Wood trim is a classic feature of many older homes. While some homeowners love the warmth and character it adds, others find it outdated and dark. If you’re struggling to love your wood trim, it could be that the wall color is creating a visual distraction for you. Choosing the right neutral paint color to go with your wood trim can not only save you the cost and labor of painting all that woodwork but add a special kind of beauty and warmth to your home that’s hard to replicate.
Contrast or Calm?
A great wall paint color will either contrast with your wood tones to help them stand out or calm them down so that they soften and blend. For example, a pretty beige might harmonize with orange-toned wood (similar hue families on the color wheel), whereas a soft gray-blue would offer more contrast and drama (opposite hue families). Both are beautiful, but they’re two completely different vibes. Generally speaking, when you’re staging or preparing a home for sale, keep large-scale color choices toned-down and harmonious. This is because it helps visually enlarge the space, and it gives potential buyers a more neutral canvas to envision the home as their own. It’s also what makes neutral paint a great choice for pairing with wood trim. *If you’re not planning to sell your home, you may want to explore more dramatic paint color options than you’ll find in this article.
This beautiful living room is a great example of a wall paint color that beautifully accents and contrasts with the wood trim. (Orange and blue are opposites on the color wheel, so it’s achieving the desired effect). Perfect for a homeowner who loves bright colors! If you’re planning to sell your home, however, this much contrast and drama are typically too overwhelming for buyers. Homeowners prepping for a home sale should opt for a more neutral, blended palette in order to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers.
So stop fighting your wood trim…let me show you how to work with it by updating your wall paint color!
A Few Key Points Before We Start
- What we’re talking about here is the color of the stain, not the species of the wood.
- Wood stained trim tends to make neutral wall paints appear lighter than they’d look against clean white trim.
- While choosing a paint color the exact same shade of your wood will give you a very consistent look, it can be a little too bland when you’re working with neutrals. I recommend selecting a paint color that is a bit lighter or darker in value than the color of your wood stain to give your room a little more dimension.
- Lighting is everything when evaluating color. Observe your paint samples in the room at different times of the day. Also think about when you use the room the most. Light changes throughout the day so make sure you like what you’re seeing. The type of light bulbs in your room will also have a huge effect your perception of paint color. Make sure you’re using the right ones.
- Never ever, ever, ever paint anything in your house without studying large swatch sheets of your paint samples. (We provide these at no additional charge to our virtual color consultation clients).
Want a personalized color plan for your home? Take a look at our Virtual Color Consultation Services, available to everyone, anywhere.
And now…let’s take a look at which neutral paint colors can make that wood trim work for you!
Red Wood Tones
The warmth of cherry, mahogany, and other red-stained woods can add a lot of beauty and depth to a space. This red is more apparent in certain light, at times making the wood can appear a tiny bit pink or even a muted purple.
Neutral Wall Paint Colors to Update Red Wood Tones
Certain taupes (like Benjamin Moore Pale Oak) and some warm grays that have just a tiny, tiny hint of violet softness (Benjamin Moore Collingwood or Abalone) work beautifully with this rich shade of wood. Red wood tones also pair well with beiges that fall a bit pink-orange (Sherwin-Williams Kilim Beige).
Wall paint in this room, Benjamin Moore Collingwood OC-28, looks beautiful against the rich red wood tones on the floor and stairway woodwork.
Orange Wood Tones
Woods with orange tones may fall a bit more to either the yellow or red side of the color wheel, but their predominant hue is still in the orange family.
Neutral Wall Paint Colors to Update Orange Wood Tones
Orange wood stains work well with paint colors from the same hue family — orange! This includes light, subtle beiges that aren’t overly warm (Benjamin Moore Muslin and Gentle Cream and Sherwin-Williams Navajo White and Softer Tan). Some warm grays can add a nice accent to orange-toned wood (Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist), but this may be a bit more contrast you’d want in a home that’s for sale.
The wall color in this room, Benjamin Moore Gentle Cream OC-96, is a beautiful, neutral balance to the orange-toned wood trim.
Yellow Wood Tones
Yellow-toned woods are pretty obviously yellow. Sometimes they can lean a bit into orange, and in the right light, they may pick up flashes of green or pink. You’ll see this color wood a lot in homes that were built in the 1990s when “honey oak” was all the rage.
Neutral Wall Paint Colors to Update Yellow Wood Tones
To harmonize yellow wood tones, opt for neutral wall paints from the yellow hue family. This includes understated tans (Sherwin-Williams Canvas Tan), some cream or beige paints (Sherwin-Williams Shoji White), and warm greige colors from the yellow hue family (Sherwin-Williams Amazing Gray).
Sherwin-Williams Shoji White 7042 is the perfect backdrop to show off the beauty of the yellow-toned wood cabinets in this contemporary bathroom.
Need a Little Color Help?
Whether you’re looking for a complete refresh of your space, experimenting with a new style, want to learn more about how to choose the right paint color, or just need a little professional guidance to help narrow down your paint color choices, we are here to help!
One Room Paint Color Report | Virtual
Need help choosing the best paint colors for your room? Then this is the (virtual) service for you! Based on your questionnaire responses and uploaded photos, we’ll create a personalized digital Paint Color Report just for you. We’ll also send you paint swatches! Click below to learn how it works or to get started!
Exterior Paint Color Report | Virtual
Ready to give your home exterior a fresh new look, but feeling overwhelmed with the decision? Get a little virtual help from the color experts at Three Bears Home Staging! Based on your questionnaire responses and uploaded photos, we’ll create a personalized digital Paint Color Report just for your home’s exterior. We’ll also send you paint swatches! Read below to learn how it works…
2 thoughts on “The Best Neutral Wall Paint Colors That Go With Wood Trim Molding”
I have honey oak kitchen cabinets and floors…. I have beige furniture in living room…. I will be painting both they are open… Can you tell me a color to paint my walls… I was wondering if gratifying gray will work… Thanks
So without seeing any photos of your specific space, I’ll say this: it depends on your goal. If you’re trying to make the wood stand out, you’ll probably want to go with a wall color that offers some contrast, like a gray from the Blue-Green hue family. If you’re planning to stage or sell your home, I’d recommend trying to camouflage or tone down the wood. In this case you’d want to go with a tan, cream, or reasonably warm greige. Gratifying Gray is a fairly new color to the Behr line, if I’m not mistaken. Based on its spectral data, it looks like it’s on the cooler side of the Yellow hue family. I think you’ll probably have better luck sticking to a warmer greige. I offer interior room color consultations if you’d like more personalized recommendations! https://threebearshomestaging.com/services-and-pricing/color-consultations/