For too long, wainscoting was considered old fashioned. Originally used as added insulation and protection from scrapes, the stylish paneling is gaining popularity once again.
Wainscoting refers to decorative wood paneling on a wall usually reaching from the floor to chair rail height (36 to 48 inches). For rooms with high ceilings, wainscoting can visually make the room seem smaller. It also adds contrast and texture and even an architectural flair.
And wainscoting isn’t just for dining rooms any longer. Any room, including bathrooms, closets and kitchens, can benefit from the style. Even hallways can get an updated look with wainscoting.
It can be left natural wood, painted along with the wall or covered with a contrasting color for a dash of style.
If you’re considering wainscoting to elevate your home’s charm, there are a few styles to choose from:
Tongue and groove is the most traditional style with vertical wood panels usually about 3 to 4 inches wide.
Beadboard is another type of tongue and groove paneling with narrow vertical planks of wood about 2 inches wide with no overlap.
Board and batten has wide vertical wood boards with narrow elevated trim pieces between each board to cover seams. It works well in Craftsman-style homes.
Raised panel wainscoting, one of the most traditional styles, has wood with beveled edges that resemble a series of cabinet doors.
Flat panel wainscoting has large flat wood panels flanked by raised vertical frames. These work well with an Arts and Crafts or Mission style.
Shiplap uses wood panels that overlap each other a bit instead of interlocking by tongue and groove.
Traditionally, shiplap was used on boats, barns and cottages to protect against the elements. It’s popular today in Farmhouse, Craftsman and Coastal styles as well as Contemporary and Industrial.