Wainscoting Options

You may not know the definition of wainscoting, but you sure know it when you see it.  Beadboard, so popular in the cottage and seaside retreat decorating themes, is a type of wainscoting, which is technically defined as a paneled lining of the wall, usually wooden, used as a wall covering for the lower three or four feet.  It’s also considered the lower portion of an interior wall when finished differently from the rest.

So that, my friends, opens up a whole new world of decorating options for using wainscoting as a wall covering in your home.  Wallpaper overwhelming the room?  Try a budget friendly fix of covering it with wainscoting.   Walls lacking character, wainscoting may be your solution.  Consider these wainscoting options for your redecorating project:

Beadboard / Tongue and Groove Paneling

The most popular wainscoting available, probably due to its informality, beadboard is known for its vertical grooves running the entire length of the panel.  The grooves are planks or strips attached vertically or routed grooves to mimic the planks.  It’s available in panels and a fairly easy DIY installation.

The best look for beadboard is in the bath, as this was its traditional use.  Beadboard panels that incorporate a chair rail and baseboard can transfer the look to living areas such as dining rooms and kitchens.

Casual, informal and charming, beadboard is perfect for more informal settings..

Raised Panels

Raised panels, the most traditional wainscoting style, dates back to colonial days. The decorative raise is created by beveling the edges of the panel. Common height is between 30 and 40 inches.

Use it in the dining room and hallways to add distinctive elegance to plain walls.  Raised paneling is sold in kits to make it a DIY possibility for budget wall coverings.

Dado Panels

If you’ve ever toured a Victorian home and seen the intricate woodwork, raised plaster ornaments  or pressed metal on the lower part of the wall, that would be a dado panel.  True dado panels are a budgetary stretch for any homeowner, but even way back when they had a budget option in the form of lincrusta or Anaglypta wall coverings.  In other words, it’s embossed wallpaper for the lower portion of your walls, usually capped with a chair rail for a finished look.

This is a stunning look and as easy as hanging wallpaper.  There are a variety of painting techniques to really bring out the embossed detail.  You may want to consider this option for an entryway, stairway, dining room or living room.

Originally wainscoting was installed to protect the lower walls from chair damage.  Try wainscoting not only for practicality, but for its elegance and detail, whether formal or casual.  By the way, if considering this lovely wall covering option, it’s pronounced “waynes coating”!