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Finished Recessed Panel Wainscoting (Judges Paneling) With Mosaic Tile Accent

My DIY recessed panel wainscoting (also called judges paneling) is finished, and I LOVE how it turned out!  (But now I’m doubting my wall color decision.  *Sigh*)  UPDATE:  I changed the wall color.  You can see the new wall color here.

The tile accent is my favorite thing (it’s so shiny!), and the way it wraps around the vanity to make a backsplash turned out just like I had envisioned in my mind.  I love it when things turn out like they’re supposed to!

If you missed the first part of this project where I explained what I used to make the wainscoting, you can click here for those details.

So the last time I showed you the wainscoting, it looked like this…

bathroom walls - recessed panel wainscoting with tile accent - 9

…and I had added a strip of 1/2-inch drywall and more trim around the top…

bathroom walls - recessed panel wainscoting with tile accent - 16

And now that it’s all primed, painted, and tiled, it looks like this.

bathroom walls - recessed panel wainscoting with tile accent - 20

The only thing I’m missing is the trim piece along the floor on the far wall, but I can’t add that until I build the bathtub skirt since it’ll wrap around and needs to be mitered in the corners.  But you can see the bottom trim piece on this section behind where the toilet will sit.

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So the only things I added since my last post, besides the primer, paint, and tile, are the trim along the floor, and then the trim along the very top, which forms a little ledge where the wainscoting meets the painted wall above.

bathroom walls - recessed panel wainscoting with tile accent - 24

For that, I used a 1 x 2 piece of lumber, but I didn’t want it that thick, so I used my table saw to rip it down to 3/8-inch thick.  It looked more like a really thick piece of lattice after that.

The mosaic tile is this Elida Ceramica Crackled Linear Silk Glazed Porcelain Mosaic from Lowe’s.  It’s a mix of glazed tile and stone tile, and the glazed tiles are so shiny!  I love it!

bathroom walls - recessed panel wainscoting with tile accent - 22

I will still have a little bit of wainscoting to do on the walls by the built-in linen storage, but it won’t be anywhere near as involved as the part I’ve already done.  I’m not gonna lie.  Trying to get everything exactly right so that the tile would wrap around at just the perfect height to be a backsplash around the vanity was a bit of a challenge.  I’ve placed and removed that countertop about 20 times, and moved the vanity out and back at least 10 times, during this whole process!

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Now that it’s finished, I think I can finally screw the vanity to the wall and be done with it.  The countertop will need to be removed one more time so that I can install the undermount sink, but hopefully that will be the last time.

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And here’s one more attempt on my part to get a good picture of the countertop.  It still doesn’t show how pretty it is in person, but at least you can see that even though it’s really dark, you can see wood grain, and it does actually look like wood rather than a solid dark brown mass.

bathroom walls - recessed panel wainscoting with tile accent - 19

Oh well.  Maybe when I get the sconces and mirror installed, and it’s much brighter in here, it’ll show up better.

I love how this bathroom is coming together!  It’s so fun to be working on all of the pretty stuff now, after spending so long working on the hard, boring (but necessary) “bones” of the room.

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 8:37 am

    It looks Ahhhmazzzinnng Kristi! I just <3 how brave you are tackling a project this big all on your own!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Casey @Waffling
    March 26, 2015 at 8:40 am

    I loooooove the tile! and it ties in so nicely with the floor! If you still dont like the green paint…well paint is thankfully the easiest part to change!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 8:44 am

    It’s beautiful, Kristi! I love your idea of the tile accent/backsplash!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Don’t question the paint u til you get the shower curtain in the room!! You are at the awkward, everything doesn’t tie together yet stage!!! It’s looking amazing! 🙂

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      March 26, 2015 at 9:04 am

      Yes! That is what I was thinking too! The colors for the wall came from the shower curtain, so it’s too early to tell. It looks fabulous .

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        March 26, 2015 at 10:51 am

        That’s exactly what I was thinking as I read her comments – wait until the shower curtain is in place before changing the wall color! The accent tiles are just that, an accent, and they will tie in with the colors in the shower curtain fabric. THAT will be the icing on the cake!

