80s Pine Trim in our brand new (first) home; need insight and advice! : HomeImprovement

We just bought this home in Atlantic Canada and absolutely love the size and layout. In beginning to budget for renovations, however, almost everything begins to boil down to one huge question:

What do we do with the pine?

The pine in question is not especially expensive. The house was built in the early 80s, and this pine trim runs through the whole house. The doors downstairs are solid pine (or wooden French doors); the rooms upstairs have hollow doors with pine sheets.

There are a handful of things contributing to our mixed feelings:

  1. The wood carries charm and nostalgia, BUT it also feels a bit like a hand-me-down?

  2. White trim with grey or colours feels brighter and more modern, BUT it seems unoriginal and like a trend that will soon be out of style?

  3. The wood isn’t fancy or expensive, BUT it feels like we’re losing something by painting it.

Both our families say, “How could you even think about painting it and losing that beautiful grain?” But both our families’ homes are cluttered up with unused antiques with which they seem unable to part, and we like to have bright, open spaces. (She still loves her antiques; I have become far more minimalist.)

She is afraid that the sense of joy she felt when she first saw the home will evaporate if we decide to change that wood. She’s open to painting if it doesn’t fundamentally change the cozy atmosphere, but we can’t find many renovation ideas online that work with pine trim (and virtually none of those seem like something we’d personally enjoy).

I grew up with wood trim in my house and in those of several friends – but since my family (and some friends) weren’t in great financial shape, the wood-and-white combination brings back the feeling of being in cheap, poorly-kept homes and the conversations about possible renovations that never took shape.

I’m wondering if there’s a compromise, an alternative solution, or if people have projects or vision boards showing homes that have successfully breathed life into that dated 80s trim. What did you do that worked? What doesn’t work?

Any and all feedback, advice, tips, etc. are greatly appreciated.


  • Windows are all being swapped with vinyl-frame (and better-insulated) replacements, so the windows themselves will not match the pine trim.

  • She definitely wants to paint the pine upstairs, adding trim to the doors and painting them as well, with rooms to match. Part of her hesitation about keeping the pine downstairs is that she dislikes homes without a consistent style present throughout the house.

  • Oak kitchen is already in exactly our ideal layout, but we’re not sure if we should leave the cabinets entirely, try a dark gel stain, or paint them. Leaning toward gel stain for a modern dark wood aesthetic.

  • The hardwood floors are in great shape in almost every space. Definitely keen on keeping them as is.

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