Good Questions: Trim Color?

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Hello AT,

So, does the trim around windows and baseboards have to be the same color?

thanks, Carol

Dear Carol, We think you mean "the same as the walls" but you could mean "the same as one another." To be sure we'll answer both.

Trim was originally intended as a "finish" piece of carpentry to cover the rough edges of construction. It was intended to be functional and decorative at the same time. In contrast, much modern design has very little as building practices improved and modern lines did not favor this type of interruption.
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Since trim has a tendency to receive the most wear, trim is generally covered in a glossy paint that makes it easy to clean. As for color, this is a matter of personal preference and style.

We generally paint trim a much lighter color than the walls as we think that highlighting the trim in some way is more beautiful than passing up the opportunity. Here are some classic choices:

Modern Look
For a Modern look hide the trim by painting it the same color as the wall and toning down the finish with eggshell or semi-gloss.

Traditional Look
For a Traditional look, highlight the trim by painting it a different color than the walls. Bright white will give it a fresh look, while using a darker tone of the wall color will give it an old fashioned, colonial look. Using a bright color against a white wall will imitate the early Shaker style.

As for painting the floor trim the same color as the window trim, we do, and we think it makes sense to be consistent, however, you can mix it up if you want. Just be careful not to make your walls too "busy" by adding too many colors (unless you want it to be busy!). Remember, walls are BACKGROUND and if they stick out too much, all the other parts of your home may get cranky.

Anyone else?

(pic from mattpaints.com)

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.