The use of wainscoting in your dining room is but one of the places the attractive wall design is appropriate. Wainscoting is commonly found in the kitchen, bathroom, living room and even the bedrooms. It adds a touch of elegance to an individual room or the entire house depending on how much you use it. It also lends itself to numerous color schemes that are limited only by your home’s interior décor and your own personal tastes. Before installing the wainscoting, however, evaluate the interior design of your home and compare some of your options. Pre-planning will help make the installation and color coordination process that much smoother.
Wainscoting as a Design Feature
Historically, wainscoting served a practical use rather than an aesthetic one. Originating in 16th century England, wainscoting became a practical measure to protect the lower portions of walls from rotting due to climbing moisture from the ground. Because homes were built directly atop the ground, after time natural moisture would seep up and all but destroy the walls of the home. To guard against this, strips of oak were installed on the lower portion of the walls to increase the life of the interior partitions. The top half was left the way it was.
As home design became more complex and well thought out, foundations were employed and pockets were created below homes to allow for the proper ventilation of moisture. If it had not become a popular aesthetic design, perhaps wainscoting would have ceased to be used at all. Gradually, though, it became a means of designing homes and buildings, in some cases very extravagant ones. Whereas it started out as a purely practical solution, it turned into a home design feature of the fabulously wealthy.
Wainscoting was traditionally constructed of thin strips of oak placed vertically from the baseboard up 3 to 5 feet on the wall. The top part of the wall remained painted or wallpapered. Vertical slats of wood still comprise some wainscoting today, but much of consists of large 4x8 foot sheets of prefabricated wainscoting in various designs. It comes without a finish, but it can also be purchased with a variety of finishes to match any interior color scheme.
In the dining room, to properly match the wainscoting of your choice with not only the rest of the wall but with the furniture as well, you will need an eye for design. If your dining room furniture is darkly finished wood, light wainscoting probably would look out of place. Modern dining rooms featuring art deco designs don’t really call for wainscoting, as it possesses an old-world charm and fits best with traditional layouts.
Wainscoting can be painted as well. If you decide to paint it, it is best to contrast its color with that of the walls. Dark walls would look best with lighter wainscoting and vice versa. If your walls are papered, the wainscoting should match that as well, complementing one of the prominent colors of the wallpaper.
Wainscoting is an excellent choice for the dining room if you incorporate a traditional design. You have many choices when it comes to wainscoting, but whatever you decide, make sure it contrasts nicely with the walls and fits in with the room’s décor.