Tips for Installing Wainscoting

Wainscoting is a decorative wall accent that can add style to an otherwise ordinary space. But getting this architectural feature in proportion with the rest of the room can be a bit tricky. While you can make a case for pretty much any height, there are some basic guidelines to follow.

  • Rule of Thumb – Generally speaking, wainscoting is installed on the bottom third of a wall, including moldings. So, let’s say you have 9-foot walls, you’d install 36-inch wainscoting. For a room with taller walls or lofted ceilings, adjust the height up to 48 inches, on the lower end to help the space feel more balanced. Or, run your wainscoting two-thirds of the way up for a trendier, lightly textured backdrop. Add a bold paint color on top for a fresh take on this classic feature.
  • Make Exceptions – If installing wainscoting in the bathroom, think about using as a backsplash for your vanity, too. In this instance, extending it 40 inches off the floor, about 4 inches above a standard countertop, or until it reaches the bottom of a medicine cabinet or mirror. If installed as a backsplash for a free-standing tub, adjust the height to 8 inches above the lip of the tub. In the kitchen, carry beadboard up to the bottom of the upper cabinets, generally 54 inches from the ground.
  • Consider Windows – Because windows come in all shapes and sizes, with different types of trim and sills, there is no perfect way to plan wainscoting around them. Wrap the wainscoting around the window at the height that works best for the rest of the room. If the window falls just below where you measured the standard “one-third” up the wall, you might consider making it level with the bottom of the window.
  • Try It – Get an idea of which height works best for your space before you break out the tools. Use a pencil or painter’s tape to mark the desired height, or tape sheets of paper to your wall to depict panels. Live with it for a while, play around with the height, and adjust your plans accordingly.

Here at Pann Home Services, we offer a wide range of handyman and remodeling services, including wainscoting installation.  For helpful advice and expert installation, contact us today.