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Monday, April 15, 2013

84 You Asked: What "Wood" You Do?

Sometimes it feels like something works SO well, that you start to see it everywhere.  And it's extremely difficult to find answers, inspiration and ideas for your design challenges when you just can't change certain aspects of your living conditions.  For example, if you rent, you may not be able to paint, so now you have to find ideas that are focused on white walls.  And if you reside in Wisconsin {and Minnesota and I am guessing many other areas too}, you live with oak trim.  Oh the horror!!

But I have to say, it does seem that pretty white trim has because this gold standard in homes.  It nicely frames out a room and allows everything to pop.  It lightens and brightens.  It creates pretty crisp lines.  And everything seems to go with white.  I am on the white trim bandwagon, but that is definitely not the norm in our neck of the woods.

Around here, you don't see a lot of the pretty white trim {although, I do think it is finally becoming more and more popular!}.  For us, you see oak.  And it's not usually just within the trim, it's also the cabinets and the doors...and even the furniture.  Although I think oak has the potential to be beautiful, I also think you have to work with it a bit more to really achieve a happy, light and airy space.  I also believe there is such a thing as overdosing on oak.... I had to be resuscitated a few times within our own home... {only kidding of course}.

I am absolutely no expert on the subject of designing around wood trim and cabinets, but I have personally lived with it and have been getting quite a few questions lately.  Here is the most recent one now:

Jen,
I have been following your blog, along with other interior/DIY type blogs for about a year. The amount of inspiration and ideas I have gained over that time has been tremendous.

I will get to the point of my email, knowing you are über busy.  I cannot find pictures of spaces decorated around wood or natural oak trim. Every single pin on Pinterest as well as blogs, have white trim, which I adore, but am not in place where I can paint it. We just bought a 3,000 square foot house and it is everywhere. For example, I have been saving the picture of your dining room banquet piece forever, but now that I have a house with so much oak and beige, I'm at a loss on what color pieces I should bring in. Should I get white pieces, black pieces, shades of darker wood. I just wish I could look at photos for inspiration.

Do you have any suggestions or know of any blogs that have styled their home around the wood?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Best,
Jamie



My answer to her question about the furniture?  I say, bring in all tones!  A combo of white, deeper walnut and even some painted pieces.  My first tip when it comes to designing around oak is to make it blend by mixing and matching wood tones and finishes.

{source}

At first glance, I fell head over heals in LOVE with this space!  Like, gaga galore in love.  If I could wrap up any room in a giant red bow and gift it to myself, it would be this one.  And when I fell so hard for it, I didn't even notice it had natural wood trim.  Not at first anyway.  After analyzing it, I think it's a key feature to the space, and it really works because.... ding ding ding.  There are so many finishes and tones in this room!  The coffee table, the media cabinet, the floors and the trim are all different tones.  Add in some brightly painted furniture and amazing patterns {hello, do you see the window panels and rug!?}, and you have yourself a super styled room.

The picture really combines many of my other tips in one happy place, but I will try and break some of those tips back out a bit, with some more inspirational photos.

The second tip I have is to paint the walls in a cool tone.  Wood trim is naturally so warm, that when you add in warm colors {oranges, reds and yellows}, the room can almost feel like a sauna in Arizona.  Hot.

 
Back when I worked with my pal Becky on her living and dining area, we were working with oak trim, cabinets and floors.  To balance all that oak, the walls were painted a pretty blue and furniture pieces in different finishes were added.  It was amazing the difference that was made in just those few updates alone.  It felt like a whole different home!

{source}

Again, in the shot above, tons of wood trim but it doesn't feel overwhelming.  The cool wall color along with the eclectic mix of furniture and bold accessories still allow the room the feel nice and bright and all around happy.

Next tip?  Pair the oak with modern pieces.  Oak can sometimes come across as super traditional or even country, but when you pair it with a modern piece, it can totally rock!

{source}

In the photo above, the cabinets are fairly basic, lots of oak paired with oak trim.  Some dramatic gray paint and a beautiful white table and BOOM!  Amazing.

When you have oak trim, painting it all white can be a really overwhelming thought.  But if you love the freshness that the white provides, why not paint something else white instead?  Like a larger piece of furniture or a built in!

