paint colors to go with golden oak trim

projectsneverendMarch 4, 2009

We have golden oak trim and doors - not to be painted.

What wall paint colors look best with golden oak?

I am currently searching for the 'right' red, rust or chocolate, but I don't want to make the oak look more orange. I did read that certain greens look good with oak.

I'm sure some of you out there have figured it out. What did you use with golden oak? I admit I would have never even thought twice about this if I hadn't read how 'out' golden oak is. I mainly use SW paint, but am open to others!

Forgive me if this has been asked already - I did search before posting.

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I have golden oak cabinets (actually a lot of red in them - "Cider" color) with BM Navajo white walls.

I also have pine doors (not finished) and trim (stained with Minwax Honey Maple gel downstairs, linseed oil and beeswax upstairs, and just 3 coats of oil-based poly in bath). Here's the Honey Maple baseboards with Navajo White

And BM Thornton Sage (actually looks a little blue in this pic but at least it's a closeup)

Golden oak furniture with Thornton Sage (behind china cabinet) and Antique Jade (back wall)

Darker oak antique with Thornton Sage

I also think it looks very nice with Horizon (blue-gray) we have in the bedrooms with linseed oil/beeswax woodwork and the dark blue (Summer?) and light blue (White Satin) we have in the bathroom, but I don't have any pics right now - will have to take some. HTH

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 1:47PM
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Hi Projectsneverend.

Then again, if you're talking not about new construction (like in Ajsmama's photos) but about historical Golden Oak--from a century ago--which finish started out fairly yellow & got oranger & oranger as time went by, thanks to the aging of its shellac finish, then I'd stay away from anything that falls between a true blue & a true red and their various tints, which still leaves you plenty of colors & shades to choose from. In other words, with that wood, your best bets will likely be in the yellow-to-red part of the spectrum, which includes not only those colors but all the golds, mustards, terra cottas, russets & puces, all of which were, coincidentally, considered very fashionable the last time Golden Oak was in style. If you're maybe leaning toward greens, my advice is to stay away from true greens--yellow + blue--and go instead toward olive, which is yellow + black.

At any rate, here's a room in the 1914 house room of some friends where I used just such a blackened yellow, rubbed straight onto the walls with an oven mitt, because the only hardware store in the little town the house was in was closed on the day I decided to paint. When the neighbors who stopped by to "help" looked in the can, they all fretted that such a dark color would make the room look even darker than it already was, and of course, it did, but I told them that, since even painted off-white, it was still dark, and since the strong contrast between light walls & dark trim made the woodwork look downright dirty, there wasn't anything to lose. Don't get me wrong: I make it sound like I was taking a chance here, merely hoping blindly for a good outcome, whereas I actually knew exactly what I was doing, even if my lookers-on were clueless. Anyway, I went at it, and a few hours later, the room was beautiful, the darkness of the paint making the dingy trim glow brighter by contrast, and its yellow undertones enhancing the warmth of the formerly-dirty-looking wood. Like I said, I knew what I was doing, and you may not have the same givens to start with that I did, but the darker-is-better approach is certainly worth trying on one wall to see how you like it.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 2:50PM
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Magnaverde - definitely the 'newer' golden oak.
Our windows are trimmed out with oak and the insides were painted to 'match' the trim.

The room that you did is beautiful!
That is where I start to get lost... red with blue in it, green with yellow... when I look at colors, most of the time I see simply red - maybe pink - but get lost when I try to look past that. Thanks for the tips!

ajsmama - thanks for your pics! So nice to see another home with oak! :)

We are doing some remodeling and will need to repaint. As you can see, I do like color - but am definitely giving it more thought this time!

Any more pics and suggestions welcome!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 3:12PM
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I have plenty of golden oak in my 22 year old home. Recently I changed my kitchen color from a dusty grey to a bright green. I really love it, it gives me a lift everytime I walk in the room. BTW, oak should not get orange over time if it has been polyurethaned instead of shellaced. The orange is actually shellac aging, not the wood.

I have learned not to let others dictate what is in and what is out....we had a great thread going on "outdated" things in our homes back around Christmas.

Here is a link that might be useful: oak with light green walls

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 4:49PM
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Gee, what gave me away as new construction ;-)? Oil-based poly will amber too, I don't know if as much as shellac b/c it hasn't been around as long as shellac. Water-based poly supposedly won't yellow at all but I don't know how long that's been around to test it. I plan on using lacquer or water-based poly on the oak filler pieces and crown we're putting in the kitchen, so hopefully they will continue to match the cabinets as time goes on. Oil and beeswax really yellow (and don't hold up to foot traffic (or water) well, so I'm going to have to varnish the stairs - only thing is, beeswax is really easy to scrub crayon off of and refinish!)

