Some design elements are classics because they’ve withstood the test of time and trends. White painted molding and trim are classic because they work in so many different types of interior styles. White painted trim can make both the wall and floor color pop, acting as a frame for a colorful wall. Painting baseboard molding white also helps transition the floor color to the wall color. The white molding acts as a palette cleanser between the floor and wall or two different colors if used as a chair railing.
Of course there are other options for molding and trim colors besides white. Some styles like Craftsman or Mission prefer that wood trim, molding and paneling be kept natural stained wood. There was a time when painting wood molding, wainscoting or trim was considered a design faux pas. That isn’t the case in today’s design world. To make molding blend in with the wall color or wallpaper it can be painted the same color. It can be painted a highlight color from patterned wallpaper or even a contrasting color to the wall color. These approaches will have a very different visual effect than white painted molding, but can be equally as beautiful.
The type of paint used on molding is typically a gloss or high gloss oil paint. These types of paint can stand up to the wear and dirt better than a flat paint. The shiny, glossy surface will also draw your eye to the architectural detail created by the molding, baseboard or trim.