{source}

Same goes with cabinets?  You may not want to take on the task of painting all of your cabinets white, but half of the cabinets means half of the time, half the work but still an absolutely incredible impact!

{source}

If painting trim and cabinets is not an option at all, it's all about the details.  Oil rubbed bronze finishes work well with oak, and so do bright and colorful accessories.

{source}

Even something as simple as backspash can really really break up all that woodwork.  Next tip is to go bold or go home!

{source}

Pairing wood cabinets with a bold and bright backsplash, really brings the cabinets into the current century, and makes them feel all shiny and new.


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My last tip is piggybacking off of going bold with color, but this time, with pattern!  That could mean a vibrant set of curtain panels, a graphic rug or an amazing wall treatment such as a stencil, stripes or wallpaper!

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The pattern will draw your eye away from all of the wood, and allow it to be nicely framed, but not feel overwhelming within the room.

When we built our home, I wanted white trim and doors right off the bat, but I was outvoted and looked at like I had antennas growing out of the top of my head.  And before I found my personal style, I went through a variety of trials and errors, such as painting our living room walls in various browns and even yellow and purchasing light colored maple furniture to match the light oak trim.  Once we started bringing in cooler colors, lots of patterns, white and walnut furniture pieces.... the oak trim slowly became less obvious to me.  Once I took the step of painting the kitchen cabinets, the fact we still had oak trim for years really wasn't all that big of a deal any longer.  Then, we added our white built in bookcases in our living room and it felt like a whole new home.  It seems as though each update we made, distracted me more and more from all the oak, and eventually it blended in the background vs. being the focal point of the abode.  We still have laminate oak like floors in our living room, and I surprisingly love them, but I also think it's because they are no longer paired with oak trim and doors.  In my opinion, to sum it all up, balance is the key.  If you can't change it, it's important to find a way to embrace it!

{source}

What are your thoughts on the subject?  What other tips and tricks do you have to working with wood trim and cabinets?   Did you compromise on a finish in your home, that you have had to live with ever since?


84 comments:

  1. wow, these tips are really inspiring! I'm going to redecorate my bedroom soon, but the room is right under the attic, so the (wooden) droop is really irritating... but with your tips it might look beautiful :)

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  2. Thank you for this, my husband loves the look of wood and I like color. Love how you show how to mix it and it works!! Love!!

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  3. Another approach to oak trim that I've seen work really well is to only paint one element of it. For example, leave the baseboard & crown molding oak, but paint the window trim. Or paint the crown molding to lift and open the ceiling, but leave the windows and baseboard oak. It's not nearly as overwhelming as the prospect of painting all of it!

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    1. Yes great point! I saw bits of that when digging for inspiration and liked the look of that as well! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  4. Oh, I hear you on the oak thing. It is over kill at my house. All of my woodwork, cabinets and doors are that natural oak. I am really wanting something different. But my hubby is not so into the idea of changing it. And, worse yet, back 15-16 yrs ago when we bought some of our furniture, that is mostly what you found (or the pieces that he gravitated to and would agree on). So not only is it the woodwork and cabinets, it's the dining table, ent. center, bedroom furniture. Gaaah! I am not sure I want to tackle painting those either. So, I think I am stuck. I did add new knobs to my ent. center (oil rubbed bronze). We just added cabinets to the laundry room and went with hickory. I need a new floor on the main level. I think we are putting in hickory floors to break up all this oak. But... in the basement, it will be white woodwork/trim/doors. (insert happy dance!! :) )

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    1. Wahoo!! Totally happy dancing with you! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  5. I am in the same situation Jen! I have solid Maple all over my home and my husband will not let me paint it. I hated my kitchen for the first 1 1/2 we lived here because of all the maple. But I found simply the paint color can make a huge difference. I painted my walls white in my kitchen and painted my island to look custom and add bright colors and I absolutely love it now. The right paint color can really make it looks nice. I have before and after pics on my blog. Thanks for the great post.

