49 Wainscoting Ideas With Pros And Cons

wainscoting ideas with pros and cons cover

What is Wainscoting

Wainscoting is installing wooden trim and panels in a pattern along the lower wall. It is topped off with a chair rail, which is a horizontal strip of molding that spans the circumference of a room. It was originally designed to prevent the backs of chairs from damaging the walls, but today it is used as a decorative tool, with routered edges and designs that functions as a border.

Kinds of Wainscoting

There are three main types of wainscoting. Firstly, there is beadboard, which is the most basic type and consists of simple wooden panels with vertically routered lines and a baseboard beneath the chair rail, providing an elegant country charm. The second type is shadow boxes, which use ogee molding to create a series of frames on the face of the wall, adding new dimension and depth to the room. The third type is panel molding in which rails and raised panels are used to create classic recessed boxes along the lower part of the wall.

Why To Use Wainscotting

Wainscoting can change the look of an entire room. It can add texture and dimension to it. Different materials offer various pros and cons. Some materials are paintable or stainable, so they can be modified to match the desired decor. Other options, however, are pre-finished, so they are installed and kept as-is. The climate is also an important consideration when choosing the paneling, as changes in temperature and humidity can cause the panels to expand or contract, affecting the installation and durability.

Wainscoting In Living Rooms

Use of wood wall panelling in interiors is associated with a rich elegance. Colonial and Georgian interiors are examples of the rich legacy of wood wall coverings. Actually, wainscoting can be applied to almost any type of interior including minimalist, everything depends here on the type of wainscoting you choose. Wood wall cladding combined with upholstery can make for a soft and warm ambience.

Remember that wood loses natural moisture in dry internal conditions. Hence, regular maintenance by application of special products to ensure that the moisture is resupplied and sealed is necessary.

navy living room with tall white wainscoting

navy living room with tall white wainscoting

modern minimalist living room with tall wainscoting and a shelf on its top

modern minimalist living room with tall wainscoting and a shelf on its top

elegant neutral-colored living room with grey wainscoting

elegant neutral-colored living room with grey wainscoting

modern grey living room with white wainscoting

modern grey living room with white wainscoting

modern refined space with tall wainscoting and an artwork on it

modern refined space with tall wainscoting and an artwork on it

chic art deco living room with low grey wainscoting to give volume to the walls

chic art deco living room with low grey wainscoting to give volume to the walls

super bold space with works of art and white wainscoting to highlight the bold green color of the walls and a red chair

super bold space with works of art and white wainscoting to highlight the bold green color of the walls and a red chair

tall wainscoting looks good with red brick and gives texture to the room

tall wainscoting looks good with red brick and gives texture to the room

antique dark panels add to the refined look of the room

antique dark panels add to the refined look of the room

accent wall with blue wainscoting for volume and as a display shelf

accent wall with blue wainscoting for volume and as a display shelf

white wainscoting works well with grey walls in this coastal living room

white wainscoting works well with grey walls in this coastal living room

Wainscoting In Dining Rooms

Today wainscoting is the most popular feature for dining rooms and dining areas, it’s a cool way to give your dining room a texture, volume, color and in case your walls aren’t ideal, wainscoting will hide everything. Wood is a natural insulator and wood wall panels offer good thermal and acoustic insulation. The wooden panel can be sanded down and resealed to regain its appearance if its surface is damaged.

elegant dining room with grey walls and white wainscoting to make it more refined

elegant dining room with grey walls and white wainscoting to make it more refined

black dining room walls with white wainscoting

black dining room walls with white wainscoting

Simple white raised wood paneling to create contrast with a patterned wallpaper. (FORBES + MASTERS)

Simple white raised wood paneling to create contrast with a patterned wallpaper. ()

eclectic white dining room with wainscoting for a texture

eclectic white dining room with wainscoting for a texture

white wainscoting on white walls for volume and to make the walls more eye-catching

white wainscoting on white walls for volume and to make the walls more eye-catching

modern coastal dining area with wainscoting walls that highlight the blue color

modern coastal dining area with wainscoting walls that highlight the blue color

Dark grey wainscoting creates dimension and contrast in this dining area.

