First Floor Trim Makeover
When quarantine began and I was looking for projects to do I decided I finally wanted to tackle repainting all of our trim and door frames. Originally, the trim was a color called Swiss Coffee – a darker cream color that didn’t do our low ceilings and narrow spaces any favors. My sweet husband, who apparently loves a good challenge, took it a step further and suggested we may as well replace all of the trim while we’re at it. Simple, right?
Let me give you a back story on our home improvement history. We make a pretty great team and have tackled our fair share of projects – we uncovered and refinished the 100+ year old floors in our former home, built a sunken fire pit patio from scratch, and countless other projects over the years – but this one took it out of us! Replacing the first floor trim morphed into much more than ripping out trim and tacking up new boards. With the old trim out of the way we decided to:
re-wallpaper the half bath
replace the entryway and bathroom flooring
add board and batten to the hallway, bathroom and dining room
sand and repaint the doors
skim and repaint the dining room walls
replace all of the baseboards, door trim, and window trim
I’m not going to go in depth for every part of our makeover, but I definitely want to highlight some of the key choices that completely transformed our spaces! If you want to know how we created the look, don’t miss the complete materials guide at the bottom of the page! Also, make sure you read to the end to find out whether we thought it was worth it to use a paint sprayer to paint all of our installed trim versus pre-painting everything!
Overall, I wanted to create a much cleaner look with flat style trim. It’s clean and classic and it is WAY easier to keep clean! This style of trim is typically labeled as craftsmen or farmhouse trim. While it certainly pairs well with farmhouse vibes, flat wide trim looks great with almost every style of home. For the baseboards, we chose to use primed MDF that was 5 ½ inches wide. A wider baseboard helps draw the eye up and instantly made our rooms feel more high-end.
We only have 8 foot ceilings so we wanted to maximize the height of our space as much as possible. We used the same 5 ½ inch MDF for the top of our door frames and attached brick moulding above that to add height. Look at how much of a difference there is between these 2 doorways!!!
For the sides of the doors, we used 3 ½ inch MDF. To figure out exactly what we wanted, we walked through the trim area at Home Depot and played around with widths until we found a look we loved!
Guys, our entry hallway was suuuper dark and narrow when we moved in. The front door didn't even have a window! Our home does not have an official entryway – you just walk in the front door to a long dark hallway that leads to our kitchen. My design challenge was to find a way to brighten the space and make it seem much bigger without tearing down walls. After tons of research, I found that board and batten is great for drawing your eye upward and helps create the illusion of a larger space.
Even as soon as the unfinished boards were tacked up, we could see just how much larger the hallway felt! A new hallway floor that matched the rest of the main floor certainly helped as well! Peace out, outdated linoleum!
I also wanted to lighten up the color of the hallway so I decided to paint the walls the same color as the new trim – Sherwin Williams Alabaster. Everything is a satin finish for a clean, fresh feel.
I added my signature pop of color with new entryway rugs and coordinated with a mix of black and white prints, metallics, and vintage art. One last touch was to repaint the ceiling light mounts flat black instead of the original bright chrome. I just used flat black spray paint and it made the fixtures look so much more expensive!
What do you think? Can you see the difference?!
I have been dying to use a bright and bold wallpaper somewhere in our home, and the half bath was the perfect place to do it! I found this paper at Target and completely fell in love! I was scared that papering the entire room would be way too much drama for a small space, so we chose to install board and batten to the lower two thirds of the walls and only paper the top third.
Again, the walls and trim were painted Alabaster to brighten the space. Picture frames with wide mats allows contrast between the busy paper and the art I selected for the room. I spray painted our toilet paper holder, wall sconce, and ceiling light flat black and added a black hook for our hand towel.
We ended up with a new vanity and sink because the base of the original pedestal sink fell off and shattered in our garage. Trust me, I wasn’t too sad about that… The new vanity is much larger than the original pedestal sink, but it somehow helps to make the space feel bigger! Isn’t it funny how sometimes adding something larger to a small space can make the space itself feel bigger?!
