Reader request – going bold with trim

Posted on Fri, 4 Nov 2011 by KiM

My apologies for not having done any reader request posts lately – stupid French test took over all my free time last month (and these posts usually take me a few hours to prepare). Anyway, this request came in a while ago from Ginger: I’ll admit, I’m somewhat Colour Intimidated. Typically, I go for BM Cloud White for trim and some degree of greige on the wall. It’s starting to look and feel somewhat uninspired. I recently finished up having alllll the floors in my house refinished and am now preparing to paint out my hall/living room/future nursery. I could blame being knocked-up or just Reno Exhaustion but I seriously cannot make up my mind over what to do. So I was wondering – can you show me some spaces that use dramatic colours (like black/charcoal/anything not BM Cloud White) on trim/fireplace mantles? I have an art deco space and I want to take it Over The Top. I am more than willing to help fellow DTI readers step away from the greige. But surprisingly this request turned out to be fairly difficult. Seems NO ONE really does much with trim except good ‘ol white. I did manage to find a few photos of trim and/or fireplaces NOT painted white (mostly black) and I added some photos of cool wall colours too that I found while looking for trim photos – and for some reason they are mostly blue. Odd. I am not a huge fan of any blues but these look fab with lots of trim detail. Hope this helps you step outside of your comfort zone Ginger!

Philip Galanes


Elle Decoration SA

The New York Times

Pierre Yovanovitch

Jessica Helgerson

Jeff Andrews

Ami McKay

Inspace Locations

Phoebe Howard


Gerard Faivre Paris





Elle Decor

Lux Productions


Markham Roberts

AT Casa

these spaces are amaaazing. i am a huge fan of bold colors and appreciate anyone who has the eye and whom is daring enough to use them!

Tisha says:

Although his trim is still white, check out Daniel's black doors. It might scratch the itch without repainting a ton of trim.

Giulia says:

SFgirlbybay just posted this great yellow door trim earlier this week:
And I found these great green, pink, coral and black trim photos on my pinterest board.

Lucy says:

One of my all time favorite posts! I am digging this dark trim in these gorgeous victorian-era homes.

Louise says:

That's helping me 🙂 I bought a 1920 house and moving in a couple of months and I've been debating about painting the doors, the window trims and open door trims black. Not sure I would do the baseboards though as they're very high. The ceilings are high but not enough to have the baseboards black, I think. Still not sure what to do but it helps in the design process 🙂

danimal says:

Crazy! I'm currently in the process of changing out all the brown and/or white trim on my main floor to either "Forest Black" (Glidden/CIL) or "Black Suede" (Behr)… I'm doing wainscoting, battens or chair rails in all the rooms and going dramatic with all of them.

Living room mantle, baseboard and picture rail in Forest Black, walls pure white below, dove grey above.

Dining Room baseboard up to picture rail in Forest Black, not sure what colour I'm doing above that but there is a decorative trim around the room 6" below the ceiling and I am going to do another one on the ceiling 6" from the edge and paint the full centre of the ceiling Black Suede with the space between the trim in pure white and a white ceiling medallion.

Kitchen is actually white baseboard and chair rail height trim but it looks really nice and retro with the dove grey below the chair rail and a soft butter yellow above. but my lower cabinets are the original victim of the Forest Black. The uppers are done in the same dove grey with the open interiors painted out in the black to highlight my white dishes and yellow/red accents.

Finally, the entryway is going to be the biggest impact with a picture rail at 5' and everything below it, a 4" tall trim with a 3" wide shelf running around the entire perimeter 15" below the ceiling and the treads, bannister and stair trim all done in the Back Suede with a deep red between the picture rail and the shelf/trim (what's that called?) I just don't know what to do with the 15" between that perimeter shelf and the ceiling.

LOVE LOVE LOVING the deep monochromatics right now!

Wow, I love all thos examples! I love architectural detail and wish I had more in my mid century home! The black fireplace mantles are stunning and I've seen several homes with black doors that look FAB! Good luck to Ginger!

karin says:

I think it's time for a visit to Abigail Ahern, the queen of colour on the walls, for inspiration. Great blog, always inspiring to look at things in a different way and really make a house a home.

Meg says:

I work for an interior design firm and we just recently did all the trim in a clients AV room in BM Ready Mix Black, semi-gloss oil based. It looks AMAZING and exactly the effect we were going for. HOWEVER! A warning: make sure you have super reliable and experienced painters–it shows every single inconsistency and brush stroke—the poor painting crew had to do a million coats to make it look right–but well worth the end result!

Deb J. says:

I'm a white trim sort myself but LOVE the black in some of these photos. However another approach I intend to try soon (laundry/mud room) is to paint everything – walls, ceiling, trim the same colour and just modify the sheen. My sister did this at her place and it looks quite elegant. Plus it makes painting easy – MUCH easier than the black and white look. And if you find this too dull, consider doing most of the room this way and then adding a punch of colour on an accent wall or niche. Just be sure to pick a colour that makes you feel happy. Good luck – with the painting and the pregnancy. My babies are 20 – and still a lot of work:)

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