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The 24 Best Wainscoting Ideas For Your Home

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Wainscoting is a great way to improve the appearance of the walls in your home. The term is nowadays used for all kinds of decorative wall paneling even though its original purpose in the past was to keep out the cold and prevent moisture damage. Whether prefabricated or custom-built for your needs, wainscoting has great potential to bring visual and textural interest to any room. It’s designed to be used for the lower portion of a wall but this may not always be the case.

Despite its simplicity, wainscoting has withstood the test of time and remains a reliable solution to dress up the walls in your home. It can be a subtle or bold décor improvement depending on your personal preferences. How do you incorporate wainscoting into your interior design style? There’s no easy answer to that question but you can gain solid inspiration by browsing through the following ideas. We’ll show some of the most attractive ways to use wainscoting paneling to breathe new life into any room design.

1. Timeless Beauty

Chandelier in Living Room

If you live in a historical home, you can easily incorporate wainscoting together with other classic features. It’s a recommended wall enhancement because wainscoting is a subtle nod to the historical roots of the space. Mix it with other elements focused prominently on timeless textural beauty. A good example is the use of ornate objects such as a grandiose mirror. Wainscoting also works flawlessly when combined with an elegant staircase built in a traditional design.



2. Luxurious Powder Room

Luxurious Powder Room

Black wainscoting improves the visual appeal of this bold powder room. It complements the luxurious style of the sink while contrasting beautifully with the white whimsical illustrations on the wall. The midnight black shade used for the wainscoting might add excessive drama but it’s a brilliant choice if that’s precisely the aesthetic you’re going for. The generous addition of white in the color scheme maintains a proper visual balance. Gold accents make the powder room even more sophisticated.



3. Rustic Green Touch

Rustic Green Bathroom

Anyone favoring a rustic design style should consider using wainscoting paired with a beadboard. This bathroom incorporates a weather green look that makes the wall more aesthetically pleasing without clashing with rustic décor elements. The green wainscoting makes the wall stand out when taking into account the neutral warm color scheme. It’s paired beautifully with the beadboard and window frame that maintain cohesiveness.



4. Chevron Pattern

Chevron Pattern Wainscoting

The use of patterns could be a smart idea when you want to increase the sense of dynamism in the room. A plain white wainscoted wall can be transformed with the help of an intriguing chevron pattern that grabs more attention with its fun texture. This is a straightforward design that’s suitable for those who prefer either a bold or understated look. It’s generally recommended to emphasize the visual impact of the pattern when the room features a neutral color palette.



5. Subtle Statement

White Living Room

It’s no secret that wainscoting is frequently used to draw more attention to the style of the wall in a room. However, this might not be always preferable. A subtle approach could work better in some cases. This dining room has an air of formality to it considering the simple, elegant styling and overall color scheme. The focal point of the space is the rich brown dining set but attention is also drawn to the wall thanks to colorful artworks. Wainscoting contributes to the proper framing of the art pieces to maintain a delicate balance between subtle and statement.



6. Hallway Wainscoting

Hallway Wainscoting

Wainscoting can be easily added to any room in the house, including transitional places such as hallways or entryways. It’s a solid idea to create a sense of continuity and cohesiveness throughout the home with the help of wainscoting on the walls of every room. This is a standard approach for traditional interiors. This hallway is quite sparsely furnished but the main highlight is the arched alcove highlighting an artwork and housing a traditional sideboard.



7. Breathing Room

Breathing Room Wainscoting

Fans of maximalist interior design styles should fully embrace wainscoting. It provides some much-needed breathing room when you’re mixing flamboyant patterns and colors in the same area. Patterns that contrast too much can clash unpleasantly unless you find a way to keep them further apart. The solution comes from a wainscoted wall with a neutral-toned beadboard which separates the black-and-white stripes on the wall from the blue geometric patterns on the floor in this bold breakfast nook.



8. Tall Wainscoting

White Bedroom

Wainscoting is usually featured on the lower part of a wall but this is not a fixed rule. Some traditional spaces can take advantage of a tall wainscot to achieve a stylish visual effect. The board and batten wall in this bedroom makes clever use of the wainscoting trend. It captures the vintage aesthetic of the 1930s while the gray and beige tones contribute to a timeless aesthetic. The wainscot on the wall goes above the headboard to grab some extra attention.



9. Hidden Cabinets

Hidden Cabinets Wainscoting

Having a set of cabinets on a wall can be very useful in terms of providing good storage options for a dining room. Depending on the color scheme, it’s possible to experience a visual imbalance by ending up with bare surrounding walls adjacent to the cabinets. In this case, the best solution was to install wainscoting that maintains a sense of cohesiveness for both walls. The white cabinets appear hidden and no longer make the other wall stick out.



10. Protecting the Stairways

Stairway

Wainscoting is often used for the walls of the stairways but this is not just for the stylish looks. This feature acts like a reliable wall covering to protect this kind of high-traffic area from daily wear. Wainscoting for the walls of the stairways ensures a considerable reduction in scuff marks while bringing a new aesthetic depth to the place. Pair it with board and batten walls for a subtle yet beautiful statement.



11. Raised Paneling

Raised Paneling Wainscoting

Perfect for a modern or transitional minimalist environment, wainscoting with raised paneling brings an air of formality. It’s suitable for areas such as dining rooms where you wish to create a more sophisticated atmosphere without making a very bold statement. The white raised paneling complements the clean lines of the dining set while enhancing the overall depth of the wall. This is a good example of integrating wainscoting while maintaining an understated look.