        • Reply To This Comment ↓
          March 26, 2015 at 2:58 pm

          I was just thinking the same thing. Wait until the fabric is up and the room is done before you jump ship on the paint. It is a beautiful room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Looks faaaaabbbbbb, and I would put those mosaic tiles in the alcove above the little cabinet with glass shelving!!! Love the whole look!!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      March 26, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      I agree!
      And I think she should wait to be bummed about the wall color…until AFTER the shower curtain is in. I think it will all work out!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 9:05 am

    I love it! I totally agree with Lisa! Wait until the shower curtain is in and you’ve figured out the backsplash for your built-in cabinet before you think about changing the wall color. I can’t wait to see as the rest of this room evolves. The ceiling is freakin’ amazing! Your blog has really inspired my love for power tools over the past few years. I have added a miter saw, a nail gun, a jigsaw, and a circular saw to my garage and use them frequently. I love reading blogs about empowered women who charge ahead and make their aspirations come to fruition. I especially am loving your molding and you have made it look so much more doable. I’m a teacher so my projects are usually done over spring break, Christmas break, and summer. Spring break starts tomorrow at 1:00 and I’m already working on my to-do list! PS- I made a vanity top very similar to yours after reading all your tutorials and it turned out awesome! Thanks for being such an inspiration! I don’t usually post, but just had to, today! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Syble McCleskey
    March 26, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Love, love, love the tile work. And girl you are the Queen of trim work, it is amazing. I agree about the wall paint, it is looking like an icky yellow to me, easy change. You are getting really close to finishing, great job.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Stunning! just stunning! Can’t wait to see the rest of it! I think the shower curtain will pull all the room colors together and the wall color will still be good. BTW do you have a white balance on your camera? If so, it might help with getting truer colors in your pictures rather than the yellow cast from the incandescent lighting. Can also be balanced afterwards. Just a thought.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Kristi, what can I say, u blow my mind with all you do. Just beautiful, If only I was younger, I would try at least one of ur projects, 🙂

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      nancy oden
      March 26, 2015 at 10:07 am

      I agree with u Pat…in fact ive said the same thing..if i were younger Id try some of these projects…but maybe we should try one anyway..:) nothing ventured, nothing gained..

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 9:38 am

    It’s beautiful!
    i can hardly wait for what’s next

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Amazing! Agree with others not to second guess your paint until shower curtain is in. Looks great to me! Carry on.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sandy Poole
    March 26, 2015 at 9:46 am

    That tile broader looks awesome! You just amaze me how you can do all this carpentry work, I will tackle a lot projects but I’m a little nervous of cutting wood with a saw…I love how your bathroom is coming together!..When all the final decor gets done it is going to be stunning!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I love you. Will you marry me? Hmm, too strong? I love your talent, girl, both the fact that you can design AND build it! I can build it, but my creativity is no where near yours. Absolutely gorgeous.

    And I agree with the others, I am dying to see your shower curtain before you paint the walls, I LOVE this color combo!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Genelle McDaniel
    March 26, 2015 at 10:03 am

    It’s not only beautiful, but it is classy and elegant. Not a single contractor would have gone to all that trouble! Again, the tile is perfect for your little nook.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 10:03 am

    When I first saw your pics, I thought, “this is absolutely amazing!” I remember reading your posts while you were in the thick of things so its good to read that you are enjoying your project now. It really has come out beautifully!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    nancy oden
    March 26, 2015 at 10:04 am

    oh wow…JUST BEAUTIFUL!!! thats all i can say…just amazingly beautiful..u are so talented..

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Is that ceiling lamp your only lighting in the room? Or will there be vanity lights (either flanking or above the mirror)?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Love all of this! Can’t believe you have done it all in such a short period of time!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 10:16 am

    it’s looking great and I especially like the paint colour as it gives the entire room a pop of something unexpected, fresh and unique! I also vote for you waiting for the shower curtain before you decide on banning it… I can thoroughly understand that you like the projects now and admire you for the stamina to get through the tough and boring stuff to get here!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Looks great! Don’t start second guessing yourself on the wall color; wait ’til the shower curtain is up and all the other elements are in place – I’ll bet it’ll be perfect.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mark Tisdale
    March 26, 2015 at 10:24 am

    It really is in the details. That back splash looks fab!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 10:29 am

    THE BORDER! Love LOVE the trim application on top AND bottom and tile choice 🙂 🙂 🙂 If our bathroom DIY re-do goes to complete h*ll can we move into yours? 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tina M
    March 26, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Looks absolutely wonderful!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Shelby Burns
    March 26, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I see your issue with the color. I think the tiles are warm and light; the green reads cool. I think the green is overwhelming the tile with the color. The tile is fighting back with the pattern. They are not getting along. I do love the color. I actually have that exact green in my bathroom. Could be that the shower curtain will tie it all together, but looking at it now, I’m wondering if it won’t be a third warring party.

