How to paint trim?

Trim is a decorative strip that is used to cover the edges and gaps between the surfaces such as walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows. It adds style to your home. Painting the trim can enhance the overall appearance of a room and also protect the trim from wear and tear. In this article, we will guide you through tips and tricks to paint trim easily.

See also: How to paint tiles at home?


Step-by-step guide to paint trim

Gather the materials required

  • Plastic sheets or newspapers
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Masking tape
  • Spackling compounds such as putty or wood filler
  • Stick
  • Primer
  • Quality brush 
  • Paint

Prepare the surface

  • For the start, move all the furniture from the room and remove any installed hinges or knobs from the trim carefully. Then, scrub the surface using a mixture of detergent and water. Next, cover your floor with a plastic sheet or newspaper. 
  • Use fine-grit sandpaper and gently sand the trim to smoothen out any rough edges or imperfections. 
  • If the trim has any holes or cracks, use a spackling compound such as putty or wood filler and fill it. Sand the surface after it has dried completely.
  • Now, use masking tape and apply it along the edges of the trim. Masking tape helps protect the surfaces from accidental paint spills. Firmly press down on the tape to prevent paint from seeping inside it.

Prime the surface 

Priming your trim before painting is essential as it will help the paint adhere better and provide a smoother finish. It also prevents the existing paint and stains from showing through the fresh paint.

  • Stir the primer with a stick to ensure that it has a uniform consistency.
  • Dip your brush into the primer and wipe off any excess on the side of the tray or cup.
  • Apply a thin, even coat of primer along the edges and corners of the trim with a fine brush. Brush only in one direction.
  • Then, use a paint roller to prime the surface of the trim. Do not overlap; instead, apply another layer after the primer has dried.
  • For the drying time, adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Sand the surface gently when the primer has dried to remove any imperfections, and wipe any dust with a damp cloth. 

Paint the surface 

Select high-quality paint with a semi-gloss or gloss finish and a high-quality angled paintbrush.

  • Pour your paint into a clean paint tray after giving it a good stir with a paint stick. To remove any excess paint, dip the brush into the paint and wipe it against the tray’s side. 
  • Begin by brushing in along the edges and corners of the primed trim. Brush in smooth, even strokes, moving in one direction and working in small sections.
  • For the drying time, adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Apply the second coat following the above-mentioned steps.

Final touches

After the paint has dried completely, lightly sand to ensure a smooth surface. Carefully peel off the painter’s tape. Cut along the edge with a utility knife if the tape sticks to the paint.



Can I paint the trim without priming it?

It is not recommended to paint without priming as the paint will not adhere properly, have uneven strokes and have a shorter paint life.

Are there any precautions to follow?

Use masking tape to protect the adjacent surfaces from drips and spills. Cover the floor with newspapers or plastic sheets. Use high-quality paints and brushes for a smooth and durable finish.

What should I paint first: wall or trim?

Painting the trim first is advised because if you accidentally spill paint on the walls, that won’t matter, as you are going to paint them later.

Does painting trim have any effect on the appearance?

Painting the trim improves the overall appearance of your room. The colour contrast between the wall and the trim gives a clean and polished look.

What is the best paint for trim?

Trim should be painted with high-quality paint, which has a semi-gloss finish, as it is easy to clean and gives a polished appearance.

What kind of paint do you use on trim?

For trim and moulding, it’s recommended to use semi-gloss or high-gloss finishes. Semi-gloss offers a higher level of gloss than satin but isn’t as reflective as high-gloss.

How many coats of paint on trim?

When painting baseboards and trim, start with one coat of primer, followed by two coats of paint, and in some cases, a third may be needed. Ensure each coat is allowed to dry completely before proceeding to the next one.

Got any questions or point of view on our article? We would love to hear from you. Write to our Editor-in-Chief Jhumur Ghosh at

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