Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Picking the Perfect Trim Color

I want to repaint the trim in my whole condo including the doors. It's currently a BRIGHT white color and some of the doors look like it's just a coat of flat primer. It is definitely a look with the dark turquoise, dark olive green and chocolate brown walls I have. Not quite the look I'm going for though. I think I'm on the hunt for the perfect white-y, creamy trim color. There is like a bagillion white-ish paint colors to chose from. I want one that's not to yellow, not to blue, not to taupe and definitely not with a pink or green undertone, but just right.

I wish I could have gotten a clear picture. I had 25 paint samples taped around my front door and closet door trim in my living room trying to pick the best one. I would sit on the couch and just stare at them. It was hysterical and I still don't have a clear winner.

As always there are a couple options and things to think about when picking trim color.

  •  For doors, window frames, and door frames, choose a gloss or semigloss rather than flat-finish paint; the glossier paint is more durable. Not to mention it's easier to wipe up fingerprints. In fact there is special trim paint available.
  • The look of a paint color can change dramatically depending on what is next to it. Except for red, blue, and yellow, all colors are mixed. That white wall trim might take on blue undertones next to the turquoise wall, which will look just awful when it's up against the olive green.
  • As with wall paint, purchase a tester pot and paint a foam board. Hold it up against the walls and check it out in different light and with different wall colors. It will save you from spending the whole day painting the trim and then realizing it looks too dark and sort of taupe-ish in the evening. 
  • Paint all the trim throughout the house the same to create a unified look.
  •  Within an individual room you can highlight an architectural feature by painting it a different color. Such as painting all the doors and trim one color, but painting the crown molding a different color to emphasis it.


  • In rooms with dark or intensely colored walls, white lightens and brightens, accenting the strong hue and bringing visual relief. Photo from Apartment Therapy. (This is my current look, but only some doors are white and some are still varnished wood).


  • In rooms with light or pastel walls, white trim makes the color look brighter and clearer. Photo from Country Living.


  • Painting the woodwork darker than the walls focuses attention to the trim. Make sure your trim can stand the attention. This is also a traditional and/or colonial look.

  • Painting the baseboards and trim the same color as the walls is a very contemporary look and provides a modern, streamlined appearance. Photo from Apartment Therapy. 

In writing this I find that I love the trim the same color as the room as in the picture above, but am afraid of taking the risk. I also have the knee jerk reaction, "what about resale value" which is really funny. Because my house is painted dark turquoise, dark olive green, chocolate brown and a light aqua. I'd have to repaint if I was to sell no matter what! And I don't plan to sell anytime soon so I might as well enjoy and do what I want now.

If I painted the trim the same color as the walls, would I also paint the white doors the wall color? Because then the front and the back of the door would be different colors, not bad just different. Or maybe paint the baseboards and door trim the color of the walls but keep the doors white-ish?

What are you thoughts? I could use some help deciding how paint my trim.



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