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Wainscoting Ideas That Will Bidazzle Your Interior Walls

Wainscotting ideas are overwhelming but in a good way. When installing wall wainscoting panels, you want to use what’s best for your home. If you’re not sure what to look for in room wainscoting, we’re here to help.  

Wainscoting Ideas

If you don’t know anything about board and batten wainscotting, for example, you’ll be fine. We’ve gathered examples to provide you with an understanding of bathroom wainscoting and how the wall covering works. We’ll also give you some helpful tips on how you can make the most of wainscotting.  

What Is Wainscoting
Brandon Architects, Inc.

Before we go further, let’s learn more about wall wainscoting. And later we’ll learn how to install wainscoting and show you the height, and then look at the best wainscoting panels in terms of design, quality, and price.

What Is Wainscoting?

Wainscoting refers to an aspect of house architecture in which solid hardwood panels are used to cover the lower half of an interior wall for the purpose of keeping the space warmer.

Today, wainscotting serves decorative purposes and includes a variety of ornamental wall paneling styles. The once referred to chair-height wood paneling that ran the length of the bottom half wall.

Back then, traditional wainscoting not only provided insulation but served as protection for the entire wall instead of the lower portion of a wall, protecting it from scrapes, scuffs, and other external factors caused by chair backs and shoe-clad feet. Today, wainscoting offers wall protection while increasing the level of your interior design.

Top 5 Wainscoting Ideas For Your Home

Wood Paneling That Covers the Bottom Half of a Wall

Check out the best wainscoting ideas available today. Many homeowners have found that wainscoted walls offer style and protection for their living spaces, and we think you will too when you’re done here. Each wainscoting idea was handpicked by our team of interior design experts.

Genuine Peel And Stick Engineered Wood Wall Paneling

Genuine Peel and Stick Engineered Wood Wall Paneling

Are you ready to add interest to your powder room or accent a grand staircase?  These engineered hardwood wall planks are the same color and include a peel-and-stick back with industrial-grade adhesive. 

  • easy to install
  • locking edges
  • 20 sq ft of coverage per set

The boards are simple to install since they have interlocking shiplap edges. The design offers a repeated pattern and is inspired by shiplap wall panel styles popular in commercial and residential locations worldwide.

Your order includes a set with 12 wall panel pieces, roughly 20 square feet. You’ll have 21 different finish options to choose from, including weathered crimson, classic maple, walnut, and this tavern white.


  • 21 finish options
  • Easy to install
  • Backed by warranty


  • Some have thicker coat paints

Dark Grey Peel And Stick Wall Paneling

Grey Peel and Stick Wall Paneling

Another option that’s easy to install is by e-Joy. It also uses the peel-and-stick method, so you don’t need much help or have to put in additional effort to get these installed.

  • Peel and Stick
  • 4 sq ft of coverage per box
  • Water-resistant

The paneling is delivered as a single-piece that measures 28 x 28 inches. Each purchase comes with one panel which covers about 5.4 square feet per box.

You’ll find that the panels are made from vinyl and are available in three finish options. The panels are water-resistant and soundproof, and can also be installed using nails. As a dining room wainscoting option, you’ll be surprised how it transforms the space.


  • Multiple installation methods
  • Waterproof 
  • Can be painted


  • You need a lot of it

MDF Wainscoting

X shaped wooden trim

This Charlton Home® MDF wainscoting style will add a little extra element to your formal dining space or living room as it focuses on simplicity and sturdiness. With this kit, you will recipe a 16-piece wainscot, a chair rail that measures 2.75″ H x 96″ W x 0.75″ D, and a baseboard that is 3″ H x 96″ W x 0.75″ D.

  • Comes with everything you need
  • Nail and glue installation
  • Slatted design

The pieces are made from manufactured wood and fit into hallways, bathrooms, or kitchens, and offer a repeating pattern that’s soothing on the eyes. The clean lines feature molded trim and features a nice slatted design, which some might argue that among other paneling idea, this one is simple, but also versatile. To install it, you can use nails and glue.


