Trim trends: modern appeal is in the details

Trim is a common part of home exteriors, often used for edging windows, corners, doors, fascia board and soffits. With modern home design, trim is essential to achieve the iconic clean lines that modern is known for, but it also has the ability to push aesthetic boundaries.

We sat down with TAMLYN’s Ian Daniels, Technical Manager, XtremeTrim®, to get his thoughts on uses of trim to elevate modern design, as well as trends.

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Nichiha: What is the primary role that trim plays in architecture? 

Ian Daniels: The role of trim is almost purely aesthetic, although some components can play dual roles, For example, corner trim helps absorb some of the abuse that corners experience on a regular basis. Trim can also assist with moisture management. Case in point with Nichiha’s compression joint flashing. This flashing provides space for settling and compression. Plus, it’s a through-wall flashing, so any moisture that’s collected and reached it will hit that flashing, go out of the assembly and to the exterior. While some trim components do offer these benefits, they shouldn’t be primarily relied on to mitigate moisture or things of that nature, key here is a good building envelope.

N: Where do you see a lot of modern home inspiration coming from when it comes to uses of trim?

ID: We see a lot of influence coming from commercial and multi-family projects. For example, someone might see a cool use of trim in a hotel, snap a picture and ask if that look can be incorporated into their home. Additionally, architects don’t always gather their professional experience in a single design field. A former architect in the hospitality field may have transitioned to residential, thus bringing with them those experiences, preferences and aesthetics.

N: What is extruded trim?

ID: The most common alloy used for decorative aesthetic elements is 6063, commonly known as architectural alloy. Magnesium and silicone are the main ingredients. Once melted down, this alloy can be pushed through a die in virtually any shape. The result is a smooth finish that stores very well.

N:  What are strengths of extruded trims for modern design? 

ID: The cool thing with extruded trims is that the material can be shaped to create finer and tighter details for use in projection or reveal systems. With extruded trim, designers can create interesting corner reveals or even reveals between panels. These looks would be difficult to achieve with traditional wood trim, and foregoing trim altogether risks moisture collecting in the assembly and can leave panel edges unprotected.

N: It seems like trim in custom or contrasting colors are more prevalent. How does extruded trim lend itself to color? 

ID: Extruded trim is an excellent choice for color. It takes a lot of finishes well, including wet paint, powder coating and anodized. With modern design, anodized colors, such as clear (dulled metal finish), black, bronze, champagne/gold and custom colors, are popular choices. We are also seeing powder coatings opening doors to unique metal finishes, which can create a visually arresting color change to the metal when the sun hits it.

N: Digging a little deeper into the use of color and trim, how is that used to create visual interest?

ID: As I mentioned previously, reveals are often used to develop patterns and designs on the home’s exterior. Designers can highlight and use reveals a few ways. One common concept is to paint the reveal and panel the same color so that everything is this nice continuous color.  The result are shadowlines—these darker recessed points where the thickness of the material drops, so they’re not on the same level as the panel. Although it’s the same color, the reveal, creates a shadow that adds depth to the exterior.

Through our partnership with Nichiha, you can match TAMLYN trim to a variety of colors and textures. Nichiha’s Color Xpressions system allows trim to be customized to virtually any color. Additionally, popular panels like VintageWood are also available with custom trim options.

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N:  What are other ways that color can be used?

ID: Recently, the popularity of black trim has grown. Its use is especially prominent on windows and provides a decidedly modern vibe. From an interior perspective, black trim windows are a great way to create the look of a more open view. Plus, the stark, yet bold, black frame composes a picturesque view, elevating the landscape surrounding your home.

 On the exterior, black trim can be even more powerful. The contrast of the black-framed windows set against natural textures and finishes, like Nichiha’s VintageWood Cedar, adds definition to the home, creating a striking look and loads of curb appeal.

N: Are there other ways for trim to impact modern designs beyond color?

ID: Absolutely! Extruded aluminum lends itself to the straight lines and exacting angles that modern demands. Unlike wood or organic materials that can warp or change over time, disrupting the clean lines, extruded trim remains consistent—never compromising the modern aesthetic.

Now, when paired with color, whether contrasting or matched, the extruded trim becomes a design element, rather than simply a part of the wall. For example, as often seen with modern homes, the black anodized aluminum trim from the windows can be used to dictate horizontal or vertical pattern lines between panels, tying the facade together. However, if the trim is color-matched, the materials blend together. So, rather than focusing on the addition of metal as an additional tactile element, the focus is on the shadowlines created between panels. This changes the design idiom—now it’s about how the panel system is arranged.

N: That’s fascinating that so much can be achieved with thoughtful use of trim!

ID: It really is. The deliberate use of extruded trim offers opportunities to quickly upgrade the look of a home by simply adding the sheen of metal for another color and textural element. The delicacy of the metal gives designers and homeowners the ability to add more visual interest without going over the top or taking away from the overall design of the home.