Should I Paint My Wood Trim White? Pros + Cons on Painting Trim White


A major part of any home remodeling job is wondering if your chosen approach is the right one or not. This is especially true when thinking about projects like painting wood trim white or leaving it untouched. What’s the right thing to do?

You should paint your wood trim white if you have a space without adequate natural lighting as it can make the space feel bigger and more airy. However, painting white over natural wood can ruin the aesthetic appeal of the trim or negatively affect the attractiveness of a property on the market.

Before you pick up the brush and get to work on your wood trim, here’s a closer look at the pros and cons and everything else you need to know. 

Should I Paint Wood Trim White or Leave It Natural?

You should paint your wood trim white if you’re going for something modern and bright, as white would be more aesthetically pleasing. However, in some cases, natural wood will pair better with the decor. 

To help you decide if you should paint wood trim white or leave it natural, here are some advantages and disadvantages of this approach.

painting a wood trim with white color

Pros of Painting Wood Trim White

  • It makes the room look more spacious. You’ve surely noticed how a room suddenly looks airy and bigger once you paint it white. This is due to the broadening illusion white tricks us with—a term known as the irradiation illusion (Source: Sign Brad). So, painting your window trim white can work well for a small room, making it look bigger.
  • It adds a modern touch to the space. Look at pictures of the interior in most modern homes today, and white window trims are almost always heavily represented. White window trims give your guests an impression of modernity, affecting how they view the rest of the room. (Instagram image).

  • White looks cleaner. A white window trim gives your home a cleaner appearance at first glance. The feeling of cleanliness the color evokes in most people is why it is heavily used in rental properties (Source: Washington Post). Your space is probably very clean already, but a white window trim can elevate it even further on the cleanliness charts in the minds of onlookers.
  • White trim enhances the natural light. The natural light filtering into a room is magnified with white wood trim. The light bouncing off the white trim gives the impression of space that’s more lit than it really is.

Cons of Painting Wood Trim White

  • It’s demanding. Painting wood trims white and maintaining them as the years roll by requires a lot of sanding, priming, and painting. That’s a lot of time—and money if you’re going to hire someone for the job. Painted woodwork will chip after a while or get dirty (especially if you have kids). Do you want to keep repainting the trims every other year?
  • Your home can lose its original charm. Original stained wood trim makes a home look and feel classy. This is especially true for older properties. Painting the trim white can give the space a sterile and cold feel. The window trim might end up looking out of place overall. It’s almost permanent. 
  • If you paint your wood trim white, it’s almost impossible to recover the original look back. Tons of sanding can bring you close, but it will always look different.

Should I Paint My Wood Trim White if It’s Stained?

If your design is already trending towards a modernistic feel, you can paint your stained wood trim white. Stained wood trim can look great in a property. Before deciding whether or not you should paint it white, you should look at how it fits your wider interior aesthetic.

However, before you can paint it, you’ll need to stain and prep it to remove the stain.

Should I Paint My Wood Trim White if It’s Natural?

In properties with such natural wood, painting the natural wood is rarely a good idea as such natural trims tie into the overall appeal of the older homes. You need to weigh your options a bit more closely before you paint wood trim made of natural oak, gumwood, chestnut, and similar hardwoods. 

Should I Just Replace Trim Instead of Painting It White?

If you have old wood trims, replacing them instead of painting them white is a good idea. Old trims will start to disintegrate as they age even further. However, if the trims are intact, you can save some money by painting them white.

If you’re leaning towards replacing perfect trims, you should check at the local home improvement store to see if you can get some money for the old trims that can go towards the new ones.

a dining room with wood trims, wooden floors and cabinets

Should Wood Trim Match My Wooden Floors or Cabinets?

Wood trim doesn’t need to match your floor or cabinets. You can have a different color on your trim (white in this case) if it will provide a nice accent to the overall design. Using your wood trims as an accent can enhance the feel of your décor. 

Some homeowners see overly coordinated colors as bland or uninspiring. This Instagram Image shows how wood trims that don’t match the floor or walls can still look great.

I hope this helps you out when you’re thinking about whether or not it’s a good idea to get that wood trim painted white!

David Harper

I'm David, and I've been a craft & woodworking enthusiast for over 10 years. Sanders Guide is the place where I share some tips, tricks and reviews on all things DIY, tools and of course sanding!

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