How to Paint Over Dark Stained Trim

How to use white paint over dark stained trim successfully with no stain bleed through.

Adios…Au Revoir, Farewell, Arriverderci… I am saying my final goodbye to the last of the brown stained trim molding in my house.

Hello… white and ready for a new decorating style to take over.

All of the brown stained trim is finally on its way out from my kitchen and dining area and even in the hallway that I call the hallway of darkness.

The-fastest-way-to-paint-stained trim and baseboards

I have been working over the weekend to get the last of all the brown stained trim and baseboards… gone!  I have something else in mind planned for the brown stained doors. I will be posting about that soon, but before I can get to it, I have to get the brown gone everywhere else first.

how to paint stained trim and baseboard-painting-tips
Frog-Tape used to easily paint stained trim baseboards and molding.

We plan on adding new flooring over this vinyl, but until we get around to it, I decided I would get a head start on getting the brown stained trim painted. When we update the floor, all I will have to do is replace the base shoe molding with a new length that I will buy already primed and painted white.

After I washed the baseboards and trim with hot sudsy water and let them dry, I used a few rolls of FrogTape® brand painter’s tape, which made the job of painting all the brown trim much easier. I didn’t have to worry about getting paint brush strokes on the floor and once the tape is removed the line between the shoe molding and floor will be sharp and crisp.

I used FrogTape® on my first staircase redo in my previous house. (I am still working on the staircase in this house and will post that when I get it completed.) I loved that I had no paint bleed, not even a little on all the steps I used FrogTape® on.

It is the only painting tape treated with patented PaintBlock® Technology that really does keep latex paint from seeping under it so you get the sharpest paint lines possible. For this particular project, I used FrogTape® Multi-Surface, but this tape is also offered for delicate surfaces.

using Frog-tape-around-baseboards

I needed a lot of it since there is a lot of brown trim and baseboards…

home-painting-tips for stained trim molding and baseboards

…in every room…

how to paint around a doorway

…around doors…

Baseboard painting tips

… high and low. Brown trim molding everywhere.


It is now history.

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive about painting is:

How long should you wait before removing painter’s tape after painting something?

The answer:  Right after you are finished painting or soon after.  If you wait until the paint is dry, you run the risk of the paint drying to the tape and when you remove it, you may take some of the newly painted finish off with it. This is especially true with latex paints.

Removing Painter’s Tape Tip:  When you remove the tape, pull up a 12″ – 18″ section of the tape at a time. As you are pulling the tape, ball up the used tape in your hand.  Removing it this way keeps the tape away from the wet paint and makes it easy to toss in the trash.


Once the tape is all removed you are left with a very clean edge with no spots where paint seeped under the edge of the tape.

I will show you how I painted the doors in this hallway of darkness in my next post. With all the brown gone…the hallway is starting to look like a bright and happy space.

For more inspiration for your upcoming paint projects, check out FrogTape® painting inspiration Pinterest board!

Home improvement painting tip. Learn the easy and fast way to paint baseboards and all the molding in your home.

More Interior Painting Tips:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Do you mention what primer/paint you used? Or any will do the trick? Also when was your house built?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Olga –

      The post you commented on was to show how to use Frog Tape. If you head to either of these two posts linked at the end of this reply you will learn exactly what I used and the process.

      I did use two different primers – both are excellent so it is more up to what you can get easier. I also think the primer/paint I used for my kitchen is no longer made. It was called Complete from Glidden and was amazing at blocking the wood tannins from coming through the white paint. I have no idea why they stopped selling it. My house was built in 1974.



  2. Bill Allen says:

    My house was built in 1976 and came with a pumpkin and yellow bathroom, dark brown kitchen, tan walls, and dark brown trim and doors. I almost didn’t buy it, but changed my mind after I envisioned what it could look like after I remodeled, swapped out the appliances, and repainted. I went with light gray walls, medium gray doors, and white trim. I was able to hire a wonderful contractor. He sent two men over to do the work. They removed the trim and doors and did the painting in the garage, setting up saw horses in the yard which allowed the paint to dry faster. I used high quality paint all around. Still, it took as many as three coats to cover the dark brown. I’m very happy with the results and learned a lot about painting in the process. The whole house was done for $1200 (except for the kitchen and bath which I remodeled first) plus the cost of the paint. I’m very pleased with the new look. Removing the trim and the doors was done very easily and allowed one painter to paint them while the other did the door/trim removal/replacement and painted the walls, which only needed one coat. Removing the trim and doors made them much easier to paint and they went back up quickly. The trim was replaced with a nail gun. The tiny nails were covered and spot painted. If I had it to do over, I think I would have just bought new trim, which is not all that expensive. However, I’m pleased with the outcome.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Bill – Taking on all the brown trim is a big job. I agree if they removed the trim to paint it, I would have just bought new. But no matter how it was done, it is nice to be able to sit back and know what you did totally transformed the look and feel of your home.

