Installing DIY Wainscoting Panels, What is it & Height


I’ve painted my dining room many times in the past but always liked the look of wainscoting. It’s’ currently used as a piano room, so it needs to stand out. I decided to try my hand at it myself, DIY style! Luckily the room started with a chair rail molding, so I didn’t have to mess with trying to put that up.


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

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. I had no fancy tools, just me and my hammer. I then caulked around each one. Even though I have caulked in the past, there was a learning curve for this project!

Here is the room with the molding 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.

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 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 just a different sheen. I took it home and discovered that it was a slightly different color. The trim throughout my house is creamy, while this paint was more of a true white. It did not match the baseboards or chair rail molding, so I repainted everything. 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, but it matched the original trim color. So it stayed halfway painted like this for over a week while I decided what to do. So frustrating!

I decided to finish it up and live with it for a while. Aside from a few frustrations, installing DIY wainscoting was quite an easy project. It can significantly improve the look of your wall or bathroom. It’s great for a dining room or wherever you choose to include it!

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.

Wainscoting may have previously been more popular in the past. There are some examples around the country where it hasn't been done in a very elegant manner. We'll explore some of the things that you might want to consider in the process.

We'll also look at whether or not it's something you might want to do yourself. We'll also look at an unexpected side effect that may arise from installing it if you are doing so in an old home. Maybe you aren't taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself. Suppose you're living in an old home. There is a range of issues you will want to be aware of so you don't expose yourself and your children to harmful substances. It's the same way you want to make sure you're protecting yourself when you're repurposing an old window frame.

So, should you still be installing wainscoting today?

Our answer to that question is that it's a resounding yes. Take a little time to consider how it is best incorporated into your home to complement all the various aspects of the home.

We have all seen dreadful examples of the paneling in old homes built in the 1970s and 1980s. It is just screaming that something should have been done along the way. Rectify the situation and make them bearable to look at.

The traditional wood paneling in the 70s and 80s usually goes from the ceiling to the floor in a way we currently think screams outdated. There are inherent mistakes you can make with wainscoting.

It will have some of the following benefits when installed properly and done in a correct manner to current times.

  • Adding warmth to a room. When wainscoting is installed properly, it is a decorative element that can add a sense of warmth and personality. It's a reason they are common in rooms like the dining room. Perhaps without you even noticing it, it is something that breaks up a monotonous wall and gives it a bit of character.
  • It protects the drywall behind it. If you have either kids or pets, there is a high probability you are probably finding various bumps and bruises around the home. When inquired about, no one knows how they got there either. With wainscoting installation, you are adding a protective lower layer. It helps minimize the risk that your drywall suddenly has an inexplicable hole as the paneling is more sturdy than the material behind it.
  • It is decorative. Need we say it again? Perhaps the future of wainscoting is what we now think of wooden paneling from the 80s. For now, it's a decorative element that is easy to add to your home while giving it some character. See the guide above!

Maybe you're doing extended water fast, trying to optimize your life for autophagy. Maybe you want to lose face fat. There are certain objectives that you're trying to accomplish. It is no different than if you are installing wainscoting at your house. You have certain objectives which you're trying to achieve.

Now, suppose you don't make sure you match them very well with your existing house. There are various mistakes you could be making, which would mean you likely wouldn't be ending up with the desired results. Maybe you were to choose a very modern style while you live in a rather old home. There would be a mismatch between what you're trying to achieve and how you are going about it.

Avoid your home turning out to have some really big inconsistencies. It's important that you best match both your home's existing style with the wainscoting and the type of atmosphere you're trying to create. In addition to that, you will want to make sure that the style you're choosing will go well with the type of furniture you currently have.

The future buyers of the home may not be forced to have furniture like yours. You don't necessarily want to be actively creating a home improvement project simply for you to be able to sell the home successfully. Suppose you put up paneling in your home that no one seems to believe fits with the rest of the house. You'll probably have to either remove it before you try to sell your home. You may at the very least end up in a situation where a potential buyer wants to lower the price so they can budget money to remedy the situation.

Do you immediately start thinking about some hideous 80s paneling that you will still see in various houses? I thought so. If you were the buyer of one of those homes, you would at least want to make sure that it was in your budget. You'd want to bring the house up to some standard that you could see yourself living in.

There are generally believed to be only five types of wainscoting: beaded, flat panel, overlay and board, and batten and raised. However, your options may still become more granular than that. As you can make from the name, a raised panel will be so that the chair and top rail will be in front of the panel.

A beaded panel is simply the type, whereas a flat panel will seem to be more in one layer than the other options. If you have wall-paneled wainscoting, you're still revealing the drywall through where the paneling would otherwise be.

There are also certain rooms where a specific type is more common. Raised panels are very common in the dining and living rooms with their more distinctive beveled edges. Besides getting the right style, you should make sure that you are getting ones that match your existing home. While the original wainscoting was made of wood, there are now more types on the market. While wood is the most timeliness material to go for, high humidity may keep it from being a good option where you live. Consider whether there are any reasons the climate in the region means there is a certain type of material that wouldn't be a good idea.

Although a wooden option may be more expensive, it also comes with the advantage of being able to be painted at a later point. Feel it's better to stain it or leave it as is? Those are options, too. However, some of the other wainscoting materials don't have those options.

If you look at other websites, some report that the project took them approximately 5 hours. While I didn’t time myself in the process, it is quite likely that I spent about this amount of time on the project. For the amount of time I spent and the cost, I believe that installing wainscoting was worth it. It adds a new look to the entire space, which I like!

This may have originally been a measure used as additional insulation and to keep out the elements. It has an elegant, decorative feel when it’s being done right. No wonder we’re such fans of this architectural component from the 16th century, having its roots in Europe.

The typical height of wainscoting is 3 feet, although it can vary. The usual recommendation is it should go up to about a third of the size of the wall. It will usually come up to about the same top as your chair. 

Did you ever accidentally make dents in the drywall while moving furniture around? Wainscoting is a great way to cover it up, and no one will ever know that there is a massive hole behind the panel. 

When done correctly, it is one of the few home improvement projects that will have a significant ROI when you’re selling your home. You will usually recoup somewhere between 50-70% of your money to either add a new bathroom or remodel an existing one. The increased decorative component of installing wainscoting and its affordability make it a good investment. Maybe you’re installing it yourse. You will see the investment paying off as you’re going to sell the house as you won’t even pay for the labor. It could even be a fun project for you to do with your kids. 

If you’re doing it yourself, wainscoting is probably around $200-300 for a room. The panels usually cost around $1 per square foot.

So, I sometimes get what people may refer to as crazy ideas. I recently didn't eat for a continuous 14 days. That's right. I spent 14 days not eating, only consuming water and electrolytes. If you want to read more about this weight loss and the increased levels of autophagy, press one of the links.

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