Thursday, October 28, 2010

Painting Wood Trim Tutorial

Do you have a 70's-chic or 80's-tastic house full of oak trim? I sure do!
I decided to make the really risky decision to slowly paint all my trim white. People warned me about how horrible this would be, but I really wanted to do it. So I'll be honest when I say how much it sucks to do it. It looks amazing when it's done, but I guarantee it's a huge PITA.

Now that I've conquered the trim in 3 rooms, can I consider myself an expert? I've learned a lot along the way and I wanted to share my tips.

First off, be SURE you want to do this. You can't go back!

Once you're sure, start by lightly dusting the trim with a rag. People may tell you to lightly sand, but I've found that it really didn't help at all, so don't waste your time.
Paint on your first coat of primer. It should be pretty thick, but not horribly thick that it dries weird. After trying a couple different brands of primer, I prefer Kilz.

Primer dries pretty fast, so you won't have to wait too long to do the next coat. Again, add a thick coat, but not too thicker. The thicker and neater you can get it on, the less coats you'll need.

And as you start to get sick of doing this, add one more coat of primer. The wood grain should be showing less and less after each coat. I promise you're getting closer!

If you're planning on painting the walls, do that next. (I know some people like to do these things in a different order, but this works best for me.) If you need 2 coats of wall paint, do both of those before continuing with the trim.

When the wall color is done, continue with the trim. I switch over to a semi-gloss white for the final coat or two. I like semi-gloss for the trim for a brighter finish.

One or two coats of the semi-gloss and you're finally done!

:::wipes brow:::
That was a LOT of work and I promise I never could get this done in a weekend. All 3 rooms I've done took weeks or months to finish. Anyone wanna come do the rest of my house?

I'm linking this tutorial up here


  1. We did this out our house too! All our trim had an ugly orangy color stain on them {probably from the 70s!} and we decided to paint all the trim white. It is definitely a HUGE job, but well worth it!

  2. Oooh! Look at all that work you're doing! Although it definitely inspires me to get cracking on our gorgeous 80s oak trim that seems to cover every surface of our house. Thanks so much for sharing, Lisa! :)

  3. Ha! I was going to ask you to come do mine!

  4. We painted the trim in the entire house at our old home. So I know how labor intensive it is. This is a great tutorial for it. Don't skip the primer on varnished wood!

  5. Did you use tape or an edger because the line is really straight where the trim meets the wall?

  6. Looks great! Thanks for visting my blog, and for your sweet comment! Following you now. :)

  7. Thanks Lisa for the great comment on my blog yesterday ( My Modish Mood)....I love the marble and yes it hides dirt very well. :o)

  8. Painting is soooo labor intensive. Looks like you did a great job! Thanks for stopping by Delectalicious!

  9. LOVE IT! This will totally transform your house!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day :)

  10. Pretty! We have been painting all of our trim and it instantly updates the house.

  11. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article, painting with airless spray gun will be faster and more interesting!

    Airless Spray


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