Entryway Living Room

Beautiful Wall Trim Molding Ideas For My Living Room and Entryway

Last Updated on April 10, 2019 by

Now that I’ve kind of changed direction with my living room, I’m trying to figure out exactly what I want to do with the walls.  I’ve known from the beginning that I wanted some kind of wainscoting or wall trim molding design on the walls, and that hasn’t changed.  But now that I’m not doing the teal walls, and I’m opting for a more neutral wall color with possibly only some slight contrast, I’m not quite sure exactly what kind of trim detail I want on the walls.  So I went in search of inspiration.

I could still go with the original idea of traditional wainscoting on the bottom and grasscloth on the top.  Y’all know I love grasscloth!  And instead of doing the teal grasscloth, as I had originally planned long ago, I could opt for a more neutral color.  The neutral grasscloth would give some beautiful texture to the walls, and a slight contrast with the wainscoting, without being a jarring contrast like the teal and white I currently have.

Wainscoting with grasscloth - dining room my Michael Abrams

Dining room by Michael Abrams, via Home Portfolio

Or, of course, I could forgo the grasscloth idea altogether and just do wainscoting on the bottom with a light/neutral paint color on top.  I love this particular wainscoting, and especially how they wrapped the chair rail about an inch before the window trim.  Such beautiful details!

Beautiful wall trim molding - traditional wainscoting with contrasting wall color above the chair rail, via Garden Web

via Garden Web

Another idea, kind of building on the idea above, is to not only have the wall trim molding below the chair rail but above the chair rail also.  Of course, the ceiling in this picture is very tall, so they have two additional sections of picture frame molding above the chair rail. My ceiling is only eight feet tall, so I’d only do one section above the chair rail.

Picture frame molding below and above a chair rail, via The Enchanted Home

via The Enchanted Home

Here’s another example that shows just one additional section of picture frame molding above the chair rail.  This has such a classic and elegant look!  I also think it might visually extend the height of the ceiling.  Possibly.

Picture frame molding below and above a chair rail, via Architectural Digest

via Architectural Digest

And one more example of that in white.  I think this might be my favorite, but I’m still not quite sure.

Beautiful wall trim molding - living room design by AM Dolce Vita, via Houzz

Contemporary Living Room by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators AM Dolce Vita

And then another option is to use that idea, but add grasscloth inside the picture frame molding.  I do like this white and gray, but I would opt for something with a little more neutral with less contrast — perhaps even a grasscloth that’s very similar to the wall color so that the only difference is that the areas inside the picture frame molding have some beautiful texture.

Beautiful wall trim molding - living room design by Greg Natale

Designed by Greg Natale

A simpler idea that still adds an elegant touch is to do tall rectangles of picture frame molding without a chair rail.

Beautiful wall trim molding - by Sara Bederman Interior Design, via Houzz

Eclectic Living Room by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators Sara Bederman Interior Design

And building on that same idea, this one has two layers of molding on each rectangle.

Beautiful wall trim molding - Claremont Park brownstone renovation by Melissa Miranda

Brownstone renovation by Melissa Miranda Interior Design

And finally, this has always been one of my favorite designs.  Of course, this staircase is just a touch grander than my house.  😀

Beautiful wall trim molding - entryway and staircase design by Phillip W Smith General Contractor, Inc.

Staircase by Mount Pleasant General Contractors Phillip W Smith General Contractor, Inc.

But here’s a dining room with a similar treatment.  If I did this one, I would do it all the way to the ceiling rather than using a chair rail high on the wall like they did in this dining room.

Beautiful wall trim molding - dining room by Prestige Homes, via Houzz

Traditional Dining Room by Mississauga Home Builders Prestige Homes

So those are a few ideas I’m tossing around in my head for my living room and entryway walls.  There are two main walls where the wall trim molding design would show — on the long entryway wall, and on the long wall that is between the living room and the kitchen, and that second wall is the first thing that people generally see when they walk through the front door, so I want it to look really nice.

