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Updating Door and Window Trim

One of the easiest ways to give an older home a face lift is by updating the door and window trim. I live in Dallas and in the 70s and 80s track homes and more mass produced homes started to become popular. A lot of the houses built then and since then have cheap and thin trim and accents. This gives homes little character and makes them look cheaply built. But not to fear! This is an easy update that makes a big difference and is easy on the wallet.

The home we just moved into was built in the late 70s. While we don't live in a track home neighborhood, there are a lot of elements and trim that fit right into that look. Basically we have a lot of updating to do. We are taking this room by room, so it will be some time before all these elements are updated in our home.

The first room we started with was the kitchen. This was the first room in our home that we were renovating, so it made since that we started here to update the door and window trim. This was actually the first thing we updated in the kitchen since we were going to be painting and adding tile around the trim. This is what our doors and windows before we did anything to them. It doesn't look terrible, it just doesn't look great either.

As I am renovating the house, I am designing my house around the floors. I know that is weird, but these floors are unique, and I just don't want to replace them. So I am going to make them work for the space. They are a little bit rustic and a little bit cottage, so that is the vibe I am going with for this house. I needed the trim to reflect that. I wanted a chunky trim that really highlighted the windows and doors, but also brought the floors to life. Let me show you how I did this.

Farmhouse / Cottage Window and Door Trim


1x4s of common board or primed MDF - Enough for the length of both window/door sides and the widths

1x2's of common board or primed MDF - Enough for three pieces the width of the window / door

1x6's of common board or primed MDF - Enough for 1 piece the width of the window - ONLY FOR WINDOWS

Paint (Color of your choosing - I used Flat Iron by Clare)


1. Remove all existing trim using the blade and the pry bar.

2. Measure the length of the door or window. Cut 2 1x4's to the length of the door or window. Attach on either side using the brad nailer.

3. Measure the width of the of the door or window with the 1x4's attached. Add 1 1/2 in to the measured length. Cut 3 pieces of 1x2's to the measurement. You only need 2 pieces if this is for a door.

4. Using the first 1x2 place one piece at top of the window or door and attach to the 1x4's using the brad nailer. Ensure 3/4'' hangs on either side. Repeat for the piece at the bottom if you are doing this for a window.

5. Using the same measurement you used for the 1x2, cut the 1x4 and the 1x6 (windows only) to the same length.

6. Attach the 1x4 to the top of the window or door above the already attached 1x2 with the brad nailer.

7. Attach the final 1x2 above the 1x4 using the brad nailer.

8. Attach the 1x6 to the bottom of window or door under the 1x2 using the brad nailer. Windows only. See the bottom of the window below for the finished look.

9. Caulk all places where the boards meet the wall or the board meets the board. Let dry.

10. If the boards are not primed, prime the boards. Let dry.

11. Paint a great trim color over the primer!

This is what the door and window trim looks like when it is finished. It is a pretty simple update, but it is one of my favorite things to do to bring character into a room. It definitely gives an outdated home some new life!

There are many ways to add updated trim. How have you updated the trim in your home?


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