Painting over orangy-wood trim + doors

bathroomdoortrim Our home, like most that were built in the early 1990’s, has oak doors and trim throughout the house. The kind of doors and trim that are very orangy in real life. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

The doors are great quality, so those will all stay. The baseboard and door trim, however, is a bit more skimpy and ornate than we would prefer, so those will eventually be replaced.

Our long term plan is to update all of the floors – upstairs will be carpet, downstairs will be wood – at at that point, we’ll pull off all of the trim and replace it with thick, flat white baseboards and trim (like in our old house).

But in the meantime …

I’ll be honest, we never talked about painting all of the trim. But then we started our mini kitchen makeover (read about it here), and the window trim just wanted to be painted charcoal.

kitchenfaucet That led to painting the french doors and down to the base boards.

dogbowls and over to the bathroom door.

bathroomdoorsm And, actually, we kind of love it.

bathroomdoor We will still pull off the base and replace it when we do the floors, but for now having it painted this beautiful, rich Iron Ore instead of the orangy tone is making a huge impact in the space.
door So how exactly do you paint doors and trim?

If you’re me, you just do it :) Slowly, in the evenings, while watching Holiday baking shows. It’s so monotonous and mindless and delightful. But I’m a bit crazy, so whatever.

There are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to paint cabinets, doors and woodwork and I’m pretty sure I do it all ‘wrong’.

But here’s the thing: it works.

We painted the cabinets in our old house and they have held up really well for 8 years and counting.

So while you should consider all of the options for painting – like which paint type, whether to spray, roll or brush or if it is best to hire a professional, I will also say that if you hate the orangy trim in your house and you plan on taking it all out in a few years anyway (or even if you don’t!), go ahead and paint it. You will be amazed at what a difference a can of paint can make.

Here are the supplies needed:


Paint | Brush | Sandpaper | Sanding Block

The first step is gently sanding the surface of the trim and doors. This is just to take the top sheen off slightly and give the paint a bit of texture to adhere to. Just a quick hand sanding with 120 grit paper does the trick. I like to cut a sheet in half and wrap it around a foam sanding block to give me something to grip.

Next, wipe off sanding dust and tape edges. I hate this part, but it makes it easier in the longrun.

For our trim and doors, I’m using Behr Marquee Semi Gloss Enamel paint in Iron Ore (a Sherwin Williams color). If you are planning on keeping your trim longterm, you might want to upgrade the paint. Or don’t. Your choice. We went with the top quality at Home Depot on our kitchen cabinets and the trim and doors and have been very happy with the results.

I just brush it on going with the grain of the wood using a 1 1/2″ angled brush. The one I use was about $10, so definitely nothing fancy, but also not the cheapest brush you can buy.

brush I did two coats of paint (no primer) and it covered perfectly. As you can see below, the brush marks are slightly visible, but as long as you brush with the grain of the wood and use smooth strokes, it blends in well.

doorwreath It has been fun to start transforming our house to look a bit more modern and updated, while sticking to the classic, slightly cottagy feel. My goal is to keep the trim and door painting going into the entry and living room and maybe (maybe?!) I’ll have it done before our family arrives on Christmas day.

So, my friends, that is how I am painting the trim and doors in our house.

I will reiterate, if you have the same orangy wood trim and it drives you crazy, go ahead, choose a paint color and paint it. Seriously. It will give your home an instant update. Will you look back in 20 years and wonder why you painted over perfectly good wood trim? Maybe. But I don’t know. There is just something compelling about enjoying your home today and transforming it into your style. I’m all for it.

Don’t forget to follow along in instagram for daily updates!

58 Responses to Painting over orangy-wood trim + doors

  1. Lindsey January 18, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

    Did you paint the walls first or the trim?

    • emily January 18, 2017 at 11:44 pm #

      We painted the walls first, then the trim. You could do it either way – I just find it is easier to start with the lightest color and do the dark last to help with touchups.

