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The Complete Guide to Home Decorating with Wainscoting

A wainscot, or wainscoting, is the general term given to any baseboard or paneling found around the lower half of an interior wall. 

Wainscoting was originally used in medieval times to protect the wall from water damage during flooding and rain, but many homeowners today use it as a stylish and practical way to add depth and character to their walls. 

But, with so many styles available, how do you choose? This complete guide to home decorating with wainscoting will help you choose the right decorative panels for each room in your house and make your walls look new!

With over 100 ideas and styles, how do you decide which wainscoting to use on your walls? We’ve done the work of finding the perfect combination of colors, patterns, sizes, and styles so that you can enjoy decorating your home with wainscoting without worry or stress. 

In this guide, we provide everything you need to know about choosing and applying home decorating with wainscoting in your own home. Let’s get started!

Wainscoting Ideas for the Living Room

If you're wondering how to decorate a living room, you'll need some inspiration. Even if your existing walls are painted a vibrant shade, adding wainscoting can bring life and dimension back into your space. 

Here are seven ways to use wainscoting in your living room: 

1. Highlight Built-In Bookcases 

2. Add Dimension 

3. Restore an Old Home 

4. Create a Formal Feel 

5. Give More Storage 

6. Use It as a Headboard 

7. Match Your Walls Adding just one of these ideas will update any home's living space and when used together they'll revitalize it beyond recognition!

Wainscoting Ideas for the Dining Room

The dining room is an ideal place for wainscoting because it’s usually located near a kitchen and thus receives a lot of foot traffic.

It can also be used as an extra place to display family photos, vases full of fresh flowers, or other decorative accessories. The best part about wainscoting for your dining room is that you can choose from so many design styles and colors. 

You could even create designs on your walls based on historical designs if you want some décor elements from another era in your home.

Wainscoting Ideas for the Bedroom

Before you start pulling out your sander or breaking out your Sawzall, you’ll want to make sure that wainscoting is a good idea for your bedroom. 

Luckily, there are lots of great reasons why it can be a good fit. For starters, if you have a tall ceiling (9 feet or more), wainscoting adds height and drama. 

If you don’t like tall ceilings because they take away from floor space, wainscoting means you can have both high ceilings and spacious floors it also works well in rooms where ceiling heights vary greatly due to protruding beams.

Wainscoting Ideas for the Bathroom

Traditionally, wainscoting was used in large, formal rooms that needed a way to break up all that space and make it feel more comfortable. 

If you have one of these big spaces in your home, wainscoting can help create some hierarchy and intimacy like you’re suddenly walking through a tiny doorway into another world. 

This is especially helpful if you’re trying to define separate areas within a single room. In smaller spaces like bathrooms, it can serve as a place to stash extra toiletries or even store an extra roll of toilet paper so they don’t clog up your cabinets. 

And just like other items in your bathroom, you can make your wall panels waterproof and paint them with fun colors for an additional pop of style!

Other Rooms That Benefit From DIY Wainscotting

home decorating with wainscoting

In addition to the traditional living room and dining room designs, other rooms in your home that can benefit from DIY wainscotting include home offices, laundry rooms, master bedrooms, children’s bedrooms, kitchens, foyers, and hallways. 

You can match emphasize woodwork or pick a new color to better coordinate with your overall design scheme. 

Whatever you choose will become a conversation piece for years to come as guests learn more about its history when they ask why you decided on using wainscotting in your design. 

And wainscotting doesn’t have to be just for decor; sometimes practicality is just as important.

How to Install Wainscoting

Wainscoting may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re planning your home decorating project, but it can help dramatically improve the look of any room in your house. Here are our tips on how to install wainscoting in any room.

How To Add Wainscoting

There are many benefits that come with adding wainscoting to your home. Wainscoting can help prevent damage from spilled drinks and dropped items, it can hide any unsightly areas on your walls, and it will add depth and character to your room. 

If you're looking for ways to remodel or decorate your home, adding wainscoting is a great option! Read more about how to install wainscoting below.

Traditional Ways

When you install wainscoting, you want to use a traditional miter. These joints create an attractive finish without any of that randomness you’ll get with other methods. 

