Best Wall Colors for Stained Trim

October 17, 2011

[pinterest]                                                                                                                                                                                      source

I was recently asked this decorating question by one of my readers: “I am looking for paint colors that would look good with my walnut stained woodwork and doors. Most everything I see now has white woodwork and doors. Do you have any suggestions?”


It’s true. A majority of the interior design photos you see now are all in white including the trim and doors. I personally do not like the look of a bright white color for the walls with stained trim. Nor do I like this look below of wood doors with white trim:


Instead of a stark white to work with stained woodwork, I always suggest using a beiger, creamier white because it does not make the woodwork stand out and scream.  Look at the photo below which is mascarpone af-20:


I think the color is too ‘clean’ and bright with the wood. Now take a look at the below image that features showing with harmony af-90, which has more beige in it, with the dark stain wood:


Just remember that pure, bright white colors look best paired with ‘clean’ bright colors and off-whites and creamier colors look best with browns and beige.

I also am not a fan of the lighter paint colors with the wood trim:

I think the woodwork is sticking out to obviously in this above photo. Wouldn’t you agree that the trim would work better in the room if it was painted a pure, clean white?

What I do really love is the look of the stained wood trim together with medium to dark colors on the wall:


House Beautiful

So gorgeous!


So my advice on choosing wall colors for dark trim? If you are looking for a soft, fresher look, I suggest using creamy or beige off-white colors instead of a pure white hues. Or, if you are looking for a bolder and more contemporary look, I would suggest using a medium to darker color for the walls which will work beautifully together with the stained wood trim. I love! medium to deeper shades of grays, blues and greens with the darker woodwork.

You can see more inspirational photos of painted rooms with stained trim here.

Comments? Please? All photos used are from pinterest. If you have not visited pinterest yet, go there immediately! You will love it.

If you need help choosing paint colors for your home or office, contact me today!




  1. Love natural wood interior trim. White woodwork is so boring, and now walls are gray and dull as well.
    We chose to use a dark rosewood stain for the woodwork (looks so rich and deep). Light Buff yellow GLOSS for the walls and ceiling for our north coast cottage. Stone for the floors (because of all the sand and pebbles).
    It looks like a jewel of a small house. It literally reminds one of a ship out at sea.
    My advice is to leave the drab and monocromatic whites and grays behind. Celebrate color. Look at nature for your cues.

  2. hi kelly,
    I have mahoany trim and doors throughout my home, and am going with a green color for the walls as you have mentioned.
    We are planning on putting in hardwood or laminate in the bedrooms/ livingroom but aren’t sure of what darkness/shade to go with. Should it match the trim color? Would the room have too much wood?

  3. Thanks for the post. I am trying to figure out what to paint our home we bought. It’s been over 6 months and I am stuck because we have wood trim the color of dark honey. the colors that are there now look peach when next to the trim and I am scared to replete their mistake. Maybe I will try and be bold with a darker color, but I also worry my small house with feel like a cave. Thanks for the food for thought. Best into I have found in my search so far.

  4. We have golden oak wood trim and kitchen cabinets of similar oak color. We are putting in caladonia granite countertop and are trying to determine a wall color that we can carry from the kitchen into the ‘great’ room area because there isn’t a very good breaking point for the kitchen. The larger living area will have hickory flooring (large color variation) and the kitchen already has a dark grey tile.

    Suggestions for wall colors?

    • Hi Chris,
      I do know that the wall color has a green undertone. On the computer it is hard to see but I think the color is BM Bleeker Beige HC-80. Hope this helps!

  5. I’m having such a hard time finding a color for my living room. I have had it painted three times in 20 months!! I have a entry way that looks exactly like the arched door photo. I love that paint paired with the trim and door. I know you said you thought bleaker Beige, but do you know for sure?? It looks a little bit green compared to the bleaker beige swatch. Thanks

    • Hi Heather,

      I tried to go back and find source but could not. I know the color is a green beige- It could be Bleeker Beige or Wheeling Neutral. Did you try to paint a large poster board with the color? So hard to see true colors through the computer.

  6. I have enjoyed this post to the utmost. So nice to see wood trim in all of its glory. The color combinations are gorgeous.

    I actually like the wood trim with the white walls in photo 7. Maybe because it has a fresh feel–one that is not trying too hard. I can see the sort of people who would be living here and I like them–unassuming–not looking like they live in the latest houzz/pinterest post.

