Wainscoting Styles to Upgrade Your Home Decor

April 20, 2023

Wainscoting is a classic decorative element that has been around for centuries. This type of wall paneling adds character and sophistication to any room. In the past, wainscoting was used as a protective element against moisture and everyday wear and tear in high traffic areas of the home such as hallways, staircases, and dining rooms. Nowadays, wainscoting is mainly used for decorative purposes and adds an elegant touch to modern homes. In this article, we will explore different wainscoting styles that can upgrade your home decor.

Traditional Wainscoting

Traditional wainscoting consists of a series of wooden panels, usually framed with decorative moldings or beadboard. This type of wainscoting is typically found in formal areas of the home such as dining rooms, entryways, and libraries. Traditional wainscoting can be painted to match the color of the walls or left in its natural wood finish for a rustic look.

Beadboard Wainscoting

Beadboard wainscoting is a type of wainscoting that uses narrow planks of wood with a distinctive vertical groove, known as a bead, running down the center of each board. The boards are installed horizontally, and the bead creates a shadow line between each board, adding depth and texture to the wall. Beadboard wainscoting is commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens as it can handle moisture and is easy to clean.

Board and Batten Wainscoting

Board and batten wainscoting consists of vertical boards, known as battens, installed over a series of horizontal boards. This style of wainscoting adds a rustic charm to any room and is commonly used in country-style homes. Board and batten wainscoting can be painted or left in its natural wood finish.

Shadow Box Wainscoting

Shadow box wainscoting is a modern take on the traditional wainscoting style. This type of wainscoting uses a series of rectangular frames, usually three or four, installed on the wall. The frames are then painted in a contrasting color to the walls to create a shadow box effect. Shadow box wainscoting is a great option if you want to add depth and dimension to a room without overwhelming it.

Flat Panel Wainscoting

Flat panel wainscoting is a simple yet elegant type of wainscoting. This style of wainscoting consists of a series of flat panels, usually rectangular or square, installed over the lower half of the wall. Flat panel wainscoting can be painted or left in its natural wood finish and is commonly found in modern homes.


What is the purpose of wainscoting?

The purpose of wainscoting is to add a decorative element to a room while protecting the walls from moisture and everyday wear and tear.

What materials are commonly used for wainscoting?

Wainscoting can be made from a variety of materials including wood, MDF, PVC, and even wallpaper. The most common materials used for wainscoting are wood and MDF.

What rooms are best suited for wainscoting?

Wainscoting is best suited for formal areas of the home such as dining rooms, entryways, and libraries. However, with modern styles and materials, wainscoting can be used in almost any room in the home.

Do I need a professional to install wainscoting?

While it is possible to install wainscoting yourself, it is recommended to hire a professional as wainscoting requires precise measurements, cutting, and installation. A professional can ensure that the wainscoting is installed correctly and looks its best.

Can wainscoting be painted?

Yes, wainscoting can be painted. In fact, many homeowners choose to paint their wainscoting to match the color of the walls or to create a contrast.

Can I install wainscoting over existing drywall?

Yes, wainscoting can be installed over existing drywall. However, it is recommended to remove any existing baseboards before installing the wainscoting as this will create a cleaner and more finished look.



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I enjoy designing and curating experiences both virtually and in 3-dimensional reality. I have a Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology and currently practice professionally, but I also manage a few other ventures.
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