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  6. Great inspiration!
    Here's a cool looking house tour on Apartment Therapy that has wood trim!
    http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/marianna-micahs-slices-of-the-south-house-tour-175562

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    1. I absolutely agree! The woodwork in their home is stunning!

      xo,
      Jen

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  7. Great tips!! Its so true, oak annihilation is going strong, but all these pics prove it can be beautiful. I didnt think it was even possible.

    Britt @ Creating Space for Five

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  8. I grew up surrounded by oak and I'm so tired of it. I painted my kitchen cabinets too. I just can't love the oak :)

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  9. I've got a lot of white in my home and all I can say is I hope my tastes never change in that regard (as in "white trim is SO 2013") because "unpainting" is a heck of a lot harder than painting! Love the images you posted though.

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  10. I want to hug and kiss the person that asked this question! I have the same problem!! Thanks Jen! I loved the first pic! The yellow looks great with the darker wood finish!

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  11. Thank you for this post! I struggle with this too!

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  12. Thank you for this!! In our old home we painted all of our beat up old dark trim & kitchen cabinets white. In our new house, the trimwork & cabinets is in good shape, but its all... oak. 1990s, Nebraska. And I am NOT painting it. Someday when our budget includes room for all new flooring, we'll talk about replacing it. For now its oak to stay. I am one who was excited to live in a home with actual WOOD. I'm a bit "country" in my style & like the warm feel, but I'm finding it more difficult to decorate. Not everything just "goes" like it did with the white trim in our old house. So we have lived here almost 9 months & most walls are still painted a "neutral beige" that was quickly done by the sellers just to neutralize for selling. I actually have a blue picked out for the living room, but might go a bit lighter & cooler after seeing these pictures. Thanks again!

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  13. I loved this post! I recently moved from a house with all white trim to a home with all Oak trim and have been having a hard time figuring out how to paint/decorate my new home.

    I loved my white trim, but it was not practical for us. I have 4 kids under 6 and I found it really difficult to keep my white trim/doors clean. My new Oak trim is much easier to keep clean (or just hide the grime??) :)

    Thanks for the great ideas!

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  14. What a fabulous question and post to follow up. While I live nowhere near Wisconsin or Minnesota, I am in the process of house-hunting and I cringe when I walk into a house with Oak. I immediately make mental lists of what I'd have to paint/re-strain, etc. and its exhausting. This post makes me think twice about Oak and whether or not I could tolerate it, decorate around it, or at least put up with it until I had the funds/energy to deal with it.

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  15. Thank you for writing about design options for oak. I just wrote a post on Friday about what to do with my oak trim. I think I'm going to try to stain it a little darker. I like the look of darker wood trim (and I like white too). Your first photo is amazing! It's such a big project though in our house since the honey oak is everywhere. I've already painted the kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities. I'm still waiting for someone to talk me out of it!

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  16. I disagree about blue paint. To me it screams "I hate this orange trim! I'm trying to tone it down!". Whereas if you work with it you can make it look intentional. My mother spent years trying to pretend she didn't have dark brown tiles in the bathroom. But, as soon as she decorated with it, it went from ugh to intentional and interesting. She was inspired by a real estate show on TV which apparently helped people style what they had to sell the house rather than rip it out.

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    1. I think it all really depends on everyone's personal style, and I just answered with what I have seen personally work for me and people I have worked with. I like the balance of cool walls with warm trim, it seems to play out nicely. But someone else may love warm colors and that is super fab too, that is what makes design so great! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  17. I like your ideas..I am in the process of painting my oak cabinets white..something I have wanted to do since we purchased our home 8 years ago!!

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  18. This is a great post, very relatable. Our home had unpainted wood trim when we first bought it, but a couple of the bedrooms had painted trim. We eventually painted the trim throughout the house, but it took a long time! I appreciate your blog for entries like this (and the linked entry to your living room transformations) because you seem very practical about the limitations that most people have with transforming their homes, whether it's time, money, space, or deciding on a vision. Keep up the good work.

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  19. I have always really disliked oak, but you have given me a whole new perspective here. This is amazing!! The first and third pictures, of the living areas, make it look completely fresh and modern and not the least bit country.

