31 Days of Character Building: Out With Oak


Welcome to day 6 of my 31 Day Series, Building Character.  In case you missed the intro to this series, I am sharing 31 simple ways we have brought character and personality to our new construction, builder grade home.




 When we purchased our home, one of the first decisions I made was to paint all of the light oak wood work...  

This was a big project but, it was a huge improvement. 
Painting oak is sometimes feared because of the wood grain texture.  Personally, it doesn't bother me.  I prefer the look of painted oak with a visible wood grain texture over natural light oak.  Don't get me wrong, I love natural wood finishes but light-organish oak just plain dates a space.




To minimize the appearance of the wood grain texture, I use an eggshell or satin finish.  Semi-gloss paint  draws more attention to it.

(After)

A good sanding and priming is a must.  If you are going to go through all the work of painting your woodwork you will want it to stand the test of time.  The sanding also knocks the texture down a bit.

Based on this post and yesterday's post, wanna guess what's about to go down in the kitchen?

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28 comments:

  1. Your stairs do look so much better painted! I painted our risers and spindles white (from the orangey oak) last fall and am about to stain the treads and rails ebony.....I can't wait! THANK YOU for stating that orangey-oak is OUT - I had to show my husband that sentence so he would be on board with my project! :)

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  2. Love this series! And could not agree with you more on the oak. I have natural wood cabinetry in my kitchen and have been begging my hubby to let me paint it for two years! I think paint can totally transform a space. M.

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  3. After living for two years in our current home I finally talked hubby into letting me paint the over our oak woodwork. I love the result,so glad I took the time to do it.

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  4. I absolutely L-O-V-E your decorating style! Several of the things I have seen you do to your home are some of the same things I would LOVE to do to mine! You are such an inspiration and make me feel better about my design ideas! PS..... you make it easier to sell the hubby on my ideas when he sees that your have turned out so wonderful! :)

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  5. I love it, my husband does not...but what does he know. He really dislikes white painted wood...haha that is why I am really trying to start my blog..white painted wood. I really have no idea what I am doing, but trying. I love how crisp and clean this looks and it is very classy.

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  6. Looks great! This is on our list too, but first I have to save up to do something about the worn carpet on the stairs.

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  7. Did you use actual White Paint, or the "Hayseed by Behr- as mentioned in a previous post?? Thanks for your help.

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  8. My whole house has light oak. From the kitchen cabinets, floors, trim... Everything and I desperately want to do this. I was wondering what color white to use? There are so many. Also, did you paint your window sashes too? Thanks.

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    1. Anonymous, the color I used is a custom color that is very similar to Martha Stewart Tailors Chalk. My window trim was already white. Thanks for commenting. Best, Sarah

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  9. I love my oak cabinets and stained pine woodwork. Painting woodwork and trim white does not always lend itself to giving a home character. Wood tones and grains give a home a warmth that white paint does not.

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    1. Anonymous, I totally agree that wood grains are beautiful and add character. I'm just not a fan of orangey-light oak. Thanks for stopping by. Best, Sarah

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  10. did you use a brush or roller? also what grain sand paper did you use?

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  11. Im curious what color that door is. We just installed new primed doors that need painting. I love yours!

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  12. Hi Sarah, I'm new to your blog but LOVE your design ideas! I'm curious about the black on the back of your doors? I love that idea. Can you shed some light on your idea behind it and what type of paint/color you used. I'm starting to lay flooring, paint etc on my new home and would love to incorporate the black door idea.

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  13. These before and after pictures are two TOTALLY different staircases!!! Whats up with that?

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  14. Replies
    1. Hi Sue. Yes, you are correct the oak railing shown here is not my staircase. I wrote this article a few years after painting the railing. The photo represents what it looked like before. I assure you that I actually did paint the staricase white. Girl Scouts honor. :) Thanks for visiting, Sarah

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  15. We just moved into a home with oak trim, cabinets, etc... It is not orangey-a bit warmer than that. The stain on it is Minwax Early American, I believe. The trim is 6 inches, and onviously nice stain grade. However, you almost have to study it to realize that the home was upgraded to have this feature. The impact upon entering the room is just what you describe-dated. I don't want to lose any value on the home by painting the trim. And, I want to add crown molding in certain rooms, but don't want to spend a lot on trim that I don't like. Sooooo, would you go ahead and paint the nice trim? Or, do you have any tips for working with the oak?

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  16. We just moved into a home with oak trim, cabinets, etc... It is not orangey-a bit warmer than that. The stain on it is Minwax Early American, I believe. The trim is 6 inches, and onviously nice stain grade. However, you almost have to study it to realize that the home was upgraded to have this feature. The impact upon entering the room is just what you describe-dated. I don't want to lose any value on the home by painting the trim. And, I want to add crown molding in certain rooms, but don't want to spend a lot on trim that I don't like. Sooooo, would you go ahead and paint the nice trim? Or, do you have any tips for working with the oak?

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  17. I also prefer white woodwork to oak. (I am talking about the builder-grade oak woodwork in a 1990's home, not the beautiful natural woodwork in older homes.) The problem I have is there is so much of it. Every room, every door, the entire staircase, the kitchen, the fire place, the french doors into the living room... Any suggestions?

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  18. I think I'll skip this latest decorating edict about painting oak. That was what my mother did to all of her furniture in the sixties & seventies. In the eighties and nineties everyone was stripping off the paint because it was dated and returning furniture to natural wood. It was a royal pain stripping the paint. I will just remain out of the trend.

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  19. New to pinterest so excuse the delay in questions but can you prime and paint rather than sand...we took on our kitchen with that oak and stained...huge pain. Also a new trend is painting the doors black...any suggestions on process and would a deep brown be ok?

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    1. Hi there, I always recommend sanding. I know it's a lot of work but in order for the finish to last, sanding is essential. Best, Sarah

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  20. We painted our oak trim white as well. I love it! I felt very limited with wall paint color choices when the trim was oak. Now I have so many more options. I love the door color. Is that painted? If so what color?

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  21. Did you prime as well? Love this - starting today!

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  22. Did you prime as well? Love this - starting today!

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  23. We have that cheap-looking oak trim and doors throughout the house. My husband believes in everything has to match so we have oak furniture and oak cabinets as well. Everything is brown, and I don't like it and haven't since we've lived here for 14 years! I prefer the white trim, but my husband doesn't and won't change the color. How do I at least get rid of the "oak" brown color with furniture and accessories and what colors go with oak? In magazines, everything I see has the white trim.

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  24. This post inspired my husband and I to paint our oak banister! I've written about it here...http://wp.me/p3SMID-W

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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