Decisions, decisions!  🙂

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Syble Mc
    October 29, 2014 at 9:43 am

    They are all very pretty. I vote for the one with orchids on the mantle without the chair rail. I think it is very elegant and not so choppy for a 8 foot ceiling, also it has a little more modern feel to it.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Rose L
      October 29, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      That’s my favorite as well due to the smaller scale of the room we’re talking about. That would also create another beautiful place to showcase more of your mother’s wonderful artwork, along that entryway wall. When she gets back to painting that is 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Oh my, so many beautiful choices! I do like the simple version of the tall picture frames as well as the idea of adding the grasscloth inside the moulds so that you have a different texture, but not necessarily colour. I’m really looking forward to your tutorial on how to do the wainscoting/picture frames, as I haven’t yet gotten round to doing it myself and could do with a few tips. Cannot wait to see which will be your look in the end – I’m sure it will be beautiful 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lisa E
    October 29, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Wow, so many beautiful options, how is one to choose? My two cents, however, is to incorporate grasscloth in whichever design you choose as you have stated you’ve always loved that and that was originally your intention. I think it makes it a bit more homier, too, with the added texture. Love where this is all going!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 10:03 am

    i like pic 5 the best then 9 and 10 next then 1.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sheila E
    October 29, 2014 at 10:07 am

    So funny that you should post these images since I have most of them in a folder on my pc. I lean heavily toward the one with the grasscloth and I do love contrast. However, I feel that the color would need to be one that has staying power, since I wouldn’t want to remove it anytime soon (It seems that I tend to need to change my surroundings more often than most).

    I’m seriously considering trying out the look in my powder room and was inspired by the following. I think it will work well even though my room doesn’t have a window.


    I’ve also considered the following (no grasscloth) for my den:


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I love the one with the grey grasscloth! I even love the color! One of your favorite rooms had a warm wheat color on the walls. I think that wheat grasscloth would look fabulous instead of the grey!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sandy Poole
    October 29, 2014 at 10:30 am

    My favorite is the first one…I think that would be perfect for your living room!…Elegant, classy, but also warm…And you could paint your walls or use the grass cloth that you love.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carol F
    October 29, 2014 at 10:37 am

    I love all the ideas, but I can’t image that you would be happy with such non-color living room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 10:46 am

    I think the tall rectangles are fabulous! They visually raise the ceiling, give a perfect frame for artwork and would be a lot less work and cost than the wainscotting examples. The rectangles are also a perfect frame for grass cloth sections. If the grass cloth was a neutral colour you could easily repaint the walls any coulour if you ever wanted contrast again.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I personally like the grasscloth idea, it just adds that extra touch.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 10:57 am

    So many beautiful possibilities! While the grasscloth is gorgeous, it will limit you if you like to change your wall art very often. You can’t spackle over holes in the grasscloth!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      October 29, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Depending on the grass cloth of course, grass cloth is very forgiving as far as nail holes go. I speak from experience.

      I guess I like the dining room, number one the best.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Oooh…..grass cloth with picture frame is my favorite!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lysa Byous
    October 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Love them all – you must not get the dust we get here in KC because all those ledges freak me out when thinking of dusting them. I guess the bigger question is, will the rolling doors to the music room be the same as the ones into the sunroom? What will look best with those, and will you carry on the frames into the music room as well? Maybe a cool curved corner

    I love that big black cabinet in the photo with the huge mirror! Which brings me to another question – are you adding black anywhere in the room? It would be a nice touch of depth and to carry the look throughout the home and to balance the black doors.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      October 29, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      The rolling doors will be exactly the same as the ones I already made. I’m not sure if I’ll carry the trim into the music room. I might do something that coordinates with it, but not the same.

      I’ll definitely try to add some black to the room. I already have a little bit on the fireplace, but probably need more.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    L. G. O'Connell
    October 29, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Love the Michael Abrams’ look in the first picture with the wainscoting and the grass cloth. Just an absolutely timeless look, especially when done with the neutrals.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 11:22 am

    I like the elegance of the tall frame wainscoting floor to ceiling. I think the grasscloth insets would really be a nice touch. It would also make your ceiling look taller.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I am having trouble seeing your fireplace as currently styled blending in any of these room photos. Since the fireplace and the black door stay, I would either add additional trimming to the fireplace or choose a fairly modern simple wainscoting

