Wainscoting is the wooden-slatted sections that can be added to the lower parts of walls to create texture. Wainscoted sections typically reach almost half way up a wall, with the edge being a crown molding topper called a chair rail. In kitchens, chair rails are placed at the height in which kitchen chairs might hit the wall; the rails keep chairs abruptly pushed back from the table from marking the walls. In bathrooms, wainscoting may be placed higher so as to create backsplash areas behind the sink and bathtub. Creative wainscoting ideas can be used in practically any room.
Although wainscoting in living rooms isn't as commonly found as it is in kitchens and bathrooms, it can add character to a plain room as well as cover up rough or flawed walls. Wooden wainscot boards are available in different widths, but narrow ones are the most common. If you prefer classic or country looks in wainscoting ideas, narrow wood strips attached together on the bottom of your wall with a chair rail will likely be the best choice. This look is called beadboard wainscoting and it was a popular wall paneling style in the 1920s. Typically, the wainscot was painted white.
For creative beadboard wainscoting ideas, different colors could be used to update the look. The colors should be carefully selected and suit the decor to ensure the end result isn't unattractive or overdone. For instance, different shades of the same color could be used to paint the beadboard, chair rail, foot board and upper wall. This look can be subtly interesting and sophisticated if the paint colors aren't too bright or chalky.
To give dated wood paneling in a living room or vacation cottage a fresh update, beadboard wainscoting and a chair rail can be added to the existing paneled walls before each wall is painted the same color. Combining the different widths of panels, yet making them uniform with the same paint color is one of the simplest yet most effective wainscoting ideas for dealing with old wood paneling. White or very pale blue can make a previously dark paneled room look fresher and more inviting. Several coats of paint may be needed.
Wainscoting ideas for the areas of walls above the chair rail don't have to be resigned to more panels or a plain colored wall. A little imagination as to how a creative wainscot look could fit into each interior decor can produce beautiful results. For instance, wallpaper or textured or stenciled walls may work well with wood wainscoting, depending on the room's style.