Wainscoting

Unique wall paneling ideas for your home

Originally, wainscoting was meant to help protect a wall from dampness and resulting deterioration. Placed between the floor molding and up to about three feet, these wall panels now serve a more decorative purpose, and may sport either a beadboard or tongue-and-groove style panel.

Installing Wainscoting

Whether you are readying a home for the market or just upgrading and improving, wainscoting can be a cost-effective and beautiful way to increase the character and elegance of any room in the house. You can either hire a contractor or turn the installation into a weekend project, depending on your carpentry skills and experience.

The wainscoting panels should be allowed to adjust to the room where they will be installed for at least two days. This is due to humidity fluctuations, and the effects of the humidity on the wooden wainscoting panels.

Before starting, remove floor moldings carefully so as not to damage them if you plan to reuse them. Most wainscoting is 32 inches high, so marking a line at about the 32-and-a-half inch mark should be plenty to adjust for floors that may be uneven. Be sure to locate wall studs to help secure the nails used to hold the wainscoting.

Wall Paneling Options

Wainscoting panels may be installed in any room of the house, and there are a variety of options to suit any style. Raised panel wainscoting is a rich, classic look befitting a library or den. Installing this type of wall covering will greatly enhance the monetary and aesthetic value of any home. Creating the panels from scratch is difficult and time-consuming, so unless you are a woodworking hobbyist, look for a ready-made raised paneling kit.

There are also simpler paneling options besides traditional wainscoting. Flat wood paneling is less expensive and showy than its raised panel wainscoting counterpart. Because of its simplicity it is often painted instead of stained, and, like wainscoting, is generally used as an accent for the lower half of a wall. This type of paneling may be used in any room needing added style.

Beadboard is another common paneling option. Beadboard is relatively easy to install, and it may be finished with paint or veneered to achieve a beautiful result. This type of paneling is most often used in bedrooms because of its clean lines.

Knotty pine is what most people think of when they hear the term "wood paneling." Making its first appearance decades ago, it can be used today to achieve a rustic, old west appeal, typically in a family room or bonus room.

Regardless of the wall covering chosen, whether it's paint, wallpaper or wood paneling, decisions should reflect the style of the owner and atmosphere of the home. It is important to keep budgetary needs in mind but to also consider these treatments as home improvements, which will only serve to enhance the home's value in the future.