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  20. Great post! I'm in NE and when we were looking at houses there was so much oak everywhere! The foreclosure we ended up with had the pickled wood trim everywhere (like the whitewashed pinkish kind). It was so dried out that it soaked up paint nicely, so we were able to paint it a color which we saw in some really high end homes. Painting thousands of square feet of trim is very, very time consuming, but it can be done :).

    Bobi
    bobijensen.com

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  21. Great article Jen! Definitely good food for thought...

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  22. Hi Jen, you may find the oak a challenge but how about this - we are in our forever home that is by a local high end building company that whose homes we aspired to live in since we bought our first tiny little starter home.

    Now don't get me wrong I love my home, but it was built at a time here when wood décor was considered a step up from white trim which all the cheaper mass market builders were using.

    Unfortunately our builder got a touch carried away and when we moved in we counted the number of different types of wood they had used - a genuinely mind-boggling 17!! From your oak/mahogany/pine to the slightly more exotic (in Scotland) eucalyptus/cedar/walnut.

    Ironically I work for our Forestry Department (albeit in IT) and I barely even knew 17
    different trees at the time!!

    We've spent the last 20 years stripping out all the woods so we're just left with I think half a dozen now - and hubby categorically refuses to paint any of it white!

    I dream of a lovely white trimmed house...

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    1. Wow, now that is a lot of wood types! Crazy! Best wishes as you work towards making it work best for you! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  23. Great advice! And the inspiration pics you posted are beautiful.

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  24. Long-time reader, first-time commenter:
    This was such an awesome post! I don't have oak trim (mine is all white) but I love the fact that you listened to a reader's sincere problem and not only responded but gave a tutorial of sorts on how to solve it.
    That is above and beyond to me and, as a reader, I respect it so much.
    Thanks!

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  25. Thank you for this post! I have asked other decorating blogs this same question since I live in WI with dark wood trim and doors. :) I think its pretty, but it is hard to know how to take away all the beautiful decorating tips done with white trim. I love some of the spaces you posted and you gave me confidence that all wood trim isn't considered ugly!

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  26. I love decorating in light colors. I like my room to say "it is sunny today!"

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  27. Great post Jen! I feel like you have been reading my mind, as my home(built in 2003) is a prime example of oak everything and brass boob lights galore-ick!!! You listing some fantastic ways to work with what you have. Some of those oak furniture pieces come with a lot of history and character, and pairing them with modern, trendy pieces is an amazing idea! I finally got my hubs on board to paint our kitchen cabinets white-yay! However, after seeing the above half painted/half wood cabinets I may have to reevaluate! Do you think pairing white with oak could work? What about painting the bottom cabinets instead? We're looking at replacing our nasty vinyl with wood and I want it to all flow.

    Wonderful blog~I "stalk" it quite often now for new ideas!!! :) Have a great day! The sun is actually shining here in WI!

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    1. Thank you Jess!

      I absolutely think white and oak could work. I have seen it done a few times, and I think it really breaks up all the wood to create a little extra visual interest and dimension. I think white or a color could be really great. I really think it could work either way, but if you do paint the lowers, I would consider doing it in a deeper tone than the uppers, just to keep a balance.

      xo,
      Jen

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  28. Thank you! When we bought our home, we had oak everywhere. I made the mistake of having the oak painted so that I would have that nice, clean trim color. Now it's all chipped up and looks terrible. We are in the process of planning a remodel and I was considering restoring the oak to its original glory, so these pictures are inspiring!!!

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    1. Oh no! What a bummer!

      Our paint chipped a bit right after we painted, but now that it has cured, it seems so much more durable. Sorry to hear you weren't happy with the results. Hopefully touching it up isn't too much work for you.

      xo,
      Jen

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  29. I could have written you that letter! We too just bought 3500 sqft house with 1990's oak trim everywhere (Iowa - good ol' midwest!). Thank you for providing some inspiration on how not only to live with it, but use it to your advantage in decorating.

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  30. Let me echo everyone else's thanks. I've been waiting to see someone talk about how to decorate with wood trim. No one ever seems to!