12. Stunning Wallpaper

Beachy Wallpaper in a Bathroom

There are many wainscoting ideas to consider if you’re into a more artistic design approach. Whether hand-painted or removable, a wallpaper feature can elevate the look of any room. Such a vibrantly colorful design needs a proper background to reach its full decorative potential. In this powder room, the designer opted for a rich dark brown color scheme featuring multiple elements including the floor, base of the sink, window frame, and wainscoting.



13. Color-Blocking Effect

Color Blocking Effect Wainscoting

When it comes to beach-inspired design styles, the combination of blue and white seems like an ideal pick. Bright sky blue walls can be offset with the help of pure white wainscoting. Additional white accents contribute to a successful coastal vibe by emphasizing the visual punch of the blue tones. The result is a serene space that feels airy and breezy thanks to the color-blocking effect that maintains a proper balance.



14. Full-Wall Wainscoting

Full Wall Wainscoting

Full-wall wainscoting is normally only used when you want to take the drama to a new level. Check out this fabulous dining room whose wainscoted walls reach the ceiling. Attention is drawn more effectively with the help of an emerald green tone that creates a luxurious contrast with the various black elements in the room. A few neutral accents allow the combination of green and black to take center stage with a bold but balanced style.



15. Victorian Inspiration

Victorian Inspiration Wainscoting

Traditional rooms that make use of Victorian-inspired elements should definitely incorporate wainscoting. Opt for a stained treatment in a dark brown tone that matches the beauty of the vintage elements of the home such as a grand staircase or dramatic chandelier. The wainscoted wall also makes a great impression when it’s combined with ornate mirrors in hallways or entryways. Keep the original look of the woodgrain intact if you’re going for an authentic Victorian appeal.



16. Vibrant Color

Vibrant Color Wainscoting Stairway

A fresh coat of paint can revive the look of any wall. What if you want to use a vibrant paint color but don’t feel ready for a full-wall makeover? The alternative is to focus only on the wainscoting. These blue recessed panels look absolutely stunning but don’t feel that overpowering compared to painting the entire surface of the wall. It’s a recommended solution to energize the look of the staircase while also adding architectural interest.



17. Touch of Sophistication

White Bathroom

When the room features a bold visual element or whimsical art piece, wainscoting can be used to retain a sense of formality. This luxurious bathroom has some whimsical qualities considering the use of quirky wallpaper. Black wainscoting contributes to maintaining a proper level of sophistication. Any space where a lot of attention goes to detailing can benefit from wainscoting on the wall.



18. Rejuvenating the Old

Old Style Living Room

Traditional wainscoting offers great visual appeal but some homeowners might struggle to take full advantage of its qualities. Instead of painting it in a different color to transform its style, consider the alternative of painting the upper portion of the wall in an intense hue such as fiery red. The resulting contrast is enough to breathe some new life to your wainscoting.



19. Cohesive Wall Look

Cohesive Wall Look Wainscoting

Instead of focusing on a powerful contrasting effect between the wainscot and the rest of the wall, perhaps a different approach would yield better results. Try maintaining a cohesive color palette for the wall by painting the wainscoting in the same shade. This gives you the opportunity to use a great backdrop for making a stylish focal point in the room such as a dining set.



20. Minimal Wainscoting

Minimalistic Hallway

As many minimalists would agree, the “less is more” mindset can often work more effectively when trying to incorporate wainscoting in your home. Avoid overdoing this look because too much wainscoting will decrease its visual impact. It’s better to focus on certain uninviting or neglected areas of the home where this wall feature stands out more prominently. The entryway is a good example as evidenced by this cream-colored wainscoting.



21. Wrapping Effect

Neutral Bathroom

Tall wainscoting is suitable for more compact rooms such as bathrooms because it appears to wrap the entire space offering a more visually-appealing background. The board and batten wall here functions as an ideal backdrop for this antique dresser that’s been repurposed into a sink. Quirky leaf-style wallpaper adds visual interest to the upper portion of the wall.



22. Japanese Inspiration

Japanese Inspiration Living Room

Wainscoting is simple to incorporate into a multitude of different interior design styles. This living room makes use of a creative fusion of traditional and modern elements with a strong Japanese influence. The dark brown wainscoting forms a refreshing combination together with the soft textures and sleek silhouettes found throughout the room.



23. Pronounced Ledge

Pronounced Ledge Bathroom

Enhancing the sense of depth is one of the essential features of wainscoting paired with a recessed beadboard. The textural effect can be taken to the next level by also incorporating a pronounced ledge. In some cases, this will make the wainscoting more functional but even if the ledge isn’t practical, the visual appeal is increased. This bathroom integrates wainscoting very elegantly through a calming shade of blue that complements its increased depth.



24. Half-Wall Wainscoting

Half Wall Wainscoting

Neutral-toned dining rooms can induce a very pleasant atmosphere for receiving guests. The color scheme can appear a little dull, however, if you don’t pay attention to architectural details. Emphasize them through half-wall wainscoting that maintains the visual balance and only helps to accentuate the beauty of the warm color scheme. This traditional dining room also stands out thanks to the more eye-catching look of the ceiling.

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