Wainscoting (adding wood panels between the baseboard and the chair rail) dates back to the 16th century when it was applied to the lower portion of interior walls to counteract the cold and dampness associated with stone walls.
It is still very popular today as a relatively inexpensive way to enhance the beauty of your home or to hide imperfections in your walls.
It is, in my mind at least, a very traditional look and not right for everyone, but, if you’re looking for a way to add elegance and a touch of class to your home, you really can’t do much better than wainscoting (except perhaps crown moulding).
Recently, we added wainscoting to the main living area of a north Toronto condo and the results are beautiful.
You can buy prefab wainscoting panels at any big box store, but we opted to make our own.
Here’s how the condo looked before we began.
We started by taking 2′ X 4′ X 1/4″ sheets of MDF and ripping them into 5″ strips which we added to the wall along the baseboards and at a height of 34″. We then painted the wall above the wainscoting a new colour (Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore) and added a chair rail cap to the top.
Next we added more MDF strips vertically evenly spaced out to create “boxes”.
Then came the tedious time consuming task of adding trim cap to the inside edges of all the boxes and patching the seams with wood filler.
Then a couple of coats of white satin paint.
The finished result is beautiful and elegant. A HUGE improvement.