If there ever was a room that expressed my personality, this is it! Bold but restrained, classic but a little quirky, feminine but not fancy. Never thought I’d compare myself to a bathroom, but yet here I am…
I knew from the beginning of owning this home I wanted to do picture frame trim or board and batten in our dining room. We decided on a design that is a mixture of both, and I love it so much! A few years ago, we painted the dining room Benjamin Moore's Nocturnal Grey and it might be my favorite paint color ever!
It gives our dining room drama and allows our antique pieces to pop with the contrast. For this room, we removed the chair rail and installed 5 1/2 inch MDF for the baseboards, new chair rail (which we raised) and the battens. I love how elegant this room feels without being stuffy! Even though we loved this color the first time we painted it, you could see a TON of imperfections on the walls. Once the original chair rail had been removed, we realized the previous owners had simply painted over their wallpaper before selling the home.
No wonder the walls looked awful! So we decided to skim the walls and repaint them while we were already working on the room.
Raising the chair rail to above the height of our dining chairs, again, draws the eye upward and balances out the space.
Using a Paint Sprayer
Let me start by saying, I love using a paint sprayer. We have painted so many pieces of furniture and even our chain link fence using a sprayer and it makes the work SO much easier and leaves you with a professional look.
When we first decided on this project, I reached out to some of my styling groups for advice and a few people advised installing all of the trim, masking it off, and using a sprayer for a professional look. We did all the research, bought a sprayer specifically for use indoors with a low spray back radius and were convinced it was going to save us so much time. Except it didn’t. All of the time I spent masking the floors, walls and windows was a major time suck. We still ended up with paint spray on our windows and floors. We ended up with drips and runs. And spraying a light color was frustrating because it was difficult to see if we were covering the trim and walls properly.
Obviously if we were professionals or had tons of practice we may feel differently, but for our first time spraying INDOORS we weren’t fans. There was a learning curve with the new sprayer and even a learning curve with properly masking everything, so in the end, we may have saved time spraying all of the trim outdoors and touching up the paint once the nail holes were filled in. Don't get me wrong, the sprayer we purchased for this project works really well. I just don't think we'd attempt to spray indoors again.
Regardless of which way you do it, it’s a ton of work. But I don’t regret it considering the transformation we achieved! Just don’t ask me when we’ll be ready to tackle the second floor…
One major positive I do want to mention about using a sprayer is that our doors looked flawless after being lightly sanded and painted outside!!!
I don’t think we realized quite how in-depth this project would be but we got it done and it was SO worth it! One thing I want to highlight is that this wasn’t a one week and done project. We started ripping out the existing trim back in the fall. When we decided we had reached a point of burn out, we gave ourselves permission to stop and pick up where we left off when we felt ready. Yes, that meant we lived in an unfinished space for 6 months, but it gave us our sanity back and allowed us to recharge in order to keep going! Home improvement projects can be intimidating and tricky, but boy do they save you a ton of money! And we may actually feel differently about the project when we replace the trim upstairs because we <mostly> know what we’re doing now!
My biggest piece of advice is to reach out to others around you – us included! What an amazing community of DIY’ers and Home Improvement experts we have via social media! Ask questions, collect tips and tricks. Watch the YouTube videos. You’re 100% going to save yourself some time and headaches.
I hope you find some inspiration here for whatever project you choose to tackle next! Don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of the page so you never miss an opportunity to be inspired! And make sure you check out the list below for all the materials we used and all the links so you can shop the look!
5 ½ inch primed MDF
3 ½ inch primed MDF
tape and paper dispenser - this thing was a life saver!!!
hole filler - you NEED this in your life!!
Shop the Look
wall and trim color - Sherwin Williams - Alabaster
rectangular mirror - vintage
wall color - Benjamin Moore - Nocturnal Gray
wall candelabra - facebook marketplace find
- my own photography