icon The Interior Trim: Your Guide to the Best Types of Paints

The Interior Trim: Your Guide to the Best Types of Paints

Families across the world have been spending more time at home than ever before over the past year. Many of these families have decided to use this time to spruce up their living spaces.

Last year saw a nearly 60% increase in home remodeling projects. From new bathroom fixtures to the perfect paint color, a little goes a long way in refreshing your space.

gray wall with white trim molding and white ceiling.

Choosing a new interior trim is a fun project that can breathe new life into any room. But with so many paint options, this decision can feel overwhelming.

If you're thinking about refreshing your interior trim, then look no further!

This article will take you through the best types of interior paints for the perfect trim. You'll also learn tips and tricks for making your next painting project a huge success.

Are you ready to paint inspiring interiors? Then keep reading to find out everything you need to know about interior paint for trim projects.

Best Types of Paints for Interior Trim

Interior trims can require different paint types than interior walls. When you're selecting the best paint, there are several factors to consider.

First, you should think about the material you're painting. Wooden baseboards and metal door trims need different types of paint. 

You should also consider how much wear and tear your trim will go through. For example, you might choose a paint that's easy to clean for your laundry room or mudroom.

Let's start by taking a look at the main types of paint for interior trim.

Oil-Based Paint

Many painters choose oil-based paints for their durability. Oil-based paints last for a long time, which can be great for trim projects. These paints also come in vivid colors sure to make for a striking interior.

Oil refinery with a sunset background

However, oil-based paints can be difficult to clean. They also take a long time to dry. If you're working in a high-traffic room, you might prefer to use paints with faster drying times.

Acrylic-Latex and Acrylic-Alkyd Hybrid Paint

Acrylic-based paints dry quickly. This can shorten your total project time. However, you will need to work faster if you choose acrylic-based paints.

Latex paints hold their color for years. They are also easy to clean with water, so a great option for busy rooms!

Acrylic paints also have a shiny finish perfect for a bright, popping color. But acrylic paints do tend to dry darker than the original color. If you choose acrylic paint, make sure to keep this in mind.

For a solid brand, you might go with Benjamin Moore Advance. This high-quality paint offers a long-lasting finish for doors or trim.

Water-Based Paint

One advantage of water-based paints is their low cost. Out of the three options here, water-based paints are generally the least expensive.

close up of water

These paints also have less odor than oil or acrylics. If you're sensitive to harsh paint smells, a water-based option might be right for you.

However, water-based paints are the least resistant to wear and tear. They might not be a good option for painting trim in high-traffic rooms.

What About the Paint Finish?

If you've ever taken on a painting project before, you're probably familiar with terms like semi-gloss or high-gloss. But what are the advantages of each finish? Let's take a look now:

  • Semi-gloss paint: nice bright look that's easy to clean
  • High-gloss paint: brightest sheen and easiest to clean
  • Flat/matte paint: low gloss can hide baseboard flaws
  • Satin/eggshell paint: slight gloss that resists wear and tear

No one finish is superior to the others. The finish you select depends on the material you're painting and the look you're going for.

High gloss paint on left side and matte paint on the right side, both are red

If you're painting crown molding, you could choose a lower gloss paint like a matte or eggshell. If you're painting baseboards in a nursery, you might choose a high-gloss finish that makes for an easy clean.

When you're ready to choose your interior trim paint, take some time to consider the type and finish that's right for your project.

Most paint stores sell small samples of different paint options. If you're not sure which paint type to go with, why not get a few different samples? Then you can test each paint to see which will work best in your space.

Choosing the Best Interior Trim Color

When it comes to the color of your interior trim, there is no right or wrong. The color you choose depends on the overall look you are going for in a given room.

For example, some homeowners choose black trim for a bold contrast. Black trim can give your home a chic and modern feel. It can also add a dramatic touch to spruce up that living room or entryway.

Corner of a room with 3 windows painted with black trim paint

For a black trim job, many painters use Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black. This paint is excellent for getting that bold look on your baseboards or crown molding.

Let's look at some other options for choosing an interior trim color now.

Using the Same Color for Walls and Trim

Many painters use this technique when painting smaller rooms. Painting your walls and trim in the same color makes a given room seem bigger than it actually is.

If you're repainting your lounge, you might consider this technique to give the room a larger feel. This method also gives your interior space a cohesive look.

Creating a Striking Contrast

In other cases, you might choose a trim color that's darker than your walls. This can give added depth to your space.

Darker trim colors are especially suitable for older homes. Painting wood trim in a darker color can bring out the detail and charm of vintage construction.

Advantages of White Trim

White trim might be the most common color option for painting interior trim. This color is a classic option and matches virtually all interior decor.

If you're having a hard time selecting a color contrast, why not go with a white paint option? This color will add design value to any room in your home.

Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Trim

One of the biggest issues with painting trim is brush marks. If you don't use the right technique or equipment, you might wind up with brush marks in your final trim.

So, how can you avoid brush marks in your trim project?

Paint brush on a white line surrounded by green paint on top and yellow on bottom

First, you should prep your trim before you begin painting. If you're working on a wooden surface, you can use wood putty to fill in any dents or cracks.

After applying wood putty, make sure to sand the surface so it is ready for painting. You should also clean and dust your trim thoroughly. If you're working on a raw wood surface, you should also consider using a primer.

Once you're ready to paint, follow these tips to avoid brush strokes:

  • Make sure your brush bristles are fully loaded with paint
  • Paint with the grain of your wood surface
  • Cut in before painting the middle of your surface
  • Only use the minimum number of brushstrokes for the job
  • Don't use more pressure than necessary while painting

Trim Painting Steps From the Pros

Before you start painting your trim, go ahead and grab your painter's tape. Applying painter's tape will ensure that you get the most professional look possible for your trim project.

You should also make sure to protect your flooring. You could apply painter's tape to the floor right next to a baseboard, for example. Or you could use canvas sheets to cover the floor before you start painting.

3 paint cans stacked with peach, yellow and blue paint dripping along the sides, next to a drop cloth

If you decide to use a primer, you must let the primer dry fully before you add a coat of paint. This drying process generally takes about 24 hours.

After your primer has dried, you should sand your trim. This gets rid of any brush strokes from primer application. It can also smooth out any drips of paint.

Once you're ready to apply paint, you should only work a few feet of trim at a time. Use short brush strokes in a horizontal direction. Then move to the next section of trim and repeat.

Some painters also recommend finishing up with a long brushstroke. After you've painted one wall of trim, you can gently apply a long stroke over the wet surface.

Repeat long strokes over each section to smooth over any remaining brush strokes and give your trim a unified look.

Once your trim has dried, you can remove your painter's tape. And, voila, you can enjoy a beautiful new trim that will spruce up any room in your home!

Get Inspired by Your Space

Adding a fresh coat of paint to your interior trim is one of many ways you can add value and charm to your home.

At Melissa Vickers Design, we're committed to creating inspiring spaces for all our clients. We believe that great designs should be accessible to everyone.

If you're looking for more advice on revamping your interior design, get in touch! Melissa Vickers Design offers a range of options for all your design needs. We can't wait to help you create spaces that inspire.

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