Wainscoting is a wall decoration consisting of removable panels. It can be made of diverse materials, usually including a molding or trim of some kind. Its original purpose was protecting walls from flood damage, though nowadays it's more of an aesthetic element. It can change the style of your interior, adding elegance and charm. The three major kinds are raised panel, flat panel and beadboard wainscoting. In general, it's most popular in kitchens and entrance halls.
Raised panel wainscoting is very popular, largely because it's easy to upgrade. It can be a simple plain panel, or an ornamented one if you seek a more sophisticated look for your kitchen. Materials vary—the panel may be made of wood, MDF or plastic. Designers recommend that you match the raised panel with the one used for your kitchen cupboards. In this way, you will add a finishing touch to the whole kitchen. Keep in mind that apart from its decorative purpose, the raised panel provides additional isolation to your foundations and protects the walls from damages and moist accumulation. It's easy to install and change, combining charm and practicality.
If you choose wood for the raised panel, bear in mind it's heavier than the MDF and plastic ones. In addition, if you chose a wooden panel, a regular polish of the wood will be necessarily. MDF panels look almost the same as the wooden ones but require less maintenance. Moreover, they are easier and cheaper to change than the wooden panels. The plastic raised panels are the cheapest and come in diverse range of colors. They are suitable for kitchens, making them modern and stylish. If you seek the homemade and cozy effect, better chose one of the above.
Flat panels have the same function as raised panels. Preferred for their simple look, flat panels are commonly selected as a less formal alternative to the raised panel. They are as easy to install and remove as the raised panel. If you choose this type, you will find that the flat panel provides the same protection and isolation. Furthermore, if you seek a subtle appearance for your wall decoration, this would be your choice. It combines the same range of materials as the raised panel. Colors vary and can be changed easily because the panel is lighter and cheaper than the raised one. Due to its lighter structure, the flat panel is preferred for decorating walls, columns, chimneys, etc.
This type of wainscoting is used mainly for wall isolation and protection from moist and cold. Mainly built of wooden laths, it looks more country-like than sophisticated. It is perfect for your cottage or other buildings where such an effect is sought. However, beadboard will cost you more than the other types of wainscoting because you need more of it. The panel is a little harder to install and a regular polish of the wood is required.