  • Easy to install
  • Versatile white finish
  • Includes the rail


  • Reports of damage during shipping

Colorado Wall Paneling

X shaped wooden trim

Corrugated metal wainscoting has become a favorite among many homeowners and businesses to help break up a contrasting accent wall. If you’re interested in creating an industrial look or adding more architectural detail to your living spaces then Colorado Wall Paneling would be the right choice.

  • 6sqft per panel
  • 3 finishes
  • metal look

The wainscoting comes in single sheets that measure 36 x 26 inches, which means you can cover about 6 square feet with a single panel, and you have three finish options to choose from. The rusted option received an accelerated rust treatment, with a spray-applied solution for more even distribution.


  • Indoor and outdoor use
  • Fire-resistant
  • Water-resistant


  • Not sealed, rust comes off

Ashford Molded Classic Wainscoting

X shaped wooden trim

This wainscoting style features a polyurethane wall panel that requires a baseboard for installation. However, this isn’t just for wainscoting purposes, but also serves as a frame for a wall sconce, a piece of art, and can be installed on a door for a visual appeal.

  • Can be used as trim
  • Water-resistant
  • Pre-assembled

This chair rail is designed to act as an accent piece. It’s easy to install and has water-resistant capabilities. Among other paneling ideas, this one is versatile in terms of placement.


  • Versatile product
  • Easy to install
  • Already primed


  • Need plenty of these for full wall wainscoting

What Are Wainscoting Panels Made Of?

Technically, wainscoting must be built entirely of real wood, but as we no longer adhere to tradition, the word has been expanded to include MDF, plastic, or plywood panels.

  • MDF
  • Plastic
  • Plywood

Apart from being less expensive than genuine wood panels, the synthetic materials we just mentioned are suitable for “faux-wainscoting” due to their ease of installation.

If you want to include this paneling feature in a kitchen or bathroom, use genuine wood since it will withstand splatters.

Another wainscotting option for bathrooms and other spaces prone to dampness is ceramic tile wainscoting, which is attractive because of its nonporous nature and it’s easy to clean.

What Is the Right Wainscoting Height?

What Is the Right Wainscoting Height?

The conventional consensus is that wainscoting height should be ⅓ of the height of the wall, and that includes moldings and caps. Therefore, if your walls are 9 feet tall, a 3-foot wainscoting will look fantastic. Reduce the scale to around 32 inches for spaces with 8-foot walls.

Wainscoting is confined to the bottom section of a wall to protect the plaster beneath it from moisture damage.

However, higher wainscoting is fashionable and is also an option worth considering. Wainscoting that extends ⅔ of the way up the wall may offer a gently textured backdrop in a space that is awash with color and design because it can still maintain a touch of neutrality.

How To Accent A Wall With Wainscoting

Wainscoting Accent Wall
Niosi Design

Board and batten wainscoting or simulated panels will deliver. They allow you to create rectangular or square shapes. They’re also longer, which means you only need a few in each room.

Alternatively, they can be shortened to accommodate more panels. When working around elements such as door openings, you can adjust panel sizes as needed. Also, there isn’t a design rule that ensures the height and length of panels should be proportionate to each other. 

You’re also not required to install wainscoting on the walls of a room, as you can opt for a wainscoting accent wall and pull it off with ease.

DIY Wainscoting Projects

Here are a few wainscoting projects that will inspire your next interior remodel.

DIY Recessed Panel Wainscoting

DIY Recessed Panel Wainscoting

This project demonstrates how to make wainscoting for a panel that’s used for an entertainment room. It can be applied to many things and you can play with this tutorial and adapt it for your needs.

Wainscoting Tools

  • Paint brush
  • Roller
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer & nail setter
  • Laser level
  • Nail gun
  • 2-inch nails
  • Miter saw
  • Electric sander
  • Paint
  • Wood filler
  • Paintable caulk
  • 27 x 8 inch base cap molding
  • 6 x 1x6x12′ MDF boards

DIY Recessed Wainscoting

  1. You’re going to have to cut and install the perimeter boards, as well as the vertical and horizontal boards.
  2. Then cut and install the base molding, and any uneven seams.
  3. Next, fill whatever holes needed using wood filler or putty, and sand the surface afterward to make sure it’s smooth
  4. Be sure to use caulk to fill gaps and edges, and paint everything to give it a beautiful finish.

