What is wainscoting?
Wainscot or wainscoting simply refers to some type of wall paneling that is used on the interior of a space and covers the lower portion of the wall. It provides the perfect mix of function and style by adorning the lower half of walls while also protecting the wall from scuffs and smudges. This form of wall paneling started back in 1300s primarily as a way to shield the lower half of plaster walls from damage from things like chairs and boots. While it has a protective function of adding a layer over the wall material and paint, wainscoting’s main purpose is decorative. Wainscoting is a valuable investment from a design standpoint as it can add value and warmth to your space.
Styles of wainscoting
There are many different styles of wainscoting. The common height of wainscoting is 32 inches. Some styles include:
- Raised Panel
- Flat or Recessed Panel
- Board & Batten
- Picture Frame
Raised panel means that the inside panel is flush with the outside trim pieces and has a beveled edge to create the raised panel. This is a more traditional form of wainscoting and began as a means of insulation. It’s typically installed 30-40” high around the entire room, though it can go higher. It’s most commonly used in dining rooms and living rooms.
R ecessed or flat panel wainscoting is where the styles stick out further than the interior panels. The styles serve as “trim” piece and leave the inside panels with a clean, flat appearance. This is considered a modern or farmhouse look.
Beadboard is comprised of thin rails that are connected oftentimes with tongue and groove. The beadboard can be run in continuous strips or seperated by vertical risers, or styles. This is a common style of wainscoting that will be found in bathrooms.
Board & Batten
Board and batten is simply taller flat or recessed wainscot. The vertical boards are called battens. While tradionalists consider wainscoting in the 30-32 inch range anything over this height is deemed “paneling”.
Picture Frame or Overlay
Picture frame or overlay is when flat panels are installed and then additional trim pieces are installed around the horizontal and vertical styles in the fashion of a picture frame. This adds to the flat panels and gives them a detailed edge.
There is no limits to the different styles you can create with wainscoting and paneling. You can follow a more traditional path of 32 inch wainscot or go with a shoulder height. You can create a “barn door” style or come up with your own design. You can limit it to one wall or run it throughout the entire house. Even taking some styles and turning them into accent walls is a wonderful idea!
M Klein Construction LLC
Building Higher Standards
Licensed New Mexico General Contractor
Finish Carpentry & Residential Builder
PO Box 872
Carlsbad, New Mexico