Living Room Painting

Painting the Trim in the Living Room

I’ve been meaning to get around to painting the trim in the living room for quite some time now. It was on my 30 Before Thirty list, but it was one of the handful of things I didn’t accomplish (because I was pregnant and had no energy). So I rolled it onto my Lovely life List, and I decided it’s finally a good time to check that one off.

Painting projects (or any projects, really) happen so much more slowly now with two young kids underfoot. I let Eleanor help paint for the first time, and then she wanted to look through the fan decks to pick paint colors for the house. Did you know the exterior should be green? With sparkles? So it has been decreed.

I’ve only painted half of the room so far. There’s a door between the living room and the entry, and soon I’ll move on to the front entry itself. I haven’t decided if I’ll be painting both doors there, and if so, which colors. I’ll probably leave the front door unpainted, at least for now. White is an obvious choice for the other, but I do like the look of black interior doors. What do you think?

p.s. Here’s a refresher on why I’m painting all of this wood trim in the first place.

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  • Catherine
    February 13, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Ooh, that’ll look so nice! I, too, live in an old home and we’ve painted the trim white as well. I mean, the house is almost 100 years old, that trim has seen better days, and now it’s lovely and fresh again with some white (our house, that is). Trust me, as an actual archaeologist, I do see the value in preservation and restoration, and leaving things like they were… but when you actually LIVE in the space with your family – well, you should love it! My house isn’t a museum and I don’t want it to look like one! By the way, I am super impressed you will attempt painting by yourself with two small children – that I could not do!

  • Marianne
    February 13, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Love the white trim! I love wood but can’t argue with the freshness and brightness that a good helping of white adds!! I prefer to have smaller touches of woodgrain here and there. Enough about the trim though- I’m not sure I can wait till you redo your exterior…

  • Tory
    February 13, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I love glossy, black interior doors. I say go for it!

  • my honest answer
    February 13, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I love the white trim! I think I’d try leaving the doors wood for a few weeks before making any big decisions. A friend has it that way and I think it looks great. But I totally agree with your general philosophy that you should do what makes you, as the homeowner (and liver-in-er), happy. Just a note about white door – they get unbelievably dirty at child / dog level. Just something to bear in mind in the ‘which color’ debate. And, er, if you come to my house, please don’t crouch and look at the doors, mmkay?

  • Cara Crowley
    February 13, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I love the white trim! It really helps visually organize the space. I love clean, fresh white for the interior doors but I love taking a bold chance with painting them black. Can’t wait to see what you choose.

  • danika
    February 13, 2012 at 11:08 am

    So lovely! I am delighted that you are painting the trim – it makes the whole room feel lighter and airier!

  • Jennifer
    February 13, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I recently painted the doors in my interior black and LOVE them.

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators
    February 13, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I agree with Eleanor. Green with sparkles is the way to go :) The white trim looks great. I do like the look of the natural wood door though. Maybe wait and see how you like them with the white trim before deciding?

  • Lyndsay @ Mr and Mrs
    February 13, 2012 at 11:40 am

    i love the white trim! painting trim is so time-consuming, but it really is one of those low cost projects that give you a HUGE bang for your buck!

  • Katie
    February 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Yes to the black doors! The trim is looking great. We have an old home too (100+) and I am strongly considering painting our wooden (and in not good shape at all) doors black. Be my guinea pig, please!

  • Janelle
    February 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I just painted my doors upstairs black, with white trim:

    I LOVE it!!! I say go for it. I used Benjamin Moore Soot as the color. It’s the same color Anna over at D16 uses in various rooms and it’s a great color.

  • samarahuel
    February 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    You should post inspiration photos for the black door. I’m intrigued. (And then, of course, the real photos of the finished project.)

    I love your new blog design, but I’m afraid the font doesn’t look as it should for me. It seems some of the horizontal lines are too faint, so your title for this post ends up looking like, “PAINTING TIIE TRIM IN TIIE LIVING ROOM” for example. It’s confused me for a moment a couple of times. It’s a shame, too, because it’s such a beautiful font. Maybe others are not having this problem, is there something I can do on my computer to remedy it?

    • Paisley
      February 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm

      I’m having the same trouble reading the new font. I’m using Firefox. Don’t know if that makes a difference or not.