    I was enamored with our dark oak trim when we were house hunting, but fast forward a few years and I realize (1) how beat up it is, and (2) how difficult it is to bring color in on the walls. If you have a lot of natural light, I think it's easier, but I repainted my hallway 3x before finally finding a faintly purple gray that doesn't make it look like a cheap motel from the 70s. (Yellow was a bad, bad choice.) Ultimately, our most successful color choices have been very light, and very cool (grays, minty green, icy blue). The cream colors just don't do much for the room. But I'm in no mood to repaint the living/dining rooms just yet.

    I will say, there are benefits to the wood trim. Sprucing it up is easy with the rub-on polyurethane, and has done wonders for some of our rooms (the ones I've gotten to). And I agree with a previous commenter that it hides bumps and bruises (and dirt!) much better than painted trim. I'll keep it if just for that reason (I'm clumsy... my vacuum gets bumped into a lot of baseboards by mistake).

    I do dream of one day having a house with the crisp white trim and bold, richly colored walls. But then I'll probably bemoan all of the chips in the trim paint...

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  31. Fantastic post! Thank you!! There is so much oak in my house, that I would love to paint or switch out of course, but I am not ready to tackle that huge project. We are in the military and will likely only be here a couple of years, so it doesn't seem worth it to expend huge amounts of energy, time, and money on big projects.

    Something I liked that you mentioned was that you went through several colors and pieces before you found your personal style. I really appreciated hearing that it took you awhile to figure out your aesthetic. I am struggling with that so much right now because there are a lot of looks that I love, and I can't seem to settle on a color scheme or style that I love the most. Whenever I am out shopping I see pieces that would fit perfectly with your decor and I think of you, or with Jackie's at Teal and Lime, etc. You obviously have a very specific color scheme and style, and I want that! I gives me hope that you didn't always know exactly what you liked best.

    Your blog has been my favorite for a long time now. Thank you!

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  32. i love oak and really dis-like white painted trim. isnt' it great that we all have different tastes! thank you for sharing the pictures and ideas!

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    1. Totally great! I know so so many people love it, which is why we see it so often in so many homes. But yes, truly what is great about design is that we all have our own individual styles. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  33. I own a 1920's Tudor in Michigan that has had all of its pine trim painted white over the years (and judging by some chips, also harvest gold and mint green), and my husband and I sometimes wish that it hadn't been.

    Not that the trim is anything super fabulous, but when we moved in we refinished the original Southern pine floors with a clear stain and they are gorgeous. So sometimes we think that having matching trim would look really nice. But I have vivid memories of my dad stripping the paint from the trim in the Victorian house I grew up in, and I don't know if we want it badly enough to do all that work!

    My parents now live in a mansion built c.1885 by a lumber baron, and that oak trim is downright BEAUTIFUL. They've painted their walls "dusty" colors like mauve, French blue, and light gold and it looks very nice.

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    1. Wow, both homes sound amazing! I love all the character that comes with older homes, it's a dream of mine to renovate one someday!

      Oh, and Michigan is one of my most favorite states. :) I visit as often as I can, it's so beautiful!

      xo,
      Jen

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  34. I love the look of the wood trim.

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  35. Awesome post! I love your blog!

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  36. WOW! This post was absolutely perfect for me. It's as if I took the time to send you the same email with the same concerns. I live in South Dakota and my house if full of oak too and I am just come to except it until we move to a house with white trim...I will keep on dreaming! I love all the pics and explainations you gave. Thank you for all your awesome effort and dedication!

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  37. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Did I say thank you? I live in the NE and have maple trim. I flip flop between loving it and wanting to paint it white. I have been bringing different wood tones and colors in and am loving it again. Painting is not an options since the hubs likes the wood and I change things in the house as frequently as I change my "unmentionables. I cannot commit to painting an entire house of trim white. It would be a lot to "undo" when the trend changes back to wood! Love your ideas!

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  38. I just found you via this post (from Pinterest)http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2010/08/august-featured-space-bedroom_23.html
    I am wondering how the white trim in your son's bedroom is holding up after a couple of years? I would love to paint my honey colored trim white, but am worried about how it will hold up with toddlers running around and bumping toys into it! I have two toddlers and run in-home daycare so our walls do get bumped quite a bit;)
    Thank you!

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    1. Great question!

