When it comes to great ideas, there are many designs available to suit the age of your home and your personal taste. Some include a richer effect, such as hand-carved friezes and columns, others have a traditional aged and polished look, and still others, such as Tudor linenfold, are highly ornate.
It’s totally subjective, but a typical approach, just as with other wall paneling ideas and wall decor ideas, would be by matching the wainscoting style to the house’s period.
Many of the rooms we design have wood paneling. It has both aesthetic and practical benefits, says Bruce Hodgson, founder and creative director of Artichoke. Oftentimes, you might think of planks and boards in a large country house library, but they have more casual uses as well.
Historically, work areas in homes often had shingles — a simple form of tongue-and-groove board — to protect walls, and today, the same approach can be used in entryways and laundry rooms. Wainscoting can also be a useful way to strengthen vibrating walls or conceal essential services such as pipes and cables.
For centuries, homeowners have installed drywall to protect their walls from chair damage, scuff marks, and other harmful elements. In short, wainscoting is a kind of decorative wall panel. While panels can be located floor-to-ceiling—or even on the ceiling—staining is usually limited to the bottom half or three-quarters of the wall.
While wainscoting is often associated with older homes or traditional interiors, it’s actually a really useful decor element for layering and adding texture to modern spaces as well. Below, we show you a full range of contemporary wainscoting ideas to suit all room styles, purposes, and sizes.
1. Add interest to a neutral room
If you’re playing around with the idea of white living room ideas, you’ll need to give a lot of attention to the fabric. “Wainscoting is a useful way to add warmth and character to a room—there’s just something comforting about being surrounded by wood,” says interior expert Corine Maggio of CM Natural Designs. (Opens in a new tab) Who designed this space in California. Panel molds are used to create shadow and capture light, adding definition that is especially important when choosing painted panels.
says Brian Purnell, owner of Distinctive Country Furniture (Opens in a new tab). The very hot and dry weather found in modern homes can cause damage, so it is worth trying to mitigate this either by maintaining a low temperature in the paneled rooms or by introducing some moisture into the atmosphere. Remember to polish the wood once a year with beeswax as well.
2. Wow with wallpaper
Embrace your keen eye for design by pairing striped wallpaper ideas, which rise straight up the wall and just across the ceiling, with a neutral and textured base. Of all the different patterns, stripes are perhaps the most successful at hitting the ceiling, but keep the colors on the calm side to ensure the room stays light rather than boxy. outer space.
3. Use colors to make your space sing
It is a misconception that wainscoting is only for traditional homes. In a contemporary scheme, the colorful pops will make an exciting statement. We love the “more is more” approach to decorating room ideas, and a colorful pattern is a great way to do this.
Dark green Luke Edward Hall used vintage pieces from the French and English markets, toile de Jouy wallpaper and geometric flooring.
“When decorating with this bright shade lately, I’ve been going for a very specific type of green,” says Luke Edward Hall, founder of Luke Edward Hall. (Opens in a new tab). “You know how in the early days of spring, after a long winter, fields of grass can look so bright they look almost artificial? This is the shade I’ve been looking for! It works well with muted browns or pale blues.”
4. Wainscotting entry into the entrance
In period properties, cliches that match or complement the property’s original style and architecture are a great way to marry the old with the new. Alternatively, in a simple room that lacks decorative details or any of its own original structure, adding wainscoting is a clever way to personalize a featureless space.
In a contemporary setting, wainscoting is an excellent way to frame large, flat surfaces, says Bruce Hodgson, founder and creative director, Artichoke. “For example, post-war coloring was flatter and less ornamental than earlier styles, and relied more on the grain in the wood as a decorative detail.”
5. Let wainscoting become the main attraction
“When it comes to dynamic wainscoting ideas, choose a bathroom color that you really love because it will be with you for the long haul,” says Emma Deterding, founder and creative director of Kelling Designs. (Opens in a new tab). “The key is to make the plank the main attraction, so pick a color that really sings, then use that color elsewhere to keep the look cohesive.”
