100+ Best Wainscoting Ideas for Each Room ( Pros & Cons )

You know that wainscoting your walls can tremendously change the look of a room.

But is that the right touch for your home? What are the pros & cons?

Can you do it alone or you will need to hire a professional? How much will it cost?

Best Wainscoting Ideas. Add character and style to any room with wainscoting. From the living room to the bathroom, these wainscoting ideas will inspire you to elevate your home's design. #decorhomeideas

You have so many questions, but we know the answers, so let’s start from the beginning.

  • What is wainscoting?

Wainscoting (or paneling) is a type of wall covering, which is nowadays mostly used for decorative purposes enhancing an interior space with architectural detail.

Wainscoting was originally used for two main purposes: to insulate the coldness of stone walls in ancient buildings and to prevent moisture.

That is no longer the case, and over the years the purposes and materials used have evolved a lot.

  • What material is used for wainscoting?

In the 18th century Europe the preferred material was light oak wood, but now it ranges from different types of wood all the way to plastic and fibreboard.

A very popular paneling material is – Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) engineered wood as it is denser than plywood and is easy to work with.

Pros & Cons

Wall panels are chic and classy. Imagine posh apartments and cottage houses through the centuries.

Medieval houses had them, so did Georgian and Victorian rooms.

They were considered useful and fashionable through history and they spread all the way to America and European colonies abroad.

So paneling your home is a statement in classical style.

Wainscoting has two practical purposes as well: panels can hide wall imperfections, while still being both repairable and replaceable.

They can hide deformities, wires or cables, which stick out and even prevent moisture.

Additionally, wainscoting helps insulate the walls on the inside.

Even if you don’t have a moisture problem, your room can probably still use some sound dampening or thermal insulation to stay warm in winter.

On the other hand, panels do need maintenance, even more so than many types of walls.

Wood can rot, deform or lose moisture under specific circumstances.

Of course, wall panels can be repaired or even replaced, but homeowners should still take care of them – by making sure they are installed properly and not deformed by external factors, by painting them with the proper paint, or by waxing them in case the room conditions are too dry.

Another debatable negative side of wainscoting is being old-fashioned.

Just as some consider them classy, many would believe they don’t always match well with a cleaner minimalist modern look.

Our collection of more than 100+ ideas will show you that wainscoting could be very fashionable and modern-looking.

Price and materials

  • How much does wainscoting cost?

Wainscoting can be cheap or expensive depending on who made it and what it is made of.  

Normally its price ranges from 10 to 30 dollars per square foot.

Plywood is the cheapest and so can be wood, depending on the type of wood you use.

Wooden wainscoting is trickier to install, because it contracts and expands depending on temperatures/seasons, but carries extra elegance when you pick panels made of walnut or cherry.

Plastic and MDF (medium-density fibreboard) both cost approximately the same.

Both are not wood, but look well enough, and the main difference between the two is how they react to moisture: plastic handles moist conditions great, while MDF would usually break down, so it shouldn’t be used in a bathroom.

If you want the best wainscoting look, you can invest in natural wood and have it manually crafted and professionally installed to prevent deformation.

Types Of Wainscoting

There are a few types: flat and raised panels, beadboard and board and batten.

When we think of wainscoted walls, we normally imagine panels.


Beadboard wainscoting is an exception to this rule.

It consists of panes, installed next to each other vertically and separated by a narrow bead (ridge).

The panels used for wainscoting each consist of a frame (rails and stiles) with a flat panel inside it.

They can be flat (flat panel wainscoting) or raised (raised panel wainscoting).

The difference between the two types is not the frame, but only the panel itself.

Board and Batten

Board and batten wainscoting consists of alternating wider boards and narrower battens.

Related: Installing Baseboards: Everything You Need To Know!

This style adds informality to wainscoting and is even popular for the exterior covering of structures.

The purpose of the battens is to give strength to the construction.

Wainscoting Height

  • What is the proper height for wainscoting?

Wainscoting normally covers 1/3 of the wall.

Historically for many years, the accepted measurement was a chair’s height.

Modern architects often decide to change this either by inverting the rule and covering 2/3, by using the golden ratio (there are calculators online for that) or by matching the height of the windowsill.

Occasionally the wainscot could take over the entire wall, which is somewhat common in the hallway. Still, the 1/3 rule is still widely popular.

