It’s My Dream Home Except For One Problem– The Wood Trim

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Dear Laurel,

I found you when I was looking up colors to go with stained wood trim. And I love that post, but here’s my deal.

My h and I just went to contract on my dream home in Philly. It was built in the late 19th century. You know… charm to burn with super high ceilings, fireplaces and these amazingly gorgeous windows with really dark wood trim.

Here’s the problem. I’ve been trying to plan colors and BTW, I got your new paint collection and the palettes with the boards and boy is it ever fantastic! But what I noticed is that nearly every board has painted trim. That’s fine. That’s what I want.

Well… the other night, I was showing h some of my ideas. In our past home, he let me do whatever I wanted and was happy. When I told him that we had to paint the dark horrid trim, all of sudden, he was very unhappy.

No wait. That is a tremendous understatement. We had one of the biggest fights we’ve ever had and believe me, we rarely argue. He’s normally a very sweet, kind man. But, he was adamant that we are not to touch the trim.

WHAT???

It’s soooo dark and I want light and lovely– airy and not that much contrast between the trim and walls. In addition, there’s one room, where the entire thing is brown. It’s definitely a library or office.

I just don’t want to live in my dream home that’s marred with the darkness of wood trim.

Oh, and I’ve looked a bit at homes of our vintage and I see plenty with painted wood trim!

I don’t need to have every room be white or light, but I just want my home to be bright and fresh looking.

If you could write a post about this, that would be great. I’m not expecting free advice.

Best,

Faye T.

PS: I have looked online for some ideas and everything I came up with was pretty bad.

 

Hi Everyone,

It’s the day after the election and all I can and will say on the blog is that I am very grateful that I had this post to write. And I’m grateful for all of you!

Faye’s problem is one I’ve heard over and over.

And over.

If you missed the above, I have written about paint colors that look great with stained wood trim. And here’s what’s funny. I too, struggled (at first) to find some photos online that weren’t already in that post!

But, with time, I found some wonderful interiors with many examples of gorgeous rooms with wood trim.

Before I get to them, though… An interesting question was raised in Faye’s note.

 

Can you, should you paint stained wood trim, especially in a late 19th century historical home?

 

As far as I’m concerned, sure, why not? It’s wood. It’s historically accurate to paint or have the wood stained. Although, in Victorian times, the stained wood was more popular.

It’s a fact of genetics, (sweeping generalizations aside) men LOVE stained wood. It’s not that they don’t like painted wood. It’s my experience that once it’s painted, they like that too. But wood that’s already stained needs to stay that way.

I see it as a change of color. It’s like saying that all trim needs to be white and if you paint it some other color, it’s sacrilege.

Of course, you are free to disagree with me and yes, there are some situations where it’s probably better to leave the wood trim in it’s stained state.

So, let’s just jump in here. Most of these photos are from homes built in the 19th century or at least look like they are.

cupofjo_llm_homestpaul

Via Cup Of Joe

But this first one is more of a craftsman style home. I think the white looks very fresh here. But the room does get a good amount of light and the photo is a little over-exposed. That’s cheating, but what can you do? lol By the way, please check out the link above. This home is very pretty!

carolyn-veith-krienke-lonny-wood-trim-pale-walls-simple-furnishingsVia Lonny

The home of Carolyn Veithe Kreinke

photo: Genevieve Garruppo

I love the simple furnishings and black chairs which look very stylish here. Mixing in a modern pendant is just the right touch for this style.

 

dining-area-white-walls-with-stained-wood-trim

Source unknown

Sometimes, the mouldings and doors are a combination of painted and stained.