    I love your decorating adventures! I’m so glad you take us along!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 10:38 am

    This really turned out beautifully Kristi. But I know what you mean about the wall color. I loved the wall color until the tile went up. But like others have said I would wait until the shower curtain goes up. It might pull the colors all together. You can always repaint if necessary.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 10:45 am

    I love getting your posts. The tile looks great! Such creative talent and your dedication to get the job done perfectly.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Wow…WOW! Personally, my choice of wall paint would be one of the colors shown in the tiles (except white). Still, the bathroom is so pretty. Love it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Rose L
    March 26, 2015 at 10:47 am

    I don’t believe gratification was ever meant to be instant but earned and appreciated. You have so earned this!! I love it, that tile really sets the whole room off and your trim work is outstanding.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lisa E
    March 26, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Absolutely gorgeous! Beautiful tile and beautifully executed. I am of the camp to wait and see how it all looks with the shower curtain.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Now that I see the accent tile in place, I think it would look great behind the glass shelves in the storage niche. My only concern is, would it compete with the vanity as the focal point in the room?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      March 27, 2015 at 7:40 am

      I’m with Alta on this one. The tile to making the vanity the star of the room, but I’m afraid if you add tile to the nook. It will take away from your shining star

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 11:07 am

    I agree with your take on the paint color. It is a lovely color but it drowns out the beautiful wainscoating. I know you are not a beige person, but honestly, I think a Taupe in this room might be the right ticket. Get the shower curtain up first and then decide if you want to change the paint color. That will give you some more information.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Brenda Pawloski
    March 26, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Waaait a minite! You were doubting the Crisp Celery so I read on to find the reason for your doubt (too yellow?) and left me hanging! Well, the beautiful wood work and tile made up for it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Wow! Looks amazing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 11:15 am


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 11:28 am

    WOW IT LOOKS AMAZING!!!!!! I agree with others to wait until the shower curtain is up to decide on the wall color.. and although I have my own opinions, I’ll take their advice as well and wait until we see the shower curtain up before making any decisions 🙂 However, one thing I am now certain of is that the accent tile will be PERFECTION behind the glass wall shelves. I personally don’t think it would be too busy at all. It is more expensive so don’t do it unless you can swing it in your budget but I think it would be amazing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 11:35 am

    I still love the wall color and think it brightens the room, taupe or beige would be blah! Fabric makes a world of difference and brings everything together. Seeing the beautiful tile, I think it would look lovely behind your glass shelving and tie the whole room together

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 11:39 am

    It’s looking soooo pretty! You did such a nice job with that border tile; all your work of moving the gorgeous wood countertop over and over to make the border fall in just the right place has really paid off. I see the yellow-based, warm green as not the expected choice with the tile but I look forward to seeing how it plays with the shower curtain. Have you shown us the fabric yet?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mary Anne Looby
    March 26, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Love the tile with the white waiscoting. I kinda agree with you re the wall color. For some reason, maybe the beige and white below, I am seeing that yellow tone that you didn’t like. I love colorr, but am finding that the pictures I am drawn to have one really saturated color with the other being white. There are usually pops of a third color but nowhere near equal amounts. I am wondering about the molding around the top of the sink where it meets the doorway. It looks a bit off to my eye, but maybe it is the angle. Blessings

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Janie P
    March 26, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Every time I see one of your projects I think nothing can top that. Yet, time and time again, you do! Wish I could borrow you for a year to make over my house! Great job, yet again.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Ellen W.
    March 26, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Beautiful job so far! And it’s a very handsome cabinet you’ve created. Re: the woodgrain countertop – you should be able to see it better when your sconces are up. If you look at the photos of your ceiling, it’s the upward throw of the light that shows the detail of the wood (the dark corners don’t really show detailing). If you have a downward throw of light from the sconces, it will illuminate your countertop. Re: the background of your built-in cabinet – I’m not sure mirrored would be a good choice. I’ve had problems with the backing of mirrors in bathrooms getting discolored, perhaps from the moisture. But I don’t have ventilation, so that caution may mean nothing. 🙂 Again, beautiful job! Can’t wait to see the next step.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I don’t think the wall color is your problem, it’s the lighting. I think you really need to change your light bulbs. The lighting you’ve got is making all the warm tones in your tile, trim color, and wall color pull yellow. The unpainted sheetrock had a cool tint to it which was helping the wall color to show correctly. Your trim color is a warmer white (look how yellow it looks on the crown molding) and the large amount of it under that yellow toned lighting is making the green pull to the yellow side. If you put in some better cooler toned bulbs I think everything will look much better! I saw a blog post (can’t remember who’s) where she went through painting 3 times in green or blue paint colors & it looked bad every time until she changed her bulbs to cooler toned bulbs which showed the paint tones correctly.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sophia Viator
    March 26, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    I really can’t believe you can do this all by yourself. I think you’re a genius. I’m 78 and trying to learn some of this stuff. I completely rely on your web site to advise the trims, woods, etc. Thanks.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Kristi! Amazing…and I love all you have done…I doubt I would have that patience but you are doing an amazing job and I think once the shower curtain is up you will be able to decide on that color or no. Also the lighting is probably making a difference…you have some great ideas from other gals so press onward Queen Kristi!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    it looks fabulous!!!!! You inspired me to redo my countertop with butcherblock and double vessel sinks. I bought birch butcherblock from menards because it was on sale 1 1/2″ and closer than IKEA. I was at the Woodcraft store today buying Waterlox and they scared the crud out of me about staining birch. Help!!! Is this why everyone buys the oak??!! I did but wood conditioner. I was planning on dark walnut from rust oleum. Have any of your butcherblock countertops been birch??