Simple DIY Wainscoting Method

Once you have chosen your preferred wainscoting style and purchased it, there is an easy way to DIY wainscoting for interior walls:

  • clean the walls with a sponge or cloth, and a cleaning agent
  • measure where the rails or battens should be installed
  • measure where there may be an electricity socket and make a cut in the board or panel, which will cover it
  • sand and prime the boards and panels if you feel like they need to be extra smooth
  • place the panels or boards and make sure it all looks fine, now is the time to make slight adjustments
  • put a ledge or ‘shelf’ on top if that is your preferred style
  • paint using a brush, surfaces will probably be too narrow for you to use a roller
DIY Wainscoting Before And After

There is a great step by step tutorial on DIY wainscoting on thebewitchinkitchen.com

1. Bathroom Wainscoting Ideas

The beadboard in this bathroom is a simple solution to help create a peaceful look.

As you can see, the beadboard also protects the walls, which also allows for a more sophisticated look.

Gray Beige Bathroom Wainscoting

via pickellbuilders.com

Bathrooms are paneled more commonly than other rooms in the house.

Here the wainscot complements some of the furniture to make this corner look like an old-world classic.

Clawfoot bathtub with wainscoting bathroom wall in light blue

The simple color scheme in this bathroom shows that modern wainscoting ideas can go hand to hand with contemporary style.

Bathroom Wainscoting With Tiles Decoration

Flat panels in soft blue help match the bathroom with the style of the rest of the house.

Fabulous bathroom design with wainscoting wall

via carpentermacneille.com

Beadboard is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to add color, or, as in this picture, balance the palette of a bathroom.

Half Bath With Wainscoting Wall

via generalcontractorshawaii.com

There is only one golden rule concerning the height of wainscots and it is: always go with what looks best for the room.

Beach Style Bathroom With Wainscoting Wall Panels

via cbistudio.com

Wainscot panel edges don’t have to show: go with a minimalist look for a minimalist home.

Brown Painted Bathroom With Wainscoting Design

via herzogarch.com

Fancier panel frames will complement fancier furniture better.

Small Bathroom Wainscoting Idea

In this bathroom the paneling has the added benefit of dividing the space in two, giving an artistic feel to the walls.

Luxury Design Bathroom With Bathtub

The shelves on top of wainscoting are much welcome in this seaside-styled bathroom.

Navy Blue Bathroom With Wainscoting Wall

via sawnailandpaint.com

Masterfully rationed space between the bathroom vanity and wainscot at the bottom, and windows, mirrors and lamps over them.

Master Bathroom Wainscoting Wall

via heartlandbuilders.com

Most of the work on this bathroom has probably consistent of finding the perfect proportions for this pleasing look.

The mosaic type backsplash fits perfectly with the colors of wainscoting and walls.

Lovely Bathroom With Skylight

2. Dining Room Wainscoting Ideas

Dining Room With Wainscoting Wall

via ownalandmark.com

The geometric shapes on top work well with the window style and the panels.

Traditional Dining Room With Wainscoting

via legacyhomesoc.com

Paneling helps tighten up the space in this room and make it cozy even when not all eight chairs are taken.

Dining Room Design With Wainscoting Wall

via diyhomedecoration.online

This room will make you feel like in a century-old Victorian home.

Dining Room With Fireplace and Winescoting

via designingidea.com

Dining room wainscoting ideas can only be benefited by a fireplace.

Wainscoting In Dining Room

via magnolia.com

Circles and rectangles are combined in this vivid room for an exquisite interior design.

Ambient Light Dining Room

via lumens.com

Simple dining room wainscot designed for a room with plenty of light.

Dining Room With High Wainscoting Panels

via johnmcclaindesign.com

Wainscoting is not unusual for modern designs like in this naval colored dining room.

Bright Dining Room With Wainscoting Wall

via firstlamp.net

This dining room relies on a modern but cozy atmosphere.

Bold Colored Dining Room

via forbesmasters.com

The stylishly bold style of this room is only enhanced by the negative space of the wainscoting.

Note how it also matches the ceiling and chairs.

Dining Room With BeadBoards

via mlinteriordesigns.com

The wainscoting in this room matches the height of the windows and also draws attention towards the paintings high on the wall.

3. Staircase Wainscoting Ideas

Staircase Wainscoting Idea

via trgarch.com

Wainscoting can provide an additional surface to let light in your home.

Light Staircase With Wainscoting Wall

via elementsofstyleblog.com

This interior designer combined stripes with vertical panels to create additional space in this hallway.

Amazing Wainscoting For Stairway

via finehomebuilding.com

The rails loosely cover the edge of the wainscot to give the whole staircase a visually pleasing feel.

Red Wall Wainscoting Staircase

via ourfifthhouse.com

Many homeowners and designers decide to let the paneling complement the bold colors around it instead of letting it stand out.

