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What Paint Colors Go With Oak Trim?

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Oak trim was incredibly popular in many homes during the 80s and 90s, and it continues to be part of older homes or traditional homes. Oak can be found anywhere from stair railings, to door frames, cabinetry, and more. Whether or not you're a fan of oak, there are things you can do to make this color blend seamlessly with your home or stand out. You can do so by simply painting your home and choosing the best paint colors that go with oak trim.

The best paint colors that combine with oak trim include neutral, warm colors closer to orange or yellow hues that can neutralize the oak. For a home that has lots of contrast, you can also combine colors on the opposite end of the color wheel to combine with oak, such as paints with blue, purple, and gray undertones.

Newly installed red oak floor boards with trim protection for wall, What Paint Colors Go With Oak Trim?

What Color is Oak?

Before you choose a paint to help accent your oak, it's important to understand that there are many color differences between various types of oak. According to the Hardwood Distributors Association, there are various types of oak colors that include:

  • Red oak, which comes with red oak which comes with white, light oak, or reddish brown hues
  • White oak, which comes with white, greyish, reddish, brown, and golden hues

Keep these colors in mind when choosing the type of paint to decorate your home. Just because a certain shade of orange will accent a lighter colored oak well, does not mean that it will accent a darker hued orange oak the same way. However, it might work to neutralize it. 

texture of Ash wood on furniture surface

Do I Neutralize or Contrast With the Oak?

There are two options for choosing a paint for your oak trim. These two options include neutralizing or accenting your oak trim using contrasting colors. Both of these options are a preference, so choose the one that fits your taste.

When to Neutralize

Neutralizing your oak trim is a good option if you want to create a serene environment that is warm and inviting. Most oak woods are honey-colored with some differences in variation as listed above.

If you want to neutralize your oak trim, this means painting the surrounding walls or areas using colors that perfectly match the warm, honey tones of your oak. In addition to adding warmth to an area, neutralizing also allows your honey oak to blend in to the rest of your home.

If you want to blend in your oak trim due to not liking the style, then neutralizing is an easy way to virtually hide your oak trim.

When to Accent 

Accenting can help bring out the natural honey and golden hues in your oak trim. If you choose to accent your oak trim, choose a paint color that is on the opposite end of the color wheel from the gold and yellow hues.

Color Wheel Worksheet red, blue, yellow, green

The color wheel shown here is a good tool to use if you want to find the color that best contrasts with your oak trim. For instance, if your oak has more yellow hues, a good contrast would be purple. Since using purple paint might be too bold for your regular walls, it's good it get a paint that has purple undertones, such as paints similar to Sherwin William's Worldly Gray, like this paint on Amazon.

How to Choose the Best Paint Color

Before choosing to neutralize or contrast your oak trim, you should think about which paints would look best for your style of home. For instances, a warmer tone like orange or a creamy white might look great in your home next to your oak trim, but it might not match with styles like modern or contemporary. On the other hand, greyish paints with blue or violet undertones might look great in a contemporary home, but might not be the best paint to use if you want to create a warm environment.

To help you choose the best paint, you can also visit your hardware store and take samples of color swatches. These swatches come in little cards that have the name of the paint on them. Take a few of them home and place them on your walls or other areas that will be painted. This can help you visualize how the finished product will look like after you choose a paint for your home.

Best Paints to Neutralize your Oak Trim

To neutralize your oak trim, choose paints that are neutral and beige. Beige paints are available with undertones of:

  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Pink
  • Orange
  • Gold

Of these neutral undertones, choose paints with an undertone of yellow, orange, pink, or gold to neutralize your oak trim. Neutral colors with green might do the opposite and end up acting as a contrast to oak that is particularly yellow, honey, or gold colored.

Kitchen in luxury home with oak wood cabinetry

As seen in this kitchen with oak cabinets, the yellow undertones in this paint does a good job at helping create a seamless, warm look.

Some of the best paints that have undertones of yellow, orange, and gold include:

This eggshell paint with gold undertones on Amazon

This paint with orange undertones and a beautiful creamy consistency 

This bag of gold paint that is perfect for darker colored oak trim

This cozy cream interior paint with undertones of pink, good for reddish or light pink oaks

Best Paints to Contrast your Oak Trim

If you love the look of your oak trim and want to stand out, it's best to choose colors that have undertones that are on the opposite spectrum of the color wheel. For instance, if your oak is more orange, then a paint with blue undertones would be more appropriate.

If your oak is closer to a darker red or brown, then a paint with green undertones would work well. In general, grey is a good neutral color to help add contrast to your oak, since it comes with undertones of:

  • Blue
  • Green
  • Violet
  • Taupe

looking bright modern kitchen with oak faced cabinets and built in appliances including ultra fashionable and popular cast iron

This picture of a kitchen with a new, fresh paint job is the perfect example of choosing a grey with a green undertone to accent the natural oak trim in your home.

Some of the best paints to use for your oak trim to contrast it include:

This sky night paint with dark blue undertones

This aurora mist gray paint with subtle hints of light blue

This cottage paint with gray and purple undertones

Final Thoughts

Newly installed red oak floor boards with trim protection for wall

There are many colored paints you can use to combine with your oak trim. To find the best one, look at your oak to determine the best undertones that will neutralize or contrast with your oak trim.

Although oak trim is somewhat outdated, it can still create a welcoming and beautiful environment in your home if you use the right paints! This is also a great way to save money on your home renovations since you won't have to replace your trim.