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    your bathroom is looking amazing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    It looks incredible!

    Agreed on waiting for fabric to really get a good look at the wall color, but,,,most of us know your method of madness, and it will probably be changed before your next post :-D!
    Have you picked out your toilet yet? We just switched ALL of our contractor grade potties out of our house and went to the Optimum Vormax toilets by American Standard, and we have NEVER liked a toilet so much! They flush clean, and have a unique stay clean edge inside….we swapped out one and then ended up doing all three in our home!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I love everything so far, but I can see why you are questioning the wall color. I think you like color, could you try the lighter blue/teal you thought about using for the vanity? Or find another green with more blue tones and less of the yellow?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Lovely! I wish I had ur skill level aND

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Wainscoting and tile— both beautiful. You do excellent work on the details, and that is what makes it so classy.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Kristi, I just love everything you do! I have draperies in my dining room made of the same fabric you are using. My walls are painted khaki and look great! The color is lighter and still slightly green, but not exactly a color from the fabric. I don’t think the colors you use in the room have to exactly match the colors in the fabric. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sheri Hepworth
    March 26, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    It’s beautiful; all of it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Even now I’m remembering the before pics. SO different! It will be fun to see the before and after when you’ve finished!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    So,excited for you…..tile is soooooooo fabulously done……love love love it!!!!!!
    Can’t wait to see the shelving storage!!!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 26, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks that a more neutral taupe color would look best with your tiles? I know you love color, as do I, but I don’t know if this combination is the right one.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 27, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Beautiful! Two things–be sure you won’t need to pull the vanity out to install the sink before screwing into the wall. And wait till you have your fabric in before rethinking your wall color. Love Love Love your work!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 27, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Love the wainscoting, love the tiles on the floor and the wall. Love the paint on the wall and love the counter-top. I’m stealing half your ideas and putting my own twist on them! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 27, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Good bones make good pretties!! I love the walls, the tiles and the whole room! It is so pretty.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sharon C
    March 27, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Absolutely stunning…..the tile is certainly a wow factor. I agree with a lot of the other comments on the wall color, in that I’d wait until the shower curtain is up to see the total effect. Really loving all the pretty stuff and can’t wait to see what you decide on the linen cabinet wall.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 12, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Well, needless to say that you are very talented and I must add, very inspiring. You frankly did a beautifull job. I love the color of the vanity and was wondering if you purchased it like this or if you upcycled an existing one?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    November 28, 2017 at 8:33 am

    We are remodeling our main floor guest bathroom and had to find a detailed process on how to install wainscot. Your how to details for your bathroom process is very useful and the end result is fabulous. I do understand the concept, now it is planning and executing my thoughts!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Brenda in TX
    November 1, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    This is remarkable. The details, wow.
    I’m redoing our main bathroom. I too want a back splash as you have done. I have a question though. Now since it has been several years…How has the wood trim held up on the vanity (bottom of back splash)? My fears are that water splashes would cause issues. Have they?

    Thank you for sharing your technique!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      November 1, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      No, the trim holds up perfectly as long as you prime it well (I use Zinsser oil-based Cover Stain primer) and use two coats of a quality latex paint.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 13, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    I am n the middle of remodeling a hall bathroom and I love the use of the tile around the wainscoting you did so I decided to copy that idea. I wanted to know how tall the wainscoting is and how many inches tall the tile is on top of the wainscoting? I am doing a black and white design and was going to use small black hex tile as you did with the mosaic. Also, what is the trim you used in between the tile?