      At first, it was more prone to chipping, but it has since cured and has held up quite well to the trucks and the kids and even myself and the vacuum. It still gets a chip here or there, when we try really hard ;), but it's never anything a quick round of touch ups every year can't handle.

      xo!
      Jen

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  39. Thank you for this post! I live in a 1910 Craftsman-style home, and wood is everywhere. Most of it is darker than your garden-variety 1990's oak, though. (And I confess, I hate white in general. It's impossible to keep clean.)

    I love the old Craftsman trim, but I also have a hard time finding photos for inspiration. I'm pinning this so I can come back to it for inspiration when we do our next room remodel.

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  40. This post came at just the right time--I'm in the process of moving from a sweet little bungalow full of white painted trim to a bigger home with the original oak trim from the 1940s. At first I wanted to paint it, but it seems like a bit of a sacrilege, so I'm going to try to live with it first. I love your paint color tips, and I'm relieved because they totally support my instincts--although I had some deep grays in my current (white-trimmed) house, I've been leaning toward much lighter tones and blue in the new place. So it's nice to think I'm on the right track, and oak trim can look chic after all...

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  41. It's funny how decorating is flipped when you have all white trim and white doors. I live in Las Vegas where it's the norm to have all white trim, etc. in the newer homes. I even have large white plantation shutters, so our oak cabinets, stair rail, hutch, and dining set are all a deep oak color. The oak pops with all the white accents. Luckily any color we paint our walls contrast nicely with the white. This was a great post. I think all the oak looks gorgeous, but I can see where it would be a challenge when decorating. It's also the norm to have carpet as flooring and large ceramic tiles. Hate ceramic tiles personally and love my linoleum--which I'm constantly told I need to upgrade but I'm not jumping on the tile bandwagon (cleaning grout is the pits and I can happily report I do not have a single ounce of grout in my house!).

    Can I suggest you do a post on kitchen countertops? We have speckled granite countertops and boy is it hard to keep clean! Crumbs blend in easily ... grrr! My mom has white Corian, but it scratches easily. I wish I had a solid colored counter top!! It's mind-boggling all the options out there!

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  42. Oh I love this post! I get frustrated when the answer is to totally change your house in Pottery Barn, so I love when posts show REAL pictures of people who have staying within constraints of what they have and small budgets and made their space beautiful despite the things that are unpopular in design right now (like oak or whatever).

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  43. Thanks for the post - lots of wood trim over in this neck of the woods. I'm in my first home (built in the 50s) and have lots of updates to do, so I have to pick my battles -- painting all the trip is just not one of them! So great to see some inspiration for using the wood to my advantage! Thanks!

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  44. Homerun post!!! Especially painting the walls a cool color!! All around you gave wonderful advice!! I hope I never have oak trim ;) but if I ever do have to live with it, I will surely keep these tips in mind!!

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  45. We are remodeling our kitchen this summer and I cannot wait! I am in love with that blue/gray that you painted your friend Becky's living room. I'd really like to paint our kitchen and hallway taht color. I found the name on the original post but I've never heard of Hirschfield paint. I live in Iowa, do you know if this brand is sold at any retailers? Otherwise maybe I can get our local store to try to match it.

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  46. I do love white trim too. I will be updating mine in the living room here soon. Common theme I saw was that the Golden Oak looked good with shades of Blue...other than Charcoal I didn't see any other wall colors. My house is missing may of its baseboards and totally lacks any crown molding. Guess its time to remove the popcorn from the ceiling and finish my updates!

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  47. oh wow you are so clever so many ideas all looking so good

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  48. Great tips! I especially love the first photo with all the different wood tones. I think the great color scheme in this photo helps the oak blend in too! Thanks so much for the ideas, Jen!

    ~Abby =)

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  49. Our last house had medium tone oak trim, and cabinets. I painted the master bathroom cabinets and they looked great, but the kitchen was not an option for paint. And it was grainy on the 'ends'....I hung a large picture on each end that faced the family room, and that broke up the expanse of oak. And a buttery yellow paint actually looked great with the oak. I have oak dining furniture too, and our new house here in MN has white trim! A great table cloth from Ballards covered that up without great expense or paint. Having both oak and white trim now, I would say each has it's good points. Great post!

