Timeless and elegant, wainscoting is a great option when you want a high-impact change without extensive renovations. This decorative wall board dates back to the 14th century. It was traditionally made from oak panels, and installed to control moisture. Today, it’s mostly used as a decorative element, and is available in a wide range of materials to complement your home’s aesthetic.
One aspect of wainscoting that many people wonder about is the right height for installation. How do you make sure that your wainscoting is tall (or short) enough to bring the right feel to your room?
The Rule of Thirds
Generally speaking, wainscoting is installed on the lower third of a wall. This is a universally flattering height that works with nearly every design, from farmhouse to industrial. As such, there isn’t a specific height that you need to be concerned with reaching; measure the height of your wall, divide it by three and you’ll have the height of an aesthetically-pleasing wainscot.
This number may vary by a few inches if your window sills are slightly taller or shorter than the desired height of your wainscoting. In that case, raise your wainscoting by an inch or two so that it looks like a deliberate design choice rather than an error.
Of course, rules are made to be broken! If you’d like to try something different, wainscoting can also be installed two-thirds up the wall, or even from floor to ceiling. The only hard-and-fast recommendation is never to install wainscoting halfway up your wall.
Wondering about wainscoting heights for specific rooms? Here are some suggestions:
You can’t go wrong with a classic one-third approach in your living space. This allows the wainscoting to complement the other design elements in the room without overwhelming them. Wood or brick panels evoke the timeless feel of this classic method of wainscoting.
If, however, your living space includes statement furniture that sits against the wall, such as wingback chairs, the two-thirds height option is a better choice; this will help to emphasize your wainscoting rather than covering it with the furniture.
If your home has a separate dining room, take advantage of the formal feel by installing full wainscoting. This stately touch will make any meal feel special. If you choose wood or brick for your wainscoting, a light fixture with brass accents would look very elegant. If you’re using stone, you can opt for brass or a darker brushed metal to create a modern, trendy atmosphere.
Bedrooms, especially guest bedrooms, are a fun opportunity to do something vibrant and unusual with your decor. Wainscoting at a two-thirds height will add interest to an otherwise plain or small room. Take a design risk and paint the remaining one-third of the wall with a punchy jewel tone, or use wallpaper with a unique pattern.
If you’d like something more relaxing, wainscoting at a one-third height will still bring a comfortable feel to the room, especially when paired with a neutral palette. Add woven fabrics and natural woods to promote rest and relaxation.
Depending on the height of your sink or bathtub, you can’t go wrong with any of the wainscoting heights discussed above. Decide whether you would prefer your wainscoting to sit level with your bathroom’s features or rise above them, and then choose a measurement. Stone paneling is impactful, and will remind you and your guests of a relaxing spa.
If you opt for a one-third or two-thirds wainscoting, you can also install a ledge along the top, where decor and candles can be placed.
Wainscoting the Easy Way
Once you’ve settled on the right height for your design, it’s easy to install wainscoting when you use Barron Designs. Our faux wood, stone and brick panels are lightweight, and can be cut with a regular handsaw; there’s no need for special tools or masonry. You’ll be able to update your home’s look in as little as one weekend! And, once installed, your panels won’t require any upkeep or maintenance.
No matter which material you choose or which height you opt for, wainscoting is a timeless way to bring a touch of elegance and style to any room in your home.