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Inspiring Interiors: Wainscoting Trends, Tips & Styles

Team Shane

Wainscoting is a distinguished design feature that enhances the aesthetics of interiors while preserving the underlying walls. This architectural detail has a rich history and continues to adapt to modern tastes and materials. Whether made from traditional wood or contemporary synthetic materials, wainscoting can add both value and charm to any space.

In this guide, we discuss the latest trends in wainscoting, share essential tips for choosing and installing this feature, and offer creative inspiration for your home projects.

What is Wainscoting?

Wainscoting is a type of decorative panelling traditionally used to enhance the lower part of an interior wall. Typically, it extends from the floor to approximately the midpoint of the wall or higher, often capped with a chair rail. This feature serves both an aesthetic and a functional purpose by adding texture and protecting walls from scuffs and marks. While this is the classic application, modern design trends also see wainscoting extending to whole walls and even ceilings.

Wainscoting can be crafted from a variety of materials, including wood, MDF, PVC, metal and even tile.

Is Wainscoting in Style?

The evolution of wainscoting styles has led to a rich variety of choices for homeowners. From the classic elegance of beadboard to the sleek simplicity of flat panels, wainscoting styles are diverse and adaptable. Currently, wainscoting is very much in style, particularly in designs that blend traditional and modern elements. This decorative panel lining has proven itself to be a timeless mainstay in interior design.

What Materials Do You Use for Wainscoting?

There are several options for materials, and selecting the right one depends on the room's function, moisture levels, and your aesthetic preferences. Wood, MDF, PVC, and even tile are popular choices, each offering different benefits in terms of appearance, durability, and maintenance. For bathrooms and kitchens, PVC or tile wainscoting is recommended due to their moisture resistance, while wood and MDF are perfect for living rooms and bedrooms due to their classic look and easy customizability.

Can You Install Wainscoting Yourself?

Installing wainscoting can be a rewarding DIY project that enlivens your home's character. Here are some practical tips to ensure a successful installation:

  • Measure Accurately: Carefully measure your walls and plan the layout to minimize cuts and material waste.
  • Mark the Wall: Use a level and chalk line to mark where panels will go, ensuring everything is properly aligned.
  • Cutting Panels: Utilize a fine-tooth saw for clean, sharp edges on your wainscoting panels.
  • Apply Adhesive: Spread adhesive uniformly on the back of each panel before positioning them on the wall.
  • Secure Panels: Use finishing nails to secure the panels in place, making sure to nail into the wall studs for maximum stability.

With basic tools, some careful planning, and attention to these details, most homeowners can install wainscoting themselves over a weekend.

How Can You Keep Wainscoting Looking New?

Maintaining wainscoting is necessary to preserve its beauty and longevity. Different materials require specific care routines, like regular dusting and cleaning, as well as more intensive maintenance, like painting or sealing. To keep wood wainscoting looking new, regular dusting followed by occasional polishing with wood-friendly products is effective, while plastic-based materials may just need regular wiping with diluted soapy water.

How Can Wainscoting Transform Different Rooms in Your Home?

Wainscoting is versatile enough to enhance any room, from bathrooms and kitchens to dining rooms and hallways. By adding visual depth and interest, wainscoting can make small rooms appear larger and give taller rooms a more proportioned feel. The added detailing may also increase home value when done right.

How Much Does Wainscoting Cost?

The cost of wainscoting varies depending on the material and complexity of the design, ranging from $10 to $30 per square foot for materials alone. Professional installation can double these costs. Choosing simpler materials and DIY installation can help manage expenses effectively. However, if you have elaborate plans, it's best to consult with a professional.

Can You Install Wainscoting Over Tile?

Yes, wainscoting can be installed over tile. It involves preparing the tiled surface with sanding and a suitable adhesive to ensure the wainscoting is secure. This method is especially popular for bathroom walls and kitchen backsplashes.

What Are the Latest Wainscoting Trends in 2024?

In 2024, trends in wainscoting include using bolder colours, mixing textures, monochromatic styling and incorporating unconventional materials like reclaimed wood or recycled materials. Full-wall wainscoting is also gaining popularity for a dramatic and modern effect.

How do you Choose the Right Height for Wainscoting?

The ideal height for wainscoting really depends on the room's ceiling height and the desired style you're going for. Generally, wainscoting is one-third to one-half the wall height, but for a bolder statement, you can frame the whole wall. You can also fill the bottom third and top two-thirds of a wall with separate panels or design patterns.

Work With a Renovator That Sees Your Vision

Wainscoting is a classic design element that offers both protective and decorative benefits, making it a valuable addition to any home. With the right style, material, and care, wainscoting can provide timeless elegance and practical function. Use the insights from this guide to choose, install, and maintain wainscoting that complements your home's architecture and your personal style.

If you're looking to transform your space with wainscoting but need expert guidance to ensure your vision comes to life, consider partnering with Team Shane. Our experienced renovators are dedicated to matching your style with quality craftsmanship. Contact Team Shane today to start your next interior makeover.


Ask Team Shane 

At Team Shane, we have a team of designers that work directly with clients to create beautiful home designs while providing advice and direction on selections (interior design) and up-to-date cost implications which will help you make decisions for the final design. Our build team takes those designs and makes them a reality.
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