Please welcome guest writer, Bryan Sebring.
Wainscoting dates back several centuries when it was used to protect walls from dirt and scuff marks. In the modern application of wainscoting, the style has superseded function. Homeowners are more concerned about the décor impact the paneling makes rather than its initial purpose as a wall guard, and rightly so. These days, no one is likely to enter the house with muddy boots or riding boots with metal spurs.
Wainscoting can instantly give personality to any space but is very impactful in a basement or dining room. It immediately transforms plain walls into stylish design statements. It complements a home’s existing décor with a warm country theme. If you are looking for a quick and low-cost way to upgrade your home décor, wainscoting is one of the best ideas. Along the way, it will also protect your walls from little dirty hands and oil marks.
Styles and Designs
Traditionally, wainscoting paneling was made from wood. Today, you can still get real wood paneling though it may be a bit pricey. But there are many other options available ranging from medium density fiberboard (MDF) to ceramic.
If you are looking for an easy to maintain beadboard material that will not warp go for PVC Plastic. For places like the bathroom where water damage is an issue of concern, opt for ceramic wainscoting. Other common alternatives to wood include gypsum board (drywall), plywood and MDF. Your choice of material depends greatly on your budget. All these options will differ in cost, ranging from as low as $1 per SF for beadboard wainscoting to $30 per square foot for hardwood paneling.
Normally, wainscoting is installed between a third a half of the wall height. If you want a unique style, you can go higher than that or even choosing variable heights for different sections of the wall.
Most wainscoting styles start with a molding and a baseboard at the bottom and end with a rail and cap at the top. Other components differ based on the specific paneling style chosen. Some of the common paneling styles include;
- Raised panel – one of the most common options with heavy colonial aesthetics. Consists of beveled panel edges.
- Flat panel – Consists of recessed flat panels with raised edges. Ideal when you want a simple clean look.
- Overlay panel – resembles a raised panel wainscoting but with more elaborate designs.
- Board and batten – consists of flat vertical panels with battens added to give the wainscoting a shaker-like design.
Some wainscoting designs combine more than one style to create a unique look. For example, it could start with a board and batten style at the bottom and top out with a raised panel design.
Wainscoting can be used in a variety of areas around the house. One common usage is in family areas such as the den, dining area or the living room. It helps create a cozy welcoming feel. It can also be used in home libraries and offices to add some warmth.
You can also use wainscoting at entryways where it can be especially useful in protecting the wall from umbrella tips, heavy items, and muddy boots.