Trends in Painted Trim: White vs. Color

2014 Birmingham Parade of Homes Ideal Home (1 of 32)

In the past, if you chose to have painted trim versus stained, the assumption would most likely have been that the trim would be white and the biggest question you would have had to answer was which shade of white.

Fixer Upper

But if you scroll through places like Pinterest or design blogs, or watch decorating and home improvement shows (Fixer Upper anyone?), you may have noticed that it seems like the trend might be changing just a little.


While you will still find white (or stained) trim in the majority of homes, it does seem like a segment of designers and homeowners seem to be gravitating more toward colors like gray and black, or grayed down versions of other colors for a more unique look.

Back in the 18th-century when this Massachusetts farmhouse was built, there was no such thing as a master bath. So architect Michael T. Gray and interior designer Hattie Holland, both of Carpenter & MacNeille, carved one out of a hallway and added wainscoting and window casings to create a sense of the past. Painted a deep blue-gray, they stand out against the pale blue walls. The color "has a historic feeling with that gray cast and plays off the Carrara marble so well," Holland says. In the center of the floor, a virtual rug made of marble in a basket-weave pattern adds another layer of detail to the room. The cast-iron tub looks old but is actually new. "It's a slipper tub, higher on each end, and that little swoop gives it a sense of elegance," Holland says. "And the legs let you see the marble underneath, which makes a small space feel more open." An antique leaded-glass window, found at a salvage yard, is set into the wall adjoining the water closet. It lets light into that room, making it feel less enclosed while still maintaining privacy. It's another old-world touch that creates instant character. "The goal was to keep the farmhouse charm but make it more comfortable," Holland says. "You can lean back against that great rollover on the tub's rim and soak for hours." The Missy tub is paired with a floor-mounted tub filler in polished nickel, both by Sunrise Specialty. Carrara marble tile and basket-weave insert from Cumar. The walls are painted in Borrowed Light with trim in Parma Gray, both by Farrow & Ball.
House Beautiful

For some, the appeal of this look is in the contrast.  You’ll notice a distinct difference between the rooms that have a larger contrast between the dark trim and the wall color and those that don’t.

It’s a personal preference but, for me, contrast is good.

On a much smaller scale, there are those adventurous decorators who are fully embracing bold, bright and fun colors for their trim.

The kind of color that we admire, and love what a day brightener it is (especially on a cold winter day), but would never actually be brave enough to do ourselves.

BHG Windows featuring colorful trim

While making trim decisions on a recent design project, we seriously debated using a different trim color, but ultimately white won out as the best choice for the space.

It would be fun to try a different color in the future, though, when it’s the right fit for the project.

What about you?  Would you or have you painted your trim a color other than white?

Other Paint Posts You May Like:

White Walls Are Trending: Best White Interior Paint Colors
Paint Colors: Gray
Painting A Color On the Ceiling
The Best Time to Choose A Paint Color
Paint Color Tips, Inspiration and Ideas


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