  2. Michele December 27, 2016 at 5:57 am #

    I love the dark doors and trim! I, too, have orangey wood and am dying to paint it. I also have “lovely” 90’s dark green tile floors, so maybe painting baseboards a color (light or dark grey) vs white would lower the contrast?? What do u think?

  3. Michele December 26, 2016 at 9:47 am #

    I love what you have done! I’ve been dying to paint my orangey trim for years??!! The floors in my foyer/hall/kitchen are 90’s dark green (I know, right?) and so while I adore fresh white trim I hesitate putting it next to that green. The kitchen cabinets are a honey oak and the hardwood wood floors in adjoining family room and rest dining rm & living rm are also a honey/slightly orange color–I think dark might work with green floors but not sure about areas with wood floors? What do you think?

  4. Jenny December 22, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

    I loved this tutorial so much! Your doors and trim look really rich. Did you take off the door hinges when you painted, or did you just tape them up and paint around them?

  5. Joyce December 17, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    Hi! I have a house built in 2009-dark stained cabinets,dark granite&beige trim..along with tan tile backsplash. I have a few simple updating ideas,but worry that it won’t all go and I’ll wish I never messed with it! I love what you’ve done with your old house and new one- do you ever give advice?? I wouldn’t be scared if I knew you ok-ed it!! Haha

    • emily December 19, 2016 at 11:23 am #

      We are thinking about adding in some design services in the new year and would love to help you out! It does help with the fear a little if you have other opinions you trust helping (and a good design board!). I will keep you posted!

  6. Susan December 17, 2016 at 9:27 am #

    Oh this is lovely! My husband is about to pull the trigger on painting our orange-wood kitchen cabinets all white and then I saw this! Sadly, we have a mostly black granite counter top and orange-wood floors so not sure we can pull it off but I love your space because it looks so clean and fresh! I’m going to ask him to hold on the white cabinets….any suggestions?

    P.S. where can I purchase a gold framed mirror like the one in your bathroom?

    • emily December 19, 2016 at 11:19 am #

      Don’t hold off on white cabinets – if that is what you love, go for it! I love a white kitchen but I felt like white was going to be too stark with the existing gray tile floors and black/white granite. So we went for a more blended in look with the charcoal cabinets. I do love how it all works together! White cabinets are classic and I bet it will look great in your kitchen!

  7. Jennifer December 15, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

    Question – Is your french door metal (or aluminum or whatever they are made out of if not wood)? If so, how did it take the paint? Mine is not the same white has my trim and it drives me insane!

    • emily December 19, 2016 at 11:21 am #

      Our french doors are wood, so they took the paint just fine. Look for paint specifically formulated for metal and it should cover your aluminum door!

  8. Diane December 15, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    Oh my goodness… you were on your hands and knees a whole bunch getting the baseboard painted. That is the hardest part of the job, isn’t it?

    I have a tip to add… use a wider brush… 2 1/2 inch angle makes the job go so much faster. Seriously… go purchase one and give it a whirl… you’re welcome!!!

    I’m one that usually likes my trim to disappear… but I have to say… you’re winning me over with these deep charcoal. ;)

    • emily December 19, 2016 at 11:21 am #

      Lots of sitting and painting :)

  9. Lisa December 15, 2016 at 10:06 am #

    Emily, could you link me to those adorable pet bowls? Thank you!

    • emily December 15, 2016 at 10:37 am #

      Aren’t they the cutest?! I have them in my shop: https://goods.jonesdesigncompany.com/collections/pets/products/dog-bowls

  10. Kate December 15, 2016 at 6:03 am #

    It looks great!

  11. Cheri Dietzman December 14, 2016 at 7:54 pm #

    This is such a timely post for me! I just finished a first coat (red paint) on some interior “back stairs” in our little cottage … and as I was painting I thought … next I’m painting the bedroom doors! One thought I had was to paint the bedroom doors different (subdued) colors .. but maybe all iron ore gray would be nice too (what brand paint is iron ore?)

