Last Updated on November 24, 2020 by Kimberly Crawford
Are you looking to improve your house? One way to do so without radically changing the overall layout is through wainscoting. This refers to the process of adding decorative panels to the lower portion of the walls. And if you need inspiration, check out our guide below for some clever wainscoting ideas.
A Visual Enhancement
The process of adding panels on the bottom quarter of the walls was first conducted hundreds of years ago. But what makes wainscoting such a lasting home improvement idea? First, the process can enhance the personality of each and every room without taking up a ton of space.
Wainscoting comes in many styles. You can go for a plain yet sleek pattern or get the raised wood panels. But no matter the style, it will catch the attention of visitors. The visual contrast between the upper and lower sections of the walls is hard to ignore — and you can even make a wall look longer than it really is.
More Stability and Protection
While you can install the wainscoting on your own, it can take a while if you don’t have prior experience. On the other hand, hiring a contractor ensures that the panels are added as quickly as possible. Having these panels not only adds a sense of elegance to your interiors but they also have practical benefits.
For one, wainscoting is an effective way to get rid of any damages on your wall. Simply cover these areas up with panels and people wouldn’t know the difference. In fact, wainscoting is a preventive measure against scratches resulting from people and moving pieces of furniture around.
Second, it helps your home retain more heat — a great feature to have during fall and winter. And if the panels do get dirty, all it takes most of the time is a simple wipe to make it look as good as new.
Where to Apply Wainscoting
Wainscoting can be applied pretty much anywhere in your house, but it helps to know exactly how you should use it in each section. In general, it is highly recommended for rooms that are regularly occupied.
These areas would benefit a lot from wainscoting due to their high foot traffic. Plus, these are likely narrow sections. The added panels will prevent the walls from easily developing marks. On a related note, the rails can follow the slope of the stairs in a horizontal manner.
If you don’t want to spend a lot on tiled walls, this is a budget-friendly alternative. You can use treated medium-density fibreboard (MDF) since this material is designed to resist warping. Likewise, the drywall in your bathroom will remain safe from water damage with the installation of solid surface materials.
The first area residents and visitors enter must be protected from all sorts of items. These include wet backpacks, umbrellas, hats, and coats. Shoes dirtied by mud and pollution could also affect the quality of your walls. The installation of panels or beadboards will keep your walls free from significant damage.
There is a variety of materials to choose from for wainscoting. This largely depends on your budget, but even the cheapest ones have benefits. For one, plywood is an affordable option that’s also very easy to install. However, its grooves leave a lot to be desired.
Both plastic and MDF wainscoting are good options for regular homeowners. The former does not rot while still retaining the appearance of colored wood. On the other hand, the latter does not suffer from warping, splitting, and knotting. Lastly, solid wood takes time to install but its aesthetic appeal justifies it.
26+ Wainscoting Ideas
If you want to have raised panels without breaking the bank, try getting a chair rail and glue. Install these and attach frames using some nails. Color the chair rail and everything else with your chosen paint. This gives off a singular look similar to the usual raised-panel style.