Wainscoting has come a long way since its invention in 16th century England. Initially used to cover damp areas in walls, as well as bolster insulation, modern raised panel wainscoting is almost always purely aesthetic.
Since its inception it’s developed a variety far beyond the raised panel wainscoting that initially came with the English migrants. Americans made it their own, with Shaker, Mission, Prairie, and Arts and Crafts styles adopting some form of wainscoting in their interior design. While it’s considered a traditional addition, modern interior design has found ways of contrasting and complementing it in homes with contemporary and old school furniture and fixtures.
If you already have wainscoting in your home, or if you’re thinking of installing it, here are some tips on how to make it tie a room together.
The Dining Room
The original room in which one would find wainscoting, the dining room gains an elevation in elegance from these pointedly placed panels. The traditional layout of the dining room with the table and chairs floating in the middle gives plenty of space to see the wainscoting around the room.
Whether you’re going for traditional, contemporary, or a mix of styles; these are the elements that will complement your wainscoting.
Prior to the minimalism of the 21st century, and art deco of the 20th century, homes were presented as an elegant space. To promote the traditional style of your dining room, consider the following:
- Rustic wooden dining table and chairs – this could be an antique set or faux-antique, the colors should contrast the wainscoting. E.g., light-colored walls with dark brown furniture.
- Chandelier – not only will this add elegance, it will also create an interesting atmosphere of lighting which will enhance the wainscoting.
- Polished wooden floors – for maximum effect the color should be somewhere between the walls and furniture, although any color will suit.
- Paint the walls white or off-white – as previously mentioned this will contrast your furniture and emphasize the lighting of the chandelier.
A common use for wainscoting in modern interior design is to create a coastal feel. As with many contemporary styles, this is a mix of modern and traditional elements which creates a timeless space. Here are some ideas:
- Weathered dining room table and chairs – part of the coastal feel is that the space has been “lived in”. This can be a great way to reclaim some old furniture.
- Emphasize natural lighting – through the use of large windows and in some cases a sunroof, you can break the barrier between the inside and outside world.
- Weathered wooden floors – further bolsters the “lived in” look and is easy to achieve especially with pre-existing wooden floorboards.
- Paint the walls in a coastal color scheme – bring the colors of the beach into this room, seafoam green, baby blue, or a creamy sand color will make it feel like you’re eating on the beach.
The Rest of the House
There’s no reason to stop at the dining room when wainscoting a home, many other rooms benefit from full or partial paneling. The foyer has become a popular part of the home to introduce wainscoting, as it’s the first thing that any guests will see as they enter. Staircases have also benefited from wainscoting to decorate an otherwise empty space.
Consider the styles mentioned for the dining room, the kitchen should match these due to their proximity. You can also extend the panel style to the breakfast bar, cupboard doors, and drawer-fronts to completely wrap around the room. Otherwise simply wainscoting an empty wall facing your kitchen can make for a nice coffee table space.
An increasingly popular place to install wainscoting, the modern bedroom can benefit greatly from wainscoting. Especially in those bedrooms which were once your son or daughters, covering up those pinholes and scribbles with wainscoting can be a cheap solution.
If you’ve opted for the contemporary coastal feel, then consider a spindle bed with bedding in the coastal color scheme. This can reinvigorate a room with almost no work, as many modern wainscotings can be installed by anyone.
Although installing wainscoting in a bathroom may have seemed blasphemous to a 16th century English aristocrat, modern Americans love it. The height of wainscoting can perfectly match the height of bathroom fixtures such as the sink and toilet. They also add to the typical sterility of a bathroom space, especially when painted white or off-white.
Raised Panel Wainscoting And More
Navigating modern and traditional interior design styles may not be your cup of tea.
That’s why Wainscot Solutions is here to help, we want anyone and everyone to be able to enhance their home with wainscoting. Not only can we help with wainscoting but we can also assist with built-in cabinetry to perfectly match your newly renovated room.
Although we’re based in Connecticut, we can meet your specific requirements and ship to anywhere, from New England to California. Contact us today through our website to get a quote, and to see what else we can help with.