Published on August 20, 2020

Green painted wall with panelingPin It
Photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp; Design by Velinda Hellen for Emily Henderson Design

In Back to Basics, we’re providing you with the straightforward step-by-step instructions to tackle all those household projects you’ve been wanting to try. 

Painting the average wall is no impossible feet—once you have a good roller brush in your possession, it’s a pretty easy task for even a beginner renovator. But the prospect of changing up your wall color gets a little more intimidating when faced with not-so-smooth surfaces: paneling and trim.

The good news, though, is that it’s simpler than you think. When you paint wood paneling and trim, just a few extra steps ensure that your final result is as neat and even as can be—and your patience is well worth it. Here, Domino contributing editor Elaina Sullivan shows how it’s done. 

What You Need

Trim painting suppliesPin It
Photography by Elaina Sullivan


Before - white trimPin It
Photography by Elaina Sullivan
Hand sander sanding trimPin It
Photography by Elaina Sullivan
Sanded down trimPin It
Photography by Elaina Sullivan

1. Sand down large surface areas with a hand sander, and more intricate areas—including trim—with sandpaper.
2. Brush off excess dust.
3. Patch up any holes with wood filler and sand down when dry.
4. Tape around edges that you are not planning to paint with painter’s tape. 


Trim in process of being paintedPin It
Photography by Elaina Sullivan
Trim painted with blue stripesPin It
Photography by Elaina Sullivan
After - blue painted trimPin It
Photography by Elaina Sullivan

5. Using the flat or angled brush, cut in with paint to the intricate details like the trim and grooves of the paneling. Make sure that the brush isn’t too full to avoid having to sand down excess paint. Let dry.
6. Using the roller brush, paint over the flat portions of the panel and let dry.
7. Repeat the last two steps until paint completely covers the surface. It should take two to three coats.

Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Timewhere we explore spaces with meaning. Each week, join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.