Wood trim: to paint or not to paint, that is the question…

When it comes to renovations, there’s one topic that people always have strong feelings about… whether to paint the vintage wood trim and built-ins…

People generally have strong opinions and are solidly on one side or the other of this debate. It’s either fine no matter what, go crazy and have fun… or you are the devil incarnate if you even think about defiling a vintage treasure in such an offensive way.

I might be the rare bird who doesn’t have strong feelings one way or the other. Well, I take that back, I’m actually really conflicted about whether to paint the trim in a vintage building with original details and woodwork.

The reality is that in today’s world, white trim is much more popular than darker wood finish trim throughout a space. There’s no arguing that white trim brightens up a room. But when I see a vintage space with the original woodwork it literally makes my heart skip a beat, so beautiful. I dare even say some of these spaces are still breathtaking.

I mean just look at this dining room!

3560 Pine Grove_dining.jpg

and waaay down there at the end is an original built-in hutch/bar element. omg. drool3560 Pine Grove_dining 2.jpg

Where do you stand in the ‘fine to paint’ or ‘don’t ever paint’ wood trim debate? The truth is that even if you paint over it, you can strip the paint and go back to the original finish most of the time, if that’s what you want, it’s just a lot of work {and for most people either a huge headache if you are a DIYer, or a bigger expense if you are paying someone else to do it!}. And painting these elements of the space is harder, more detailed, and a huge commitment. It’s not the same as just slapping a new coat of paint on a wall!

But painting trim can really transform a space, this space is in a vintage building and the original trim has all been painted white, definitely brighter and more modern.

400 Briar C_living

Or you can throw out the rule book and paint the trim a color and keep the walls white ~ or vice versa ~ to keep vintage elements but give a space a fresh new feel…

painted trims.jpg

And if you are brave enough, you can paint both the walls and trim the same bold color and really make a statement. I absolutely love this hallway and the study… you can execute this method in a small more transient space like a hallway, closet, or pantry, or a living space with bold walls and trim all the same color, like this living room. Both are absolutely stunning.

bold paint.jpg

We often put arbitrary ‘rules’ to things, in Architecture and Design and in every area of our lives really… like the silly idea that wood trim has to always be in it’s original finish… or even just the idea that doors and trim are a different color than the walls… or that they can’t be the highlight. All of which we see are just silly preconceptions here.

What areas of your space might be ready for a little rule breaking and transformation? … maybe some areas of our life too!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s