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Frame it right – how to make the most of your home’s trims

From the Resene decorating blog

It’s the little things that count. Especially when it comes to a home’s interior. It’s easy to fall into thinking that once you’ve chosen your wall, your décor decisions are complete.

But trims – skirting boards, doors, window frames and ceilings – have a visual role to play in a home. You may be painting trims in a new home or retouching existing ones to give a room a new lease of life; whatever the case, it’s worth putting in the time and effort to find the right trim colour for your home.

A grey/blue dressing room

A sophisticated grey/pink dressing room

Grey/blue room: The grey undertones of the white trims in Resene Sea Fog allow it to resonate with the muted colours of Resene Dark Slate in the back wall, Resene Hermitage and Resene Destiny in the front walls. The pendant light is in Resene Zumthor, the desk is in Resene Destiny, round boxes in Resene Dark Slate, Resene Hermitage and Resene Zumthor, vase in Resene Zumthor and floor in Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.  Grey/pink room: The chalky porcelain of Resene Snow Drift is the perfect partner for these two walls. The main wall is in Resene Loblolly, with texture in Resene FX Paint Effects Medium tinted with Resene Half Gull Grey. The return wall is in Resene Sakura, with texture in Resene FX Paint Effects Medium tinted with Resene Quarter Blanc. The floor is in Resene Mercury and the desk is in Resene Snow Drift. Project by Melle Van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

Over time, trims endure a lot of wear and tear, being a ground level where the dust and dirt collects, and muddy shoes are not far away. So, keep them well maintained for the rest of the room to shine.

“Trims help emphasise the wall colour, and in more modern architectural homes help highlight the architecture of the home itself,” Amy Watkins, Colour Consultant at Resene, says. “The general rule is to go with a lighter variation of the main undertones in the wall colour. This variation helps reduce undertones coming out on the walls.”

Ultimately, you want your trim to complement your wall colour. If you have a yellow-based wall paint such as Resene Rice Cake, Amy says, drop down to Resene Quarter Bianca on the trims for a clean contrast between the two.

A bedroom painted in grey-black with greige tones

A bedroom painted in earthy tones

Bedroom with light brown headboard: The strong grey black of Resene Ebony Clay defines this bedroom, securing its greige tones. The main wall is in Resene Eighth Stonehenge and the return wall (at right) is in Resene Half Gin Fizz. The floor is in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, the slatted headboard is in Resene Double Stonehenge, the shelf is in Resene Ebony Clay, the lamp is in Resene Corvette, the mirror is in Resene Corvette, the tote bag is in Resene Corvette (bottom) and Resene Half Barely There (side pockets), the vases on the chair are in Resene Double Stonehenge (tall), Resene Half Barely There and Resene Rakaia (medium) and Resene Cinnamon (small), the DIY artworks are in Resene Corvette and Resene Rakaia and the cork tealight holder is in Resene Corvette. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.  Bedroom with copper brown headboard: A skirting board in the smoky grey of Resene Eighth Masala and a dado rail in Resene Ebony Clay work well in this shared bedroom full of earthy tones and whites. The lower wall is in Resene Rakaia, the upper wall in is Resene Half Athens Grey, the floor is in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, the curved headboard is in Resene Cinnamon, the painted shapes on the curtain are in Resene Eighth Masala, the painted shapes on the hanging organiser are in Resene Rakaia, the small bud vase is in Resene Cinnamon, the stool top is in Resene Blackjack and the hook rack is in Resene Ebony Clay. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

“In bungalows and villas that have features such as crown mouldings, paint these in a lighter colour to help emphasise colour undertones in the walls,” she says.

Experiment with different trim colour options on cardboard first, leaning your sample against the wall to see how it compares with the wall colour.

Staying in a similar family of cool or warm colours is beneficial when searching the right trim colour. Resonating with a deep, sumptuous wall colour such as a deep mossy green, Resene Quarter Thorndon Cream makes a complementary choice for trims as it carries a hint of green.

While Resene Alabaster is a popular trim choice due to its versatility with almost any colour, another favourite white for Rachel O’Connell, interior designer at Style My Abode, is Resene Quarter Wan White in semi-gloss. Once placed on the trims and doors, it provides a clean, coherent look when paired with Resene Wan White on the walls and Resene Half Wan White on the ceiling in a flat sheen. “I usually add a high gloss on the front door for a touch of shine,” she says. Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss on trims is easy to clean and allows the light to reflect, contrasting with your walls.