  • Molly the Waffler
    February 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Taking a page from Eleanor’s book…how about a (kelly) green interior door? But no sparkles.

  • Melissa
    February 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm


    I’m so excited to see the finished product! I think charcoal doors (much like the color of your honor roll posts would look so lovely.

  • Holly
    February 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I think white trim looks so crisp and clean. I also love the look of a nice glossy black door though too – very classic.

  • Lisa
    February 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I think the white trim looks fantastic. You inspired me to think more seriously about painting ours from the original stain too. We had our windows done this past fall so I wanted to wait for that. We’ll see if I can get anything done this summer.

    Also, love black interior doors. You could definitely pull it off. Was thinking about where I could do that as well.

  • Eileen
    February 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Looks so good! And I totally agree with Eleanor on the paint color, she’s so cute! you def have a little designer on your hands :-)

    Black interior doors, all the way!


  • Chris Olson
    February 13, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    L-O-V-E the white trim. Makes the rooms look so fresh and bright! Now you have me wondering about door colors. Fun to daydream… Because I probably will never get that DIY project done for months :)

  • MamaHolt
    February 13, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    LOVE the old house trim. SO thick and gorgeous…looks great white.

    I think all houses should be sparkly. Smart girl.

  • Susan
    February 14, 2012 at 6:16 am

    I hate dirty-looking ole varnished woodwork, love white trim. I’ve painted a lot of it. One word of advice- fill any little cracks/gaps with elastomeric (flexible) white caulk before you paint. It’s easy to do, is quickly paintable, and makes a huge difference. All those spaces read as black spots, and the caulk makes them go away, for a serene white result.

  • Sandra
    February 14, 2012 at 11:43 am

    White trim is THE way to go – it’ll brighten things up. We did ours in Benjamin Moore Cloud White. We live in a small 1930’s cottage-y style house so white was the way to go to make it seem larger and connected. And a nice backdrop for art!

    Laughed about the kids helping paint. My six year old daughter “helped” us paint a spare room when she was three. Takes a LITTLE bit longer, eh?

  • Mag
    February 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    What is that you hung on the front doors? I’m having hard time with mine. BTW, the trim looks nice:)

  • Elaine
    February 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I think darker doors (wood, or whatever) look really great with white trim! If they’re dingy, maybe you’d want to try a little sanding/refreshing of the wood finish? You could always stain them a grey or black stain to ebonize them without the paint build-up. Or a lighter stain to brighten them? Then you can still see the wood grain but it’s fresh and modern. Here’s one company that has cool colors:

  • Ashley G
    March 31, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I let out a big sigh when I saw the painted trim. It looks beautiful! I would so love to convince the hubs that the world will not stop turning if I paint our tired and worn wood trim. Besides, once it’s painted, people won’t know that it’s painted wood. They’ll just think it’s white trim. lovely job!

  • This and that… « Babies and Briefcases
    April 13, 2012 at 11:51 am

    […] have decided to paint the entire trim in our house white.  I was inspired to do this by Nicole at Making It Lovely.  The current trim is a builders-grade medium oak color (bleh.)  We are going to start with the […]

  • Lee-Anne
    July 27, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Hi Nicole,
    Finally after five years of indecision and after reading your inspiring blog I have decided to paint the wood trim in our house. Wondering which primer you used. My primer does not seem to be covering the dark high gloss stain that the previous owners used. I did sand lightly and have used two coats of primer so far but I can still see the colour bleed through. Wondering if I should change primer at the point before painting. Your thoughts on this matter would be much appreciated.

    • Making it Lovely
      July 27, 2012 at 11:10 am

      I used Kilz. You shouldn’t need more than one coat of primer, and you should definitely get that right before moving on to painting. Good luck!

      • Lena
        July 26, 2013 at 6:09 am

        Which kilz product specificly? Is it Oil based? Latex? What’s the actual product name?

  • Leslie
    October 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I am so elated to have found this!! We have just started priming our upstairs hallway….I have had it with the dingy, dark wood in my old home!! (113 yrs!) I am loving it even tho its only primer…but already tired of the gasps and “I cant believe you are ruining your wood!!” I do have one question for you tho…did you run into any spots where the primer didn’t sink into the wood and it looks like cracks in the trim that weren’t seen before? Do you add another coat of primer or use a certain type of paint???
    I love the before and after photos you have…cant wait to get ours done!!!