Towles Residence

Above and below, the wonderful work of Sheila Bridges. I love the combo of the painted mouldings with the stained doors and light gray walls.

sheila-bridges-historic-brownstone-decor-dark-wood-stain-doors-and-white-trim-1

 

barbara-westbrook-living-room-atlanta-symphony-showhouse-2014-photo-emily-jenkins-followill

One of my favorite rooms ever by the immensely talented Barbara Westbrook for the Atlanta Symphony Showhouse 2014. I hope that mural is removable!

john-oetgen-atlanta-symphony-showhouse-2014-photo-emily-jenkins-followill-beautiful-dark-stained-wood-trim

From the same showhouse by John Oetgen. Fabulous windows!

tish-mills-atlanta-symphony-showhouse-2014-photo-emily-jenkins-followill

And another showhouse bedroom from Tish Mills.

Layering and drapes softens the wood trim so that you barely notice it.

homeplace-tennessee-family-estate-via-garden-and-gun-photo-credit-caroline-allison

Garden and Gun

Love this blue and white toile wallpaper with the stained wood trim.

via-my-domaine-and-milk-decoration-photo-andrea-chu-entry-with-stained-wood-wainscoting

Originally from My Domaine, but there’s a lousy ad (grrrrr) covering up the images, so easier to see below.

Milk Decoration

This photo and the next three are from an amazing home in Brooklyn, NY.

via-my-domaine-and-milk-decoration-photo-andrea-chu-cool-wood-stain-kitchen-cabinets-with-wood-trim

How fabulous is this kitchen? It reminds me of an old-fashioned apothecary.

via-my-domaine-and-milk-decoration-photo-andrea-chu-stained-wood-trim-bathroom

Love how the wood trim cuts through all of the cool elements in this wonderful bathroom.

via-my-domaine-and-milk-decoration-photo-andrea-chu-dark-walls-with-wood-trim

I like how they chose a deep gray shade which is great for a change. Very handsome!

photo-patricia-lyons-dark-brown-wood-trim-via-garden-and-gun

Above and below via Garden and Gun.

While this is a gorgeous home, I have to admit that here, I would prefer it if just the front door was stained and the rest painted. Another option is to paint the walls a color so that the wood trim isn’t so prominent.

via-garden-and-gun

 

sean-fennessy-brownstone-brown-and-white-via-my-domaine

Photo: Sean Fennessy

In this wonderful home, the wood trim is distinctly part of a dark chocolate-brown and white color scheme.

sean-fennessy-photo-australian-brownstone

 

barbara-purdy-design-wonderful-living-room-with-wood-stained-trim-photo-michael-graydon

Barbara Purdy

If the trim is a little lighter, then the walls can be a medium tone that also helps the mouldings to blend in more.

steven-gambrel-portfolio-interiors-library

Steven Gambrel

park-slope-brownstone-chiango-and-co

Chango & Co.

This room doesn’t have stained wood trim, but the over-scale mirrors do. I love how they expand the room and bring in a lot of light.

lonny-brownstone-scott-francis-with-dark-stained-trim-and-ceiling-living-room

Lonny

Finishing off with a very handsome room by Scott Francis with copious amounts of espresso bean brown trim and coffered ceiling too!

dwang-photo-scott-francis-gramercy-park-home-dark-stained-trim

I think that this is a gorgeous home, but a part of me wants to see the walls in a color–perhaps a red? But I could be talked out of it. :] What do you think?

xo,

Laurel-e1443573876689

PS: TIME IS RUNNING OUT! Only FOUR more days until the price increase for all products.

If you own a paint collection and wish to purchase the new paint palettes (with the boards and furnishings), you were just sent the promo code again and a link to the purchase page. If you don’t see that email, please check your spam folder.

The purchase page is here.

You can also add-on a rolodex if you like from that page. Just put the new paint palette product in your cart and you will be given the option to add the rolodex.

You can also purchase a rolodex by clicking here.

Any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

  • Armen Sarkisian - February 17, 2017 - 2:22 AM

    Hi Laurel:

    I have a Spanish style home with dark walnut doors and dark trim so this particular topic really helped me.

    Since it’s a Spanish style house, many recommend just painting the entire interior white. Of the BM whites, I like Linen White. It gives the walls a nice almost aged look, but I just can’t see myself painting everything white. I’m sold on painting the dining room a deep red, such as BM Caliente and so far the sample has looked really good.