  7. Most of my rooms have stained wood work. In choosing paint colors for the walls I too have noticed that some colors just don’t look good near the woodstained trim. It seems as if the warmer colors look best with stained trim and the cooler colors look best with white trim. I do like crown molding and I like it to be painted white however. Here is what I have found works for me. Stained wood trim, white crown molding, walls and ceiling painted the same color with the walls a couple of shades darker that ceiling. It makes the white crown pop, in a nice way. White ceiling and white crown….it gets lost.

    • It is true Jane- the warmer colors look best with stained trim and the cooler colors look best with white trim. It sounds like you have it figured out beautifully!

  8. I really love the picture with the wood framing. That’s gorgeous. I think I might want to get someone to come in and paint my trimming. My husband and I have been doing some major home renovations, and our white trimming doesn’t look very good with all of the new colors we’ve chosen. Do you have any advice on finding professional painters?

  9. Hi Kelly,
    We are remodeling our Italian Restaurant. I don’t know what color to paint the walls. The chairs will be dark red mahogany, The ceiling fans and the trim are also dark. I would love any input you can give me…Oh the floors are a light oak.

  10. We have lived in our house for about 4 years. The wood trim is very dark and I am wanting to update the living room (we painted when we moved in, but need to do something new). I would like to put up crown moulding and a chair rail, but am concerned about mixing wood colors. I like your ideas about using the softer tones with the dark wood, but can I use this color as a chair rail and crown moulding? I would be interested in paint ideas for the walls also! Thanks.

  11. love this article! I have been looking for inspiration and have found it in the 6th photo down- it is the one with the really dark walls against the wood trim. Do you happen to know the color pictured or a color name very similar? Thanks!

  12. I love the paint color in the last photo – with the bright artwork on the wall. Do you have any idea what color that is? I think it would go great with our stained woodwork. Thanks!

      • Thanks for the quick reply, Kelly! I’m confused – it looks like Shadow is a deep purple (and I see that BM just named it the color of the year for 2017!), but that last picture looks like a taupe (maybe it has some green in it, it’s hard to tell with the lighting). And the second photo on my display is the all white room with the fuchsia settee.

        • I made you confused! Sorry about that Penne. I was looking at today’s post and thought that was what you were talking about. I see you meant wall colors for stained trim. The last photo- I do not know the color but it is similar to BM Creekside Green 2141-40.

          • Ah, that makes sense. I guess I’m only a few years behind! Thanks so much for the color guess – that seems like a good match.

  13. Seems odd that you would say , “Nor do I like this look below of wood doors with white trim:, and then praise 2 photos showing just that – dark wood doors with white trim

    • You are very observant! I have never noticed the white trim boards until you mentioned them. I always was looking at the stained doors and trim with the paint colors. Same thought applies though- I do not care for the lighter wall colors with stained trim. I like a medium to darker wall color.

  14. Will be painting my living room walls a taupe color and I have walnut trim. What color would you suggest for the front foyer and an accent wall?

  15. Trim question… 🙂 We have a log cabin with light ponderosa pine walls throughout most of the house (walls have a good amount of dark brown knots throughout), (same ponderosa pine walls down our hallway as well), and all door trims, window trims, and baseboards in most of the house (so far – which leads into my question…) are all of the same dark brown (Espresso) wood stain (including around all hallway door). Bedrooms will be painted. I was trying to go for a lighter, more subdued/natural feel, more neutral tones, in our master bedroom & master bath (not as “rich” as the rest of the house)… But does the color of wood stain for the trim on the bedroom side of the door have to be the same color wood stain (the Espresso) as the hallway side of the door? And if so, must the windows/closet/baseboard trim in the master bed & bath then also need to be that same color wood stain (the Espresso) as well? (Our GC said he’s never seen it done to have one trim color on one side of the door and a different one on the other and doesn’t think it’ll look right – I guess he’s thinking of like if you’re standing in the kitchen looking down the hallway and the door is open/seeing that through the jamb will look odd (??)). (Also just FYI we’re doing a different color wood stain for all the hallway doors – doors will all be same color, something in a medium shade I’m thinking, to balance the light pine walls and dark Espresso trim)….. So again I’m just wondering if I’m bound to do the same color wood stain (Espresso) for the trim on the bedroom side as well? And if so, if all the trim (windows/closets/baseboards) in those rooms (bed & bath) would need to be the Espresso color. Or could I “get away with” doing the wood trims in master bed/bath somewhat of a lighter color wood stain? I see it’s been a couple years since anyone posted on this thread… 🙂 but if you have any thoughts or advice I would SO much appreciate…. Thanks for anything…!! 😀 Stacey

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