To join two pieces of wood using a traditional miter, simply cut 45-degree angles on both ends, then lock them together.

Modern Ways

Today, there are many different options for adding wainscoting. Many houses have wainscoting, but often it has been removed and replaced with paneling or something else more modern. 

Adding wainscoting can be an inexpensive way to enhance your home's interior, but will require a little work on your part. The first step is deciding what type of wood you want for your new wainscotting.

Wall Tiles

In addition to kitchen backsplashes, wall tiles are great for a range of other applications around your home.

If you want an easy and affordable way to decorate your walls in an instant, consider hanging up some wall tiles. 

This quick project is perfect for those with little experience or confidence in their DIY skills. It’s an inexpensive but effective way to add style and color to your home.

Plank Paneling

To install plank paneling, measure and cut a piece of plywood that fits against your wall from floor to ceiling, using your planks as a guide. Screw them into place and then sand down any rough edges. You can paint or stain them afterward if you want (make sure to follow all of these steps before actually installing wainscoting).

Best Paint Color For A Foyer

A foyer is often a high-traffic area that can make your home feel more open and airy. 

The right paint color can go a long way toward making your foyer seem brighter and bigger. The key is to pick a light color that contrasts with your flooring. 

It’s also important not to use too dark of a shade on walls, as it could make your ceilings appear lower than they are.

Choose The Right Shelf Style

One of your first considerations when choosing a shelf style is whether or not you want it to be visible. 

Wall-mounted shelves are often made of wood, while floor-standing shelving units are available in a variety of finishes and styles, from sleek and modern glass cabinets to rustic reclaimed wood pieces. Make sure that your design matches both your furniture style and decorating theme.

What Size Of Dado Rail Do I Need?

To figure out what size of dado rail you need, determine how many inches deep you’d like your dado to be. 

The most common depth is 1 1⁄2; anything deeper will be difficult and time-consuming to carve. If you want more than one dado in a row, keep in mind that they should be separated by at least 4 of solid wood. 

Once you know how deep you want your dados, divide that number by 2 (because half of it will be on each side). 

Things To Consider When Planning To Add Wainscoting

When it comes to home decorating, adding wainscoting can make a big difference. 

This popular design element is capable of completely changing a room’s look and feel. Before you begin installing wainscoting in your home, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

These tips will help you install wainscoting correctly and efficiently. Additionally, they’ll help ensure that your new wall treatments remain effective for many years. 

Things To Consider When Removing Wainscoting

With any home remodeling project, it’s important to consider how each room will be used and what design elements you’ll want in your space. 

Is wainscotting outdated?

In my opinion, no. When executed correctly, it’s an easy way to add visual interest, balance a room’s lines, and create a more cohesive aesthetic without breaking your budget. 

While there are many ways to approach home decorating with wainscotting, I recommend keeping things simple and minimal. 

Painting or staining wood strips is sufficient for most rooms worrying about wall or floor covering underneath is unnecessary 99% of the time (and often makes rooms feel cramped).

Where should wainscoting be placed in a house?

There are no hard and fast rules about where wainscoting should be placed in a house, but there are some guidelines that may help make your decision easier. 

Most of these guidelines concern style rather than practicality because, when it comes down to it, you're really only limited by your own sense of aesthetics. 

But a few basic guidelines can help you narrow down your options and find something that looks right in any room. 

Does wainscoting make a room look bigger or smaller?

If you’re looking to achieve a rustic farmhouse aesthetic, adding wainscoting will instantly make your home feel cozier. 

If that’s not your style, there are many other design considerations when choosing whether or not wainscoting makes sense for your home. 

Read on for more about the history of wainscoting and how it can work in each room of your house.

Can wainscotting be modern?

Before you decide to use wainscotting in your home, it's important to know that there are a variety of ways you can go about doing so. If you want your home's decor to feel classic and traditional, opting for traditional wooden paneling is best. 

However, if your taste veers toward modern design elements, there are ways you can use wainscotting as a decorative accent without compromising its functionality as an effective sound insulator. 

For example, don't be afraid of using various colors when painting or staining wood paneling.

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