This works out especially well if you weren’t shy of choosing a colorful palette for the rooms.

Dark Stairs All Walls Wainscoting

via thefoxgroup.com

More of a hall wainscoting than just a staircase one, this wainscot lets the hardwood floor take center stage.

Fabulous Staircase With Wainscoting Wall

A pretty bold combination of several patterns makes this staircase look busy, but aesthetic.

Pastel Green Wall Staircase With Wainscoting

via lasleybrahaney.com

The owner of this home seemingly likes old-world furniture and imagery. The wainscoting here looks right in its place.

Big Staircase With Wainscoting

The paneling in this home sets a clear border between the spaces of the two floors.

Spectacular Staircase With Wainscoting

A modern geometric look goes well with the sharp look of the carpet and furniture downstairs.

Wainscoting Staircase Design

via tollbrothers.com

The wainscoting of this staircase comes as a natural continuation of the railing and makes the visual feel complete.

4. Kitchen Wainscoting Ideas

Although wainscoting is rarely used in kitchens for a number of reasons, we have several simple examples.

Kitchen islands, on the other hand, could be decorated with paneling and they look stunning.

Pale Blue Kitchen With Wainscoting Wall

via hartleyandhilldesign.com

Taller wainscoting gives a sense of delicacy to all items in the room: from the chairs to the kitchen sink placed in the corner of the island.

Cream White Kitchen Design With Wainscoting

via seattlehometours.com

These walls wouldn’t stay snow white if the paneling of the same color didn’t protect them.

Kitchen Island Wainscoting Ideas

via chelseacourtdesigns.com

The accent of this stylish kitchen-dining room is actually the wooden floor.

The wainscoting purpose here is not to stand out and separate the wall, but actually to make the wall and the furniture blend so all attention would be drawn to the floor.

5. Bedroom Wainscoting Ideas

Pastel Blue Bedroom With Wainscoting Wall

via francescaowings.com

This room looks like it was specifically designed around that beautiful large window with a reading nook.

Wainscoting makes it even more cozier.

Bedroom Wainscoting Idea

via roomandboard.com

This exceptionally tall wainscot goes just a little short of covering the entirety of the wall.

Gray Wainscoting For Bedroom

via thriftydecorchick.com

Different-sized and -shaped flat panels on this wall create a tidy, but in no sense a boring look.

Light grey bedroom wall wainscoting

via instagram.com

Two lines of panels cover this all-white relaxation corner.

Master Bedroom Gray Wainscoting

via thegoldhive.com

The grey color balances the huge windows to make this room both bright and relaxing.

Green Accent Master Bedroom Wainscoting Wall

via serenaandlily.com

Wainscoting and green paneling that creates the illusion of a barn door is the accent in this master bedroom.

Full Wall Wainscoting Wall In Bedroom

An interesting combination where the wainscoting only covers one of the walls of a room.

Wainscoting Bedroom Decoration With Photos

via completelytypea.com

Simple flat panels are for people who want to live in a traditional home, but still prefer a simple style.

Traditional Bedroom With Wainscoting

via zillow.com

Beadboards add a sense of texture and character to a room.

Master Bedroom Wainscoting

via thefamilyroomdesign.blogspot.com

Notice how the windowsills are the same height as the wainscot in this cleverly designed bedroom.

6. Living Room Wainscoting Ideas

Living Room With Fireplace and Wainscoting

via elevationhomes.com

The high windows and pillows create a cozy reading space in this otherwise brightly lit room.

Naval Painted Living Room With Wainscoting

via jennakateathome.com

Some interior architects believe wainscoting height should be directly linked to windowsill height.

White wainscot has a calming effect in this living room.

Living Room Wainscoting

The higher paneling of this room makes it look like the roof is actually higher up and there is more space.

Dark Painted Wainscoting For Living Room

via historicalconcepts.com

If you haven’t see a curved wainscoting ideas, it’s because they are more difficult to install.

All White Living Room With Wainscoting Wall

The palette in this room easily wouldn’t have worked as well without the wainscot.

Living Room With Wainscoting Wall

Traditional room with wainscoting that accented on the mahogany table.

Living Room With Blue Wainscoting

via canhonovaland.info

An old-world living room with a modern stylish touch.

Amazing Living Room With Wainscoting

via oharainteriors.com

Wainscoting and wall seem interchangeable in this living room.

Gray Chairs In Living Room With Wainscoting

via janebeiles.com

The curtains are a fine touch, which matches both the paneling and the walls.

