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Davo 04-03-2007 11:51 PM

Whatcha thinka NOT painting interior moulding white?
99% of the interior mouldings I see are painted white. I am trying to convince myself to come up with a color scheme for my livingroom/hallway walls, ceiling and crown/base mouldings that involves darker painted mouldings.

I have hardwood floors in these rooms by the way.

Granted, I like the look of white mouldings but am worried about them staying clean looking...base mouldings primarily. I have my bathroom and kitchen done with white painted mouldings and am frustrated with them always getting dingy and dirty looking so easily.

My home office on the other hand, I did with all lovely oak mouldings and they never look dirty or dusty,... even if they are. Being stained oak, they are the darkest elements in the room which kind of bothers me, but they look good. Not sure I want this kind of color scheme in these other parts of the house.

Being a typical guy, I am not a compulsive clean freak and want the mouldings in my livingroom/hallway to be as fuss free as possible. Going white might be a headache like the other white rooms. I do not want to do these rooms in oak like the office though.

Thoughts, opinions, remarks, ideas welcome.


joewho 04-04-2007 01:27 AM

What other colors are in the rooms? Drapes, funiture, fireplace etc.

Is the wood floor a light stain or dark? Reddish or brownish?

Davo 04-04-2007 08:07 PM

Hardwood floor in livingroom will be is oak and stained on the darker side. Fireplace has white brickwork to the ceiling. The walls flanking this brickwork on either side will be tiled in multi-colored slate (greys/golds/tans/rusts )

Curtains will be replaced likely in a sage-y/mossy green.

Furniture is going to be replaced.

Hallway carpet is getting replaced.

Heck...everything is getting replaced so I am starting anew.

Really I was wondering if I should avoid darker moulding, design wise, since basically all the moulding I do see are always white white white.

joewho 04-04-2007 08:44 PM

I was going to suggest an off-white, like dover or antique. That will be enough to do what you were asking about.

The design aspect is hard to determine from here. If the trim is too much of a contrast with the walls, it won't look right. Off whites come in grays and yellows. Depending on you decor', use one of those. I suggest a Sherwin-williams semi-gloss. It's not as glossy as other mfg.s semi.

shapeshifter 04-04-2007 09:05 PM

I'm a regular viewer of some of the DIY interior decorating shows and one room this week had the trim and molding painted a lighter shade of the wall color, instead of the white or ivory. I thought it was a quite nice effect. It set off the trim really nicely without the contrast. Might be something to consider.

Dusty 04-09-2007 05:17 AM

Personally, I really dislike white trim unless the walls are also white or near white (and that doesn't happen in my house because I don't care for white or beige anything). Anyway, if you want a design 'rule' it's generally accepted that if you have mouldings/trim under 4" it's better to paint it the wall colour or close to the wall colour (you can go a tone or so lighter or darker). This is because thinner trim doesn't much redeem itself. With wider trim the light colour works as does the wall colour or close.

Really, the reasons people use whites can include:
- feeling they need the same colour running throughout the house so it becomes the default (I don't know who made up that one but I see zero reason for it),
- using a default colour so trim doesn't have to be repainted everytime they repaint the walls,
- because that is what builders do in a lot of homes to save time and expense with painting... again a default people assume is done for some aesthetic reason, which it isn't,
- because they think there is some sort of design commandment which, if they choose not to follow it, will result is being rebuked or smited.

Also, from my perspective, if your walls are not close to white, white trim running around the room is like a white outline. I hate it as it's too contrasty and cuts the room up and attracts the eye to the trim rather than keeping people looking where I want them to look. You are also very right, the stuff can look dirty very quickly unless you like to clean. Some people like it for the clean look, but that takes work to maintain.

So go with what you like and what works for you. Just because a lot of people use white does not mean it is right or appropriate for your house. If you take a look at pictures of rooms you like, pay attention to the trim. Many older homes and very contemporary homes even go as dramatic as having black trim which is just stunning when done right.

On the 'why wall colour on trim is great', besides the trim visually fading away (which is good when it's non descript and the room is small) is boy does that make painting a breeze. Even if you change the sheen you just don't have to be quite as careful where the walls meet the trim.

Davo 04-09-2007 09:29 PM

Thanks for the replies!

Dusty, thanks for all the detail. Btw, my crown will be 4" and my base mould will be 5".

I am thinking of going with crown (and other) moulding a couple shades lighter than the wall color and the ceiling a shade or two lighter than the mouldings. The shades would graduate lighter and lighter from the wall to crown moulding to ceiling.

At least it would not look like every other room out there....and heck it's paint...I can always change it!


Eva Wild 07-07-2007 07:58 PM

What did you wind up doing?
I went into a house that was 'contractor painted white" and the folks had never had anything but white walls anywhere they had lived in over 20 years. The wife had no idea what she wanted, but was certain that she wanted the trim all painted dark, "so you can't see the dirt." Sorry, I painted every surface in that house and told her to get a hands free telephone, put down her cigarette and wine glass and wash the danged moldings every 6 months. The house is fabulous, looks like the only place these folks have ever been happy (that annual Cape Cod vacation), and I left the crisp white against egg yolk yellow and Mediterranean blue and mocha. Yes, in many cases I would and HAVE painted the base and crown moldings in shades that made sense (sometimes darker - sometimes lighter) with the ceiling and wall colors. If you do the ceiling in the same color as walls, several steps lighter is a rule of thumb, but by no means gospel. All of those "rules" are meant to be the guideline in most cases, but when you know what you're looking for, you break the rule. Go smooth and glossy on the trim and cleanup is a quicky. Think crisp in detail and you will also be able to see it as fresh - better for resale too.

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