How to Install Wainscoting Without Power Tools

I’ve painted my dining room (used as a piano room) many times in the past but always liked the look of wainscoting. Finally, I decided to try my hand at it. Luckily the room started out with a chair rail moulding already so I didn’t have to mess with trying to put that up.

I don’t have any power tools so when I discovered premade frame moulding from Lowes I was all over it.

I measured and figured out how many frames and which sizes I would need for each wall. Then I just nailed each one up with finishing nails. No fancy tools, just me and my hammer. I then caulked around each one. (And even though I have caulked in the past, for this project there was a learning curve!)

Here is the room with the moulding up.

I needed to prime it next. And since I had a two year old can of primer stuck in the garage baking in the Texas heat already, I decided not to buy a new can. Surprisingly the primer didn’t give the greatest coverage but I proceeded on.

Okay, so here is the fun part. Instead of using a can of oil based paint that I already had to match the trim throughout the house, I decided to color match it into a latex based paint. (I just didn’t want to deal with the oil based paint.) I thought the color was a little off when I saw it at the store but the paint guy insisted that it was the right color and that it was just a different sheen. I took it home and discovered that it was indeed a slightly different color. The trim throughout my house is more of a creamy color while this paint was more of a true white. It did not match the baseboards or chair rail moulding so I repainted all that. The new whiter color doesn’t go as well with the beige carpeting as the other trim color did. I had bought some grey paint to go in the room as well but it had been matched it to the original trim color. So it stayed half way painted like this for over a week while I decided what to do. So frustrating!

I decided to just finish it up and live with it for a while. Aside from a few frustrations it was actually quite an easy project.

Here is the wainscoting with the grey paint.

And the after. It’s growing on me. The rest of the room needs some styling though.


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