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HELP!!!! To Paint or Not to Paint Oak Trim...

Gayle Hansen
March 8, 2015


This is our soon-to-be new house (close in a month!) with honey oak trim. While the wall colors seem to be well-chosen for the wood trim, I am considering taking the leap and having the trim painted out all white, especially since we will be refacing the kitchen cabinets and taking down the wall the desk is on to improve sight lines. I am concerned with the rest of the house looking dated after that update. I would leave the wood beams and railing untouched. There is no way I would do it myself, and I am so bad with deciding to spend money; I like to save. But I also like the modern look of white trim. Part of me fears that the white trim is going to look dated in a few years as well, and wood will be the "in" look (20 year cycle right?). The house is in the woods, so the wood almost goes with the cozy feeling as well, and I don't need to follow the crowd either. I'm going to get all new window treatments and a new fireplace door regardless and more modern furniture, so I feel that should help even if we leave the trim. Akkk, so indecisive. Too many pros and cons! Please help me decide!!

Comments (13)

  • sacapuntaslapioz

    I would paint the stairs and leave the rest stained

  • PRO
    Style My Space Interior Design and Staging
    One of our clients had his home for sale. After many months with no offers he called us to help update the home. We had all of the oak trim painted and it made such an improvement. The house sold within a month. Design is cyclical, but white trim is classic especially with a traditional home. I would definitely recommend painting the trim white.
  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    I actually hate all the oak that is everywhere so I would paint it in a heartbeat if you want the railing could stay. Before getting the cabinets refaced make sur this is the layout you will because refacing is not cheap and so my suggestion would be to live in the kitchen for 3 months before doing anything in there. You are going to have a different space when the desk is removed and you might be able to have a really awesome kitchen with some redesign.

  • alicejean
    I would not paint any of the wood as I like continuity. I would update window coverings, remove wall paper border, and change the blue paint.
  • Gayle Hansen

    alicejean, I haven't considered continuity. What do you mean you like continuity? Do you mean continuity with the way the house was originally built, or with the wooded surroundings? Thanks!

  • edithsmom

    Hi Gayle, my 2 cents...paint the oak trim. Your home, like most on HOUZZ (& mine), is not a famous architect-design or historical house where the trim is precious, so I agree with Patricia to paint.

  • alicejean
    Hi Gayle,

    What I mean about continuity is the same trim throughout the house. I like things to flow in that way. I am no expert, but certain consistencies give me a more peaceful feeling. Hope this helps. Have fun.
  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    So if you paint all the trim white it would work then.

  • Kendrah

    I am confused - are you painting the walls too or just asking about painting the trim and not the walls? I think the wall colors are pretty outdated and not beautiful looking. I would paint the walls and depending on your wall colors decide on the trim. This trim does not look like precious or historical wood so I say paint if that is what you'd like to do. I would, however, keep the ceiling beams wood.

    If you are going for a modern look, I would paint all of the rooms white. I would leave the trim as is, move your furniture in and live with it like that for a while. Then if you are not loving the wood trim, have it painted white. It would not be too big of a deal to have just the trim painted once you are already in the house.

  • jhmarie

    I would go for a white and wood look. Paint baseboards, window casings and door casings. Leave doors and cabinetry wood. If you change the kitchen cabinets to white, then consider having a wood island. Paint the stair spindles, but leave the handrail wood.

    I find painting the trim lightens the look, but leaves the warmth of wood. Also, you really do not want to paint those 6 panel wood doors throughout the house. They have more value than the MDF white six panel doors seen in many homes.

    Photos of white trim with wood:

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  • PRO
    Virginia Fair Studios

    Depending on your taste and the feeling you want in your home -continuity is important and pulls the house together. The walls in the living room look out dated so you may want to coordinate the colors you want to use and then decide to paint the trim or not.

  • studio10001

    Adding a cerused finish to the doors could be a nice tie in between beams and painted trim.

    Robert J Erdmann Design, LLC · More Info

  • studio10001

    I could also see a darker stain working for you. You were probably hoping for us to reduce your options, and I apologize for that, but you have such a lovely view that a darker colour would be nice, if even on the muntins alone, to draw the eye through to it. I agree re. coordinating your look overall - cohesiveness trumps trend every time.

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