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      October 29, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      Then you’ll be interested to see the project I’ve been working on today. 😉 Didn’t quite get it finished, but I’ll get it finished today. Operation: Traditionalization on the fireplace. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Kristi, l love them All ! I have been searching now for weeks for the design for my home….l agree wainscoat will add so much. Your home is so Beautiful !!! Can’t wait to see what you decide.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Len Williams Carver
    October 29, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    I love the elegant simplicity of the tall frame double molding ~ with the grasscloth in the center WOW! Class all the way and would compliment the elegance of your kitchen. You have training but your talent comes from within and it is a true blessing, I am so glad that you chose to share it all with us 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jeri J.
    October 29, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    I love the molding above the chair rail. For a less expensive option, try strie’ painting inside the boxes, maybe with a different finish in the same wall color. This is much faster than wall covering.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      October 29, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      Jen, I went to Sherwin Williams today to look at grasscloth wallpaper, and while I was there, I noticed one of their faux treatments called Striae Quartz Stone. It actually has a texture to it, and it’s gorgeous! It would be a heck of a lot cheaper than actually buying rolls of grasscloth, and much easier to keep clean, as well. I’m seriously considering doing something like that!

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Jeri J
        October 30, 2014 at 6:23 am

        the paint option is so much easier. We did paint treatments in almost every room in our house. Our bedroom got the striae effect. We painted a base coat color and then rolled on the top coat color . While still wet, we used a large wallpaper brush to drag the paint off. I would suggest using a glaze for the top coat as it dries slower, if you are doing this alone. Good luck with your room, Jeri

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        October 30, 2014 at 7:59 am

        Kristi, I was just reading all the comments when I saw this one from you so decided to post here. My first thought was, “Don’t spend all the money involved in putting up grasscloth when you can achieve the same look with paint in whatever color you want.” I’m sure that as talented as you are, you could achieve the look you want and it would be perfect.


        • Reply To This Comment ↓
          Kristi Linauer
          October 30, 2014 at 8:37 am

          THANK YOU!! I can totally do that! And save hundreds of dollars in the process. 🙂 I’ve searched for tutorials in the past, but never could find a good one. That link wasn’t really a tutorial, but I can at least see how she did it. And the fact that she went back after the fact and added the brown lines through makes it look so much more authentic. I like how she says, “I recommend hiring a professional for this, and not DIY-ing it” Haha! NEVER! 😀

          • Reply To This Comment ↓
            October 30, 2014 at 1:45 pm

            LOL, Kristi; I noticed that “do not attempt” statement, too. ;c) I Googled “faux grass cloth painting” and got a bunch of hits and several tutorials – even Home Depot has one. You can buy a special “comb” or use a whisk broom to make the lines; I’m sure you’ll experiment to find just the right look. I also think it was a “sign” that all the grass cloth sample books were checked out already when you got to SW, lol. Paint is so much less expensive and easily changed.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Angela Herrington
    October 29, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Have you thought about using two different designs? Perhaps the neutral grass cloth above the chair rail in the living room area and the ceiling to floor wainscoting on the wall to the left of your door as you walk into the house? Or the other way around? It would give you texture but reduce the amount of grass cloth you have to fight with 🙂

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      October 29, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      That might also be a great way to define the entryway a bit, and give its own separate look from the rest of the room. I’m going to have to give that some thought!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Love the first pic with the wainscoting below and the grasscloth above! While I also have always loved the look of molding the full height of the wall, I feel it looks a little too formal. With the one exception being the molding above and below with the grasscloth inside the squares. The color inside the molding still shows as elegant, it showcases the installer’s ability – a DIY project that would make you feel proud every time you walked into the room – but somehow still feels like something you would see in a real house that real people live in. As opposed to the formal dining room of your Hampton’s summer house (not that there is anything wrong with people that can afford to decorate that way, but not the average American family/house)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Hi Kristi,
    I’ve been following you for quite a while now. I’m often tempted to reply but usually don’t , however you finally got me.Maybe before you decide on your walls, you might want to think of what you will do with your ceiling. I noticed that almost all your wall treatment pictures had tall, beautiful ceilings. If it was me, with all your talent I think I would start with the ceiling and go from there. Of course this is like your drywall dilemma. Opening up a can of worms and hard work, but ultimately a make or break deal when it comes to the overall look. Please raise the ceiling if you can.
    I absolutely love your work and watching your growth from your condo to now. Keep being the inspiration for us amateur decorators.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      October 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Sadly, I don’t think it’ll be possible for us to raise the ceiling in there. 🙁 That would require construction that’s way beyond my ability, and way beyond our budget to hire out. But I am hoping that once I tear down the ceiling tiles and install drywall, as well as add more lighting, that the ceiling will be less in-your-face when viewing the room. Right now, it draws so much attention with those lines, and the room is so dark with only one light in there.

