8 Reasons to Blend Your Woodwork Paint With Your Walls
The days of automatically painting your doors, architraves and skirting boards white are gone. So what’s new now?
This snug farmhouse kitchen has lots of traditional elements – the ceramic sink, that hearty table, the cabinetry. But the all-green paintwork gives it an unusual edge. This kitchen goes way beyond just blending the walls and skirtings, with everything from the door frames to the cabinets painted the same shade. By not highlighting particular features or lines in white or another colour, the room becomes seamless and almost womblike – giving it a really cosy feel.
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Victorian homes that respect their period details but don’t wallow in the past are endlessly popular on Houzz. And this paint technique works perfectly with that approach, as seen in this bold and colourful living room.
Interestingly, one-colour walls and woodwork actually have traditional roots, it’s just that white woodwork has since become the norm. What gives the historic one-colour idea contemporary fizz is the clean finish it gives to a room – fewer lines breaking up a space make for a more streamlined look.
Here, there is still plenty of white woodwork. Merging those luscious blue walls (the colour is Peacock by Flamant) with the skirtings draws attention to the elegant ceiling while visually stretching the height of the room – just picture the shortening effect if this space had white at its bottom and top.
See more of this colourful Victorian home
Bringing your walls right down to your floor, by painting them to blend with your skirting boards, really softens the effect, whatever colour you choose. But this putty pink, combined with pale wood and a chalky white – a gentle take on contemporary Scandi style – illustrate the idea perfectly.
You’ll need to pick a different finish for your woodwork, which requires a more hard-wearing paint type than wall emulsion. For a matt effect, try eggshell, or to add an element of contrast, consider satinwood or gloss.
The default approach to decorating – white ceilings, window frames and skirting boards, whatever colour your walls – gives a room a crisp and classic frame. It would work perfectly here, with these salvage antique basins, but instead, by swerving the more obvious approach, the room becomes all about the basins, as they don’t have a band of white paint competing with them.
If you’ve invested in a large vintage piece, consider tailoring your paintwork to show it off.
In this generously sized entryway, the majority of the woodwork sticks with convention. But choosing to paint the built-in cupboard doors to blend with the wall means they melt into it, helping this hallway to feel more spacious as the back wall, being almost uniformly dark, appears to recede.
It’s a smart trick if you want a room to feel bigger, and could work well on bedroom wardrobes or fitted cupboards too.
If you don’t feel that full-on matching walls and woodwork will create the look you’re after, but you still want to soften the edges where the wood and plaster meet, try this technique. Use two shades from opposite ends of the same colour card – by choosing two tonally connected hues, you create definition but not total separation, lending your backdrop a calmer, less formal style.
When creating this effect, go for neutrals, whether it’s off-whites, pastels or sludgy shades, rather than stronger colours.
Consider the surfaces adjacent to your matching walls and woodwork too. In this country manor house in the Cotswolds, the brown tones in the paintwork (it’s Fine Mahogany by Neptune) echo the colours in the flagstones, wicker baskets, logs and rugged front door, building a relaxed feel in this elegant but unfussy hallway.
So before you get your brush out, look at the surfaces next to and surrounding the woodwork you’re planning to paint. Take a sample of it, if possible, to a DIY shop that offers colour matching and then go a few shades lighter or darker.
Take a look around this country home
It might seem counterintuitive to go for dark colours in a room with little natural light, but pale colours won’t boost light where there isn’t any, so going the other way and emphasising cosiness is often a good solution. Blending painted surfaces rather than picking out highlights will emphasise this effect, as seen here in this basement snug.
Don’t forget radiators – if you’re going down this decorating route, be aware that they risk inadvertently becoming features unless you also paint them to match.
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Have you painted your woodwork a colour other than white… or would you like to? Tell us about it in the Comments.