I received a question from one of our readers Sarah who needed help deciding whether to leave all of their dark wood paneling and trim natural, or paint it white to liven up the space. Here is what she wrote:
We have fab moulding and its natural wood. My husband said he’d let me paint it, but hes a little old fashioned and thinks wood should never be painted. I think painting it white would update and liven up our home and show off the wood floors in the entry. I was also thinking (maybe) I would paint the trim but keep the doors their natural wood. What do you think?
Okay Sarah, first of all that IS fab trim! Derek has the same style in his apartment and it looks so dramatic, I love it! Second of all, your hubby is not going to like my answer. I say.. paint it white! Natural wood is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but when you have that much of it, and you don’t like it then by all means paint it! It will definitely brighten up your space like you wouldn’t believe, and that wood flooring is going to pop! Here are some dramatic before & afters that you can show the hubs to help him get on board.
It truly is like night and day. All of Derek’s molding is white, while the apartment above his is the exact same floor plan but with natural wood molding and it looks like a cave in comparison. It obviously is a personal preference, but I think that unless it’s a rich mahogany, a rare species of wood, or a historical home [we're talking has-an-official-plaque historic], you can and should definitely paint it. And don’t forget, with lots of elbow grease you can always restore wood back to it’s original finish, if you aren’t happy with it.
You asked about painting only the trim while leaving the doors natural. I think that this would be a good way to transition into the overall look to make sure you like how it’s turning out, but in the end I think that you should go all or nothing. If your doors were a deep rich wood then I think it would look okay, but in your case I think it may make your space look unfinished. To help you with your decision here are some of my favorite spaces with all white molding and paneling.
Some people are afraid that so much white can make their space look a little “country”, but with the right wall paint, furniture, and accessories you can have a very fresh and modern space. Just avoid pastel blue gingham and chickens.. to be safe.
If you’re finding yourself in a design pickle shoot us an email and we’d be happy to solve your design dilemmas!