Wood Trim + Wall Paint: A Perfect Pair

Wood trim is beautiful by itself, but it always deserves a complementary shade of wall paint.

By Tina Jepson


Whether you’re living in a new or old home, a modern space, or a traditional one, you’re bound to find that many of your windows and doors are outlined with some sort of wood trim. Thankfully, when it comes to pairing your wood trim with wall paint, you really can’t go wrong.


As you may know, wood trim comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s thick and beveled, other times it’s thin and streamlined. Some homeowners choose to paint it, while others prefer a natural stain. Regardless of how it’s designed and accentuated, it’s the perfect accent on walls throughout a home.


But we often heard the question, what is the best paint colors with wood trim? Here are a few snippets of inspiration to help you decide which paint colors to use with wood trim in your home.


Wood + Neutrals

Paint choice almost always depends on personal preference, but there’s no denying that there’s something special and, quite frankly, universal about wood trim pairing with neutral paint colors. For example, in my 1850s Italianate home, we tend to keep the wall colors white and ivory to accent the beautiful, natural wood trim work. We’ve tried other colors, including orange and dark gray, but nothing shows off the detail quite like a neutral.




Because neutrals go with everything (almost), they’re a great paint choice whether you’re wondering what color walls go with dark wood trim or a lighter one. This is also true when you’re looking for paints colors with oak trim or other varieties of natural or painted wood.


Look at neutrals as a surefire way to modernize this otherwise traditional feature, regardless of the age or style of your wood trim.


Takeaway: Shades of white, ivory, gray, and beige are remarkably versatile for any home with wood trim.


Wood + Warm

Warm hues include shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown. In general, these colors invoke a naturally warm, comfortable feel. They’re known to incite energy and inspire creativity, which is why many people choose to paint kitchens and sitting areas in warm hues.


These shades also partner perfectly with wood trim. In fact, people have paired red and yellow walls with deep wood stains for centuries.


If your home has wood trim with a dark stain such as ebony and walnut, look into warm shades like mahogany or burnt orange. With a quick coat of paint, your trim will surely make a statement.




Takeaway: If you’re wondering what colors go well with dark wood, always start with warm paint.


Wood + Cool

Cool paint colors include all variations of blue, purple, green, and some grays. They’re relaxing colors; perfect for rooms you sleep or wind down in, including bathrooms, bedrooms, and dining areas.


Homeowners looking for paint colors with light wood trim should start with colors that fall under the cool color scheme.


Lighter wood varieties such as pine, maple, and ash all pair well with light green and medium blue shades. But it’s not just light, stained wood that deserves a cool accent. Lightly-painted trim also couples well with cool paint.


Since many homeowners choose to paint wood trim with a thick layer of white or beige semi-gloss or gloss paint (these sheens increase durability and make cleaning easy), a cool paint hue helps to maintain a calm, subtle look to the space without being overbearing or busy.




Takeaway: Wood and cool paint color pairings are ideal for light, stained or natural wood and neutral-painted wood trim.


Wood + Painted Wood Panels

Wood panels, which peaked in popularity during the 1960s and 1970s, are back and better than ever. If you’re ever in doubt about what paint color you should use to pair with your wood trim, then consider wood panels.


Is this wood-overkill? Not necessarily.




When pairing wood panels with wood trim, just remember that one or the other must be painted or stained so all the wood doesn’t just blend together. Since wood naturally has a lot of texture, stick with a neutral paint or stain. For example, try painting a shiplap wall pure white to offset natural wood trim.


Takeaway: When partnering wood paneling with wood trim paint one or the other with a neutral shade of paint.


Whether you’re looking to pair paint colors with dark wood floors and trim or light wood trim, the key is to understand what type of wood you have.




For a universal look, stick with neutrals. Otherwise, pair dark trim with warm hues and lighter trim with cool shades. And don’t forget to differentiate either your wood paneling or trim, if you’re one of the many homeowners adding wood panels on your walls.


With just a quick coat of paint, you’ll show off your style and your wood trim!


Images used with permission, courtesy of Tina Jepson

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