New trend takes trim features in a different direction.
Story by Tracy Dickinson
Photography by Mirza Kudic, Courtesy of Kimberley Development
Featured in Spring 2023
If you want a sneak peek at trends in home design and decor, keep an eye on two things: design trends from either coast and the latest in local custom homes.
One of the latest of these trends is taking trim to the next level. This approach has already made its way to some new central Iowa homes.
“For a while, it seemed like trim was on its way out,” says Accurate Development’s Sarah Hoover. “Everything was moving toward a more minimalist look, with no window trim or decorative trim details. But that is starting to change.” She says the trend is moving away from ultracontemporary styles. However, crisp lines and painted trim and casings are still the most popular.
In design terms, trim is typically broken into two categories: standard trim elements and job-built trim items.
“Standard trim items are found in most homes and include everything from baseboards and door trim to cabinets,” says Hoover.
Most home designs continue to incorporate trim details in an understated fashion, but the job-built features are growing more dramatic. “Job-built features can include things like ceiling treatments, beams, or shiplap and also wall installations like floating shelves, custom built-ins, and shiplap or wainscot on walls,” says Hoover.
Rylee Hansen at Kimberley Development says, “We have had lots of custom clients that want a wall or ceiling trim feature. These projects take the idea of an accent wall to a new level.”
“I think the goal with these features is to add interest and a focal point,” says Hoover.
Both she and Hansen say these innovative trim applications are an extension of other design trends emerging as those styles are waning in popularity.
“There was a time when a lot of people wanted accent walls in a different paint color to add visual interest,” says Hansen. “Adding wall and ceiling trim features takes that concept to the next level.”
Hoover adds, “The popularity of shiplap and farmhouse style may have influenced this new trend. Those wall treatments add texture and interest, but shiplap doesn’t work with every style.”
The latest interpretations of these wall and ceiling treatments suit a wider variety of decors and applications. “We’ve been seeing more people wanting to add this type of accent in smaller areas, like powder rooms and home offices,” Hansen says. “It’s a great way to add interest to small spaces.”
Whether the spaces are small or large, however, Hoover says homeowners are installing these architectural accents predominantly in public areas within the home.“The most common space is the great room,” she says. “Homeowners want those dramatic features in areas where they’ll be seen.”
No matter what the home’s style, designers are creating trim features that reflect that look. “We’ve done contemporary designs with slats or reeded wood to create an accent wall. Or for a more traditional style, we’ve done wainscoting or subtle patterns with painted wood,” Hoover says.
A quick online search reveals feature walls and ceilings with everything from simple wood slats to elaborate patterns made with thin wood strips and painted to complement the wall color.
In her experience, Hansen says, “The style of the project correlates with the home. In more-contemporary homes, designs with sharp lines and angles are more appropriate. A transitional or traditional home might incorporate more curves in the details.”
Painted trim is still popular, even in architectural features. But both designers say they are seeing stained and natural finishes on many of these new home designs.
“We use a lot of poplar, maple, and white oak, depending on the stain we plan to use,” Hansen says. “Although many people are drawn to the lighter stains with maple and white oak, the medium-darker stains seem to be coming back this year.”
“The white oak lends itself to a nice brown tone,” adds Hoover, “so it’s a good choice with the medium and darker stains. It has a nice grain and will avoid the yellow tones when stained.”
In addition to full wall designs, ceiling features with everything from full wood coverage to accent features are becoming more popular.
“We’ve had clients incorporate trim details with their tray or coffered ceilings. This is a great way to make those areas stand out,” Hansen says. “We’ve also done a few homes with shiplap ceilings as well as adding beams.”
The key, Hoover says, is balance. “Whether it’s a full wall or ceiling feature or just accents, the goal is to add interest without dominating the space.”
No matter the approach you take, one thing is certain: These projects are taking trim design to a whole new level. •
- Sarah Hoover Accurate Development
- Rylee Hansen Kimberley Development