Before You Paint Your Molding, Try This

You know I didn’t see our current home before Jon pulled the trigger, right? Thank goodness. Because I would have vetoed it immediately. Frankly, I wouldn’t have scheduled a showing after viewing the photos online. He’s a brave soul, no? It was dark. It looked cold. It was lifeless. (insert flatline on a heart monitor here). It has dark wood molding. Blehh. My grandmother’s house has wood paneling and she keeps begging my Grandpa to paint it and he refuses. My in-law’s house had wood molding everywhere, until we convinced them to paint it white. My MIL was on board immediately but it was my father-in-law whom I lovingly dubbed BG (Big George) who resisted the most. For it was he who would have to painstakingly sand, prime, and paint every inch of the 2,400 square feet. I will now issue a formal apology, because, dun dun dunnn, I have turned to the dark side. I’m a fan.

Let me clarify. I didn’t walk into this house and have an ‘aha’ moment of, “my goodness, isn’t this molding the tits”. No, not even close. It’s a craftsman mid-century style (which I do adore). The previous owners had painted the the top portion of the wall this horrendous mustard color and the bottom was a version of cream, and not the delicious kind. It was truly a bad combo and everyone who saw the “before” agreed. It was a knife in the heart of an otherwise beautiful canvas. Jon promised paint would make everything better and he would get to it as soon as he could. Now, Jon happens to be an excellent painter, but there were 27 projects calling his name and paint was maybe 12 on the list.

So my first act as a new homeowner was to hire a painter. I couldn’t wait. Sorry, Jon! It was hard to devote a good portion of our reno budget to something we knew he could do. But there is an order to things and paint was number one (in my book). I chose a fabulous shade of pale grey for the walls throughout. It was my intention to create a fresh, modern look by using the same color on both sides of the molding. I was the one overseeing the project and had developed a nice rapport with our painter. A little devil on my shoulder was there the whole time saying, if this grey doesn’t solve this wood trim problem, Andy can paint it all white. Have you any idea how long it would take to sand, prime and paint 4,000 square feet of craftsman style molding? Me neither. The cost has already blown my mind. Let me regroup for a minute. OK, better. Needless to say, if we painted the molding, Andy would be moving in and, despite having a nice rapport, that arrangement wasn’t really in the cards.

I am happy to report the grey did indeed fix the problem. Deep inhale of paint fumes. It breathed life into our home and brought everything together. Well, almost everything. If you have wood molding in your house and aren’t a big fan of the look, consider adding a few of these elements:

Window Treatments. When you have wood molding encasing your windows, you need a softness to help balance it. Choose something light in color and light in fabric. We went with ivory linen panels and it’s like the room blew me a kiss to say thank you.

Rugs. I cannot say enough about how much rugs helped to transform our space. Not only do we have the dark wood molding throughout, we have hardwood floors as well. So. Much. WOOD. Just as the curtains add an airiness, rugs help to ground everything and break up the monotony of the wood.

Paint.  I know we talked about this above, but I want to get real with you. My perfect shade of grey came out more of a blue hue. We have no idea how. I looked at the swatch a dozen times. It came out so different that Andy hunted me down after his first few swipes to make sure he wasn’t seeing things. This wood molding is tricky, friends. It has a mind of its own. I have absolutely embraced the color but I want you to pick a few shades and actually paint them on the wall, then watch how the light changes it throughout the day and night, before moving forward to make sure it complements the wood (and your vibe).

Style. Adding cool wall-hangings, metallics for a modern twist and pops of your own personality will most certainly help detract from that feeling of drab, old timey wood. The whole mid-century style is having a huge moment right now and bonus points if you not only embrace the look, but showcase it with the flair it so desperately craves!

Think about it this way. White bread is delicious and easy to come by. So many people have it in their pantry. But once you try a tasty wheat bread and feel the difference in your body, you make the switch, amIright? So what do you say? Did we convince you to keep the wood or are you still on the all-white train? Comment below!

PS – Notice the lack of “afters”. We’re getting there. Pictures coming soon, I promise (or Jon does) as soon as he gets to the 27 projects mentioned above. 😉

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