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  50. Great tips!

    I have a ton of oak in my kitchen and my family room, which is connected. It drove me absolutely insane...the 80's oak. So I painted the built-in's in my family room and it is amazing the difference it made - not only did it pull the family room together, it really balanced out the kitchen oak to a point I can live with it.

    Pictures are here:

    http://proof-of-love.blogspot.com/2011/04/mighty-oaks-from-little-acorns-grow.html

    Love your blog!
    ~alicia

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  51. Thanks for this post! I have a knotty wood trim that I love, but builder oak cabinets. I love the texture of wood, but hate the orangey look (probably brought out by my red walls). I'm in the process of researching to stain my oak kitchen cabinets darker. I'm excited I'm doing that instead of white, but haven't seen a ton of inspiration rooms with wood. Thanks for showing us wood Tim can still be beautiful!

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  52. Lots of deep feelings about trim! : ) I like the look of crisp white trim when it is plain builder's trim, but love the look of custom or antique wood trim treatments. We rehabbed/ expanded our ranch to become a prairie style home in 2003 and our architect designed beautiful custom window/door wood trim and a custom fireplace. I would have a hard time picturing white trim in our scheme. You are right about bringing color and patterns in to soften the wood. I just painted my beige kitchen a tiffany blue green and love how it pops against the maple cabinets.
    Donna R.

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  53. Thank you so much for posting on wood trim! I also have a hard time finding inspiration on the web. This is GREAT!

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  54. After working for 20 years we decided to move to Asia, for the first time in my life I didn't know what to do! I had helpers, driver (i know it sounds good) but I wasn't happy, i didn't know what to do!!!!!, until I found your blog!!!! And I realized I heart organizing :). !!!
    Thank you :) you change a big part of all our family life.
    Now I am a happy not working mom :)

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  55. Great advice. I know someone who currently has this dilema and I'll pass this on.

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  56. I never would have thought of this. I always gravitate towards white, neutrals, more white, and warm tones. Really like these looks though!

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  57. I really loved this post Jen.

    I'mm a renter and recently I've been feeling frustrated about our standard beige carpet floors and white walls. Like Jamie I couldn't find much inspiration for overcoming it from the gorgeous wooden floorboards, wallpaper and brightly coloured wall images of Pinterest.

    But this post has me thinking more outside the square and embracing my beige floors and white walls and making them work. Thanks!

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  58. We moved into our home last year and while it was only ten years old, we changed out all of our oak trim to white. And I love it. But we left behind our 100 year old home that was full of original oak. I painted some of the walls gold (to play up the warmth in the wood- it looked great at night especially) and some blue to cool it down. My suggestion is to add in as much painted pieces as you can with furniture, frames, etc. And also vary the shades of the other wood- choose cherry or walnut to create depth. This goes for every home. Things are just more interesting when you have lots of different pieces instead of everything in one tone like oak.
    You can check out my pictures on my blog- stylefromthesticks.blogspot.com on the White Out post.
    Next year, painting the oak kitchen cabinets!

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  59. My sister inherited a full-on "country" kitchen when they bought their house. Not wanting to replace the solid wood cabinet doors, she instead changed their shape: she took a plain, wide molding strip and attached pieces of it to the front of the doors to create a square frame that covered over the country-style shape. She then painted them a modern, shiny espresso color. It absolutely transformed her kitchen!

    (Now, I'm trying to bribe her to help me do my kitchen!) :)

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  60. Really AMAZING post, Jen!

    Love the third option. The complementary shades turned it a super warm and cozy room.

    I want to live there!

    xoxo

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  61. I have a home with 90's wood trim - I do like it because of its' uniqueness :) I do like the warm tone colors - what color hues would you suggest as to not make the rooms so dark?

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  62. I had a lot of wood in my house but I like everything bright and airy so I painted all the wood white and it looked amazing.......until 2 little boys and 2 hairy dogs came along and now I have to spend hours wiping fingerprints and dirty marks off!!

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  63. Thank you - your photo of Becky's dining room is literally my exact color, and we're in "project mode" right now with painting. Does she happen to have the brand/color she used? I'd love a jumping off point for a color match. Thanks!

