Home Remodeling Ideas & Pictures from Homeowners & Contractors
  • Picture Frame Wainscoting Installation


    Traditional wainscoting adds a sophisticated touch to the walls of any home.  Once a fairly standard interior design element in home construction, its use largely fell out of popularity in the Twentieth Century when wallpaper, flat paneling and paint replaced this stylish, traditional wall treatment.

    In the 21st Century, however, wainscoting is making a comeback in a huge way and in this project post we look at the DIY installation of picture frame wainscoting.

    Professionally installed chair rails and wall wainscoting can be expensive, depending upon the area to be covered and the materials used.  It is possible however, to get all the elegance of traditional picture frame wainscot without the monumental price tag.

    Kate, blogger and DIYer at Centsational Girl shows us all exactly how it is done here:



    Kate’s living room featured textured walls that cried out for some visual balance; Kate positively pined for the addition of a chair rail and picture frame wainscoting to break up the drab monotony. Over the course of several weekends, she and her husband transformed a ho-hum living room into a showcase of chic; all for under $250 in materials!

    They might have gone for a faux wainscot effect by merely painting the area below their planned chair rail in another color.  The couple decided against this because of wanting a contrast between the textured upper walls and the intended smooth surface area below the rail.


    How did they manage it, you may ask?  Briefly, here is their process.

    First and foremost, they planned out every step of the project and, measured once, twice, three times before making a single cut to their paneling materials.  They took their careful organization right down to the electrical outlets, which needed to be extended with spacers in order to clear the panels.   This is not a job for the timid, Kate was comfortable with this basic bit of electrical revision, should you not feel similarly confident, do the right thing and call in an electrician.

    After cutting the power to the room and prepping the outlets; they made the first cuts to their panels, using a jigsaw to carve out the outlet socket holes.  They attached the panels to the walls with construction adhesive supported by brads at strategic intervals.


    After cutting the chair railing and “picture frame” trim with a miter saw, they tacked them to the wall, caulked around the seams and filled in the mitered corners with spackling.

    Once all seams and spaces were filled in and cured, they primed the rail and wainscot and proceeded to paint.  Other options here would have been to prime the elements before attachment to the walls, or buying pre-primed paneling.

    Kate and her husband were very careful to keep the new look proportional by painstakingly spacing the various elements at uniform distances.  Again, measure, measure, measure and map!

    Of course, doing the renovation themselves was a lot of work, but we think that the results speak for themselves.  Kate and her hubby have the added satisfaction of having done the work the way they wanted it done. If you have installed picture frame wainscoting we would love to hear from you.

    picture frame wainscoting finished