Would you like to know how to install wainscoting the simple, easy, way like I did?
This easy step by step how to wainscoting technique will guide you through.
Firstly, let me explain exactly what wainscoting is...
What is Wainscoting?
Wainscoting is a broad term generally meaning a wood paneling for walls and ceilings.
It's most often found in cottages to cover damaged walls and ceilings.
It's sometimes referred to as "groove paneling" and "tongue and groove paneling"(beadboard).
Wainscoting can also include the more formal application of "raised paneling" and "recessed paneling", where moldings are used to create a detailed look. There is also "board and batten", my personal Fav!
This very traditional living room shows lovely recessed paneled
wainscoting. This can be very pricey depending upon the type of wood used. Mahogany can be super expensive. And there is a lot of detail involved so the labor costs can be high, unless you do it yourself, of course.
If you become familiar with a miter saw and a nail gun and use less expensive woods like stain grade plywood and molding you can save a bundle even if you hire it out.
Or you can use super inexpensive MDF if you opt to paint it.
Ever have trouble choosing paint color? Find out how to make it so much easier Go to Choose Room Color
I used the Board and Batten technique for my master bathroom, but I did the faux version: just using the battens, an apron,a cap, a shelf, and a baseboard over drywall. I painted and sealed it all one color so it looks like wainscoting. I used MDF (medium density fiberboard) approximately $35.00 for a 8'x10' sheet-SUCH A DEAL! And if I do say so myself-LOOKS TERRIFIC!
More about how I did it later...
My Bathroom Done With A Board And Batten Technique
All wainscoting, whatever style you choose can be painted any color but white or stained are the traditional looks.
Let me show the beautiful wainscoting pictures that inspired me... and give you my steps on how to install wainscoting called board and batten... Scroll down
This Cape Cod inspired bedroom is full of charm don't you think? I love this board and batten technique, same as my master bath. They used two thirds of the wall for the wainscoting. With an application like this larger artwork won't work well. Opt for smaller pictures resting on the shelf cap maybe stacked using different heights or 5x7's 3 or 5 in a row hung on the wall horizontally. You can even place accessories on the shelf cap varying heights.
This is another faux example this time of recessed paneling.
Very simple to do. Just use 1 x 4's placed between 1 x 4 baseboards and aprons (the horizontal piece that run horizontally above the vertical pieces).
I love that they added the shelf and how they displayed the artwork.
Also notice that not all the panels widths are even yet still look good. Sometimes this is necessary due to placement of electrical outlets and such.
I wanted to center my battens evenly under a window sill, so I had to let there be more space on the next spaced batten in order for it to look right. You will better understand what I mean once you get into your project.
This board and batten was done using wider battens. Love the height! And how about that drum chandelier! A nice twist on traditional. You get the sparkle and traditional feel I love for a dining room from the crystals, and the hippness of the drum shade. No wonder they are so popular right now!
I just LOVE horizontal beadboard! It really makes the room look wider in a narrow space.
These old tubs are sure "in" right now! They don't cost much to reglaze either if you happen to come across an oldie at a flea market.
Here's a nice example of horizontal wainscoting!
I bet you could use flooring to get this look!
And again my beloved board and batten wainscoting effect. It's what I used in my bathroom and what I plan to do in my living room. Why do I love it so much?
I love that it's so inexpensive and easy to do!
Here's the how to wainscoting technique for board and batten...
In the old days, they used boards to cover the old cracked walls and used battens to cover the nail holes and seams. That's why it is so commonly found in weathered cottages and rustic cabins. It was less expensive to fix the walls by just covering them up.
My application was done without the boards, using inexpensive MDF and painting the battens and wall the same color (semi-gloss) paint, and it gives the same effect.
Of course if you want to stain the wainscoting then don't use MDF(medium density fiberboard), choose a good quality wood sheathing and do it the old fashioned way as explained above.
I saw a beautiful wainscoting treatment on HGTV by Designer Candace Olson. She applied prefinished flooring boards horizontally to the walls half way up (wainscoting), and it looked gorgeous!
Here's what you'll need:
MDF (medium density fiberboard) It's sooo cheap! I did my bathroom with 2 sheets that cost approximately $35.00 each.
Power Nail Gun
Miter saw or chop saw and circular saw
*Note: You will need a circular saw to cut down the 8 x 10 into the smaller pieces you'll need. I let The Home Depot do the cuts for me and only needed to make minor adjustments with my chop saw.
paintable caulk and caulking gun
Here's what I did:
Measured my walls and decided on the height of the wainscoting and the spacing of the battens, the size of the cap (horizontal top piece) and size of the base board ( horizontal bottom piece).
These are my cut measurements:
finish molding 1/4 inch (optional)to finish the front of the shelf piece and also to add decoration to the back of the cap where it joins with the shelf piece.
Battens = 1.5"
Batten spacing= 12" on center( the center of the batten lined up with the 12" spacer line I drew on the wall, may need to make adjustments for plugs and switches. Also I spaced the battens slightly farther apart under a window because it looked better to have them centered, but you don't even notice it.
Batten height= 49"
note* I had The home depot make all my cuts for me. You'll need to provide them with a cutting list and leave it and pick up later. They told me it's easier for them to make so many cuts when the store is closing.
I determined how many feet of MDF I needed for the cap,base, and battens,etc... I Had the pieces cut,
I burrowed my neighbors nail gun (total time saver!, thanks again Alfredo!),
Drew out my plan on the walls with a pencil and level,
I put glue on the pieces and nailed them up,
I sanded any rough areas,
I caulked up the nail holes and all the seams and also outlined every piece with a bead of caulk,
sanded off the roughness of the caulk after it dried,
applied a primer coat,
applied 2 coats of semi-gloss.
Lastly, I painted the upper wall portion a beautiful watery blue. Oh yeah, and I gave the room a crown, see how I saved here too with this little trick...Go to Crown Molding DIY
I get so much pleasure from this little bathroom! It is so pretty, and I'm so proud of myself for saving so much money by doing it myself.
I am so inspired, I'm doing the rest of my house with this DIY wainscoting technique so stay tuned through my newsletter- sign up below.
My living room is my next wainscoting project coming soon... sign up for my newsletter for updates and my latest design projects. You'll be able to check out the archives here and catch up...interior-decorating-diva Monthly