What Is the Perfect Height For Chair Rail Molding?

When you hear someone say molding, you can hope and pray they are talking about some sort of wall decorating because otherwise, you may have a serious problem on your hands. Mold is not fun to deal with.

What Is Chair Rail MoldingView in gallery
Image from Helen Piteo Interiors, LLC

It can be gotten rid of, but that’s not a discussion for today. If you want to know how to get rid of mold, then check out our guide on getting rid of mold. If you want to know more about chair rail height then read on. 

Because you know what is fun? Chair rail molding. Chair rail molding is a type of molding that is similar to crown molding. The difference is that chair rail molding is placed near the center of the wall rather than the top.

What Is Chair Rail Molding?

Chair rail molding is also known as a dado rail. It is a type of molding that is placed horizontally all the way around a room near the center of the wall. The molding is often placed on top of a wainscot but it is primarily for looks.

It does offer protection from furniture scratching it but it also serves other purposes as well. The dado rail is usually a couple of feet from the ground. We will go more into these details soon. But first, a history of chair rail molding. 

History Of Chair Rail Molding

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Image from designalchemyltd

The history of chair rail molding is often retold time and time again. Each time there is a different story attached to its origins and a different reason for its existence. The term “chair rail” is usually said to come from the rails Shakers hung.

They would hang wood with pegs in them to hang chairs up to let them dry and to clean the floor underneath. The other theory is that they simply protected the walls from the chairs scratching them. Both of these are believable. 

But the most likely reason for chair rail molding, or dado rails, was to add good symmetry and nice aesthetics to the walls. This type of molding was found in Ancient Egyptian and Greek buildings, so the exact origins are still unknown. 

Crown Molding Vs. Chair Rail Molding

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Image from design by Christina Perry | Interior Design

Crown molding is very similar and yet very different from chair rail molding. More often than not, they are both decorative, but on another note, crown molding is often used to cover gaps as well. But the same can’t be said for dado rails. 

Chair rail molding is a molding that is placed in the center or at waist height. Crown molding is always placed at the top. If you are lucky, you can find a matching set and even get footing or baseboards to match. 

Standard Chair Rail Height

Standard Chair Rail HeightView in gallery
Image from Morr Interiors

Most of the time, chair rails are placed about at one-third the distance of the ceiling height from the floor. For instance, an 8-foot ceiling will have a chair rail at 32 inches from the floor. But this is simply a guide. 

If you prefer something more symmetrical, then halfway up can help but it may look a little off. In fact, railing at one-third of the way up the wall can make a room look larger but those at halfway can make a room look smaller. 

Other Ways To Make Your Room Look Bigger

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If you’re interested in making your room look bigger with a good chair railing height then you may be interested in other ways to make your room look bigger. This is something almost everyone wants.

You don’t have to have a small space to want a bigger one either. Even those with 5000-sqft homes should be able to make their rooms look larger. Try these techniques to stretch out your room and make it more impressive. 

Light Colors And Cool Colors

Dark colors no doubt make rooms look quite a bit smaller than they normally would. But light colors do the opposite. White is probably the best color for this because it is brighter and airy, letting the most light in.

But not just any light color will do. Colors like red and orange can close a room in because they are warm colors, even if they are light. Stick to colors like blue, green, and white to open your room up the most.

Multipurpose Furniture

Furniture that serves two purposes is wonderful for small spaces. But they can also make a room look bigger because you can have two pieces of furniture taking up the same space. Consider a bunk bed desk for instance.

A bunk bed where the bottom bunk is a desk saves so much space. The top bunk can be used for sleeping while the underneath space, that doesn’t have a “bed,” can be used for storage and for a computer desk. 

Exposed Legs

Furniture legs, that is. If you raise up the furniture and show the legs, you can make the floor space look so much bigger. A bed with thin exposed legs or a table without a table cloth will make a room look bigger.

Couches are very important in this aspect. Because having the legs of the sofa exposed makes the room look bigger than those that are low to the ground and have skirting. So keep this in mind when choosing a couch. 

Small Scales

Instead of getting large art and sculptures, get smaller versions of them. This can make your room appear gigantic. Not just because it leaves more space in the room but also because it has a special effect.

When you put small things in a room you make the room look bigger in comparison. This is the same way that a fairy garden can make your actual garden look larger. Or the way you use garden gnomes instead of full-sized statues. 

Use Mirrors

Mirrors can open up a room by reflecting light and other areas of the room. It’s important that the mirror reflects floor space and not just bulky furniture, or else it may make the room look closed in. 

Get larger mirrors for a greater effect and those with minimal frames. If you have one with a bulky frame and a small mirror then the mirror will be overtaken by the frame and have the opposite effect again.

Paneless Windows

Windows with a lot of panes look cluttered and overdone in smaller spaces. That’s why finding windows with large panes or no panes at all is a good idea. A picture window is ideal for large windows.

For higher smaller windows, clerestory windows can let in a lot of light and make your space look larger. Check out all the different types of windows to find the ones that work for your space in your room. 

Long Curtains

Short curtains can cut off a wall and make it look short. Instead, choose drapes or curtains that start at the ceiling and end at the floor. You can choose shorter curtains but you have to be careful doing this.

The curtains shouldn’t have a busy pattern and they should cut off at the right spot. Experiment with a sheet before you buy curtains to find the right height or buy a long curtain and cut it off. Only do this if you know how to sew a hem. 

Low And High

Yes, both. Avoid putting art or shelves in the center of the wall. Instead, keep things both high and low. You can add low shelves and high art or vice versa. But the worst thing you can do is put them all in the center.

Eye height is generally great but in smaller spaces, you want the eye to be drawn upwards. When it is, people will see an illusion of a taller ceiling, even if your ceilings are seven-foot instead of nine-foot. 

Keep Good Flow

This may be the most important part of making a room look larger. Keeping good flow. This means you want there to be a good path for people to walk through a room without running into anything or zigzagging. 

It also means that it feels airier and inviting. Learn about flow when you learn about color theory to create a balanced room that exhibits harmony rather than chaos. Because chaos does not belong in interior design. 

Installing your Own Chair Rail Molding 

Image from Vani Sayeed Studios

Chair rail molding is usually installed by professionals. But if you can find chair rail molding then you can install it yourself. It’s very simple to install, much simpler than installing crown molding, in fact. 

Because all you need to install chair rail molding is one piece of molding per wall. You can either glue them down or use finishing nails. Just don’t forget to paint over the nails if they don’t match the molding.

Chair rail molding can really make a space look more sophisticated. It isn’t for everyone, as some people find it too busy. But those who like it, fall in love with the Victorian vibe and high-end look it gives a room.