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Choosing the Right Trim Color

What color should I paint my trim??

This is one of the most frequently asked questions that we have received since starting our Instagram account!

It seems to be a question that troubles most and leads to not painting the trim at all! I know I have definitely done this several times where if there are too many options I suffer from "paralysis by analysis" and end up doing nothing.

Now I am NOT an interior designer and I cannot say that my strategy is the best, but it has worked for me and produces beautiful results that I love. Here is a helpful guide I have created to make the trim paint color choice smoother...(hopefully)!

trim color, paint guide, trim sheen, how to decide what color and sheen to paint your trim

Now, let me walk you through the guide using examples from our own projects!


color of trim: Slate Blue by Benjamin Moore; sheen: flat to match accent wall

For this accent wall I wanted the baseboard to match the color of the accent wall. The wall is a flat sheen, so I painted the baseboards in a flat sheen as well. This is the only instance in which I would paint the baseboard flat. I am ok with this baseboard being a different sheen than the rest of the baseboards ONLY because it is an accent wall (board and batten tutorial can be found here) and is a stand alone entity.


color of trim: Greenblack by Sherwin Williams; sheen: Satin to match entire room

For the Office I was going for a dark and moody look, so I wanted to paint the ENTIRE room one color and sheen. I painted the walls, shiplap ceiling, and trim wall Greenblack by Sherwin Williams in Satin so that the light would reflect off the walls. Therefore I also painted the crown molding and baseboards the same color and sheen to match the walls. Fore more office photos and tutorials check out our Office page.

If I had painted the walls in a matte or flat, then I would have painted the baseboards and crown molding in semi-gloss. Semi-gloss is easy to clean and the higher sheen automatically makes the color appear a shade lighter than if it were matte/flat.


color of trim: Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams; sheen: semi-gloss

With this room you all know I wanted BOLD, therefore a high contrast trim was the move! I painted the cabinetry Iron Ore in a semi-gloss sheen (easy to clean), so I painted all of the trim to match. The walls are painted Snowbound by SW in flat, which is why I chose the semi-gloss sheen for the trim. Remember, if it is not an accent wall or one color room (like the office), then I am always going to paint the trim semi-gloss.


color of trim: Snowbound by SW; sheen: semi-gloss

In our dining room I was not given the option of choosing our trim color, but I am lucky that the builder chose a fantastic neutral white, Snowbound, in a semi-gloss sheen. Our entire house has this same color and sheen for the trim, so when I was painting the dining room white (previously grey), I was careful to choose a color with the same cool undertone as the trim. The color I chose was Pure White by SW in flat which really popped against our DIY black windows.

You are probably thinking...why didn't I paint the walls Snowbound? I tested this color on the walls in flat and because of the poor natural lighting it pulled too grey (more grey than trim). The trim does not look grey because it is semi-gloss, which automatically makes it appear lighter. Pure White was the color that looked the most "purely white" on the wall and is very similar to Snowbound on the trim.


The only color combo I do not have an example of in our home is painting the trim the same white as the walls, however I have done it in several previous rooms for which I do not have photos. Should we ever build our own home or buy a fixer upper (that has good natural light), this would be the method I would choose for painting my walls and trim. I would paint the trim the exact same color as the walls, but in semi-gloss because the higher seen makes the trim appear lighter.

With white walls and trim you always want the trim to appear LIGHTER than the walls (unless going for a contrast look) because if the trim is a darker white then it will appear dirty (definitely do not want that)!

I hope y'all found this post helpful, and even if you didn't make it all the way through that's ok...that's why I put the guide at the very beginning!!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram for more DIY tips!


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