How to Choose Paint Color
for Woodwork - part 2

Don't know how to choose paint color shades for doors, windows, trim and baseboards? Keep reading and you will learn how to safely navigate through the sea of whites.

Some people never give much thought to choosing the right paint color for woodwork. To them, white is white. Others become so overwhelmed with all the shades of white available, that they don't even know where to start!

How to Choose Paint Color Shades That
Coordinate With Dark/Deep Wall Colors

how to choose paint color for trim

If the wall color is very deep or dark, pure white trim may look too harsh. In that case, you will need to soften the contrast a little bit.

The simplest way to do that is to choose the lightest shade of the wall color. If you find your wall color in a fan deck, your ideal trim color will be on the same color strip, right at the top. It will usually have a name with the word "white" in it - for example, "Minuet White", "White Lilac", "Navajo White", etc.

That way, both colors will always have the same undertone and purity, and coordinate perfectly.

Finding the Right Shade of White

If the lightest color on the strip is still not light enough to provide sufficient contrast, let's see how to choose paint color from a whites collection. You will need a fan deck which compiles all whites in one section - the more whites there are, the better!

how to choose paint color from white collection

When you look at the white shades in your color deck, compare them to the pure/whitest white chip - otherwise you may not see their undertones. You will notice that some whites have a bit of yellow added to them, others will look pinkish and so on.

For example, if your walls are moss green, the color is green with a yellow undertone. So you will need to find white shades that have a similar greenish-yellowish tint.

Once you select a few whites that have the wall color undertone, press the chips against the wall.

matching paint color

  • Get rid of those that look like a different color. For instance (continuing with the mossy green walls example), your white shade may look a little bluish against the wall - that means you didn't get the undertone right.

  • Also remove those that look too clean compared to the wall color (e.g. green but without any yellow tint).

  • Finally, eliminate those that look muddy - that means they have more gray added to them than is present in the wall color. Choose the lightest of the remaining shades. You should now be left with a perfect white for the room.

How to Choose Paint Color Shades That
Coordinate With Pastels and Mid-tones

If the color of the walls is a clean pastel or a clean mid-tone, pure white woodwork will look fresh and crisp. Off-whites tend to look gray and dirty against clean colors.

creamy trim paint color

An alternative option is to pair mid-tone wall colors with a creamy white shade (white that has a yellow or orange tint to it).

Creamy white trim will look good against any wall color, no matter how clean or muddy it is.

There are a lot of creamy shades to choose from, but the right one will have the same degree of purity as the wall color.

  • So if your mid-tone wall color is clean, pick a creamy shade that has no gray in it (if you don't want your trim to look dirty in comparison).

  • If the wall color is muddy, find a creamy shade that is muddy also - if it doesn't have enough gray in it, your trim may turn out looking old and yellow.

Keep tweaking until you find the right balance.

Now that you know how to choose paint color properly, you have no more excuse for falling back into your old ways!

Paint Color Cheat Sheets
Paint Color Cheat Sheets

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