    My dilemma now is how to harmonize the space with colors that don’t clash. Would golds and greens blend well together in rooms that can see into the deep red dining room? If so, any particular BM green or gold colors you know of that might complement well with a deep red?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 17, 2017 - 2:26 AM

      Hi Armen,

      Sounds like you could use the help of a local professional designer to help you sort things out. It’s impossible from where I’m sitting. Best of luck with that. ReplyCancel

  • Beth Doriani - January 29, 2017 - 1:03 AM

    I just discovered your blogs and read every word and comment of this one and “The stained wood trim stays.” So helpful! Question: I notice that often in your photos, the trim near the ceiling is painted, but the rest of the trim is not. Is that the case, do you see this often? Also, is it ok to paint just some of the woodwork but not all? If so, what would you leave stained? Would it make sense to paint the woodwork on one floor but not the other? I have a c. 1980s house with lots of stained wood trim and wood floors. If I had to commit to painting all of it, I would never take on the job — so much work! But if I could just commit to painting some of it, not all of it, well, I would love to do it. But I don’t want it to look dorky and half-done. Your thoughts? Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - January 29, 2017 - 1:17 AM

      Hi Beth,

      I so wish I could help you. I am currently receiving dozens of queries such as this one and it’s not possible for me to give an answer because I can’t see what you’re talking about.

      My best suggestion would be to hire someone locally for a consult.ReplyCancel

  • Sandy - December 2, 2016 - 10:11 AM

    This scenario reminds me of people who move into my heavily-treed neighborhood and proceed to bulldoze the yards. Why don’t they move into a treeless subdivision in the first place? And why do people who want painted trim acquire and deface houses full of Arts and Crafts style quarter-sawn white oak by painting it over?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - December 2, 2016 - 11:23 AM

      Hi Sandy,

      Well… there are a lot of tasteless, tacky people in the world. I guess they want to live in the neighborhood and don’t want their light blocked. But leveling them all is a crying shame! ReplyCancel

  • Cate Corcoran - November 19, 2016 - 8:11 AM

    Hi Laurel — Thank you for this post. I am a devoted reader. Just want to put in my two cents about painted wood work, a topic near and dear to my heart. It goes in an out of fashion like everything else. Houses in the early to mid-19th century tended to have painted wood work. Later 19th century houses typically had stained wood work. In the examples above, for example, the house in Garden and Gun likely had painted wood work originally. The apothecary example is late 19th century and the wood work would have been stained originally. (BTW, it’s Pilar Guzman’s house in Park Slope and was featured in Martha Stewart.) In my own house, I’ve been surprised to find that the same colors that look good with painted wood also work with stained wood — anything from very pale to medium values. Wallpaper also works well with ornate late 19th century wood work — it seems to cry out for pattern. What doesn’t seem to work as well, however, in my experience, is plain white walls with dark wood trim. It just seems to make both look cheap and unfinished. Thanks again for this post and all your posts. Love your blog.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 19, 2016 - 11:32 AM

      Hi Cate,

      Thanks so much. I agree with all and the last part too about white with dark, unless, it is done with a deft hand and a scheme that’s brown and white. It’s actually a more modern decor. So, if that’s done in that style, it can be very nice, but it usually isn’t.ReplyCancel