      I hadn’t really thought of a ceiling design. You mean some sort of trim on the ceiling? That would certainly be pretty! I wish could find some pictures showing trim on the ceilings of rooms with 8-foot ceilings rather than 10 or 12-foot so that I can have a better idea of what it might look like!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I agree with your favoring the Toronto Interior Designers living room. The molding adds a touch of elegance, and painting everything the same color doesn’t break up the room, which is a plus in a smaller home. That picture even shows a furniture arrangement with two chairs and a small console in between on the living room/kitchen wall, and the sofa on the opposite wall. It just looks like you!

    I think the thing I like about that room is that having the walls and major furniture pieces white makes them less obtrusive while the accents of black and soft blue really pop.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I would forego the wainscoting altogether because it makes the ceiling appear even lower. The tall rectangles would create the illusion of greater height by drawing your eye upward. I don’t think you want the wall treatment too busy in a small room with low ceilings, so I wouldn’t go too far with contrasting textures and colors. Simple moldings will be a nice backdrop for the colorful furnishings and interesting accessories.

    I noticed in one photo there was quarter round in the same stain as the floor rather than the white of the baseboard. I’ve never seen that before, and I think it looks odd, don’t you?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      October 29, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      I don’t prefer it that way. I like the shoe molding to be painted the same color as the baseboards. To me, painting it white makes the baseboards look taller. But I do know that hardwood floor installers generally stain the shoe molding to match the floors. My mom’s shoe molding is like that — stained to match the floor. That’s how the installers did it. That’s the only way I’ve ever seen hardwood flooring installer do it. I think it’s just easier for them than painting. But I don’t like it at all like that.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    I know you’ve mentioned your love of grasscloth several times so I would seriously consider grasscloth in some way. My personal favorite is pic #6 but don’t do the grasscloth inserts on the lower part…upper sections only. I think its a bit busy using it in all the rectangles both higher and lower. Eye needs a place to rest, just having it in the upper sections makes it seem more special, and plus on the lower a lot of it will be blocked by furniture so why do all the work and expense….just my 2 cents!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    I so very much LOVE all of it!! If I had to decide, I’d lose a lot of sleep trying to decide on which look I’d want for it all is so very beautiful!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mary Anne Looby
    October 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Hi Kristi, I did not realize that grass cloth had made a comeback! Guess I am out of the loop. I can remember using it the 80’s and it was pretty pricey back then. Are prices somewhat reasonable now? If you’re goal is the appearance of texture, why not just do one of the texture paint looks. Ralph Lauren had one that absolutely mimicked grass cloth. He had a cross hatch design tool and a whole bunch of others. I am sure they are still out there somewhere. I too love molding. I think it give a room a real sense of elegance. I have picture frame moldings above the chair rail in the living room and also going up the stair case. I also have it below the chair rail in the billiard room. We have very large crown molding and chair rails as well as baseboards. It just really finishes off a room. I am going to miss this house. I wish our taxes were not so high, then we could afford to stay here, but we refuse to waste any more money on school taxes for schools we never even used. Our kids went to private schools. I am getting off track, LOL. I think moldings in your entry way will be lovely and also in the living room. Your home is really starting to lean towards the very elegant and traditional. I think you may have to rethink the name of your “breakfast room”. I know you don’t want to call it a dining room, but it is the only place you have to eat. Maybe the “keeping room” although that is very colonial. I guess there really isn’t anything else you can call it. Oh well, gotta go. Making soup for the cold days that are coming, ugh!!! Blessings

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      October 29, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      It really depends on the company that makes the grasscloth. I’ve seen some pretty outrageous prices, like $200+ for a double roll, and I’ve seen some as low as $40 or $50 for a double roll. I went to Sherwin Williams today to look at grasscloth, but both of their grasscloth books were checked out. 🙁 But while I was there, I did notice that they have a textured paint product that produces a striae look that is very similar in appearance to grasscloth. That might be a much cheaper option!

