Category Archives: Molding and Trim

Ideas For ‘Picture Frame’ Wainscoting


When I meet with clients for color consultations, I’m often asked to give painting ideas for walls that feature chair rails or wainscoting — namely ‘picture frames,’ which are a series of ‘shadow’ boxes created with narrow strips of molding.

Ah, the joys of molding!  We love how it adds character and architectural interest to a space, but at the same time, when it’s time to paint, we are sometimes left baffled.  I don’t believe that there is a right or wrong way to paint walls that feature picture frames. Your decision really depends upon the mood you want to create.  For example, if you want a dramatic, lively space, paint the inside of the picture frames using a color that contrasts with the rest of the wall.  Picture frames naturally lend themselves to color, so it’s a great opportunity to add interest to your room.

Picture 8

Or, instead of painting, consider using a beautifully patterned wallpaper; it will turn your walls into a work of art and create an instant focal point {love this idea!}:



However, if you’re going for a clean, contemporary look, you can paint the wall and all of the molding with the same color.  The result will be a more subtle, understated space.  You’ll still have architectural interest but the picture frames now become the backdrop as opposed to the main feature.  This is a great choice if you want a serene space or if you choose to put the focus on your furnishings.




If a traditional space is what you have in mind, use a singe color on the wall and paint the picture frames a crisp white.  You can use two wall colors if you have a chair rail {one color above the chair rail and another one below it}, but make sure you’ve painted inside the picture frames using the wall color that directly surrounds them.   This is a classic look that puts the emphasis on your molding, and provides tons of architectural interest:

after dining room


Picture 3

In a traditional or cottage style, you’ll often see white wainscoting on the bottom portion of a wall, while the top half of the wall is painted a different color.  While not my favorite choice, a white wainscoting does bring a light and airy feel to a room.  Again, there really is no right or wrong way to approach picture frame wainscoting.  You don’t have to go color crazy because the molding is already a feature.  Just determine the style and mood you want to create, and go for it!

{Click on each picture to see its link.}

For more trim, molding and color scheme ideas, see Ideas For Painting Your Trim.

Ideas For Painting Your Trim


My clients often ask me for advice on which paint colors to use for trim and molding.  So, I wrote a post about decorating with picture-frame wainscoting, and to my surprise it has become the most popular story on my blog.  Needless to say, I thought it was time to do another post about trim.

{Cleverly ‘camouflaged’ picture-frame molding by mhouseinc}

Painting any type of trim can be a challenge, especially when you want to do something other than white.  But it really just comes down to amount of impact you want your trim to have.  Do you want it to stand out and be a focal point in your space?  Or would you prefer that the trim blend-in and quietly reinforce the room’s color scheme?  If you answered yes to either question, then take a look at the following photos for inspiration:

{suzanne kasler}

In the room pictured above, the crown molding blends into the room because it’s painted the same color as the walls.  Design Tip:  For a subtle difference, paint the trim in a different finish, such as a lacquer or high gloss finish.

{trailer park gypsy}

Your trim will pop the most when you paint it with a vivid hue that contrasts against a more understated wall color or wall covering.



{the lennoxx}


Design Tip:  Create a monochromatic look by using two or three colors from the same color family, as shown in the photo above.


{house and home}

{design crisis}

For more tips on paint colors, trim and molding, check out Ideas For Picture-Frame Wainscoting.