6. Keep it simple and understated
Opt for simple tongue-and-groove sweats for a more relaxed, country-style look. The competent DIYer’s easy option, tongue-and-groove chippers, simply requires a frame pressed against the wall as the mounting point, with the wood planks simply slotted together and nailed into place.
Wainscoting makes a clever covering for walls that are less than perfect and will hide plaster work or peeling paper. Finish the wainscoting by adding a thin shelf on the top edge. A narrow bezel can be a beautiful decorative feature decorated with precious finds and favorite ornaments.
7. Combine wallpaper and wainscoting
We all know the transformative power of color and pattern, and wallpaper is sure to keep a space soft. In a smaller room, a smart solution could be a combination of wallpaper and wainscoting; This is visually interesting and also ensures that the room is not overpowered by loud noises. If your desk is located in the corner of a larger space, paper can be used to define the work area.
In terms of color, choose calm hues to establish the scheme and encourage thinking. Blue works adjacent to gray: color theories suggest that these tones increase the ability to focus. Dark green (such as Studio Green from Farrow & Ball, used here) is another contender, as it is meant to boost creativity.
8. Protect bathroom walls with wainscoting
says Nicola Harding, owner of Nicola Harding & Co (Opens in a new tab).
Installing wainscoting helps protect wallpaper from the danger zone, where water is most likely to splash, while providing another opportunity to add cheerful color.
9. The color of the walls match the wainscoting
Wainscoting ideas are a great way to add another layer of interest and make a space more comfortable. It’s often an afterthought but we make sure to consider their potential,” said interior designer Jamie Ivey of Ivey Design Group. (Opens in a new tab). “Using the same color throughout helped extend the walls in this family room.”
Patrick O’Donnell, Brand Ambassador at Farrow & Ball (Opens in a new tab) He agrees: “Carrying the wall color across all of your woodwork creates the illusion of more space.” Covering a space with a warm layer of color not only creates a smart and cohesive feel, but can make a room appear larger than it actually is.
10. Wainscoting paint for a playful look
In this bathroom in the home of Claire Ferro, founder of Aurelia Skincare, Salvesen Graham (Opens in a new tab) She expertly worked color and pattern.
“Choosing the tone of wallpaper over wallpaper and woodwork is a great way to introduce an extra element of ornament into the scheme,” says Mary Graham, co-founder. “For practical reasons, wainscoting can also provide additional resistance to everyday wear without weakening the impact strength of the wallpaper.”
What is the purpose of wainscoting?
Even if you feel unfamiliar with the term “wainscoting,” it’s quite possible that you’ve seen this type of wainscoting before. For centuries, interiors, builders and homeowners alike have installed panes of glass to protect their walls from bumps and scuff marks.
Can I get wainscoting in a modern home?
It doesn’t matter what period your property is, but it is important to do your research to match the wainscoting design to the age of the home. This is always a major consideration for us, because we want to be as original and sympathetic as possible with the building’s original architecture. Panels and panels can also work in modern homes, but I’ll keep it simple, starting with the traditional design and cutting back on.
Does wainscoting make a room look smaller?
Wainscoting (panels on the lower half of a wall) works especially well in driveways, powder rooms, and any high-traffic areas, as a way to protect walls from scars and marks. It is usually painted with a more durable paint, such as eggshell – at H&G We tend to recommend smart finishes, wipe off easily, and clean easily.
Keeping the panels the same color as the walls can give a nice cool texture to a space, often creating the illusion of a much larger area. Or for those who are feeling a bit more daring, this is a great opportunity to be a little more playful with color and it can look great mixed with the right background.
Wainscoting is also a great way to hide coat storage and driveways to guest powder rooms away from doorways, halls, and under stairs. If panels are used throughout and on all walls, the doors disappear into the panels, becoming part of them.