  3. Seriously. THIS is the gem of knowledge on ‘the easy way to paint baseboards’? I realize this is an old post, and I just found it via Pinterest bc you just reposted it (?) …but come.on. There is literally no useful information here. I figured you might give the low down on how to prep the wood first…or SOMETHING. Rather… it’s ‘use frog tape’. You’ve lost a follower.

  4. We must have the same builder from the 60’s /70’s because we have IDENTICAL trim and doors!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Beri – Isn’t it funny how design trends flow through the years. I can spot the decade a house was built almost immediately when I go into a house simply by looking at the trim, doors and details on them. Someday the popular stuff we all love today will look just as dated. :-) Did you paint your trim?

  5. Hi Diane, I think it’s the number one thing you could do to update the house! Love the change and can’t wait to see what you do with the doors. I love the black doors I see on other blogs, but I’m pretty sure you’re going to do something lighter and brighter! I’m looking forward to it!

  6. Hi, Diana

    I love it. I went through a period when I love having dark wood, not anymore. I have some many pieces to paint now. I am loving the transformation in your home.

  7. We just purchased our forever home with a LOT of oak trim, and doors are the 80’s-90’s flat oak style. You’re giving me inspiration to not just give into it! Looks great! Can’t wait to see more!!???

  8. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    Looks so great painted white.

  9. I love that you painted the molding and cann’t wait till you show what you have done with the doors. I have the same 1980 stain paneled doors and they are looking very aged. You have inspired me to paint my molding and to paint ceiling fans.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lou – Once you start, you will gain more confidence with each stroke of your paint brush. I am still waiting for the paint to arrive on my doorstep. It is a new kind that I am going to try out. I will post about the door soon.

  10. Julie Blanner says:

    I’m impressed with your progress!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Julie –

      Having all the painting supplies out and ready has made the painting process go quickly. We have lots of guests coming in July…that is also helping with motivation to get the at least the painting part of the updates done. :-)

  11. In my early 1980’s house the mantra is brown, brown everywhere with not a bit of white in sight. Not only baseboard but crown moldings also. Jeeesh , I’m still trying to make my hubby see the beauty of painted trim. Why are men so attached to stained wood? Do you do any caulking prior to painting your trim? Vikki in VA

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Vikki – I wish I knew the answer to the reason why men like stained wood over white. When I did residential interior design, I always ran into this problem. I think it must be a masculine thing. :-)

      When needed, I use caulk when painting over trim, when it is stained you don’t see any gaps or imperfections. Once you paint it white, you do see them. I wrote about it in this post:

      My favorite caulk to use is called ALEX PLUS Easy Caulk. It comes in a Cheez-Wiz style container that makes it easy to use. I buy it at Walmart.

  12. Linda Pawlak says:

    I LOVE how bright and happy your home is! Can you tell me when you will be doing a post on your washer/dryer closet and how you are “closing it off”? We have our washer/dryer in a closet on the second floor. When we bought new appliances, we could no longer fit the bifold doors. I have been living with my “laundry room” out in the open and have yet to find a solution I like! I, too, can’t wait to see your solution to those drab brown doors!

  13. Looks so good! Your lake house and getting a wonderful transformation. What color and sheen of white paint are you using?

  14. Looking good!!!!! I think you should keep the doors off in front of the washer/dryer. Looks more open! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for the other doors!!!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Monica – I thought about keeping the doors off, but it is a dumping ground that is nice to close off when I need to. The nice thing about the doors though is they are easy on and off, so if I do decide to keep them off it easy to do.

  15. I admire your patience and perseverance in painting all brown trim in your house white. It looks great…so fresh and clean. We just moved into a house with brown trim and doors everywhere too. I prefer white trim as it brightens up the space but I’m not sure I have the patience and dedication the job requires. Many of our rooms have carpet. Is there any way to paint the baseboards without first removing them?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Susan –

      It does take patience and perseverance, but I have a vision in my head that I want to see, so I keep plugging away. Many think I love to paint. I really would rather not do it, but it is the most affordable way to make big changes so I stick with it. :-)

      I have painted baseboards that have carpet in front of them. It is not hard, but you do need to use painter’s tape to push and hold back the carpet. I wrote a post about how I do it for Glidden’s My Colortopia blog. You can find the post here:

  16. Can’t wait to see your progress with the doors!! Your woodwork looks so clean and cheerful! Such a wonderful transformation.