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  64. loooove the wooden accents my father is a woodworker and wood repair man so it has a special place in my heart. my fav is the one with the pink seats! xx. gigi. food and beauty blogger @ www.gigikkitchen.blogspot.com

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  65. I would agree with Jen about the cool colours working well with warm-toned wood. Although our trim is all white, we have a LOT of natural wood - doors, floors, furniture - which I do love, but it can look a bit overwhelming. I tried very pale paint wall colours initially thinking that would make it blend in, but it actually seemed to make it stand out more. Having just painted our heavily wooded hallway in a stronger, but cool grey, it complements the wood so much better (I happen to think so anyway). I'd love to know if you agree! http://tidyawaytoday.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/can-you-give-your-hall-a-new-look-for-5-i-did/

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  66. Thanks a bunch for your post, Jen! As being a fellow upper Midwesterner, everything is oak, and I am feeling a little "oaked" out. I love the idea of changing up the wood tones for furniture and it is something we have done. Also, don't be afraid of color with wood tones, we picked out the most perfect green to go with our medium oak trim, that actually makes it more tolerable!

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  67. Wow, so super helpful to see pictures of lovely spaces that make the oak work well. Love your blog!
    Carolyn
    http://sillyhappysweet.blogspot.com

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  68. This is probably the most helpful post I've ever seen! I have ALWAYS had an abundance of wood trim, furniture, etc. in every space I've ever tried to decorate and never seen this issue addressed before. I've recently started slowly replacing a few pieces with white and dark furniture, but will always have to work with the oak. Thank you! Please, more?

    A Minnesotan drowning in oak.

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  69. THANK YOU!! My friend just sent me this link after I was telling her I have no idea how to perk up our house. We're military, and renting, and while the house is cute and has it's charms, it's drowning in oak. To make it worse the house was built in the late 80's-early 90's and has all the original...everything. The owner uses it as a rental property so in addition to all of the oak, the carpets are neutral and the walls are neutral. Our couches are also neutral (usually makes it easier since we move so much and encounter all different types of walls/floors/trims etc.).

    We moved in a few months ago and I feel like I've been sinking in oak & neutral quicksand ever since. This post gives me so much hope!

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  70. Enough with the oak :) - Let's shake your stick at a honey tone Maple. As a Minnesotan we like our wood. While the contemporary white seems to be trending, our house built only 8 years ago was in the prime time of Maple. Well, trying to paint a 4 year old girls room has provided some challenges. Purple and Pink with Maple trim? yuck, seems like its a cross between girl meets boy. So off to the lumber store to get some white trim, replace the trim around windows and the floor and top it off with some white crown molding, oh and some white wayne's coating below to bring it all together. The issue being this.. the doors are solid 6 panel maple doors. In spite of taking on a bigger project then we want, I propose leaving the doors as is. This avoids the all white cold approach and keeps a bit of warmth. You think this is a fashion fo-paw or what would you suggest? Oh, and add light tan carpet to the deal, and we're your typical new home buyer. -- and if you like that idea, keep the windows trimmed in Maple, or convert to white?

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  71. Loved this info and I love the colour of the blue walls in the dining room image with the black piture frames on the wall. I am curious if you can tell me what colour that is as I want to paint my kitchen the same colour if poaaible?

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  72. I started reading your blog a few months ago, so never came across this post- thank you so much for it! We bought our first home a month ago (in Minnesota!) and it's over a hundred years old and FULL OF OAK! Our bedroom was the only room where the trim and doors were painted white and we cannot bring ourselves to paint beautiful old woodwork in other rooms. I'm happy I lat east have one room- but all of your suggestions are great for the others!

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  73. Love this!! I totally want to do this, but we have a staircase that is oak, any easy way to paint that?

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  74. Thank you! We moved from the south to Minnesota and the oak was completely overwhelming to me. I've decided to keep out though. I can tell how it warms up a room during the cold, gray, winters, but I absolutely love your tips! I second all of them! Can't wait to do something crazy, like paint the built ins white even though there's oak trim on the walls, windows and ceilings and floor. It will still look awesome. Anyways, you're blog post is just the encouragement I needed. Thanks!

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