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Should you paint doors and frames same colour as walls?

When it comes to interior painting, one of the most common dilemmas is whether you should paint your doors, frames, and trim the same color as your walls. The age-old question doesn’t have a definitive right or wrong answer – it really comes down to personal preference and what aesthetic you’re trying to achieve in a space.

The Pros of Painting Trim the Same Color as Walls

There are a few potential benefits to painting trim and walls the same color:

  • It can create a smooth, seamless look.
  • It makes spaces appear larger and less chopped up.
  • It’s easier – only having to use one color paint.
  • It’s trendy – the modern, minimalist look.

Painting all the millwork the same color as the walls helps rooms feel bigger and less cluttered. Unified color makes architectural details fade into the background. This streamlined, monochromatic look works well for contemporary spaces.

The Cons of Painting Trim the Same Color as Walls

On the other hand, there are some potential downsides to avoiding color contrast between trim and walls:

  • It can look flat, boring, and lack visual interest.
  • Architectural details can get lost.
  • It doesn’t emphasize special features like crown molding.
  • Darker trim can ground lighter walls.

Painting doors, frames, and trim noticeably different from wall color adds contrast and highlights architectural details. Different colors bring out depth and dimension.

Factors to Consider

When deciding whether to paint trim and walls the same or different, here are some factors to take into account:

  • Room size – Small rooms benefit from a unified color scheme to appear larger.
  • Architectural style – More traditional homes suit contrasting trim. Contemporary spaces suit tonal, streamlined color.
  • Millwork – If you want to highlight crown molding or other ornate trim, use contrast.
  • Personal preference – There’s no right or wrong, go with what you’re visually drawn to.

Tips for Painting Trim the Same Color as Walls

If you opt to paint doors, frames, and trim the same color as your walls, here are some tips:

  • Use the same exact paint color on walls and trim for seamless results.
  • When cutting in trim, paint the edges first then roll over the face of the trim to avoid seeing brush marks.
  • Use high quality paint with a satin or semi-gloss sheen to make trim pop.
  • Take the time to prep and caulk trim so paint application is smooth.
  • Use painter’s tape for clean lines if your cutting in skills need work.

Tips for Painting Trim a Different Color from Walls

If you want your trim to contrast your wall color, consider these tips:

  • Choose a trim color 2-3 shades lighter or darker than the wall color.
  • White is classic, but black trim is trendy too – especially with gray walls.
  • Use an accent wall color on the trim to tie spaces together.
  • Stick to a color scheme, like complementary or analogous hues.
  • Consider historical color combinations like red walls with white trim.

Common Color Combinations

Here are some tried and true wall and trim color combinations:

Wall Color Trim Color
White Bright white, black, navy, gray
Gray White, black, navy, charcoal
Beige White, cream, brown, tan, sand
Blue White, light or navy blue, gray
Green White, cream, brown, olive green
Yellow White, cream, tan, light gray

Should You Paint Interior Doors a Different Color?

When it comes to interior doors, you have a bit more flexibility to get creative with color. Some ideas:

  • Paint doors a bold, contrasting color from walls for accent doors.
  • Use the same paint color but different sheens on walls (flat) and doors (glossy) for subtle contrast.
  • Paint door frames to match walls but use a different color on the door slab.
  • Stain natural wood interior doors for a change in texture and tone.
  • Paint the front door a bright, welcoming color and interior doors to blend in.

Should You Paint Window Frames and Trim the Same Color?

For window frames, sills, and trim, consider these approaches:

  • Match walls – Makes windows appear larger and frames seamless.
  • Match ceiling color – Grounding if ceiling is different from walls.
  • Natural wood stain – Warm, traditional look.
  • Bright white – Makes windows pop but high contrast.

If your window trim matches the walls, go for bright white window frames. For dark trim, opt for tonal window frames. It’s best to avoid too much color clashing.

Should Baseboards be Painted Differently?

Traditionally, baseboard trim is painted to match the door and window trim. But to make a subtle statement, consider these baseboard ideas:

  • Paint a lighter tone than door/window trim for contrast.
  • Use a complementary wall color just on the baseboards.
  • Go for a darker shade on baseboards to ground the space.
  • Use a paint technique like faux bois just on the base trim.

If your baseboards are a carved, ornamental style, choose a color that highlights their profile. Simple, straight baseboard can blend with walls.

Should You Carry Trim Color from Room to Room?

When it comes to adjacent rooms, you have a choice whether to carry over the same trim colors from space to space or change it up.

Some pros of keeping trim color consistent:

  • Creates a cohesive, flowing feel throughout the home.
  • Easier to touch up trim nicks and scrapes later.
  • Visual consistency without competing colors.

Reasons you may want to change trim color room by room:

  • Lets you customize the look of each space.
  • Can use trim to delineate different rooms.
  • Allows you to accentuate architectural details.

If your home’s rooms all connect via archways rather than doors, continuing the same trim color helps them appear more open. But there are no set rules – get creative!

Should You Paint the Ceiling the Same Color as Walls?

Choosing whether to paint your ceiling to match or contrast your walls is another key decision. Here are some tips for both approaches:

  • Same color – Use flat paint on ceiling and walls so the ceiling doesn’t stand out. Opens up space.
  • Different color – Consider a lighter tone on the ceiling to add height. Or make it darker to feel cozy.
  • White ceiling – Classic, goes with any color walls. Brightens up dark rooms.

Factors like ceiling height and room size impact this choice. Low, darker ceilings may need light paint to counteract closing in the space. Conversely, soaring ceilings can handle a dramatic, deep tone.

How Much of an Impact Does Paint Color Have?

At the end of the day, opting to paint interior doors, trim, and ceilings the same or different color from your walls comes down to personal preference. While it may feel like a small detail, paint color choices make a significant visual impact. The colors you choose can affect how people experience a space by:

  • Making a room feel larger or smaller.
  • Enhancing architectural details or diminishing them.
  • Setting a mood – energizing, relaxing, moody, cheerful.
  • Establishing a sense of harmony or contrast.

Test out paint samples on the walls and trim before fully committing. Move samples around the room and observe at different times of day. An ideal paint palette brings out the best in your home’s existing architecture and complements your personal style.


At the end of the day, whether to paint interior doors, frames and trim the same color or different from your walls comes down to experimentation and deciding what pleases your eye. There’s no universally right or wrong answer. The most important thing is choosing a cohesive, harmonious color palette that sets the overall mood and style you want within your home’s spaces. Test out combinations, look at inspirational images, and go with your gut for paint colors that you’ll love living with.