  • Paula Van Hoogen - November 13, 2016 - 12:54 PM

    Here’s how I attempt to overcome the painted wood issue. [note:
    we live in the mountains where the “rustic” look is enshrined on it’s own pedestal.] If the wood walls or beams are a FINE wood, as in walnut, pecky cypress, mahogany, or some exotic or carved or finely inlaid, I recommend a pass on painting. BUT–if it is pine with 1000’s of knots, for heaven’s sake paint that goldy- orangy, mess with the stinkin’ brown dots. What are you glorifying about it? It gets WORSE as it ages. And boy do we have a boatload of it around here!In this particular area, it is 75 degrss n summer when the rest of the country is sweltering.
    Thus, most people come here in summer.It’s a second home, vacation, summer resort. People fall in love with the pine walls, floors & ceilings AT FIRST. Then, they arrive in summer, and realize that ALL of their favorite linens (except for real linen or white, look lousy against the wood. Night time is even worse. The over abundance of dark surfaces render a dark, dreary evening light. Same with cloudy days. I know this gal will have to live for a time with her dark wood trim, and that SOMEDAY he may relent.
    Laurel, you gave some great classic examples of how it all could look, so, hopefully, she’ll work around it for now. The relationship is FAR more important than getting your way.
    Same with lousy tile in a bathroom, that you can’ afford to rip out—IGNORE IT. Work WITH it.
    (Sometimes I am tempted to ask whether the hub would like to be told what type of motorcycle to buy, or tool, or golf club.)
    Nevermind, when all else fails…..PRAY about it!
    Paula Van Hoogen.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 13, 2016 - 4:34 PM

      Hi Paula,

      Yes, for the fugly pine. We have a fair amount of it here in NY too in homes built in the 60’s. It’s usually an office or den. And it always looks so much better painted. I often paint it a warm khaki color and if the knots are really obnoxious, we fill those in a little too.
      ReplyCancel

    • Paula Van Hoogen - November 13, 2016 - 1:22 PM

      Ha! didn’t know it was fictitious–but OH YEAH is it ever common!ReplyCancel

  • Judith Smith - November 11, 2016 - 8:52 PM

    Hi laurel, looked at a beautiful home today, lots of natural light and neutral colors, but the darkest wood fireplace! All I could think about was painting the fireplace, should I buy the house. Some people can’t live in dark interiors, including me – it messes up my emotional state, lol.

    Seriously, there is something about guys and stained wood. I think they find it masculine, and again some people don’t give themselves permission to paint wood. Different things drive our choices. For me, the home has to be an emotional investment. I do consider resale, but I look more at the years of joy I can get out of a house. I want to smile, first thing in the mornings, and know I’m in the right place.

    Love your blog!ReplyCancel

  • Laurel Bern - November 11, 2016 - 3:58 PM

    Hi Naomi,

    We always say if the tile or trim is a bad color, paint the walls a similar color and it won’t be bad any longer.ReplyCancel

  • Dodie - November 10, 2016 - 6:24 PM
    • Laurel Bern - November 10, 2016 - 7:06 PM

      Hi Dodie,

      That’s a lot of house! ReplyCancel

      • Dodie - November 11, 2016 - 10:04 PM

        Haha! Yes, they can be rather large down here.
        I started following you almost 2 years ago. you were the first blog I found and the one I feel the most connected to. Thank you for the inspirations and laughs. Love your spirit.ReplyCancel

  • Jacqueline Duran - November 10, 2016 - 2:40 PM

    Hello Laurel,
    Love your site. Please help. Live in a tiny space and I mean tiny. The living room has a wall of book shelves, light white 5 from Ikea, two small windows that face the front of building and are immediatley facing you when you enter the living room.

    The couch takes up the midde of the room, Pink Tufted Novogratz futon from Walmart, my budget is tinier than the room. Was thinking of painting the walls with the two windows a darker grey and the rest on the same palatte only lighter.

    Thank you and appreciate your recommendations.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 10, 2016 - 7:03 PM

      Hi Jacqueline,

      I’m so sorry but it’s impossible for me to give any recommendations based on a description. However, I’m not big on the two-toned thing, unless it makes architectural sense. In other words, all four walls should be the same color. ReplyCancel