Wainscoting Living Room

via inchcalculator.com

A fresh and spacy room with lighter colors.

Dark Floor Living Room Waiscoting

A rare example where the wainscoting goes lower than 1/3 of the wall.

7. Hallway Wainscoting Ideas

Hallway Wainscoting Ideas

via hometalk.com

Classic flat panels in this dark navy painted hallway.

Hallway Wainscoting Idea

via zillow.com

Wainscoting helps add character to an otherwise empty hallway.

Don’t be afraid to choose an all-white interior for your hallway. It will never go out of style.

Full Wall Wainscoting

via whiteandgolddesign.blogspot.com

The panels add a sense of texture to the plain flat surfaces even if they don’t bring in additional colors.

Full Wall Hallway Wainscoting Style

via janicereyesphotography.com

This home combines different sets of panels to cover the whole height of the hallway walls.

Hallway With Wainscoting Wall

via linherrhollingsworth.com

Wainscots are almost a must for long lean hallways. This one here says “Welcome to the White house”.

Luxury Hallway With Wainscoting

A high-fashion feel in this grayscale lobby.

Great Hallway With Wainscoting

via behance.net

Black & white, and something a little extra.

8.Garage Wainscoting Ideas

Garage With Wainscoting Wall

via gogoigood.net

Garages are normally not the tidiest of places, but this one strives to add some nice aesthetics with the help of wainscoting.

Garage Wall Wainscoting Ideas

Everybody loves extra garage space. The beadboard here not only creates it, but also protects the walls.

Creative Wainscoting Styles

Custom Wainscoting Styles

Nobody said geometry only consists of rectangles.

Contemporary Wainscoting Styled Wall

Vertical and horizontal panels mix nicely, provided you have enough space.

Fireplace with Millwork Wainscoting Ideas and Design

A fireplace is more than a piece of furniture. So why not showcase it.

Gray Simple Wainscoting Ideas For Bedroom

The dark colors here add a slick and classy feel.

High Custom Wainscoting Ideas

Huge panels, which cover the whole wall and are also smooth enough to reflect light back into the room.

Modern Design Wainscoting Ideas

Creative wainscoting ideas will make you guests interested in your house.

Angled Rectangle Dining Room Wainscoting Ideas

These room builders have their priorities straight.

Luxury Wainscoting Ideas

The arcs in this house are a huge hint the owner is a fan of classical style.

Cool Pattern Wainscoting Ideas

The wainscoting doesn’t have to stand out with its colors, sometimes unique shapes are all it needs.

Modern Bathroom Wainscoting Ideas

Some creative and interesting patterns in a stylish-looking bathroom.

Modern Hallway Wainscoting Ideas

The raised battens here make the room feel much different and energetic.

Wainscoting Decorating Ideas

A creative project, which successfully hides the spots where separate panels touch.

Wainscoting Ideas and Decorations

Creative styles of wainscoting stand out and are for people who are sure they want something different for their homes.

Wainscot Paneling Ideas

Detailed carefully crafted wainscoting may cost extra to make, but that is one of the reasons it makes a strong impression and could increase the price of your home a lot.

Toilet Wainscoting Ideas

Extra geometrical elements make the space look busy, but also add style when closed in a smaller room.

Interior Design Wainscoting Ideas

Wainscoting can be an art form by itself. The interweaving sets of panels here look mesmerizing.

Wainscoting Paint Ideas

Most popular paint color for wainscoting and paneling is white or at least some of its variations and shades – snow white, cream white, muted white, etc.

Light gray, light blue and beige could also work great if you can combine them with the overall interior design – like wall colors, furniture and ceilings.

If the area is well lit you can opt for darker colors like – dark gray, brown, navy blue or even black.

Choosing the best paint color for your wainscoted walls is very important , so it’s a good idea to plan about colors as early as possible in order to save time and money if something goes wrong later in the project.


Even though wainscoting isn’t a must to make a room livable, you can use it as a means to add splendor or simply a sense of style and tradition to your boring walls.

I hope this article answered your questions and gave you some useful insights and beautiful wainscoting examples, to help you gather ideas for a future home transformation.

Photo of author

Ivo Iv

Ivo is the owner of Decorhomeideas.com – he started the site back in 2013, when he was still working in a Home Decor company, but the passion for interior design and decorations lead to creating the site and following his own dream of creating a great Home Decor, DIY and Gardening online-magazine. EXPERTISE: Landscaping, Interior Design, Gardening, DIYer, Home Decor, Engineering, LOCATION: New York, USA TITLE: Chief Editor FOLLOW IVO IV on LinkedIn