    I also paint doors still on the hinge (much to my husband’s dismay) :)

  12. Dawn December 14, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

    HI Emily…do you have the Iron Ore “recipe” to give to the Home Depot paint mixer or do I just bring in the paint sample card? Thanks!

    • emily December 15, 2016 at 10:41 am #

      They should be able to look it up in their computer system. Just ask for Sherwin Williams Iron Ore :)

  13. Sallie December 14, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

    I don’t get how you keep up with your blog and are still able to paint and do everything else required for the holidays! You are super woman and I admire your tenacity.

    • emily December 15, 2016 at 10:41 am #

      It’s a bit of a juggling act :)

  14. Debi December 14, 2016 at 7:13 pm #

    I love your style! I had a painting/faux finish business for many years and encouraged my clients to step outside of their comfort zones and trust me. The results were often surprising to them – in a good way – and transforming. Good for you for encouraging others to do the same. I always say, “It’s o my paint. If you don’t like it, you can paint it again.”

    • Debi December 14, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

      Uh, that should read, “…only paint…”

      • emily December 15, 2016 at 10:42 am #

        I totally agree!

  15. mary beth at http://www.mbzinteriors.com December 14, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

    Beautiful! I love the color you chose. I just painted our wood floor white – crazy and I’m so excited about it. Just have to put the finishing touches on my home office and I’ll be revealing it. I too have been doing a little bit here and there, no rush.

    • emily December 15, 2016 at 10:42 am #

      We’re going to paint the wood floors in my studio white, too. It’s risky … so many opportunities for dirt to really show, but we’re giving it a try anyway :) I can’t wait to see yours!

  16. LeAnne Martin December 14, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

    I love that last paragraph. Yes, paint it now so you can enjoy it now! So many times, we hesitate to do something because we think we might regret it. But why live with what we don’t love now just because we might regret it later? Great point, Emily! So helpful.

  17. Kyrie December 14, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

    Would you do a tutorial on the wreathe? I’m assuming you made it, lol!


    • emily December 14, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

      I did make the wreath! Here is the tutorial: https://jonesdesigncompany.com/create/tissue-pom-wreath-tutorial/

      • Kyrie December 15, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

        Thank you! I missed that one somehow!


  18. Peggy December 14, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    Ok Emily…. for the hard question… have you started painting the trimwork in the rooms with carpet? How do you manage that without getting paint on the carpet?!? And how does one go about replacing the baseboards when you aren’t taking up the carpet. Umm yeah we may have forgotten about that when we had new carpet installed which I do not CARE because we do not use the word “HATE” in our household (something my grown sons LOVE to tease me about… “Remember mama we don’t say hate in our house… we say dislike or don’t care for said in a sing songy voice) If we end up keeping the house permenantly this girl is getting REAL wood floors throughout and cement counters. :-)

    • emily December 14, 2016 at 5:50 pm #

      When I get to the rooms with carpet, I’ll just use super thick painters tape and create a border between the trim and carpet. It will hopefully work okay!

      • Rebecca December 15, 2016 at 8:59 am #

        I’ve done it that way when dealing with carpet and as long as you line up the tape really well it works great! Try to smash down the carpet pile when you tape it so you make sure you get low enough.

  19. Patty December 14, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    I am totally loving the transformation of this home. I seriously get all giddy when I see a post from you in my inbox. Thing is, I realize it is temporary and for now, but gosh gosh gosh….I could be happy with it forever!!!

    • emily December 14, 2016 at 5:50 pm #

      We feel the same way! It’s fun to make these changes and realize that maybe a full house remodel isn’t what this place needs!

  20. Lauren@SimplyLKJ December 14, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

    Love how it turned out!

  21. Tricia December 14, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

    Love the color! We need to do the same at our house – good quality wood interior doors have yellowed over time since they were originally painted white. However they have a thick glossy laquer coat on top. Do you think your method of sanding and painting would work ok on them?

    • emily December 14, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

      I would try it in a non-prominent spot. It’s worth a try!