  • Paula - November 10, 2016 - 2:36 PM

    I live in a 1886 house with a lot of medium-dark woodwork. The craftsmanship and detail is just not found in newer homes. Refinishing it can be costly, but it is lovely, warm and does not require the maintenance. It does not chip or show dirt and it has looked good for 14 years now. I think of it now as cozy with the right touches. My hubby wanted to keep it all stained. Our compromise- 2nd and 3rd floors are all painted trim, White Dove. We kept stained woodwork on the first floor. My living room was painted white when we moved in and and I have not changed it. I painted the walls, trim and inner face of door in the powder room a deep purple. I picked my trim to paint carefully! After 15 years I finally can say I understand pretty well how to work with it. But it took a few years. The current white and black trend agrees with the wood as the photos above show. Each room needs a bit of both IMO even if the walls have some color. I love when some doors or moldings have been painted, some stained in the same room. That is my kitchen, original quartersawn oak cabinets and molding w new painted ones added a few years ago. Then I also painted a couple doors BM Chelsea Grey, looks awesome w wood trim. Decorators and friends in the past have told me it would not look right to paint some trim here or there but I like it and now it seems in fashion. Thanks to those NY brownstones! As far as dark navy goes, yes! My dining room has been BM Deep Royal for 7 years, it does not compete w the oak but somehow manages to make it looks great, pretty neutral and also envelops the room. I have a black glossy table there too. Reflects light, does not compete w wood. My foyer has wood paneling except for a 2 foot band across the top. I tried so many colors then found that a modern silver and grey geometric pattern paper complements it. Sounds crazy but works. My family room w much wood paneling is BM Going to the Chapel, a warm gray cream w tinge of green. Plus red persian rugs and bright, modern artwork across the house. I found either very light, say white or light grey and/or dark sofas and chairs work well w the wood work. Unless you want it to recede or match the woodwork. I too wish there were more recent photos out there. I love color but don’t like the traditional wood paint suspects, the golds, rusts, and burgundies. I know the trend right now is white, white and white but stained wood is a classic and it works w white. Natural light and layered lighting plus plants can make wood feel organic and fresh. But in the end you have to feel comfortable in your home. I do suggest waiting and trying out different things. I am glad that I did not paint my wood, and if my hubby would have agreed, I would have. I have seen and been in older homes totally painted and they are lovely but I really cherish the natural variation and dents and such in stained wood. Anyhow love the site, the advice, and the comments!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 10, 2016 - 7:00 PM

      Hi Paula,

      Your home sounds gorgeous! And it’s a great rule of thumb that most rooms need both white and black elements. (kitchens and baths aside).

      One of my paint collection colors is Deep Royal. It is the perfect navy and it is also a color that goes with EVERYTHING!ReplyCancel

  • Emily Basham - November 10, 2016 - 1:17 PM

    Hubby and I replaced the flat hollow doors that came with the house with solid paneled doors which we, of course, stained. I gave myself permission to replace existing stained “base” molding (it was really door casing, how cheap!) with taller, painted white base and shoe. But I wouldn’t think of changing the molding around the doors to painted until I saw your examples. You are absolutely right about men thinking wood must be stained, never painted. Did they all decide this among themselves in the high school locker rooms? Thanks for the beautiful post.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 10, 2016 - 6:55 PM

      Hi Emily,

      I think the stained wood goes back to when we lived in caves. lol not that it’s bad, just an ingrained thing in many people’s DNA.ReplyCancel

  • Susie - November 10, 2016 - 10:42 AM

    I see a lot of blue and white (love blue and white) which is a stark contrast to the dark trim. Maybe should have had a pattern that incorporated some brown in it to soften the blow. Got to side with the hubby on this one, love gorgeous old woodwork. My condo has cheapy-looking maple. Yuck. But sucking up and putting up with it for now since the pocketbook is empty. Long live blue and white!!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - November 10, 2016 - 9:18 AM

    1. Your insights, talent, skills, and blog are most helpful and uplifting. Thank you.

    2. I’ve lived in an ALL dark wood mountain home. Very large windows and natural light help–a lot. As does white most everything else. A bit of black (?!) really helps–makes the wood seem not so dark, and provide energizing contrast. Simplicity in decor is most helpful. (As all of your examples illustrate).

