Wainscoting Your Living Room In Stylish Ways

Living room wainscoting no longer has to evoke the Victorian era, 18th century France or 19th-century America. Add contemporary style to your living room with modern textures and colors in wainscoting.

Start at the Chair Rail

Banish the scrolled narrow woodwork of traditional chair rails-define your wainscoting with a sleek half-circle rail. Finish it in high-gloss or even brushed chrome paint, with silver gray below the rail. Choose baseboards in a similar shape.

High Contrast Wainscoting

Black, navy, deep green or burgundy wainscoting panels and baseboards will create high contrast and drama when complemented by a much lighter shade of the same color on the upper walls.

Minimize Texture

Paint walls above and below the chair rail in an eggshell finish to give modern paintings or framed photo galleries pride of place in your living room.

Add Dramatic Texture

Apply thick stucco to the wainscoting section for contrast. Lay narrow wood strips, painted in monochrome or subtly differing colors, in a herringbone or interlocking woven design along the lower walls. Plan the design carefully on graph paper and paint before installing. Use a simple triangle-profile chair rail and nearly-flat baseboards to emphasize the wainscoting texture. Finish the upper wall and rail in low-contrast colors or match the wainscoting exactly.