If you like green (or did you just inherit the paint?) I would check out Thornton Sage/ Antique Jade card at Ben Moore. My pics really don't do it justice. Everyone who walks into my house (green tile in foyer) just goes Wow! about the foyer and the DR (with Brazilian Cherry floors). The stair treads are oiled/waxed oak, the risers are unfinished pine. The color there is Th. Sage too but it looks ligther in the pics than it really is. In fact, my aunt visited for the first time this w/e and asked specifically what the foyer paint color was b/c she liked it so much. Sometimes I think the Navajo White is too blah (esp. with tan carpet and brown microfiber) but Filtered Sunlight was too yellow, and we really didn't want green in the entire house. I think the Navajo looks better in morning sun (east and south windows). The Sage and Jade look very nice in the rooms where we get afternoon sun. Not suggesting that AM/PM sun will make a difference (though they are different), just saying that in my house the rooms we are in during the evening look good with those shades of green, but the rooms where we spend most of our time that happen to get morning/early PM sun, we wanted a brighter more casual look. Good luck and post pics when you're done!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 5:31PM
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Neesie - that green looks great in your kitchen! Thanks for the feedback!

ajsmama - yes, I picked our paint. We are removing a wall between the kitchen and lr now so I need to repaint.
Thornton sage definitely looks blue in your pics! I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 7:14AM
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DH wanted to paint the entire house Antique Jade but I worried it was too dark for the stairs/hallway, so just used in in LR and accent wall (maybe should have been the china cabinet wall instead of back wall) in DR. B/c we only have sidelights and no glass in the front door, our foyer is a bit dark. I am thinking of painting the MBA Jade to make him happy (if it goes with the brownish-gray floor tiles I've already bought) but think the shower area will have to be Sage b/c there's no window there either and the light in the fan isn't bright enough. Th. Sage is definitely a gray-green, not a blue-green, so I don't know why it's showing that way on the monitor. In fact, if DH will not object to repainting the MBR, I would like to paint it Sage or Jade instead of the Horizon we have in there now, which is too blue for our green carpet (looks great in ds's room with blue carpet).

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 8:17AM
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Any blue paint is going to emphasize the orange tones in the woodwork, so if you want to tone down the orange, blue isn't the answer. You mentioned red/rust, and that is a good solution -- look at some pale terracotta colors. I had a client who had Navajo White with similar woodwork; she painted the walls a pale terracotta (of course, can't remember the color at the moment) and it looks terrific.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 9:10AM
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Thanks Sue! I really like the blonde and red/rust combo...
Is blonde too yellow though?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 9:18AM
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Hi, I have a lot of oak and pine and I have painted many times. The colours I have used over the years consist of: teal green,burgandy,dark teal green, eggplant, orange pine colour, black, gray, light mauve,blue, brown,taupe and a few more. I found that as my pine and oak darkened they did become more of an orangey golden and the colour was definitely emphasized by the different paints. I used to paint with darker saturated colours and have found that I prefer them to be on the muddy or grayed hue. I am finally happy with the colour now, which is a grayed down version of eggplant. Here are a couple of pics to show the different colours over the years.

This is what I have presently on the walls:

In the past:

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 10:20AM
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Phobie Privett

Not sure if you'd classify my woodwork as golden oak, but my main goal was to downplay any orange in my cabinets. I used Believable Buff (looks more like SW Blonde with my lighting) for most of the rooms. Kids bath is Dancing Green, guest BR ceiling is Georgian brick and the laundry room (sorry for the lousy pic-looks much better IRL) is Raspberry truffle, which is IMHO the perfect red for oak. Hope this helps. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 10:37AM
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what kind of blinds/shutters arein your pics....i love the way they look.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 10:48AM
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Misty - thanks for all of the pics! It helps to see colors with the trims... it's so different than viewing them with white painted trim.

Superchick - you have a lovely kitchen! I'm really liking that rasberry truffle. The brick is really pretty also.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 11:10AM
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superchick - I love your kitchen b/s and esp. that built-in bookcase! Is it recessed into the wall studs? What b/s tile did you use?

Sorry for the hijack. (my new cabinets are a lot redder/oranger - is that a word? - than yours).

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 12:00PM
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Phobie Privett

Thanks for the kind words! Angelcute-the shutters are oak, custom made locally.

Ajsmama-thanks to you, also! It is recessed, so it's not very deep. They framed around it, I think. The b/s is a combo of three different tumbled marble colors from Arizona tile, with polished marble insets.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 9:47PM
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Superchick, your kitchen is beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 10:24PM
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Superchick I really like your kitchen!

Projectsneverend - My kitchen is new oak. I'm painting it this weekend BM Olive Branch. I'll post some before and after pics when I'm finished.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 9:44AM
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I don't mean to hi-jack this thread, but I'm interested in the red ceiling with the cream/tan colored walls. I'm getting ready to paint a room red and the ajoining room is more of a cream color/tan. I was wanting a non-white ceiling and yours looks great! Can you tell me the colors you used?

Thank you!

Beautiful house, BTW!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 10:18AM
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Phobie Privett

Lafonda-the red is one of my favorite choices I made. Makes me happy, even when I'm doing laundry! It is BM Raspberry Truffle and the ceiling is SW Believeable Buff (looks similar to SW Blonde with my lighting). The raspberry truffle is great, not too blue, not too pink, it's seems to be a very true shade of red.

Thank you for the wonderful compliments! You're very sweet!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 2:46PM
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Phobie Privett

Okay, I'm a dork. I should actually READ the question before I respond, huh? I'm sorry, Lafonda, the color you're asking about is Georgian Brick (ceiling) and Believeable Buff on the walls. It's a dark rust color, not red.

Sorry about that!

1 Like    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 2:49PM
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sheesharee - any pics yet? Hope your painting project was a success! :)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 9:04PM
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