    3. I now live in a home w/ dark stained trim and smaller windows, ’cause hubs felt like your writer’s h. And…after years of negotiating, have finally, painted out the trim. Glory hallelujah! It makes such a big difference in our home and in my spirit, you wouldn’t believe it. My advice: just do it!!!!! He will love it too.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 10, 2016 - 12:33 PM

      Hi Stephanie,

      Great story and true in my experience as well!ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia Lambert - November 10, 2016 - 8:50 AM

    I almost never agree with men’s opinions, but in this case, hubby is right. If one is fortunate enough to have original stained wood trim, then it would be a mistake to cover it. With the right paint colours, it will still look fresh, and the contrast will lend warmth. A lot of interiors today tend to be very blanched and overly sterile (in the name of being fresh) and that is not a good thing. Humour him! Pick your wall colours carefully and you will be very surprised at how much you like it. What people don’t understand is that it doesn’t make sense to impose your will upon a house. Be true to the house. It was designed to be that way. If you want 20th/21st century, then by all means, buy that. But don’t force 21st century sensibilities on a 19th century house.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 10, 2016 - 12:32 PM

      Hi Cynthia,

      Actually, while much was stained in the late 19th century, not everything was. Part of it might be regional. Not quite sure about that one. But, both are absolutely correct and actually, I find that painted is far more common.

      If for instance one searches for “brownstone interiors” on pinterest, here is what I found.

      https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=brownstone%20interiors&rs=remove&term_meta%5B%5D=brownstone%7Ctyped&term_meta%5B%5D=interiors%7Ctyped&remove_refine=19th%7Ctyped

      I don’t like to think in absolutes about things like this. While I respect what others think and certainly if one is horrified at the thought of painting over a stained wood, then absolutely, don’t do it. But if one really does not like it and it’s also historically accurate, I see no reason not to.

      It’s not always an easy question. My point was to go with the fictional hubby (based on real hubbies) and still get the light, airy sophisticated look she was hoping to have.ReplyCancel

  • Betty - November 10, 2016 - 8:19 AM

    I have to say that I am drooling over the beautiful huge window in the bathroom and the subway tile – absolutely gorgeous. I do have to wonder how chilly sitting in that tub next to a window would be, but I’d deal with it LOL I’m huge fan of dark natural wood mouldings, I’d love for my present home to have natural wood, but of course it is painted even though the house was built in 1900. If my moulding and trim were natural dark wood I never would have been able to paint my kitchen walls dark blue. So white or natural its what works for a person and their tastes.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 10, 2016 - 12:21 PM

      Hi Betty,

      Actually, despite popular belief, I think that one can paint the walls dark blue with dark trim. I have some examples in the other post with dark walls and trim, but yes, there is color and/or lots of white and big windows. But I think the examples look great.

      https://laurelberninteriors.com/2015/07/19/the-stained-wood-trim-stays-what-colors-will-work-with-it/

      I’m sure that there are some other images sprinkled through here as well.

      ReplyCancel

      • Betty - November 11, 2016 - 4:26 AM

        The examples are wonderful, I would never have thought dark paint and dark wood trim go could happily hand in hand. Thanks so much, as always I appreciate your fun blog.ReplyCancel

  • Allyson Kirkpatrick - November 10, 2016 - 6:41 AM

    I worked on the Atlanta Symphony Showhouse and that fabulous Barbara Westbrook room already had the wall mural (antique fabric)! Per the home’s owner, we were not allowed to paint the wood trim, thus, the designers worked around it (with angst in some cases) and turned it into an asset.ReplyCancel

    • Deborah J Ellenburg - November 10, 2016 - 6:31 PM

      It is absolutely beautiful too!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 10, 2016 - 12:13 PM

      Hi Allyson,

      Wow! Thank you for that insider info. I did notice that all of the trim is stained in that showhouse which of course, made it great for my purposes. I can understand why some designers were pulling their hair out because it is not part of their vocabulary. But perhaps, it was a learning experience as they figured out how to make it work and brilliantly too!ReplyCancel

  • Joni - November 10, 2016 - 6:04 AM

    I’m in the same predicament. I have found, though, that when I use the wood-friendly colors that our awesome blogger has recommended, pure magic follows! Stick to that list and you can’t go wrong!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 10, 2016 - 12:12 PM

