Let’s talk trim, and not the Christmas tree kind

Okay, I have a huge pet peeve! It drives me crazy when I see trim, whether it’s doors, windows, baseboard or whatever that is any colour other than white.

I see mixtures of white and natural wood, I see baseboards painted the same colour as the wall colour, which I may add is different in every room in the house, I see ceilings painted the same colour as the walls, I see it all. And it makes me crazy!

Here’s the deal. Trim is white. Ceilings are white. Period.

Here’s why.

White trim throughout the entire home creates flow and unifies the space. It brings all the different room colours together. It frames the wall colour like art.

White ceilings lift the room and give it a light airy feel. Dark painted ceilings make the room feel like a cave.

Here’s a before and after of a home where all the baseboards and door frames were white and the window trim was natural wood. The wood looked completely out of place. Now we added a few things to make this home special. We added wainscoting and crown moulding as well as painting out the window trim.











White ceilings, white trim, white crown moulding, white wainscoting, this home now looks warm, elegant and traditional, with a unified feel.

When you have or add wainscoting, make sure that it is white…not the same colour as the wall and for all that is holy not some other random colour. Wainscoting is a very traditional element and you can’t make it contemporary by painting it something other than white. If you don’t want a traditional feel in your home, don’t have wainscoting.
















Much nicer! The white wainscoting makes the space feel larger and makes the wall colour stand out.

Many people think it is blasphemy to paint wood. Wood is not sacred and it can be painted. It’s not a sin!

This next home is a lakefront property that at one time was a cottage. The new owners wanted to rid the home of the cottage feel and the best way to achieve that was to “gasp” paint the wood trim.











Sure, a lot of other things were done…new appliances, new lighting and an island, but the white trim made a significant contribution to ridding this home of it’s cottage feel.

Here’s a bathroom where the old ceiling was blue, the same colour as the walls. After the makeover, the white ceiling made the room feel so much larger and much more elegant.
















Hopefully, I have presented enough evidence to convince the doubters that trim and ceilings are WHITE. That’s it. No debate, no but what ifs, trust me on this, take it on blind faith and paint your trim and ceilings white.

You will thank me!

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2 Responses to Let’s talk trim, and not the Christmas tree kind

  1. I just discovered your site and am really enjoying it, thank you!
    Question for you — should the ceiling be that same white as the trim? Same shade, same sheen? ITA with you about the white factor, as well as another post you had about using satin for trim. In my house (where the previous owners did, indeed, feel the desired to match the baseboards with the royal blue walls in one of the kid bedrooms — fun to paint over that one, sheesh) in some parts of the house the ceilings are the same semigloss as the trim and doors, and in some places it is flat. I think the ceilings were hit with the semigloss in places where the ceilings were brightly colored (you can see faintly where they missed spots). In repainting the ceilings, I’m wondering if the sheen should be flat or satin (please don’t tell me semigloss or anything glossier than satin; I personally don’t care for the shiny effect above!).

    • Jim says:

      Hi Gretchen

      I’m so glad you are enjoying my blog.

      I always use a flat paint on the ceilings. Benjamin Moore has a couple of excellent ones that cover very well. I find flat ceiling paint works well with the satin finish on the crown moulding and baseboards and gives a warmer feeling to the room as it’s not bouncing light around.

      Hope that helps.


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