Natural wood trim or paint it?
jilldhuff
March 25, 2013 in Design Dilemma
When we first saw the house, I loved the warmth of the natural wood trim... now I feel like it's dating the house and it might lighten it up if we painted the trim white. Could there be a compromise by only painting some of the trim and leaving some 'character' pieces natural?
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Those are lovely windows and doors in the second photo. I can see how you might want to keep that set of doors and windows stained, and I see no reason why you shouldn't. On the whole I favor painted trim, so I need more photos in order to advise in you in detail how to transition from a stained room to a room with painted trim.

But lacking those photos, I'd suggest that both sides of the stained doors and windows remain stained, and any trim along that wall would also remain stained. From there, if one room is a study with stained bookcases, I would keep those stained. I see in photo one that the door on the far wall is painted and the trim is also painted on that wall. So I would paint all the trim and doors in that room except trim on the wall that appears in photo 2.
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
March 25, 2013 at 6:54pm   
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March 25, 2013 at 6:54pm   
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tt67
I'd suggest trying other thing first. I have an older house and am lucky enough to have one that no one has painted the woodwork. Every few years I get the urge but don't do it. If it were in bad shape I may consider. I lighten up rooms w accents...pillows, curtains, rugs.
March 25, 2013 at 6:54pm     
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Ironwood Builders
OK...so an analogy? This is something like saying you don't like the walnut burl dashboard of your Mercedes and paint it to match the Mazda B210 you had in high school. Classic hardwood interior trim is being painted over with startling lack of understanding of its value, the difficulty of painting it and the even more difficult task of returning it to its virgin state....oh, wait, just like all the rest of those virgin things...we can't put the genie back in the bottle. My advice...for resale alone, paint the walls, buy a new sofa, recover your chairs, get some perky pillows and a flash new rug...heck, go to the salon and color your hair a nice red. Leave the beautiful stained trim that sold you the house in the first place alone...
March 25, 2013 at 6:57pm     
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feeny
I would not paint the trim on an older house with quality wood for all the reasons Ironwood outlined. Your trim looks beautiful in the natural wood.
March 25, 2013 at 7:01pm     
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judianna20
With feeny, not so much the woodwork, but the furnishings. What if everything were slipcovered white?

March 25, 2013 at 7:03pm     
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Jayme H.
I would not paint that woodwork, I think it would be a mistake and I love painted wood, myself.
March 25, 2013 at 7:07pm   
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collettec
Love the wood trim, what I don't think works as well with the trim is the wall paint color. With the white paint color, the walls look stark in contrast to the warmer wood tones. In the second picture, it appears that the paint color in the other room is fairly dark. Perhaps if you went with a light color on the walls, either a color or a neutral in a warmer color or even a warmer gray. The other concern I'd have with painting only some of the wood is I'm not sure how well it would visually transition from one room to another, with this heavier woodwork in a natural finish in some areas and painted in others that are all visible to one another. I would be afraid that it might look a bit choppy and detract from the overall appearance. Agree with Ironwood Builders as well in terms of the problem of painting it and then not liking it, and also possible resale.
March 25, 2013 at 7:37pm   
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veryanya
I think your trim looks nice! I love white trim but our new 1930s house is a stained trim downstairs and I do not even consider painting it because It goes well and is "warm" looking with the creams/yellows of our downstairs walls. All our upstairs is painted trim which I read was a "thing" for homes in this era- using lower quality woods upstairs and painting, with high quality downstairs stained. I think it adds character! But our last home was an 1880s rental with stained trim and it looked jarring with the light blue tones they had painted it. With homes older than 1980s I feel like the stained trim adds character rather than dating it... With oak trim of the 80s and 90s painting is a good solution. (Your home looks older like mine). Look Up stained trim on houzz photos to see... Good luck! :)
March 25, 2013 at 8:16pm   
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nataliekarj
I love the trim. I think painting the walls would actually really make it pop nicely.
March 25, 2013 at 9:09pm     
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Ed
Ironwood Builders, your analogy is nice, thanks! :)
March 25, 2013 at 11:06pm   
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jilldhuff
Few more pictures... thank you for your input! My husband is cheering for the 'don't paint' posts :)
March 26, 2013 at 9:33am   
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veryanya
I like your trim even more! You should definitely paint the walls in a complementary color like the cream/yellow in the first pic Nataliekarj posted!
March 26, 2013 at 9:42am     
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hme75
I do think white trim here would be beautiful, but wholeheartedly agree that your trim should not be painted! Besides, there is so much white trim now that you know the trend will shift towards stained wood in a few years. ;)
March 26, 2013 at 9:49am     
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Bay Area Floors
We are definitely noticing the trend shifting towards stained wood! It's a beautiful accent! Wood will never go out of style! Best of luck!
March 26, 2013 at 9:57am   
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Terry Ballantyne
Thank you Bay Area Floors, I use you exclusively getting a home ready for sale and the difference you make in the seller's sales price is wonderful. On time, responsible and cordial, you make it easy for me to succeed!
March 28, 2013 at 8:32am     
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Where Monsters Meet
I have to agree with everyone saying DON'T paint that gorgeous natural wood trim. I believe that it truly adds both character and value to your home. Warming up your walls with a light welcoming color so the contrast between the walls and the wood isn't as stark and brightening up your furniture (via quality slipcovers) and accessories is the way to go. You have a beautiful home.
March 28, 2013 at 8:52am   
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djlwestisland
Ten years ago we bought our dream home on a small island off of MA. All beautiful wood trim .... Oversized Cape. My husband wanted the wood ... I wanted paint. So, we kept wood downstairs and painted upstairs. I love it, he loves it. I would love to do downstairs because the colors I'm drawn to look so much better with paint. And I feel the wood dates it. But, recently I saw a picture of a beautiful sailboat ... With the wood canvas look. I had my TADAH moment.... And I think I will finally like the wood :) Glad I didn't cover that beautiful wood!
March 28, 2013 at 9:04am   
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tegroves
Do not paint the trim. It's classic. It would be a big mistake
March 29, 2013 at 8:13pm   
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tegroves
Omg the house is beautiful. What are you thinking.m if you want white trim build new
March 29, 2013 at 8:14pm   
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JWinteriors
Your second picture shows painted wood and door.it looks cheap compared to the lux of the natural wood. Ironwood summed it up beautifully.
March 29, 2013 at 8:22pm   
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