      Hi Joni,

      Haha! Thanks so much! I appreciate the plug. My point here, is to present it a little bit differently. There’s far less color in these rooms which is another way to approach this. But, then especially, the wood colors are an integral part of the color scheme, more than ever!ReplyCancel

  • Anna Mac - November 10, 2016 - 4:50 AM

    Just went through this in real life. The main living spaces were redone in 2007 using fluted oak, 6 inch base, designer Pella’s, everything stained a medium caramel. All the builder doors were replaced with solid oak, horizontal 5-panels stained the same color. Although recently repainted a silvery gray from the original light sage, these rooms are still beautiful to me.

    Now, the addition, windows everywhere, a darker large scale rectangular porcelain (French doors off a northern exposure and too many pets). The kitchen is glazed white. The designer had everything set up for painted trim. The Minister of Finance went through the roof. Soooo, the designer suggested we paint the trim but leave the Pella’s stained the caramel. While I was very skeptical, it turned out well. The trim speaks to the kitchen while the windows themselves recede. It works.

    I like the statement made earlier about using light trim to draw the eye out, but suspect it is not true. The large living room bay here has the caramel stain that seems to make the view of our acreage absolutely glow.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 10, 2016 - 12:09 PM

      Hi Anna,

      It all sounds gorgeous! And I love your last statement because it infers something I was thinking which is it might depend what’s outside the window!

      Plus, there’s the trim AND the wall color, + what else is going on in the room. Are there a lot of details which keep one’s inside the space?

      It’s an interesting notion, but for instance, in this post where the view is everything, I kept the furnishings and colors as if they are a part of the outside, thereby bringing it all together into one integrated design element.

      https://laurelberninteriors.com/2016/07/31/bought-ugly-house/ReplyCancel

  • Maryanne - November 9, 2016 - 11:05 PM

    I grew up with amazing stained woodwork in my grandmother’s house, and the disdain and disappointment my parents had that the woodwork in our apartment had been painted. “You don’t paint beautiful wood” was the rule. I took that to heart for a while, and consequently have learned to love wood…but I am over the staining and now love the look of white painted moldings. That said: I love the images you posted of the light neutral and white walls with the stained woodwork. High ceilings and large windows allow for that airy and fresh feel the writer wants. The white walls make the trim look like, well, wood….as opposed to “brown” or “dark.” I’m thinking you could get the fresh and airy look with white walls. IMO, I’d get rid of that wallpaper in the hall and paint white and decorate with natural and neutral colors. Loving it…ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 9, 2016 - 11:15 PM

      Hi Maryanne,

      It’s funny what we take with us from our childhoods. Actually, painted wood throughout the last 250 years has been far more prevalent than stained, architecturally speaking. Thanks for stopping by.ReplyCancel

  • Libby - November 9, 2016 - 11:02 PM

    The over-exposed photo is a conceit and I wish it would go away. I don’t like light colored walls with stained woodwork and only the very plainest woodwork in a vintage home (Queen Anne, Italianate, Stick-Style, Craftsman, etc) should be painted. I like the rich colors of paint and wallpaper of that era and re-colored and rich colors that are in favor now are beautiful, too.

    i can highly recommend the Rolodex – I have it. I don’t have the Paint Collections. They look marvelous and if I can swing it I will pick it up. Thanks for the reminder and thanks for the blog. It is a wonderful, rich endeavor that always bears re-reading. A blog with a wonderful “back” catalog that continues to teach and inspire.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 9, 2016 - 11:11 PM

      Hi Libby,

      Believe it or not, I darkened it up a little! I don’t get that overexposed look either. But, it really was not easy finding rooms that were A) decent photos, B) nicely furnished. The reality is that stained wood trim is definitely not in vogue at this time. I think it’s a long-standing revolt from the revolting 70’s lol.

