Paint Existing Trim WHITE in 5 EASY Steps

In my opinion, there is nothing more gorgeous than a house with all white woodwork. Trim, doors, everything. I think it gives the home such a fresh, clean & crisp look. Not to mention, it goes with any paint color!

Our house we currently live in was built in the 70's. The previous owners did some updates- but what they did- really only made things worse. When it comes to trim..they did horrible (sorry previous owners, but you really suck at DIY work). They put in 3 different types of trim- so we have 3 different colors of wood trim in some of our rooms. DRIVES ME ABSOLUTELY CRAZY. But, I also don't want to spend a small fortune on replacing all of the trim throughout the house... so what's a girl to do?

Paint it. 
Yup, I plan to paint all of our existing mismatched trim in our house a beautiful white!!  

When it comes to painting your already existing trim, you have a couple options. You can either remove the trim or you can leave it right on the wall and tape around it. I've done it both ways- and for me, it's just as easy either way. I removed the trim in Gavin's room only because we were replacing the floor and had to take the trim off- so while we had it off, might as well paint while it's off. The steps to painting the trim are the same either way.

So lets get to it!

Here's what you'll need: 

Sandpaper
Painters tape
Paintbrush
White Primer
White paint

What to do:

STEP 1: Sand. 
You want to sand down the trim just enough to rough up the surface so the primer adheres good (honestly- I hardly sand at all. The primer I use adheres amazingly to everything I've ever used it on). Once you're done sanding, you want to make sure you clean up the trim and get rid of all the dust you've made from sanding! I always just use a barely damp cloth of some sort- hand towels, old t-shirts...anything like that. You don't want to get the wood too wet, so whatever type of cloth you use just get it barely damp enough that it just picks up the dust and cleans the wood, but doesn't leave the trim wet. (I know some people worry about using anything damp/wet on the wood, because it "raises the grain of the wood and effects the primer/paint"...I've never had a problem with it.)

STEP 2: Prep. 
If you're painting your trim ON THE WALLS: tape off the wall above the trim, and tape off the floor below the trim. Basically- tape any where you don't want to get white paint. :) So you'd also want to tape around the door frames...etc.
If you have TAKEN OFF THE TRIM: Make sure the trim is easily set up so you can paint not only the front side of the trim, but the little top rim of it as well. I set my strips of trim up on two saw horses, that way I can paint them, and just leave them right where they are to dry. There's no having to move them around while they're covered in wet paint.

STEP 3: Prime.
Using your paint brush use your primer and cover that ugly wood! Well- your's might not be so ugly, but I can't stand the trim in our house! You want to put the primer on thick enough that it covers the wood good- but you don't want too much that it drips, or dries uneven. Let your first coat of primer dry, then do a second coat. The primer I use dries SUPER fast, so after about 30 minutes it's already dry and I start my 2nd coat. Remember that the primer is not going to completely cover your dark wood, it's just prepping it for the white! So don't be worried that after 2 coats of primer- you can still see that ugly wood color! 

STEP 4: Sand.
Wait, what- sand again? Yup! Give the trim a super quick sanding- I do this because it sands away any thicker areas of primer- and leaves everything smooth and ready for your white paint! This is where if you see any drips, you can get rid of them! Sand them away, NO DRIPS ALLOWED! Just make sure you don't sand it too much- you don't want to completely sand off your primer. You're just giving it a nice smooth finish so your white paint looks as smooth as possible!

STEP 5: White paint!
This is the best step, because it finally starts to get rid of that ugly wood color!!! Like always, you want to paint it on thick enough that it covers good- but you don't want ANY drips! Depending on the color of your wood, you may only need one coat. If your wood is darker- you may want to do 2 or even 3 coats. You just want to make sure the white has completely and evenly covered your trim. You don't want any dark spots peeking through. 

There you go! Beautiful WHITE trim!! 
Once everything is dry- if you painted the trim on the walls, remove the tape. When I paint trim on the walls I actually use a box cutter knife and cut the tape along the top of the trim, just so it doesn't peel any of the paint when I remove the tape. I would recommend doing this- you'd rather be safe than sorry! It would really suck to just quick rip off the tape- only to have it peel off half of your paint!

Check out some of my before and after pictures with painting trim white below, and for more details about each project, click the links below!
(I'm currently working on painting ALL of the trim & doors in our house white, room by room!)










2 comments on "Paint Existing Trim WHITE in 5 EASY Steps"
  1. Replies
    1. I already repainted your trim! When we were getting ready to sell it, and then somebody changed their mind and moved home!! ;) <3

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