Why We Have Decided to Paint Our Dining Room Trim

You may remember back in January when we wrote this post about whether we should paint our dining room trim or not. I am back today with a quick update on what we decided, and I am happy to say that we plan to paint the trim! Before you jump to any conclusions, here are the four main reasons we are pulling the trigger and saying yes to some freshly painted trim.

ONE: We lived with the decision for a while.

I am not by any stretch of the imagination a patient person. Waiting to make a decision, especially one I feel like should not be that hard, drives me insane. When we wrote the original post asking for opinions in January, I assumed the decision would be made in January and by February at the latest. Obviously, that did not happen since we settled on this decision this past weekend. I am sure some of you are thinking that a little over 5 months is really not that long to sit with a decision, but I assure you that it is an eternity for my decision making process. While I obviously did not spend every waking moment between then and now thinking about whether or not to paint the trim, I am a firm believer, when I can summon the patience, that resisting instant gratification and actually sitting and wrestling with a decision over a longer period of time is the best way to make a sound decision. It is a good bet that, if you feel just as convicted about a decision after six months as you did originally, you will be satisfied and at peace with the decision (even if your own mom disagrees with you). Sorry mom!

TWO: The trim is NOT original.

One factor we have tried to highlight from the original presentation of the question has been that the trim is not original to the home. In an age where more and more people (ourselves included) are opting to love old homes and to restore them beautifully as opposed to simply “flipping” for a profit, people often freak out when you talk about painting wooden trim. However, the quality of wood trim varies DRASTICALLY from home to home and, in our house, from room to room. The majority of the trim in our home is original Heart Pine while our dining trim definitely is not and often looks much cheaper up close. I do not consider us architectural purists and I believe people have the right to do what they like in their own homes, but I do feel that good, original bones should be conserved and protected, often simply because that level of craftsmanship is hard to come by these days. I sound like I’m 80, but it is true! In fact, we have painstakingly worked to restore our trim (exhibit A; exhibit B) in the entire second story of our home that was painted white when we purchased the home in order to return all of the original trim back to its true form. We are almost completely wrapped on the trim in two out of the three rooms upstairs. Stay tuned for more on that process and those reveals that will be coming very soon!

THREE: There is a big attic door in the ceiling.

Surprise! As a lesson not to believe everything you see in photos, our dining room ceiling actually has a pretty pronounced attic door tucked off to one side between two of the beams. Right now, it is still wood since it would look really odd painted white based on how it is is integrated with our beams. Not in every photo, but in most photos, I actually photoshop this eye sore out. If we were to paint all the trim white, the attic door would be far less prominent.

FOUR: It will just feel brighter and happier.

When you are designing for a client, of course you are subject to questioning and having to justify or explain design decisions or concepts. However, I realized that I don’t have to justify every decision I make in our own home. Since we share so much of our home and designing process publicly, I often feel that I have to justify everything we do even though I think that sucks all the creativity out of it and usually ends up being a mess. At the end of the day, as much as we love our home and original wood trim, we do love a fresh, bright room with painted trim. Based on the light in that room and where it sits within the house, we really feel that this change will make us want to spend more time in the space than we currently do. Because we have worked so hard to work around the original trim everywhere else in the house (and are happy we did), this is really one of the best (and only) spaces in which we can truly play and experiment.

After more planning of the design, the room will not look exactly like this, but this is the original visualization we made for the original post. We are really treating this change as more of a dining room refresh overall and are hoping to give the room a new life in phases as we have the time and money. We are hoping the first phase will be completed by Thanksgiving before we host people in our home for the holidays!

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