Best Paint for Trim and Baseboards

best paint for trim and baseboards

When it comes to giving a room that final touch of elegance and crispness, the trim and baseboards play a pivotal role. Not only do they frame your space, but they also endure a considerable amount of wear and tear, necessitating a paint that is both durable and capable of delivering a flawless finish.

Before you reach for the paintbrush, you need to know which type of paint to use. There are several options available, each with its pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at the bests paint for trim and baseboards as well as the tips you will need to make sure they look professional when completed.

Paint Types for Trim and Baseboards

Let’s first take a look at the different paint options to consider.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint is one of the most popular choices because it is highly durable and resistant to water damage. It also stands up well against heavy foot traffic, making it a great choice for trim or baseboards in high-traffic areas like hallways or entryways. The downside is that it takes longer to dry than other types of paint, so you’ll need to be extra patient if you choose this option. It also has an unpleasant odor compared to latex or acrylic paints, so you may want to open the windows in the room you are painting if possible.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is another popular choice because it dries quickly and has less odour than oil-based paint. It’s also easier to clean up because all you need is soap and water (as opposed to oil-based paint which requires mineral spirits). However, latex paints don’t stand up as well as oil-based paints when exposed to moisture, so they may not be the best choice for bathrooms or kitchens where there is more humidity in the air.

This is normally our go-to paint type for trim and baseboards. It might not be as durable as oil-based, but in my opinion, the easy clean-up aspect of this paint is more important.

Acrylic-Alkyd Hybrid Paint

This type of paint combines the durability of an alkyd resin with the quick drying time of an acrylic formula. It has all the advantages of both types of paint – it dries quickly like latex but still stands up well against moisture like an oil-based formula – without any of their disadvantages. It provides a beautiful finish that looks great on trim or baseboards in any room in your home! If you’re looking for something that will last without taking too long to dry, this could be the perfect choice for your project!

Here is are the pros and cons of oil-based, latex, and acrylic-alkyd hybrid paint:

Oil-based– Durable and long-lasting
– Good for high-traffic areas
– Resists chipping and fading
– Can be easily cleaned
– Takes longer to dry
– Can release harmful fumes
– May yellow over time
– Requires mineral spirits for clean-up
Latex– Quick-drying
– Non-toxic and low-VOC
– Easy clean-up with soap and water
– Available in a wide range of colors
– Not as durable as oil-based paint
– May not adhere well to certain surfaces
– Can be susceptible to chipping and fading
Acrylic-alkyd hybrid– Provides the durability of oil-based paint with the ease of use of latex
– Dries quickly
– Resists chipping and fading
– Low-VOC
– May not be as widely available as other paint types
– May not work well in very cold temperatures

Paint Sheen Options for Trim and Baseboards

Now that we’ve gone over the different paint types, let’s talk about what paint sheens you should consider for your trim and baseboards.


This is probably the most popular option when it comes to trim and baseboards. Semi-gloss or high-gloss sheens are very reflective, which means they will give off a shiny finish because they create such a smooth surface. High-gloss is more reflective than semi-gloss, but you probably already figured that out. These two finishes also provide extra protection against moisture. So they’re perfect for areas like bathrooms or kitchens. The downside is that these sheens do show imperfections more easily. So if your trim and baseboards have dents and dings, this may not be the best choice for you. Overall, gloss finishes will create more of a formal look in a room.

We used semi-gloss in our current home, and are very pleased with the look it creates for our style of home.


Satin or eggshell sheens are less reflective than semi-gloss or high-gloss finishes but still provide some shine that adds a touch of elegance. These finishes will also help protect against moisture and wear, making them an excellent choice for trim and baseboards in high-traffic areas like hallways or living rooms. A satin finish is a great option for people who aren’t fans of the very shiny finish that semi-floss and high-gloss provide. It will create a more casual look compared to gloss paints. It might be the best option for a less formal style of home like a farmhouse or cottage.

We used a stain finish on all of the trim and baseboards in our farmhouse.


A flat finish will create a soft and subtle, but I would not recommend it for trim and baseboards. It will help hide imperfections better than shiny finishes, but it will create a surface that is very hard to keep clean. This is not something you want on trim and baseboards since they receive more wear and tear compared to walls.

Here are the pros and cons of these paint finishes:

High-gloss– Highly reflective and shiny
– Easily cleaned
– Resists staining and moisture
– Makes surfaces look smoother
– Shows imperfections
– May be too shiny for some people
– May highlight surface imperfections
Semi-gloss– Less shiny than high-gloss, but still reflective
– Resists staining and moisture
– Easily cleaned
– Makes surfaces look smoother
– Shows imperfections in the surface
– May be too shiny for some people
Satin– Has a soft, velvety finish
– Resists staining and moisture
– Easily cleaned
– Works well in high-moisture areas
– Shows imperfections in the surface
– May not be as durable as other finishes
Flat– Has a matte finish
– Hides imperfections in the surface
– Works well in low-traffic areas
– Not as durable as other finishes
– Can be difficult to clean
– May absorb moisture and stain easily

Tips for Painting Trim

  1. Preparation is Key: Ensure your trim is clean, dry, and smooth. Fill in any nicks or holes with wood filler and sand the surface lightly once dry. This will help the paint adhere better and result in a smoother finish.
  2. Tape Off: Use painter’s tape to protect the wall and floor adjacent to the trim. This ensures crisp lines and a professional-looking finish.
  3. Prime: If you’re working with bare wood or if the existing paint is in poor condition, applying a primer is crucial. It helps the paint stick better and extends its durability.
  4. Use the Right Tools: For trim painting, a high-quality angled brush or a small foam roller can make all the difference. These tools help you achieve a smooth application with fewer brush marks.
  5. Apply Multiple Thin Coats: Rather than one thick coat, apply several thin coats of paint. This technique helps prevent drips and ensures a more even finish.

Trim and Baseboard Color

When it comes to selecting the perfect shade or color for paint trim and baseboards, the subtle variations in tone can significantly impact the ambiance and aesthetic appeal of a space. Classic whites like Benjamin Moore’s “White Dove” offer a soft, warm undertone that pairs beautifully with a wide range of wall colors, providing a timeless elegance.

For those seeking a brighter, crisper white, Sherwin-Williams’ “Extra White” brings a clean, vivid clarity that enhances natural light and creates a sharp contrast with darker hues.

On the creamier side, Farrow & Ball’s “Clunch” delivers a rich, creamy texture without veering into yellow territory, offering a cozy, inviting feel. Behr’s “Swiss Coffee” is another popular choice, with its gentle, creamy warmth that works well in spaces seeking a touch of comfort without the starkness of pure white.

Each of these shades brings its unique character to trim and baseboards, enabling homeowners and designers to fine-tune the atmosphere of their interiors, from serene and soothing to bright and invigorating.

A well-executed trim paint job can transform the look of your interiors, highlighting architectural details and providing a clean, finished look. By choosing the right paint, preparing your surfaces carefully, and applying the paint with precision, you can achieve professional-quality results. Our top picks for trim paint brands offer a combination of durability, ease of use, and aesthetic appeal, making them excellent choices for your next project. Remember, the effort you put into selecting and applying your trim paint will pay off in the long run, with a stunning outcome that lasts.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Rebecca

    Hi, what sheen would you recommend for a wood ceiling? And do you paint it the same white as the walls?

    December 18, 2022 at 11:36 pm
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