint color

Painting walls and woodwork the same neutral hue eliminates visual breaks that can ruin a room's peaceful mood. Tone-on-tone perimeters can also cause a space to appear larger than its dimensions. Here, deep olive green unites walls, crown molding, window trim, and baseboards to create backgrounds that recede to allow refined furnishings and fabrics to advance into view.

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Variations on a Scheme

Bright Country Blue

Use one color in different ways to boost a room's style quotient. Turquoise makes a cheerful splash on the vanity and window and allows the structures' forms to stand out against lighter walls. The same blue appears in a more muted version on the lower plaster walls, which are trimmed in deep baseboards and hefty moldings to create the illusion of a color-washed wainscoting.

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