Living Happily with Wood Trim (& paint colours that play well with wood)

Yes, it is possible to be happy with the wood trim in your home.

And yes, I'm still the paint-everything-white-freak. If you have bad 60's or 70's hollow-core plain wood doors and trim in your home, paint them white...now.

 My heritage home apartment with beautiful wood doors and trim: Sherwin Williams Ice Cube on walls

My heritage home apartment with beautiful wood doors and trim: Sherwin Williams Ice Cube on walls

However, I do appreciate the richness of wood trim, both in heritage homes and in modern dwellings a-la Frank Lloyd Wright style. The craftsmanship in the wood doors and trim in these homes are art in and of themselves, and I would never suggest painting them if they're in good shape. 

Leaving wood trim and doors in their natural state can also be the simplest option, and as you know, I'm all about creating the simplest, calmest, and most natural homes, in the simplest ways possible! 

That said, deep, dark wood trim can be hard to work with, as it often means that your rooms are dark and can feel drab. Choosing a colour to work with the wood trim is also no easy task.

Well take heart my wood-loving friends!

There are some simple options that work in most every home, and if you trust these and don't over-complicate your colour decisions, you can achieve a beautiful and bright home with wood trim intact. 

Note: I like Sherwin William's colours and paint quality, so I've shown them here. But if you prefer another brand, simply have them colour match for you.

 
living with wood trim: paint colours that play nice with wood trim
 

Take a look at some examples below.  Click photos for sources.

White and off-white

As you can see below, whites and off-whites work so well with wood trim. White is my favourite colour choice with light wood trim, as it's natural, fresh and a beautiful light backdrop for life. White even works with dark wood trim; it will be high contrast, but that's a modern look that can work if you dig that kind of thing. And you can soften the contrast with layers like curtains, rugs, pillows and artwork.

Good whites for walls with wood trim are Sherwin William Pure White, or for a slightly warmer option, Sherwin Williams Paper White. If you wanted to go even more creamy, try Sherwin Williams Lily

 My Design Chic

My Design Chic

 Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy

 A Cup of Jo

A Cup of Jo

 Damon Liss Design

Damon Liss Design

 NY Times

NY Times

 Hemnet

Hemnet

 Hooked On Houses

Hooked On Houses

 Jessica Helgerson

Jessica Helgerson

Greys and Greiges

Neutral and cool greys and greiges work really well with wood trim to neutralize their warmth- which can be a lot when you have a lot in a space - as you can see in photos below. Grays and greiges will make the space feel much more modern, and if you stay on the light side it will still brighten your space.

Good options are Sherwin Williams Ice Cube and Sherwin Williams Aloof Gray

 Deuce Cities Hen House

Deuce Cities Hen House

 It's Overflowing

It's Overflowing

 Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy

 It's Overflowing

It's Overflowing

Dark and Deep

If you're not digging light or grey walls you might go for dark and dramatic with black, dark slate or midnight blue. They're stunning with dark wood trim, and will create a cozy moodiness. Get some light bouncing into the room in other ways by using light curtains and decor, and hanging a mirror opposite the window.  

Nice options include Sherwin Williams Inkwell, Charcoal Blue, or In the Navy

 Thed Pages

Thed Pages

 Making It Lovely

Making It Lovely

 Henderson House

Henderson House

 Rue

Rue

 Studio Zerby

Studio Zerby

 House Beautiful

House Beautiful

Blues or Greens

Finally, if you feel a little more bold and want some colour in your life, choose something that will contrast with the wood, but stick to a natural vibe. Muted tones found in nature like mossy green, sage, cool blue-grey and seafoam green work well.

To keep it simple, I'd stay away from vibrant yellows, very yellowy beiges and reds - these are hard to pull off with all of the warm tones already in the wood.

Try Svelte Sage, Breaktime, or Rain

 Anthropologie

Anthropologie

 Country Living

Country Living

 Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy

 Elle Netherlands

Elle Netherlands

 Design Sponge

Design Sponge

 Jones Design Build

Jones Design Build

We all want updated homes that are peaceful, comfortable, and inviting, without being too dark and heavy. Having wood trim just means pairing the right colour to achieve this. I hope this simple guide has helped convince you not to paint out all of that beautiful wood trim just yet! 

Need more help choosing colour for your home?

My free colour workbook will walk you through the steps to choose the perfect colour(s) for your home that blends with your existing fixed elements like wood trim, kitchen cabinets and countertops. 

Kelly Anderson

Refreshed Designs

A re-designer focused on natural, sustainable and holistic design.