Dark grey wainscoting creates dimension and contrast in this dining area.

black wainscoting in an industrial dining space

black wainscoting in an industrial dining space

dark grey walls contrast with white wainscoting

dark grey walls contrast with white wainscoting

elegant dining space with patterned wallpapers and low wainscoting

elegant dining space with patterned wallpapers and low wainscoting

Wainscoting In Bathrooms

Wood wall panels are not waterproof. On with water, they start showing rot in the timber. Once rot sets in, the panel should be sanded down or totally replaced depending on the extent of damage. But don’t worry too much, today you can easily find finishes that help to avoid such problems, and you can also order wainscots not from wood but from some more water-resistant material.

turquoise wainscoting echoes with frames (Carpenter & MacNeille)

turquoise wainscoting echoes with frames ()

traditional powder room with a high ceiling, black walls and white wainscoting

traditional powder room with a high ceiling, black walls and white wainscoting

beige wainscoting with fish-patterned wallpaper

beige wainscoting with fish-patterned wallpaper

marble tiles, black walls and white wainscoting for a refined bathroom

marble tiles, black walls and white wainscoting for a refined bathroom

white wood panelling to make light blue bathroom more airy

white wood panelling to make light blue bathroom more airy

Tall white wainscoting creates strong contrast with a black ceiling in this traditional powder room.

Tall white wainscoting creates strong contrast with a black ceiling in this traditional powder room.

traditional wood panelling in blue for a vintage-styled bathroom

traditional wood panelling in blue for a vintage-styled bathroom

art deco masculine bathroom with black wainscot

art deco masculine bathroom with black wainscot

Water resistant wainscoting is a perfect addition to a modern plain white bathroom. (indi interiors)

Water resistant wainscoting is a perfect addition to a modern plain white bathroom. ()

bold blue panels to highlight the wall pattern

bold blue panels to highlight the wall pattern

Green wainscoting creates contrast in this neutral-looking bathroom. (Rikki Snyder)

Green wainscoting creates contrast in this neutral-looking bathroom. ()

Wainscoting In Entryways And Hallways

Wood wall paneling provides a smooth clean surface, pleasant to view and touch, it can conceal flaws and unsightly features like cables and exposed wiring. Wainscot in your entryway will give it a more refined look, this way you can accentuate the pattern and the look of the walls, add some color and even add a shelf on top of the wainscot to make it more functional.

farmhouse entryway with white wainscot and hooks on it

farmhouse entryway with white wainscot and hooks on it

low white panels to give an eye-catching volume to the walls

low white panels to give an eye-catching volume to the walls

refined entryway with a mirror over wood panelling

refined entryway with a mirror over wood panelling

coastal console next to the white waincost

coastal console next to the white waincost

accent wall with white panels

accent wall with white panels

pale serenity wainscoting and frames all around the hallway

pale serenity wainscoting and frames all around the hallway

Lattice wainscoting makes this plain entryway much more interesting. (JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors Construction)

Lattice wainscoting makes this plain entryway much more interesting. ()

Wainscoting In Home Offices

Natural wood wainscoting is perfect for home offices. It will soundproof the room a little bit and make it cozy to work in. Although that doesn’t mean you can’t use other panels. They are still perfect to add interest to any wall.

Lattice wainscoting makes this plain entryway much more interesting. (JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors Construction)

Lattice wainscoting makes this plain entryway much more interesting. ()

Wood wainscoting looks great combined with wood trimmings and furniture in this gorgeous home office.

Wood wainscoting looks great combined with wood trimmings and furniture in this gorgeous home office.

Wood paneling in natural warm stain looks great on dark gray walls. (Jessica Helgerson Interior Design)

Wood paneling in natural warm stain looks great on dark gray walls. ()

White wainscoting, window treatments and shutters create lots of dimension in this simple office space. (Reid Developments Ltd)

White wainscoting, window treatments and shutters create lots of dimension in this simple office space. ()

Plain white wainscoting works extremely well combined with a bold wallpaper. (Creekview Custom Homes)

Plain white wainscoting works extremely well combined with a bold wallpaper. ()

Wainscoting in this cozy home office make its plain white walls look interesting.

Wainscoting in this cozy home office make its plain white walls look interesting.

Wainscoting In Bedrooms

There are so many things you could use wood wall panels in a bedroom for. For example, you can create a chic headboard wall or even cover the whole rooms with them. In a kids bedroom wainscoting protect walls from drawings because it’s much easier to clean then any wallpaper.

Even the whole room could be covered with wainscoting paneling. (White + Gold Design)

Even the whole room could be covered with wainscoting paneling. ()

Dark grey wainscoting acts as a headboard in this contemporary bedroom. (Milward Teverini)

Dark grey wainscoting acts as a headboard in this contemporary bedroom. ()

Floor to ceiling dark wainscoting makes this bedroom quite stylish and moody. (via @cantikwall.wainscoting)

Floor to ceiling dark wainscoting makes this bedroom quite stylish and moody. (via @cantikwall.wainscoting)

Beige wainscoting in this kids room could act as an easy to clean wallpaper protection. (Godrich Interiors)

Beige wainscoting in this kids room could act as an easy to clean wallpaper protection. ()

Floor to ceiling panels could be used to create a statement wall. (Atmosphere Interior Design Inc.)

Floor to ceiling panels could be used to create a statement wall. ()