Wainscoting is a term for panels or boards that are installed onto the lower ½ or ⅓ section of a wall–usually they reach the height of a chair, but in some circumstances they may go higher. These may be solid wood panels, vertical beadboard, or horizontal shiplap attached to the wall. Originally, wainscoting was used to help better insulate rooms and to protect the walls from scratches or bumps from spurs, tables, and even weapons-hence the reason it is traditionally capped at chair height.
We do not have to worry much about spurs or swords these days, but the walls in our houses still receive a beating from kids and the mess of everyday life. Wainscoting is also a popular addition to rooms that serves to pull the look together. It creates a more visually-interesting yet still uniform architectural appearance, especially in areas that generally do not have much to offer–stairways, halls, mudrooms, etc. The variety of patterns and panel styles allows you to find a perfect wainscoting for whatever room you’re looking to upgrade, whether it be kitchen or bathroom.
The type of wainscoting material to use depends not only on your personal style preference, but also on the room in which you plan to install it.
- Fiberboard wood or ceramic paneling is best for bathrooms and other areas with high moisture exposure. They’re perfect for bathrooms, because they won’t warp with age or with the constant fluctuations of humidity and heat.
- Hardwood paneling also makes it easy to clean spills and spatters from kitchen activities or mudroom grime. These classy panels add a simple yet elegant appearance to your room.
- For hallways that do not experience as much heavy use as the common areas in your house, less expensive materials like plastic and fiberboard work well. They will be able to withstand the scuffing and bumping from people squeezing past each other, but besides that are not subject to constant messes or scratches.
- Panels are often used in bedrooms or formal dining rooms. Their minimalist look makes them versatile additions that can be painted or stained to fit any color scheme.
- Beadboard can look rustic with wood stain or brown paint, or it can be made to look more beachy when painted white or in pastels. Beadboard is inexpensive and can be delivered to you in sheets so that it’s easily assembled.
- Horizontal shiplap adds a rustic farmhouse appeal to your room. The shiplap can be used in kitchens and hallways, but similar to hardwood it can warp and thus shouldn’t be used in areas with high humidity.
Regardless of what type of material you choose to use for your wainscoting, the finish you use on it can significantly lengthen its life. Adding polyurethane or a semi gloss paint to your wainscoting is simple and can make cleaning it a breeze–with soap, water, and a rag, you can remove most marks and scuffs, making it perfect for when you got caught in the rain gardening or when your kids decided the best canvas for their next painting was the wall.
Upgrade your walls with wainscoting for an inexpensive way to add intrigue, warmth, and value to your home! If you are looking to completely redesign your kitchen, bathroom or outdoor space, call West Coast Design Build Florida! Our designers will help you to imagine and install your dream Sarasota renovation.