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Ideas for Wainscoting Beadboard

Updated on June 17, 2012

Wainscoting Has Always Been Used To Decorate Homes

Wainscoting, by tradition, is a panel assembly that is raised and has a top and bottom rail. Finishing the wainscoting is done with moldings. It featured commonly in houses of the 1700's and 1800's and is still considered a design element in many contemporary homes. It is not as common in the houses of today, but builders do use wainscoting as a means of adding interest to the plainness of a wall. Beadboard is used to create further areas of interest and can be used in many ways to add to the decoration of the walls and wainscoting beadboard ideas.

Classic looks in beadboard wainscoting has narrow wood strips that are attached together with a chair rail topping them. This was a very popular style in 1920's and most houses had their halls, kitchens or even living room with such decoration. The wainscoting helped to protect the walls from scuffs and also covered up any damp patches. It was quite normal to paint such panels with white paint, as it tended to give an idea of space and was also easy to clean and maintain. Strips can be fitted vertically or horizontally, though the preference is for vertical strips.

Modern Adaptation of Wainscoting Beadboard

Nowadays wainscoting beadboard ideas have different colors being used to give the treated area a more modern look. It is also quite common to use different shades of the same color to paint all the surfaces on the wall including the wall above the wainscoting. Chair rails are meant to act as protection from chairs being pushed against a wall and the use of various forms of molding and trim to make up this chair rail adds further ideas to decoration with beadboard.

Materials other than wood are also now in vogue and can make for maintenance free material which are available in different colors. If the wainscoting is made up of strips, normally they would have tongue and groove joints so that the strips fit into each other. The joints between the pieces may have indentations that further enhance the look of the wainscoting. Complete panels giving the same effect are also nowadays available and these would just need to be fixed to the wall with the necessary bottom or chair rails as per the design finalized.

Wood like pine, cedar or oak is used to make beadboard paneling and this gives it a homely and cozy look. Mahogany can be used where you need it to look more more formal as in offices. The wood can be finished with polish or clear lacquer to maintain the look of the wood. Wooden paneling however that is left unpainted does require constant maintenance and shows up scratches more easily. A painted beadboard wainscoting on the other hand can always be touched up.

Vinyl beadboard paneling is nowadays a popular choice for homeowners because of the variety of textures and colors available. You can mix the various colors to form a pin stripe effect that can make a wall look quite dramatic. Vinyl is more resilient and scores over wood in this respect.


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    • Jakob Barry profile image

      Jakob Barry 5 years ago

      Nice explanation of wainscoting.