The Ultimate Guide to Wainscoting: 25+ Stylish Wainscoting Ideas

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Wainscoting is a classic way to add texture and interest to the walls of any room. Deciding what style and height of wainscoting, however, can be as tricky as choosing the color of paint! We’ve rounded up nearly 40 stylish wainscoting ideas that we’ve shown here on Remodelaholic to help you decide what look is best for your home. 

25+ Fabulous Wainscoting Ideas

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The Ultimate Guide to Wainscoting:
25+ Stylish Wainscoting Ideas

The Ultimate Guide to Wainscoting: 25+ wainscoting ideas and styles | Remodelaholic.com #wainscoting #inspiration #design #walls @Remodelaholic

Why Wainscoting?

Wainscoting can be used for many different reasons. Most commonly, wainscoting  is used to add interest and texture, even without adding color, such as this full paneled wall.  Adding a little extra wainscoting can help dress up a standard chair rail and make it an architectural feature:

Wainscoting helps enhance the structure and design of the room. Merely by splitting the wall into two sections and giving the eye a line to follow, wainscoting helps the room feel bigger. Molding and wall treatments can also help a tall space feel fitting instead of echoey-large, such as this tall 7-foot wainscoting in this extra-tall 14-foot entryway, 

Wainscoting can also be a wonderful solution to disguising some of your home’s quirks, such as oddly placed utility access points.   See how one reader hid their plumbing access by dressing it up to match the wainscoting.

Taller wainscoting with a ledge on top provides a great place to add decor, especially if you intend to switch it out frequently. 

And styles? There are so many different styles of wainscoting!

10-half-bath-remodel-with-horizontal-beadboard-wainscoting-Remodelaholic-450x600

Beadboard Wainscot

Beadboard 4×8 sheets is a wonderful wainscot material because it is quick to install and doesn’t require as much of the measuring and math as many of the other styles of wainscoting do.  You can see some fabulous examples of  beadboard wainscoting in thishalf bath remodel,  or this lovely farmhouse dining room.

You can also add a ledge to beadboard wainscoting like we did in our Logan House bathroom, to give a great added bit of interest.   And don’t forget to consider installing the beadboard horizontally like we did in the half bath that we added to our Logan House it is such a fun way to get an updated look with beadboard.  Don’t overlook the power of paint.  For example, see how much drama is added just by painting this beadboard black like in this modern powder room:

Board and Batten Wainscoting

Justin and I have used board and batten in most of our homes. You can alter the height to fit your style and the room, and choose an installation method to fit your budget, time, and skill level.  Board and batten can be chair-rail height (about 4 feet, typically), like in this tutorial,  or taller like Superwoman Brittany shared with us in her living room remodel, or like Justin and I installed in our Logan House master bedroom.  Or heck, you can keep it going full height, right up to the ceiling, like we have done in our current house. (I wrote up detailed spacing and installation tutorials for your building pleasure.

board and batten wainscoting wall tutorial, Remodelaholic

You can also split up the board and batten style to make a paneled wall with stacked squares like these $50 faux board and batten  or this dining room stacked square wainscoting.    And board and batten is a great wainscoting style for stairs and stair walls… so long as you’re willing to do some angular math!

Picture Frame Wainscoting

Picture frame style wainscoting is another popular style, especially in older homes where you need more classic styles to match the architecture.  I love this “true” raised panel wainscoting tutorial.  But if that seems like to much work you can create a faux picture frame wainscot or like this one

Don’t forget like I mentioned before, you can also change things up and have two-tone picture frame molding with just a little bit of paint, it is a whole different look.  Or add a little extra texture to the picture frames by using paintable textured wallpaper to look like carved wainscot.  Or you could follow this great tutorial and have a wainscoting that mixes the styles of picture frame with the thicker boards like board and batten.

Non-Traditional Wainscoting Ideas

If you’re looking for a wainscoting that will add architectural interest AND oomph, there are plenty of non-traditional and unique wainscot styles that will set your home apart from builder grade. Try one of these, offset squares wainscoting 

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barn door wainscoting (and full tutorial!)metropolis circles wainscotingstriped painted accent wainscoting

striped painted tall wainscoting, or trellis wainscoting.

and one of my favorites

easy plank wall wainscoting, Remodelaholichorizontal plank wall wainscoting by us here at Remodelaholic :) 

Wainscoting for Every Room!

Try it, try it, and you may; try it and you may LOVE IT, I say… (Sorry, apparently I read Green Eggs and Ham too much!)

Try it…on the stairs and in the hallin a reading nookin a powder roomin the living roomin the entry, and in the basement

So, what do you say? Have all these wainscoting ideas inspired you to let this Sam-I-Am convince you to love green eggs and ham, er, wainscoting? Or or are you already on board the wainscot train, heading straight to Awesome?

About 

Cassity started Remodelaholic with her husband, Justin, to share their love for knocking out walls together. She is an interior designer, wife, and mother of two. She and Justin have remodeled three homes from top to bottom and are working on their fourth. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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Comments

  1. says

    I love pretty much ALL of these ideas, and I would like to do something similar in my home. But I don’t know where to stop/start. My home is almost all exposed/open concept on the first floor. If I just wanted this in the dining room (which is 3 walls, with one wall a half open ‘window’ to the family room) I’m not sure if it would look alright since its open to the family room, kitchen and the main hallway. Are there any design tips for how many rooms or spaces in a home should have wainscoting to keep the design consistent?

  2. Kelly says

    I LOVE the look of wainscoting and want to put it everywhere on my main floor. Kitchen, dining, living room, powder room. Do you think that will be over doing it?

    • says

      Kelly, I think that would be too much, but you should just try doing some accent walls first and see if you would want to do more. Right now we just have it on our two walls. I did a room in my dads house and we just chose to do the window wall and it turned out great with just one wall.

  3. Karen Jones says

    Stylish indeed! These are some authentic examples of wainscoting I’ve come across. Really great designs and worthwhile to incorporate. Thanks for sharing this post with us!

  4. Mark says

    Can this be done in a full bath or will the humidity ruin the wood? Are there alternative products that are meant for such a purpose? What about within the tub area itself?

    • says

      Mark which wainscoting in particular are you talking about. It would probably be best to use a ceramic type product right next to a tub, but in a powder room, it should be fine.

  5. says

    We just finished wainscoting in our baby’s nursery! We’re amateur DIY-ers and we found it was actually easier than expected. It’s a pretty incredible transformation! Cheers, Anne

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