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Home Improvements - Chair Rail Wainscot Molding

Updated on November 21, 2014

When we were house hunting my husband and I fell in love with a home that had a distinctive "Nantucket" feel. The furnishing, the mill work were all indicative of the classic Nantucket Island - a sophisticated nautical atmosphere for you home. They even had the plantation shutters in their finished basement. As we renovate our vintage home and update many of the finishes, I look at the basement and yearn for the home that we both fell in love with. But how do we achieve that same feeling in that space? The answer - bead board.

Journey with us as we explore various ideas for the use of bead board - it is not just for the family room - it is great in the kitchen, fantastic for the ceiling and even can be a little bit formal. Learn about the different types of bead board. Learn what to look for in your design elements and construction. Most of all, have fun dreaming. Remember, the journey is the reward.

Home Improvement Ideas - Beadboard

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bathroom with classic beadboardBathroom with classic beadboardBedroom with beadboardBeadboard with integrated shelvingBunk beds with bedboardBeamed ceiling with beadboardWalls with cape cod beadboard
Bathroom with classic beadboard
Bathroom with classic beadboard
Bathroom with classic beadboard
Bathroom with classic beadboard
Bedroom with beadboard
Bedroom with beadboard
Beadboard with integrated shelving
Beadboard with integrated shelving
Bunk beds with bedboard
Bunk beds with bedboard
Beamed ceiling with beadboard
Beamed ceiling with beadboard
Walls with cape cod beadboard
Walls with cape cod beadboard

Sizes and Types of Beadboard

Types of beadboard illustrated
Types of beadboard illustrated

Nantucket Style Beadboard

Cape Cod Nantucket style beadboard with fireplace
Cape Cod Nantucket style beadboard with fireplace | Source

Nantucket Decorating Style

Nantucket is a tourist destination and summer colony. Nantucket is an island 30 miles (48.3 km) south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the United States. It is a destination indicative of easy living, beach coming, it is a search for enjoyable and walking in comfortable shoes, enjoying life and appreciating the beauty of outdoors and waterfront living. To me the Nantucket decorating style is equal parts of nautical, colonial classic Americana and one part resort living.

Not Beadboard - Formal Style Millwork

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Shelve with small drawers and beadboardBeadboard backsplashBeadboard chair rail
Shelve with small drawers and beadboard
Shelve with small drawers and beadboard | Source
Beadboard backsplash
Beadboard backsplash | Source
Beadboard chair rail
Beadboard chair rail | Source

Sizes and Types

Beadboard is more than just one size. There is also a wide plank beadboard.

Beadboard in most cases is less formal and more casual than many other forms of mill work. As you can see from the chair rail photo to the right, if you desire a formal space, beadboard may not work for your design.

If you are seeking a relaxed atmosphere with a little bit of Nantucket, beadboard is a great options.

Decorating Options

Bead board is just one option for decorating. More formal options such as the elaborate and richly detailed boiserie and other types of wainscoting are great decorating options. Typically other options are more formal than the relax and Nantucket like styling of the board board.

Wainscot Wallboard or Panelling

Wainscot or wainscoting is a paneling style applied to the lower 3 to 5 feet of an interior wall. Wainscot is traditionally constructed from tongue-and-groove boards, though bead board or decorative panels (such as a wooden door might have) are also common. Today the purpose of wainscoting is purely decorative, however, the original purpose was to camouflage dampness distortions in lower level walls.


Boiserie is a decorating term used to define ornate and intricately carved wood panelling. Panels were not confined just to the walls of a room but were also used to decorate doors, frames, cupboards and shelves. Often pictures would be set into the boiseries, the carving framing the picture rather like a conventional frame.

Beadboard Molding

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Beadboard moldingBeadboard molding
Beadboard molding
Beadboard molding | Source
Beadboard molding
Beadboard molding | Source

Beadboard Colors and Texture Options

When I think of beadboard, I think of white. This doesn't always have to be the case. Colored beadboard offers some eclectic choices bridging the gap between casual elegance and modern living.

Another option is to integrate beadboard with decorate tile. Combining white tile with tan beadboard is another option which works well in the kitchen. Creating a backsplash with beadboard for the kitchen is a classic colonial look.

Beadboard Ceilings

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Pine Beadboard CeilingWhite beadboard ceilingOak beadboard ceiling
Pine Beadboard Ceiling
Pine Beadboard Ceiling | Source
White beadboard ceiling
White beadboard ceiling | Source
Oak beadboard ceiling
Oak beadboard ceiling | Source

Beadboard is Not Just for Walls

Walls and ceilings are common places we find beadboard but look how great a colored beadboard for the kithen cabinet can look! Also, consider a maple color beadboard. The options are just about endless - the only limiting factor is your time and imagination.

Armstrong manufactures a beadboard made specifically for ceilings. A great item for remodeling a basement.

Beadboard Kitchen Cabinets

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Beadboard Kitchen Cabinets - uniquely yet clasic aquaBeautiful maplewood beadboard kitchen cabinetsClassic white beadboard in kitchen
Beadboard Kitchen Cabinets - uniquely yet clasic aqua
Beadboard Kitchen Cabinets - uniquely yet clasic aqua
Beautiful maplewood beadboard kitchen cabinets
Beautiful maplewood beadboard kitchen cabinets | Source
Classic white beadboard in kitchen
Classic white beadboard in kitchen | Source

Beadboard for Kitchen Cabinets

A classic look that is timeless is beadboard for the kitchen cabinets. Again, the color doesn't have to be classic white. Consider different color options for an updated look that is uniquely yours.

Beadboard is not just for the kitchen backsplash anymore!

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Chair Rail and Wainscoting

Chair railing and wainscoting add architectural interest to a room. Wainscoting is wooden paneling that lines the lower part of the walls of a room and as we have seen can take many different forms. To some, the wainscoting and chair rail simply serve a function - protecting the wall. To me, both of these serve to make a room greet you with a hug. Whatever you choose for an architectural interest, do your research and have a concept to follow. This will allow you to carefully craft a room that will hug you and your family for many years to come.

© 2011 Ken Kline


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    • CelebrateUSA profile image

      Ken Kline 3 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Hi Lakiesha,

      We have wainscot in our dining room and are considering extending it perhaps to the basement. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing.

    • profile image

      Lakiesha 3 years ago

      It's a joy to find somneoe who can think like that

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

      Very interesting hub, thanks for all the pictures demonstrating beadboard and all its many uses. Also I am happy I now know what wainscot is. :)