Thinking About Contrasting Trim? Try This: White Walls Gray Trim

For lovers of neutral colors but want something a little unexpected, white walls with gray trim are a classic color combination that gives a little pop. It’s sophisticated, elegant, and versatile, making it a great choice for a variety of home styles from traditional to modern. In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons why white walls with gray trim are such a classic choice.

Whether you’re a seasoned interior designer or a homeowner looking to refresh your space, the quest for the perfect color combination can be daunting. While I love white walls as much as the next person, sometimes you need to inject a little character into your home and adding contrast is one way to do that. Gray trim with white walls is a beautiful contrasting combination that is neutral but interesting. 

White walls with gray trim

Why Should Consider Contrasting Trim

If you’re thinking about white walls with gray trim or any contrasting trim here are some reasons why I think you should go forward with it.

  1. You have beautiful millwork. If you have an older home with historic woodwork you may consider contrasting your trim to show it off. Additionally, if you have nice chunky woodwork in your home – chances are it will look fabulous painted gray.
  2. Gray trim adds depth and distinction against white walls.
  3. Contrasting trim is just more interesting. While matching walls and trim looks cohesive and can make a room look and feel bigger, contrasting trim like white walls with gray trim creates visual interest and feels bolder and more exciting.

How to Pair White Walls with Gray Trim

Okay, once you’ve decided to go ahead with contrasting trim, you might be wondering how to make it work. 

First, decide what look you are going for. If you want something warmer and more inviting then you might want to lean towards the greige tones, a beige-gray mixture, for a contrasting trim with white walls. Cooler-toned grays are fabulous for coastal spaces and then, if you want a bolder statement trim, something darker would be appropriate.

Picking the Perfect Color Combination 

This color combination is an absolute home run if you get it right. The problem is that whites and grays are probably the trickiest paint colors to nail down. However, here are some tips to help you pick the perfect color combo for your space.

  • Consider lighting: White walls can look stark and cold in spaces with minimal natural light. Additionally, white walls can look a little blue if you pick a color that is too cool. To avoid this, choose a warmer shade of white or opt for an off-white color. I like Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace as a place to start. It’s the best white paint color I’ve found. It’s a tiny bit warm but looks soft but not creamy if that makes sense. Another popular white you may want to try out is White Dove by Benjamin Moore. Another super popular white paint color, White Dove is classified as a warm white and will have some of those creamy undertones.
  • Experiment with trim colors. I highly suggest you try many different trim colors before you select one. Below you’ll get some ideas of what shades you might like from greige to medium-tone gray to a deep dark gray. Ask yourself if you want something light so that the contrast isn’t too stark. If so, start with a very, very light gray or greige paint color. If you want a cooler gray that will give a blue-gray hue, then you’ll want to try a cool gray paint color. If you are interested in a deeper gray for a bold contrast then you may want to start with a color like Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal.
  • Play around with different sheens. You can create contrasting trim really easily just by using different paint sheens. If you are unsure about paint colors for the wall trim combo – start by using a gloss sheen on the baseboards and a flat or eggshell on the walls. That will give you some contrast to start with. You can also just go one shade deeper than your paint color to get a slight contrast trim as well. 

Rooms With Contrasting White Walls and Gray Trim

A Subtle Statement

light and airy living room with white walls gray trim and white fireplace
via Precision Homes

When everything is feeling rather neutral, you can make a subtle statement simply by contrasting your baseboards and window trim color. We always see color on the walls with white ceilings and white trim. This living room flips that traditional soft gray and white combo by putting the gray on the trim and it beautifully frames out everything bringing visual interest into this space.

Muddy Gray Moody Vibes

gorgeous trim work painted gray with cream colored walls
via Millwork Designs

The muddy medium-toned gray trim color in this space works really well with the warm white walls to give a more moody feeling to the space. The millwork is really on display with the pairing of the rich gray trim and the white walls.

Greige Trim with Warm White Walls

bedroom with white walls gray trim
via Clark and Co Homes photo by Doug Petersen Photography

The greige trim and paneled wall give this space a sweet cottage-y feel. I often wonder what one should do with those (sometimes) awkward tiny windows and as it turns out the best thing to do is frame them and paint them with a contrasting trim. There is gorgeous contrast and cohesion in this room.

Warm Gray Trim and Accents with White Walls

Absolutely stunning classic bedroom with creamy white walls and greige trim work
via English Country Home

I saw this space and immediately saved it to my “dream home” folder because there is such beauty in the monochrome palette and all of the layers of texture. The gray trim takes this room from good to great. I’m trying to imagine if the trim and accent pieces were all white – I don’t think it would feel as luxurious as it does. The warm greige trim is the warm and cozy feeling that makes this space come alive.

Bold Bedroom With Contrasting Walls and Trim

Something about bold, rich tones that make a bedroom feel so mellow and restful. Benjamin Moore’s rich Rocky Coast painted on the crown molding and beadboard create the perfect moody contrast to the creamy white walls. If the entire room were painted in the deep dark gray it may feel small and closed off but by mixing the two contrasting colors, the room still has a light feel but is grounded and has visual interest.

Eclectic Living Room With Gray Trim with Bright White Walls

perfect color combination of white walls and gray trim
via Crystal Blackshaw

 The bright white walls here are borderline cool but they are given depth by the contrasting gray trim. Typically cool white rooms can feel too stark and cold, but this space is warmed enough by the accenting trim work.

Coastal Chic Living Space with Contrasting Trim

gorgeous coastal inspired living room with big gray windows and doors with white walls
via Heidi Caillier Design photo by Harris Kenjar

I love love love this room. Again beautifully creamy, bright white walls are contrasted beautifully with a warm, medium-tone gray. I appreciate the way the designer carried the gay to the door and door trim as well as the trim because it adds dimension and simply looks more interesting and inviting. If we try to imagine this space with matching walls and trim, the whole room may not feel as put together as this does right now. Side note: how fabulous are the fabrics and accessories in this space?

Warm Gray and White Entryway

elegant entryway with white walls gray trim
via EcoConfiance photo by Pierre Coussié

If you have a home that has historic millwork, here’s your sign that you should attempt some contrasting trim. This gorgeous banister painted in a warm, medium-tone gray is stunning. Of course, the white walls allow the trim to pop.

Traditional Meets Modern

timeless traditional bedroom with white walls and gray trim
via Cummings Architecture Interiors photo by Eric Roth

The use of contrasting trim in this traditional space gives the room a modern touch bringing it alive. One more time, we see historic millwork being brought back to life with contrasting paint. 

Classic and Classy Gray with a Touch of White

Classic Gray and White color combination with gray millwork and white walls
via Polsky Architects photo by Michael Hospelt

I find this space to be classic. The white walls are a creamy off-white color that contrasts beautifully with Benjamin Moore’s Briarwood. Briarwood is a gorgeous, muddy gray-brown that instantly warms up a space. In this space, it’s so cozy that there is truly a timeless feel in here, from the fireplace to the cabinetry, it’s almost as if it could have been photographed 30 years ago or 30 years from now and it will still feel so classic. That’s the kind of chic design you can achieve with contrasting trim.

Final Thoughts on White Walls Gray Trim  

While I believe that there is a space for white on white walls, they are light and bright and they can make a room feel bigger. There is something about contrasting trim like gray that adds visual interest and depth while still maintaining an element of tradition- that I just can’t shake. All of the gorgeous rooms we saw today have achieved a balance of warmth and depth simply by pairing two contrasting colors together. With the right balance of shades and depth, this versatile color combination can create a modern and timeless look in any home. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different shades of contrasting trim in your own space – you may just find yourself falling in love!

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