Should Doors and Trim Be Painted the Same Color as Walls?

February 14, 2024

Should trim paint or doors match the wall color? See what I do in our home!

There's no wrong answer to this question! This is purely up to your preferences and how you want your room to feel and look in the end. 

I've always loved the look of crisp, white trim against a dark wall color: 
white trim dark walls
Get all the details of our blue and white floral hallway.

But over the years I've also become more attracted to painting trim (and even doors!) the same as the walls. (This is called color drenching.)

I knew I was in love when I painted our mantel and fireplace surround to match the rest of the fireplace wall:  
dark blue tall fireplace

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It was a bright white before, and looked great! But painting it was a great decision for this room.

That dark blue color is called Cyberspace. We LOVED that simple transformation -- I really liked how the lack of drastic contrast calmed the space. 

I've been eyeing other spaces around our home that would look great with the trim painted as well!

Do you ever walk through a space over and over and there's just something that feels slightly off...but you can't put your finger on it? 

Our basement was that space for me. I continue to LOVE our dark gray walls down there (Westchester Gray), but the white doors and trim were bugging me: 
white door dark walls

As much as I love the contrast at times, sometimes it also messes with the flow of the room. And those bright white doors were doing that: 
electric fireplace dining room

Our white double doors especially stood out and bothered me: 
DIY electric fireplace wall

So I started the process of painting the three doors and allll of the door trim. 

It took a good week to get it all done. I didn't take pics of the process...because that's literally watching paint dry. 😂

Here are some basic tips for painting trim like baseboards and door trim:

  • There's no need to sand or prime trim painted in latex paint (even if it's painted in glossy paint). But...
  • Make sure to clean the trim well before painting! This is very important to make sure your new paint sticks. Give it a good scrubbing and then let it dry fully before painting.
  • I like to use this square-shaped paint brush for trim -- it gets into the crevices easily and also works great for cutting in. 
  • I always (always) paint baseboards, crown molding and/or decorative wall trim in semi-gloss or gloss paint. I've tried using a satin and really dislike the look without that contrast in the sheen. 
  • It took three coats of dark paint to cover our white trim with a dark paint

The only trim I forgot about was our basement window trim: 
dark gray Westchester Gray basement

So I finished that up last week!

The only prep I did was a quick sanding on the bottom sill, only because my planters had scratched it up: 
sanding damaged window trim

I used painter's tape around the vinyl window before I started painting: 
painting white trim around window

Of course the window itself is still white, but that's not a project I want to take on. I've seen people tape it off and use spray paint, but I just don't see how that will hold up over time if the window is actually used. 

(Let me know if you've tried it!.)

And after a few coats, all of the trim in the room was finally done! 

The room feels so much more peaceful with the painted trim. It allows your eye to move around the room without any bright contrast: 
painted double doors and trim

As I mentioned earlier, there is no right or wrong! I love a contrasting trim as much as I like a matching one. 

Bright white trim is always a classic, and painted trim can create a cozier feeling in the room. 

In a space like our moody basement, the painted trim just works better. It fits the vibe, as our teen would say. 

I used flat paint on all of the walls in the basement, but used a semi-gloss on all of the trim and doors: 
semi gloss on door and trim

The contrasting sheens give the trim some life and definition. 

The room will be very flat if everything is all the same paint sheen. 

The painted trim makes this space feel even cozier than before! Here are a couple before and after pics: 

electric fireplace dining

dark gray walls and doors

Painting your trim also creates the illusion that your space is bigger because there's less contrast. 

green shiplap fireplace

tall fireplace with comfy chairs

After I finished painting the window trim, I went ahead and installed more of the picture frame molding above and below to match the rest of the walls: 
painted window trim basement

I still need to finish up the crown and picture frame molding on the other side of the room, but I'm getting closer to being done with this entire space.

I've been hard at work on the basement bar and finished that up this week...can't wait to show you! 

Would you paint your door or window trim to match your painted walls? There are no rules -- the answer only depends on the feel you want for your space. 

I love to paint our interior doors black, and I always get asked if I paint the door trim to match: 

black interior door pantry
Tour our pantry makeover here!

The answer is no, unless the baseboards or other trim in the room are already painted. 

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  1. I began with your site by using your idea of the sconce lights lit by puck lights. I did that with the window seat I made in my large master bedroom and absolutely love the whole thing
    . I love your ideas, but I simply could not live with as much grey as you use. However, I realize everyone has different taste.

  2. After agonizing for months about how I should paint my very small hall bathroom, I finally decided to paint walls and trim in the same color as all the trim in the rest of my house - Sackcloth by Sherwin Williams. I like it even better than I thought I would!

  3. Do you have a source for the rug that is under the table in front of the fireplace?

    1. Yes! It's my favorite:

    2. Oops, wasn't sure which one you meant -- here's the rug in front of the green fireplace :)


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