DIY Wainscoting Made Easy

DIY Wainscoting Made Easy

This project will show you a video tutorial that teaches you how to install your wainscoting since it’s becoming more difficult to find a professional that’s willing to take on smaller jobs. 

DIY Wainscoting Step-By-Step Guide

DIY Wainscoting Step-By-Step Guide

Here’s another tutorial that will show you how to install wainscoting in a hallway, but you can follow the steps even if you want it in another room in the house. This is more than a tutorial since it also explains important wainscoting trim and general info, including insight on the recommended height and house value information after installing wainscoting.

What You’ll Need

  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Caulk & a wet cloth
  • A pencil
  • Nail gun
  • Finishing nails
  • Level
  • Chop saw

One thing you’re going to love about this tutorial is the multitude of pictures that will always let you know whether or not you are on the right path to getting this installed.

You’re going to learn why you should apply the chair rail first, how to properly caulk for wainscoting purposes, and even show you that it’s possible to install wainscoting up the stairs.

Wood Trim With X’s

X-shaped wooden trim

Board and batten style wainscoting offers that little extra something to your wall but don’t want to invest in wood paneling, projects like these will show you how to create a more interesting visual impact with your walls.

This tutorial will teach you how to make an X-shaped wooden trim and make your walls a little less boring.

What You’ll Need

  • Wood putty
  • Table saw
  • Nail gun
  • Compressed cardboard
  • White paint
  • Miter saw
  • Wood trim
  • Dark blue paint
  • Measuring tape
  • Painter’s tape
  • Chalk line
  • Laser leveler

For this project, you’ll need a laser leveler to determine the height where the trim will be positioned. You’ll need to measure more to determine how many Xs will go on the wall. Painter’s tape is essential for creating the Xs.

You’re going to paint over the tape, and here you can get to play with your favorite color. Then, it’s mostly a matter of making the correct cuts for the Xs and installing them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What Rooms Should Have Wainscoting?

Wainscotting can be applied to any interior space. However, it seems a foyer is the most popular room for wainscotting among homeowners. One reason is that a foyer is a high-traffic area, so wainscoting protects the walls from scratches and scuff marks. Another reason is that wainscoting can help make a visual impression when people enter your home.

Does Wainscoting Increase Home Value?

Most wainscoting projects won’t impact the value of your home. However, with bathroom remodels, for example, if you added an arched bathtub alcove and shiplap wainscoting, then depending on the quality, it may add value to your home. Either way, wainscoting is a great idea for both smaller spaces and larger spaces.

What Color Should Wainscoting Be?

Most wainscoting is white, especially in older homes. When working with small spaces, white can make your space feel larger. White wainscoting gives you the freedom to paint walls with darker colors without taking away too much attention to more important details.

What Is The Cost Of Installing Wainscoting?

The average cost of room wainscoting installation starts at roughly $1,000 and can climb upwards of $1,700. You can easily find budget friendly options, but it will require you to do some research.

Why Is Wainscoting Expensive?

Raised panel wainscoting is a classic style. It costs twice as much as a modern beadboard bathroom or flat panel because of how long it takes the edge beveling to create an “elevated” appearance.

Is Wainscoting Outdated?

Wainscoting was created as a way to improve insulation, so by that standard, perhaps it is outdated. However, since then, homeowners have found other ways to use it. 

Wainscotting Ideas Conclusion

Now that you have more wainscoting ideas to help with your next remodel project, you shouldn’t have any problems. Whether installing wainscoting in your dining room or living room, it will elevate the space to new heights.

With older homes or new homes, floor to ceiling paneling is no longer necessary. There are many wainscoting ideas to choose from rather than remodeling your space one way. Regardless, wainscoting will make the space more appealing and it provides a little extra something that most rooms are without.

We recommend going with the Novogratz Genuine because you can easily calculate the product quantity you need, there are 21 finish options to choose from, it’s available at a good price, and it’s super easy to install. If you have more questions about wainscoting, write them below and get help from the community and yours truly. And check out more awesome home improvement tips like our guide to making your ceiling look higher.