One of the easiest ways to make a room feel larger and richer is to paint walls and trim the same color. The effect can be subtle and serene or daring and dramatic, depending on your color choice. A few years ago, I painted the walls, trim, bookcases and moulding Sherwin Williams Zurich White.
It instantly made our small living room feel larger, brighter, and more cohesive. For the living room of our lake cottage pictured here, I chose to paint trim in a semi-gloss finish and walls in eggshell. I prefer eggshell for walls for its high LRV (light reflective value) without too much shine.
Below, note that our walls and built-in bookcases are painted in the same color (Sherwin Williams Zurich White) just a different sheen. The difference between the two sheens is subtle, but it creates a lovely contrast when the light catches it. There are so many reasons why painting trim the same color as walls is a fabulous design decision.
This simple design detail makes rooms feel larger, more open, and more seamless – even the cabinetry. In previous years, bright white trim against dark contrasting walls cried out, “Look at me!” It definitely wanted to be noticed. Painting crown molding, baseboards, and trim the same color as walls elevates the entire space.
It’s easy to see how painting crown molding the same color as the walls makes ceilings appear higher than they actually are. Contrasting trim around windows, doors, and along floorboards do the same thing – it stops the eye from moving around the room freely.
With the walls and trim the same color, the eye can move around the room in one sweeping motion, with nothing to stop it.
An unwanted kitchen soffit, exposed pipe, awkwardly placed vent cover, drop-down ceiling – they all blend together and in a sense “disappear” when they’re the same color.
For our breakfast room, we even painted the ceiling in the same color (Benjamin Moore Navajo White) to make the space feel larger and richer. Painting cabinets the same color as your walls creates a cohesive, built-in feel.
Painting cabinetry the same color as walls and trim makes it feel like a seamless, integral part of the space and not an afterthought. In our kitchen, we had our inset cabinets painted the same creamy white as the beadboard backsplash, oven hood, window trim, and crown molding.
See another example of this style in our guide to the prettiest gray green color, Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog. Beautiful artwork, furniture, or textiles can take center stage, because they have the perfect, neutral backdrop.
Everything I’ve said about this design trend being understated and simple is true, but it can also be fun and exciting and over the top! They are gorgeous and a bit moody, with rich saturated color to make a statement.
If your walls are semi-gloss, use gloss for all of the trim including crown, baseboards and other moldings. As you try different shades, you’ll begin to recognize a pattern in the colors that feel good in your home.