      Hope your soup came out great! 🙂 I made soup today, also. Although it wasn’t anywhere near cold here. Still in the high 70s here.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    So looking forward to seeing what you do Kristi. Disappointing to see the rude people out there…glad to see you don’t let it get the best of you!
    Saw this butler’s pantry by Ashley Whittaker and it reminded me of your kitchen http://3.bp.blogspot.com/–59Ck2jaGBM/UstacPmjtXI/AAAAAAAAGdQ/i18yE_QH9DA/s1600/blue-laquered-wet-bar-ashley-whittaker.jpg

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    For what it’s worth, I’ve always liked the neutral/beige/taupe grass cloth above wainscoting more than the teal one. I think that’d look really nice and it would be a great background for the artwork and other design choices you’ll undoubtedly make for the walls and furnishings. I think that if you do above-the-chair-rail trim, you’ll end up back in the same boat where your walls are the feature of the room rather than the elements in front of them.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    I like the idea of the floor to ceiling wainscot in the music room, especially since their are no windows for drapery.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      October 29, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      I love that idea! Wait…do you mean the tall rectangles? Or do you mean the squares from the last pictures? Either one I think would be very pretty!

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        October 29, 2014 at 9:26 pm

        Both are beautiful but the tall rectangles might be better to make the room not looked closed in. Maybe even the ones that have color inside the squares.

        • Reply To This Comment ↓
          October 29, 2014 at 11:55 pm

          I went back & looked at the rolling door that you did in the music room. Since you’re going to have one at each end of the music room I think the longer rectangles would look fantastic. You could even opt for color inside the rectangle. This would also give you great space for hanging art work .

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 29, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    I like all the photos. I also liked the brown/neutral that you used to have on the living room walls, and I notice that the photos are all neutral. But I thought you didn’t like that? I’m sure you will find what you love though.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      October 29, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      Natalia, I wrote a post a couple of days ago about how I’m just not quite satisfied with my living room. So I went in search for inspiration, and after realizing that my favorite designer is Tobi Fairley, I spent several hours over the course of a few days really studying her portfolio. She loves to use bold color, but I noticed that in almost all of her rooms (not all, but almost all), the walls are neutral, and she brings in loads of color in the furniture and accessories. I love that look, so that’s the direction I’m going to head in this living room. I hope I can pull it off! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kelly Bryant
    October 29, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Okay so I never post but love your work and am so inspired to finish out my own DIY stuff for this year. Love the wall ideas but keeping in mind your new doors to the music room will be on display too I like just the full one single wainscot it will make the walls seem taller since you say you only have 8 ft ceilings. I love the idea of the textured paint and would give you a different look and would be easy to change out if you decided to go for the grasscloth at a later date. I also think if you have the single full length wainscot it will be similar in design to your kitchen cabinets since they are single inset design. One idea and it’s kind of off the chart would be to paint the molding in the gold leaf and the walls all the same color. Would tie in your gold on the glass side tables and the gold in your kitchen. Just a thought. What ever you choose will be just perfect for you and Matt.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Debbie in Southern California
    October 30, 2014 at 12:50 am

    If it’s hard for you to let go of the teal walls and with it all that wonderful color, just remember you’ll get it back in spades with other things like your accessories, and you won’t grow tired of the room so quickly. Plus, you’ll be able to change things up easier; i.e., have way more flexibility so you won’t get bored (plus you’ll save money in the long run.)

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 30, 2014 at 2:34 am

    While I love all the photos, I really love pictures number 1 & 6! I love the colors of both as well as the designs. Both are timeless & classic, not trendy.

    Good luck! I’m sure whatever you decide will look awesome!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 30, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Hi Kristi…

    I love the Greg Natale design (he is a favourite of mine for a number of reasons one of which is that he is an Aussie like me).
    Having said that… have you considered painting the inside of the wainscoting with the marble effect that you have on the side tables?
    I look forward to seeing your final choice…

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 30, 2014 at 8:17 am

    i like the first pic, but i think alot of it has to do with that gorgeous ceiling, more than the walls. the last pic is my next favourite, i’m not a fan of all white walls though, i like it in pictures but not in my real life. just my two cents.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    You’ve got so much work to do in the breakfast room, why not give yourself a break and do the wainscoting as you had planned, paint the top a neutral color (you can always do grasscloth later if that turns out to be what you really want). With 8′ ceilings I’d be afraid it’ll look incredibly “busy” with a ton of trim all the way up. My favorite is the second photo. Gorgeous, highly detailed trim, then simple paint on top. You would have no problem doing that trim with your woodworking skills… Just my opinion!!