5 Tips for Decorating with Wood Trim

*This is one of my most popular posts so I’ve updated with  more examples of beautifully decorated homes that have wood vs. white trim.  I hope it inspires you!  Please be sure to follow me over on Instagram for more decor ideas!

Let’s chat about how to decorate when your home has WOOD TRIM.  Lots of older home’s around the Boston area have it and the first instinct people have is to paint it white.  Now I get that, I’m a huge fan of white trim, it’s crisp and clean.  Plus looks great with just about any decorating style.  Dark wood trim has a reputation of looking older or dated- however I don’t believe that to be true.  When you choose the right pieces for your style a home with original wood trim can be transformed into an elegant-classic vibe to an eclectic-boho vibe depending on your style.

I’m so excited for my sister and her Fiance just bought their first home which is what inspired this post!  It’s a charming little bungalow that reminds me of the first home Ben and I bought together.  AND it has… WOOD TRIM.  Everyone asked them the BIG question “Will you paint the trim white?”.  The wood trim in their home, as you can see in the photos below, is the kind that’s rich and buttery with details that tell a story of the way homes were once built.   NOT, the kind of detail you want to smack some white latex paint over and call it a day.  If you do- hey its your home totally do what makes you happy!  I was very happy they decided to live with the trim as is for awhile.  You can always decide down the road to paint it if you change your mind.

The Before:

Living area looking into dining area. Look at the beautiful built ins!

Wood trim dining before picture

All wallpaper is coming down and paint is going up! She decided to do the whole kitchen/dining and living room in Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore.  I’ll be sure to update with photos soon!

Wood trim living room before picture

Dining area looking into living area. I love the columns.  The wood is also not this orange-y in person its just the quality of the listing photos.  Notice how beautiful the light flows in, which leads me to believe that lighter or even darker colors would work in either of these rooms.

Wood trim before pictures

With the beautiful old trim detail also came a TON of very old wallpaper. Old wallpaper + wood can REALLY skew ones perception and vision of how to achieve an updated aesthetic with wood trim.  It’s been weeks of wallpaper removal and while I helped a little with that- I thought my time (and manicure 😉 ) might be better spent on helping them come up with a plan/vision for their new place.  Below I did  two e-desisn’s, one for their living room and one for their dining room.  First I’m going to share some tips on how to decorate when your home has wood trim.

5 Tips for Decorating your home when it has original wood trim:

TIP 1:  PAINT IT COOL

To make wood trim look more current and fresh, I suggest staying FAR AWAY from any warm tone on the wall.  Nothing is going to make your dark wood trim look more orangey or “dated” than choosing a warm color tone on your walls (yellow, tan, orange, red etc..).  I prefer neutrals, off whites, nothing too stark white, light or dark grays (depending on how much light the home gets) or jewel tones in the blue/green or even purple family.  See below.

Via The Edit

TIP 2: MODERN FURNITURE

Stay away from furniture that also has the same wood tone as your trim.  I’d prefer to see metals, lacquered pieces, black, distressed woods, etc… CLEAN LINES- keep your furniture mostly modern in shape- a few sleek pieces mixed with some antiques or distressed pieces will give you that mix which will give the feel of an eclectic home.

Via Martha Stewart

TIP3: COLOR IS FUN

Have fun with COLOR!  I’m all about bringing some color into spaces with wood trim, I love jewel tones either in the pillows, or rug or artwork.  I also love the cool tones like blues/greens or really subdued washed out tones in pink or peach.

Via OakOliveStuido

I love the pops of color in this rug and in the island of the kitchen as well!

TIP 4: KEEP IT NEUTRAL

If adding color isn’t your thing it’s totally fine to keep it all NEUTRAL just be sure to add interest with texture, greenery and patterns or a graphic pop of interest.  Below is the perfect example via Evolution of Style Blog

TIP 5:  SPARK SOME INTEREST

Be BOLD with LIGHTING take some risks with shape and the scale of your lights and the finishes, too!  Like this example it is unexpected and adds a focal point to the space.

Via Jean Stoffer Design

The E-Design:

Now to implement some of these tips into two e-designs one for their living room and one for their dining room. Here I would say for the walls keep it neutral with Classic Gray walls or go a bit more rich with Smoke.

I love green/blue undertones with the warmth of the wood.  The sofa is something my sister already owns so I was working with that as a base- putting furniture in that has clean simple lines and then some more pops of blue.

SHOP THIS SPACE:

Diningroom-

I love when dining rooms are a bit bold- it can be a room that’s great for entertaining or sitting and enjoying a morning cup of coffee.  I love these chairs and how they tie in with the wood trim tones but that the table is a bit more of a modern clean look.  This light fixture is a bit of a statement but I think something with edge and personality would really liven up the space and make for a great focal point.  Bringing in those cool colors again with the rug (CLICK HERE FOR RUG) and wall art and I always love a great bar cart or side table for nice spirits and bar accessories.

SHOP THIS SPACE:

I hope you liked this post on decorating with warm tone wood trim.  How many of you have trim like this in your home? Did you find decorating with it a challenge?  Do you have any more questions about a design dilemma? Email me jordecor1@gmail.com I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jordan

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  1. Andrea says:

    Yes! I have original wood work and ended up repainting my living room four times before I found a color that looked good🤦‍♀️I’m so glad I didn’t paint the trim! I absolutely love it…now!

    • Web says:

      That’s so great you were able to find something that brought out the beauty in your wood trim! I bet it is stunning. Trust me I’ve had me share of re-painted rooms too 😉

  2. Jenny Boles says:

    I have the exact same built ins in my house! I have decide to keep the original color even though I was told many times to paint it white. My kitchen and dining room are sage green which I love but can’t seem to get the living room right, any suggestions on a color that compliment the green? I’ve painted it twice but can’t get it right!

  3. Shandra Stillion says:

    We have an old farmhouse that has unfinished dark wood floors and dark wood trim. We don’t have the money to refinish our floors right now but we want to brighten the place up at least with paint! We recently got a medium grey couch with chaise and now we’re in the process of repainting. It does get pretty dark in our living room space as we have vines along one side of the house and our porches help hide the sun, any ideas of what paint color we should choose? We have a big bay window with a bench underneath and currently the colors are a tan on top, with wood trim in the center and a dark purply brown on bottom.

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