How to choose a paint color with oak trim

Updated February 21, 2017

Oak trim adds a classic touch to your home and leaves you with a variety of colour choices for the surrounding paint. The best colour for your oak trim will depend, of course, on what you like, how the trim is stained and other decor. Oak's value as a hardwood comes from its durability, making it a good choice for flooring and cabinetry as well as trim. If you have these other oak items in your home, it may affect your trim-balancing colour choices.

Determine whether you wish your paint colour to enhance the warmth of the wood colour or contrast with it. Contrasting will make the oak trim stand out more, while coordinating your colours with the wood will give your home a warm, cosy feel.

Choose bold, bright colours to give the room an energetic feel in contrast with your trim for rooms that you want to feel lively, such as family rooms, bathrooms and dens. For example, a rich burgundy with medium-stained oak will make your bathroom lively yet warm, while teal contrasted with light or medium oak trim will give your family room an energetic feel.

Choose muted, neutral colours for rooms you wish to have a soothing atmosphere or rooms with dark-stained oak. Cream or ivory with any shade of oak works well for country-style kitchens, while a light bluish-grey works well for home offices and libraries, as it will contrast enough to make the wood stand out without making the room too energetic.

Try a yellow ochre base coat with a red colour wash or white walls with a yellow ochre and red mixed wash to bring a classic Tuscan feel to your oak-trimmed rooms. This works well for multipurpose rooms, such as open living-kitchen-dining areas, where you may sometimes want the lively feel of bold colours yet wish to keep a cohesive, warm feel.

Pick paint colours that are several shades darker or lighter than your wood trim. Keeping the colour range too close will make the room look bland.

Pick a colour that coordinates with your current decor, unless you plan to change furniture and other items to go with your new paint. Select a colour from one of your wall paintings, couch upholstery or other home decor that best suits the choices you made based on the wood colour and room feel.

Test your colour choices taping paint sample swatches in your chosen colours to the walls in each room, next to the wood trim. Swatches of colour wash textures are often available in the faux finish section of paint stores or departments.

Things You'll Need

  • Cellophane tape
  • Paint swatches
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About the Author

Anne Hirsh has been writing and editing for over 10 years. She has hands-on experience in cooking, visual arts and theater as well as writing experience covering wellness and animal-related topics. She also has extensive research experience in marketing, small business, Web development and SEO. Hirsh has a bachelor's degree in technical theater and English and post-baccalaureate training in writing and computer software.