If you do adopt a white scheme, remember to layer accents for interest and depth, whether they be in bright coloured vases, rugs and cushions or mats and baskets in natural fibres and soft neutral throws beside lush pot plants.

A sophisticated blackened blue lounge

The rich, blackened blue of Resene Indian Ink in the door and architraves of this lounge celebrate the surrounding jewel tones. The walls are in Resene Atlas, the flooring is in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, the tall vase is in Resene Cleopatra, the tapered short vase is in Resene Indian Ink, the tray is in Resene Yowza and the coffee table is in Resene Wild Thing. Project by Megan Harrison-Turner, image by Bryce Carleton.

On dark walls, trims can play a dramatic role, providing crisp definition to the deep hue. Evoke a sense of drama with the rich red brown of Resene Cab Sav on your walls, highlighted by Resene Quarter Villa White on the trims.

If you have architectural details on the structure of your walls, such as archways with ornately detailed trims, white can make such details shine, especially when paired with dark, sumptuous wall colour.

Try trims in Resene Carrara against walls in smoky Resene Blue Bayoux or Resene Dingley. Or walls in the soft vintage pink of Resene Blanched Pink will resonate with a ceiling and trims in Resene White Linen.

Colour selection can have a big impact on a room or home’s appearance, Jay Sharples, technical paint expert at Resene says. “Using a stronger colour on your trim will highlight it, turning it into a feature, you see this used more on building exteriors,” Jay says. “But there is no reason why you can’t do this on an interior, it depends on the size and shape of the room and the look you are trying to achieve.”

“Whether you choose trims that are darker than your walls will depend on your room size; dark trims can look good in a large room, while in a small room, dark trims can enclose it,” Jay says.

To add colour to trims to surround neutral walls in Resene Rice Cake, try skirting boards in Resene Tablelands or Resene Just Dance for a warm, welcoming feel. A gentle green alternative is Resene Cooled Green on the walls with Resene Quarter Beryl Green on trims.

If you have a large room with tall windows and plenty of light, trims in this room will suit a dark colour. The height of the room and abundance of light will allow for it, without making your room feel closed in. You may have a room with neutral walls and want to accentuate the window with bold colour. You can do this by painting your window trim in an eye-catching hue; try walls in Resene Egg Sour with a window trim in Resene Avant Garde or Resene Coral Tree for a warm and inviting statement.

Remember, trim paint is a different style of paint to that used on walls. “The recommended paint for use on your timber trim/skirting/joinery is Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel,” Jay says. “We recommend using a waterborne enamel in these areas as it is a harder-wearing product compared with a standard acrylic paint you would use on the ceiling or walls. These areas tend to get knocked or scratched by kids, pets, vacuums and require a more regular clean. Resene Lustacryl may be used in all those areas traditionally reserved for solventborne enamels. It is also non-yellowing, fast drying and easy to clean with water.” If you prefer a glossier finish on trims, use Resene Enamacryl gloss waterborne enamel.

The key when choosing your trim colour is deciding on its role. Brooke Calvert, Colour Consultant for Resene recommends considering if you want the trims to stand out or blend into a space. “If you are working with heritage detailing and you would like to make them a feature, go for a lighter colour than your walls to make your walls pop. If you want to be bold and go for a darker trim, this could also work. For modern homes with a slim profile joinery, it is best to go with a subtle contrast or the same colour as your walls as they are not usually a design feature you want taking over the space.”

Exposed rafters in your home offer another way to get creative with trim colours. Here you can even extend your rafter colour down a feature wall. Then coat the remaining three walls in a lighter hue from the same family. Try inky Resene Rhino on your rafters and feature wall, with Resene Neutral Bay on the walls and creamy Resene Quarter Bianca on the ceiling and trims. Or for a greener option use Resene Destiny on the rafters and feature wall, Resene Jet Stream on the walls and Resene Quarter Villa White on the trims.

Finally, keep it consistent. You may not have the same colour trim in each room throughout your home, but what you do have, ensure it is consistent and from a similar colour family for a unified look.

Resene Just Dance

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

Resene Tablelands

Resene Cleopatra

Resene Yowza

November 29, 2020

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