Connect with H&H

What to do with old wood moldings and door frames

jshahin's picture

We have recently bought a new house built in 1920.  Lots of charm with tons of woodwork.  My wife and I are more partial to white, clean and open spaces and are having a difficult time deciding whether we should paint over the wood (beautiful wood!) moldings and door frames.  We would prefer white but it feels sacriligous.  Advice please!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
jshahin's picture

Thanks for the comments.  REally a part of me does love the wood.  Everytime I walk i the house I spend 5 min just starring at the trim and marvelling at the grain and detail.  It really would feel awful to paint it just white.  Yet alot of wood can feel just overwelming sometimes!!  Nevertheless after much discussion with my wife we have agreed to keep it for now as we can always paint it if we really dont like it but it will be much harder to back the other way.  Actually I did think that even if it is painted we could just scrape it and bring it back to its original form.   Good to know that that isnt the case.  I also do feel that to paint the wood would strip this house of what makes it different and it does feel a bit "disrespectful" to the home.  Quick question.  My designer tells me there is no need to touch up the wood (strip varnish) and that it can remain the way it is.  Does one never stain it or varnish it to achieve a different tone.  Clearly new to the wood thing so apologise in advance if question is silly.Thanks

gmcauley's picture

Hello jshahin,

H&H style editor Michael Penney struggled with the same dilemma! Several editors here at the mag advised him to paint it out white, but he decided to leave much of the moulding au naturel. See the gallery for his tips on balancing the warm wood tones with furniture:

And watch the video tour through his living/dining room to see the end result. Even though he left the wood as is, it looks light and fresh!

So I guess painting it out white isn't always the only option :)

Good luck!

Gwen McAuley (gmcauley at

Comment Guidelines

We welcome your feedback on H&H reserves the right to remove any unsuitable personal remarks made about the bloggers, hosts, homeowners and/or guests we feature. Please keep your comments focused on decorating, design, cooking and other lifestyle topics. Adopt a tone you would be willing to use in person and do not make slanderous remarks or use denigrating language. If you see a comment that you believe violates any of the guidelines outlined above, please click “Flag as inappropriate.” Thank you.