WHY I PAINTED OUR WOOD TRIM

May 23, 2019

Controversial post alert! Wood is beautiful. I like wood grain. I have painted over a lot of wood in my house (and kept some). It is a hard decision! We chose to paint the wood trim in our family room, IN SUMMARY, because we like the beauty of wood grains and other natural textures. The heaviness and intense contrast of the beams absorbed all the availability for warm or wood tones or leather in the space.

I FOUND MYSELF DESIGNING EVERYTHING IN THE ROOM AROUND ACCOMMODATING THEM.

The beams were very prominent and high contrast. And added a huge warm tone presence, along with the already warm wood floors and antique brass elements. To compensate I would have to make everything light, white, and cool.

I have wanted to replace our slipper chairs with leather arm chairs and that is what cracked this conversation open. Previously I had ruled leather out because they would be too warm and even more brown. With these painted, I feel I can add leather easily. Also before the beams were painted I definitely could not bring any more wood in via furniture, but now I can get a nice wood sofa table or side table if I like.

I NEVER FOUND MYSELF THINKING, “I REALLY LIKE HOW THESE LOOK.”

And certainly not, “I love how these look.” At best, “these are okay/good enough/workable/I probably should keep these wood.” My long term goal is to really like all the elements of our house and these weren’t going to achieve that.

I THOUGHT MY HUSBAND WANTED TO KEEP THE WOOD, BUT ACTUALLY HE DIDN’T.

I felt like I remembered David once saying he wanted to keep the wood beams, but I think I maybe just assumed? GUYS LIKE WOOD GRAIN generally. When I was torn, but getting more serious about painting, I brought it up for advice and he helped me see painting was best and what both of us would like better.

IT IS NOT PERMANENT.

I am not in the camp of opposition to or fear mongering about painting wood. I think it doesn’t have a bearing on resale. And I don’t know what people in general mean when they say it’s “permanent” to paint. Like, there’s wood trim for sale at home depot if it’s an actual ruined your house catastrophe. (Probably won’t be.) Always keeping the wood because someone’s afraid to paint is effectively permanent too. Still, I have gone gradually in places I wasn’t sure.

THE WOOD WASN’T HIGH QUALITY.

A final phase of decision making was talking it over with my ever design savvy friend Elysia. She helped me see that they are a weird in between of rustic and traditional. Like the shape of the moulding is more traditional, but the quality of the wood is very knotty. Are they rustic? Are they polished? As David put it, they just don’t go with the direction of everything else in our house.

The stain color was not great as well. It was similar to the floors, but not a perfect match. And our floors aren’t so amazing that I am like I want to draw out and feature that stain more and more.

To paint, we first did two coats of kilz high hide primer with a brush and four inch roller combo. Then we did three coats of ralph lauren “chalk white” in eggshell.

Even once we just primed, we instantly loved it. They were holding the room back so badly. Our whole first floor really. We feel so many more OPTIONS now.

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Comments

  • Sheri

    Hi Rachel- Your white beams look great! Did you paint all the trim in your house? We have dark wood EVERYWHERE and i’d love to paint it, but the task seems daunting. I’m wondering if I could do, for instance, everything but the kitchen. Or if it would look weird. We have nice dark wood closet doors. Will it look weird to leave those and have the trim white?
    I’d love to have your opinion.
    Thanks,
    Sheri

    • Rachel Schultz

      I don’t think it’s weird at all to do some places and not others! Case by case!

  • Sheri Reid

    Hi Rachel – I found you thru this post about painting wood trim. We have a 1930’s home that has dark wood trim EVERYWHERE. I’ve painted the upstairs trim white but am reluctant to start the downstairs. Partially because there’s lots of it and partially because I’m unsure that I can do all of it. For instance, we have stained glass windows in the kitchen that look really good with the wood. Have you done your entire house or do you have some trim that is still dark? And in your opinion, is it OK for nice wood closet doors to be left dark? thanks for your thoughts!

    • Rachel Schultz

      I think either can look great! In general, I prefer to paint the wood around windows.

  • Stacey

    At any and every house Matthew shows me on Zillow (he kinda’ wants a house in the country) that has wood trim, he immediately says, “Now, just imagine that all white.” Dave is not alone!! ;)

    • Rachel Schultz

      Good work Matthew!!!!

  • I loved the wood trims and think now it s too bright, tooo white. But you have to live in it, so you have to like/love ist. You say you instantly loved it. So it was right to paint it :)

    • Rachel Schultz

      well said!

  • Karen Mataranglo

    I love the painted trim. Wood trim on ceilings floor boards and ceiling trim is oppressive to me, and I literally feel boxed in.
    The floors are beautiful and, actually I believe, they highlight your painted room. Great job!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thank you Karen!! : )

  • Kailynn Taylor

    I love the white beams! Everything feels so bright!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thank you!! Me too : )

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