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!

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