      Glad you’re enjoying your rolodex!ReplyCancel

  • Joan - November 9, 2016 - 10:08 PM

    Just a question. A decorator once told me, draw your sight outside with white(light) trim. Keep it in with dark. Do you think this? I love dark trim, but my view is too spectacular to keep it inside.ReplyCancel

    • Paula Van Hoogen - November 13, 2016 - 1:15 PM

      Try this: place a white border behind a photo. Now try black.
      You will see that the black mat makes the photo pop.
      Same with a dark window, ( I’m not saying the trim here, just the window itself.) I purposely chose dark stained windows, surrounded by Linen White (BM) trim. It followes an historic
      model seen in older homes in Boston, and in historic homes in Virginia.ReplyCancel

      • Laurel Bern - November 13, 2016 - 4:35 PM

        I had a client last year who did black trim with off-white walls. They loved it. There’s a post here somewhere about it. Summer of 2015.ReplyCancel

    • Maureen - November 10, 2016 - 9:43 AM

      I was given the same advice a very long time ago, Joan. I believe it to be mostly true.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 9, 2016 - 10:27 PM

      I never heard that before.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - November 9, 2016 - 10:07 PM

    i’m also very happy you had this post to write Laurel:) OMG so many gorgeous rooms. Just gorgeous. I come from a land of painted trims..or do I? Lol. In short..I think these are so, so beautiful, and I think I pinned them all, I totally went bananas, sorry.
    I also want to say that I deeply enjoy the palette collection, and I already “traveled” to Ruby Lane and whatnot..Also, I’m just in the middle of reading, but I think you’ve just convinced me to maybe not sell one mirror I have to sell; I’m happy to see you also like Medina curtains; and if I was using BM (and not Dunn Edwards)-my main neutral would probably be the closest to Niveous? Even though I never saw Niveous in real life(or if I did, I didn’t know it was Niveous).I just don’t see how it’s snowy..mine, is already more like snow in the early evening..lanterns and all. I’m perplexed!(c))ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 9, 2016 - 10:25 PM

      Hi Jenny,

      Please don’t apologize for pinning everything. I want everyone to pin everything! haha.

      And glad you’re enjoying the new guide. I think it’s pretty special too!ReplyCancel

  • Beverly Gozzarino - November 9, 2016 - 9:47 PM

    Faye,
    Anyone can have painted trim, but only the lucky few have real wood, and its probably quality wood at that. I once had a home built in 1949 with dark stained trim which was not what I was used to seeing. If I had lived there longer I might have been tempted to paint them, in which case it would have ended up looking like the homes you see everywhere. My suggestion is to live with the selections of the original owner/builder that were unique to that time, and use medium tones on the walls so that there isn’t such a strong contrast between the two, plus beautiful fabric on the windows. Lucky you to have such a special home.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 9, 2016 - 10:23 PM

      Hi Beverly,

      Thanks for stopping by. The suggestions won’t matter because the story is fictitious, however. And I wouldn’t tell someone who’s not paying me, what to do. lol And even then, there are always choices. ReplyCancel

  • Kathy barry - November 9, 2016 - 9:44 PM

    I love the look of the dark wood, especially with white walls.ReplyCancel

  • Elle - November 9, 2016 - 9:04 PM

    I would give ANYTHING to have a houseful of natural Victorian woodwork! I would happily commit felonies. It’s a dream my husband shares with me. I adore natural woodwork more than anything (except maybe high ceilings) and all the lovely examples shown here are why. It’s gorgeous, warm, rich-looking, sophisticated, and nothing gives a room more character. Paint is supposed to cover what’s unappealing or boring, Paint is what you use to console yourself when you DO NOT have natural woodwork, which is the gift of the gods. As long as it hasn’t been “ebonized” to blackness or pickled some sickly gray, you’re the luckiest homeowner ever . . . in my book at least.

    Listen to your husband — for just this once —and leave that wood alone!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - November 9, 2016 - 10:19 PM

      Thanks for stopping by Elle. The character is fictitious but based clients and/or letters I’ve received.ReplyCancel

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