Trimming Painting – The Expert Step-by-Step Guide

Trims and borders have seen a resurgence. From breaking up empty spaces to emphasizing architectural details and framing elements, it’s a fun way to beautify an interior. Once you know how to paint trim, you can redecorate a room in a weekend.

If your walls are in good condition and you like the existing color, you may not even need to go all out on your paint ideas – this fine detailing may be all you need. Whether you want to paint a border around a particular feature, such as a headboard or artwork, or completely repaint the walls, consider the best color combination for your room.

“Contrasting shades like dark green and pink work really well, or deep blue and mustard yellow,” says Sophie Smith, founder of Zhoosh Paints (opens in new tab). ‘Grey, or colors with a hint of gray, are eternally popular, as are white borders and piping.

‘Of course it depends on the style of the building and the size of the room. Don’t be afraid to go dark in smaller spaces, with the right lighting and accessories it can create a space with real warmth.’

Trim painting – step by step

bathroom painted in Annie Sloan Carnaby yellow wall paint

Credit: Annie Sloan

What you need:

frog tape – this Frog tape for delicate surfaces (opens in new tab) is best for trimming




Microfibre cloth – we actually think the edge is on it these microfibre cloths (opens in new tab) is pretty cute in itself

Paint of your choice

Dust Sheets

1. Prepare your surface

painted border around artwork

Credit: Earthborn

As with any time you are wondering how to paint a room, make sure the surface is clean and dry before you apply anything to it. So, once you’ve cleaned up the furniture and put on your dust sheets, wash the walls and woodwork with sugar soap, then wipe with a clean, dry cloth.

Once the surface is clean and dry, paint your base color and let it dry for 24 hours. If you don’t paint the wall from scratch, you can move on to the next stage.

“Decide on the size of trim you want,” says Jason Burns, MD at Frog Tape (opens in new tab). ‘You have to color it in with pencil first. The size will depend on the height of your room – houses with higher ceilings will suit deeper edging and edging.”

2. Measure and mark your trim

Living room painted in Benjamin Moore Knoxville Gray and Peanut Shell

Credit: Benjaomin Moore

If you’re painting trim lines on a wall, you’ll need to measure accurately with a steady hand to create sharp, straight lines.

“Use a pencil and metal ruler to draw your outline, as well as a spirit level to make sure it’s straight,” says Jason Burns of Frog Tape. Once your trim lines are drawn, apply frog tape to the outside edge of the pencil marks. In this way the paint obscures the markings.’

We suggested the delicate surfaces Frog Tape at the top, but this one (opens in new tab) is good if you are trying a gloss or satin paint.

‘If you are an experienced painter, roll out the tape in one long piece and hold the roll flat against the wall. For less experienced painters, apply the tape in shorter sections to prevent the tape from stretching,” says Jason.

“To eliminate any gaps and seal the edges of the tape, make sure it adheres completely to the surface by running your fingers firmly over the edges.”

3. Paint the second color

Dark gray plinth painted with a light gray trim

Credit: Little Greene

With your trim lines marked and the area next to them protected by frog tape, you are ready to paint your trim or contrast color section.

“Slowly paint a few feet of your trim at a time, then repeat, overlapping the previous section to make sure it blends in,” says Jason Burns of Frog Tape.

Check how long your tape can last and remove the tape while the paint is still slightly wet for best results.

“Slowly peel off the tape at a 45-degree angle. Don’t forget to check the end of the free tape so it doesn’t drag along the freshly painted edge. If you hear ripping noises, it means you’re going too fast.’

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