Wainscoting Basics

One of the most popular trends in home remodeling today is Wainscoting.  Wainscoting generally refers to an applied treatment to a wall.  Traditionally, wainscoting was used functionally as an extra layer of paneling on the interior walls in order to provide greater warmth.  Over the  years, wasinscoting has evolved into an all encompassing design element, that when applied properly, can give your home a signature style that is truly pleasing to the eye.  While there are nearly limitless variations, we will focus on three of the most common applications.


Design and Installation: Cronen Building Co. Photo: George Crosland Photography


One of the most popular wainscoting applications is beadboard.  This classic design style, dating back to the Victorian era, can be applied two ways; tongue and groove and 4×8 Bead Sheets.  The traditional style is applied by using a header/cap atop the beadboard with a footer/base of choice.  The possibilities are quite vast, and the moulding choices can really help define your style.  Use a wide header/footer using dimensional lumber to create a more “craftsman” look, while adding a decorative cap and base can give your room that extra panache.   For more great ideas check out this great article from our friends at Houzz;  8 Great Ways to Use Beadboard.

Recessed Paneling

Design and Installation: Clarkbuilt Inc.


Another popular application method is recessed paneling. To get started, you would  build up boxes using varying sized dimensional lumber (1×4, 1×5) from there, you would choose from the several variations to this design that can best suit your style preference.  From the simplistic but sophisticated “shaker style”  (no panel mouldings) to the beautiful curves of a more traditional or colonial style, the possibilities are plentiful.  Add decorative crown and corbels to enhance your look.  For more design and installation tips, check out this helpful link to our website; Wainscot & Beadboard.

Applied Moulding

Design: Katie Hackworth Photo: Belathee Photography


Want to make a bold statement with less finish work?  Then applied mouldings, or picture frame or wall frame wainscoting,  may be the route you wish to take.  You can easily add the drama to your space by using small decorative mouldings to create your paneling designs.  Using miter cuts, you can create varying geometric shapes or frames that would be applied directly to your wall. Add a chair rail and a chunky base to refine your look and lend added drama.  For a step by step on how to create this look, check out this helpful link from This Old House .


Keep in mind that there could be significant work required in order to prep your walls before applying these treatments. You should definitely consult your local materials supplier, like McCoy Millwork, to receive expert advice on the proper materials necessary to your project.  If you are in search of reputable Finish Carpenters in your area, use Houzz or Angie’s list to find the right fit for your project.

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