What Color Should I Paint My Interior Trim?

When it comes to painting the interior trim of your home, there’s some good news and some bad news.  The good news is, few iron-clad rules apply, leaving you free to create any color scheme you want.  Ironically, that’s also the bad news.

Many homeowners get a little confused when it comes to deciding on interior trim colors after they’ve chosen colors for the walls and ceilings.  Should trim color be dark or light?  Should it be in the same color family as the wall paint, or should it be a stark opposite?  Is it okay to use white for trim?  These and other questions can be daunting, so we’ll give you some guidelines to follow in choosing a trim color you’ll love.

Why white works

Being the most neutral of neutral colors, white will match any paint color and any colors of objects within a room.  White is comfortable, inviting, safe.  When used against dark-colored walls/ceilings, it breaks up the intensity with can’t-miss contrast.  Using white trim around lighter-colored sections provides even more softening to the dominant colors, a visual experience many people like.

Back in black

Along with white, black is a very popular color for interior trim.  Like its lighter opposite, it matches well with virtually any main color on the walls or in the room while giving contrasting colors an extra burst of personality.  The key to making black trim work is to have enough trim areas so that the heavy shade can assert itself.  A single black-framed window might not look too great, but the window along with the molding and baseboards all done in black make a sharp statement.

Going gray

Where trim is concerned, gray is not drab but rather can be lovely, creating a subtle, classy effect.  This is especially true with matching it with white or very dark paint on the walls and ceiling.  Gray brings some of the feel you get with pastels, but its high neutrality calms everything down a few notches.

Pretty pastels

Pastels are great for creating mood within a room.  The soft tones of the many pastel paints available make a fine match with darker walls from the same color family as the pastel you’re considering.

Vivid vistas

When used against white or off-white walls and ceilings, vivid colors from any color family can orchestrate a brilliant visual.  As with black, you’ll ideally want to have several trim sections in a room to get the most out of an explosive color.  Some people would tell you not to use a vivid trim color with an equally vivid wall color, but with some thought and imagination, you might find this powerful blend is just what you’re after.

Do some research

Take advantage of Google and other search engine image searches to check out how various colors and tones match up.  Also talk with your local paint retailer and visit the websites of Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore and other top paint manufacturers.  A little guidance coupled with your own unique ideas will help you create a gorgeous result.