  22. lauren December 14, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    I love it… its inspiring. We moved into a 60 year old house and all of the trip is painted some shade of green. We have attempted painting over it white, but even with primer, that has proved difficult and the white comes out with a strong yellow undertone… so I like the idea of going darker. But I have a question, do you have any photos of what the transition would look like from one room the next if those 2 rooms had different trim colors, but the woodwork connected at the baseboard at some point? I am having a hard time envisioning that.

  23. Elizabeth December 14, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    Love it! Did you leave doors on to paint?

    • emily December 14, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

      I just left them on!

  24. Courtney December 14, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    Did you take the doors off when you painted them? I have basically all the same color trim in our home and I’m not a fan. I would love to paint it all white, my issue is that we have a pretty open concept, so if I do one area I have to do it all. I love the Iron Ore color you chose though!


    • emily December 14, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

      That’s the trouble … once you start, it is hard to find a natural place to stop!

      I painted the doors while still hung – just painting around the hinges as closely as possible.

  25. Emma December 14, 2016 at 11:58 am #

    Did you take the cabinet doors off or just paint right on them hanging?

    • emily December 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

      I painted the cabinet doors while on. In our old house, I took them all off and painted them in the garage. Both ways have their benefits, but for this project we were just looking for a quick fix rather than a long-term, perfect solution.

  26. lauren December 14, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    wow! looks great and you make it look easy. think i could use the same steps on repainting my kitchen cupboards? they are builder grade brown, about 5 years old. I’ve been dying to paint them but so afraid of ruining them!

    • emily December 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

      Yes! This is just how I did the cabinets in the kitchen as well. Same steps and materials.

  27. Kenna December 14, 2016 at 11:15 am #

    Thank you

  28. Amanda December 14, 2016 at 11:14 am #

    Thank you for sharing your tips! Super helpful. And I love the dark trim and light walls. So unique and beautiful but masculine!

  29. Selina December 14, 2016 at 10:59 am #

    I’m painting all my orangey wood trim also, but am painting them white. People should note that going from orange wood to white takes a lot more coats. I’ve been doing two coats of primer and 3-4 coats of paint to completely cover it. It’s a log of work but worth it. Are you taking off your doors to paint them?

    • emily December 14, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

      White does take more time! Good thing to note.

      I just leave the doors on to paint.

  30. Crystal December 14, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    That looks super classy! I love it! I’m debating painting my doors black (or charcoal -that Iron Ore is pretty amazing!). Have you ever done a black door with white trim? I’m not ready to give up all the white baseboards and crown moulding, but I don’t want it to look odd for the door to be dark and all the trim around it to be white (I have plans to repaint walls Alabaster).
    Your new house is looking more and more like your home :) I love seeing it all happen, and you guys don’t waste any time!

    • emily December 14, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

      Our front door at our old house was painted black (on the exterior and interior) with white trim. I loved how that looked, too. (see it here: https://jonesdesigncompany.com/decorate/our-wood-floors-one-year-later/). When we replace the floors and trim, we will most likely keep the doors dark and go with white trim. It is a classic look that I love!

  31. Debbie H December 14, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    I’m so doing it! I’ve been drooling over photos of soft grey or putty trim with white walls. I think my house is asking me to do it, right??? Your home is SO MUCH like our new one. This is giving me courage!

    • emily December 14, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

      I for sure think your house is asking for that! Do you follow Lauren Liess? She did her old house with white walls and floors and a slightly putty trim and baseboard color. So pretty. http://www.laurenliess.com/pure-style-home/our-finished-ish-house

  32. Christy December 14, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    Do you remove the doors and lay them flat to paint them? We have painted all our trim but haven’t tackled the doors yet!

    • emily December 14, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

      Nope! I just painted them while hanging.

  33. Megan December 14, 2016 at 7:08 am #

    I’m in the process of slowly painting all of the trim and doors in our home. Such a SLOW process but completely worth it. Bye bye “smoker yellow”. Hello creosote clean white. I’m loving the dark moody doors. Such an impact.


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