How to Choose a Trim Paint Color

How to Choose a Trim Paint Color. Home decorating can be fun, but it isn't something you should rush into. Sometimes it's not a good idea to just go with your gut---instead you should first do some research on your color choices for things like trim and wall color before buying the paint. Choosing a good trim paint color can be a challenge, because you have to match it up with your wall color and furnishings. You have to give this some thought. You don't want to end up stepping back after hours of painting and frowning at the results of your hard work due to a poor color choice.

Step 1

Identify which pieces of furniture will be in the room that you will be painting. Will they be wood, stainless steel or plastic? What color are the accents, cushions, pillows, upholstery, tops, legs and other elements of the furniture? Match the trim to the trims and styles of your furniture, or choose a complementary color. For example, if your furniture has a dark polished oak look, a deep, rich color like a carmine red would look good with the layout of the room.

Step 2

Determine what color the walls will be. A good rule of thumb is to always paint the trim darker than what your wall paint color will be. Based on the wall color, choose another darker or deeper variation of the color for your trim paint. For instance, if you painted the walls a light colored canary yellow, you can go with a mustard or burnt sienna color for the trim.

Step 3

Figure out if you want to go with a warm, cool or neutral color for the room's trim. Warm colors include red, yellow and orange---they are called warm because they can invoke feelings of excitement, increased activity, or "heat." Cool colors include blue, green and silver---they are meant to calm you down. The neutral colors are white, gray, brown and black and should be used to balance out other bold colors in a room.

Step 4

Decide what will be the "feel" for the room you are painting and go with a corresponding warm or cool color. For instance, if you will be growing plants in the room, you might want to go with a deep spring green for the trim (a cooling color) and a lighter lime green for the wall. If you want to use the room for partying, go with a warm trim color like red with a corresponding color on your walls.


  • Go to your local home improvement store, such as Home Depot or Lowes, with your list of possible trim colors and the wall color you decided on to match up colors. It's best to see the colors side by side on paper instead of just visualizing it in your head.