Last Updated on December 24, 2015 by Kristi Linauer
All three areas (entryway, dining room, and music room), or just two? Should it just be in the entryway and dining room? Or just the entryway and music room? How much wainscoting is too much? Is it overkill to put it in all three areas? And what style should it be?
These are the questions I’ve been racking my brain with all weekend. Well, it’s actually been much longer than that, but I’ve kicked it into high gear this weekend since I’m actually starting to make good headway on my taping, mudding, and sanding, and I should be ready to start making my walls pretty by next weekend. Here are the areas I’m concentrating on right now.
(This is what our floor plan looks like right now. Click here to see our long-term goal.)
I really have my heart set on a design that will cover the entire entryway wall, which is what I call the long, uninterrupted wall to the left as you enter the front door. That’s where my coral buffet sits. I’d like for all (or most) of that wall to be painted white because I want my coral buffet to really stand out against that wall.
The thing I’m having a hard time deciding on is the style that I want. I’ve narrowed it down to two styles, and the only factor in that decision is deciding where else I want to put it since only one of these styles will work in my dining room.
The first style I’m considering is this picture frame style. It’s simple. It’s classic. And it would look lovely on my entryway wall, don’t you think?
That style is so simple to do since you just use trim to create “picture frames” on the wall, and then paint the entire wall a solid color.
The second style I’m considering is a recessed panel wainscot — same style that I used in my hallway bathroom remodel.
I love that style, and it would match the look of the pony walls that I built between the entryway and the music room at the beginning of this year.
And it also matches the fireplace makeover I did at the end of last year.
That style is much more difficult and time-consuming, and would be even more so since I’ll be doing not only the lower part of the wall, but the upper part as well. It’s also a lot more expensive, but that’s not really a factor in my decision.
The only factor in my decision is where else (other than the entryway wall) I’m going to put wainscoting.
I love the look of wainscoting in a dining room. Wainscoting and dining rooms just seem to be a perfect match in my opinion. I won’t be painting my dining room black, but isn’t this gorgeous!?
I haven’t decided on a wall color yet, but it’ll be something light and bright, with just enough color to offer a bit of contrast with the white trim (and wainscoting, if I choose it use it in there). I’ve ruled out grasscloth, but I’ve always loved the walls in this dining room, and I’m still inspired by the white wainscoting and the light neutral upper walls.
I’m thinking something in a very light taupe — probably even much lighter than this…
But you see what I mean, right? Dining rooms and waincoting are a natural fit.
So if I decide to do the full wall of wainscoting on the entryway wall, and chair rail height wainscoting in the dining room, then I’ll have to go with the picture frame style. The reason for that is because while I’m always up for a challenge, there’s no way I’m tackling the challenging logistics of adding recessed panel wainscoting to a room with very little wall space and loads of obstacles — front door, windows, cased opening, pony walls, and a fireplace. Figuring out the placement and spacing of the stiles (and trying to fit stiles into places where there’s really not enough room) would be beyond challenging. But picture frame moulding I can do.
But then what about the music room? I still have my heart set on doing a DIY version of Schumacher’s Birds & Butterflies wallpaper, minus the butterflies. And I love the look of that wallpaper above chair rail height wainscoting.
As much as I love the black wainscot, if I do this in my music room, mine will be white. I’ve already tried black in that room, and it kind of makes my special doors disappear. And I’ve also noticed that my happy yellow piano doesn’t look quite so happy in front of a black wall. A light wall really changes the look and feel of the piano in the room.
So white it will be…if I put wainscoting in that room. And if I decide to go with wainscoting only on the entryway wall and the music room walls, then I’ll probably do the recessed panel style since those areas have wider areas of uninterrupted wall space.
But can’t you just imagine my bright yellow piano sitting against a wall of bright white chair rail-height wainscoting with tree limbs and playful, colorful birds on the upper walls?
Okay, that’s the most recent picture I have, and you really have to use your imagination to picture it. 🙂 But can you? I think it would look amazing!
And for those of you worried about the busy-ness of “four walls” filled with the birds and limbs pattern, keep in mind that two of those “walls” really aren’t walls at all. One “wall” is nothing but pony walls and columns. Once the crown moulding goes on, there might be about three or four inches above the top trim where the pattern will show, and that’s it. The same goes for the opposite wall where the rolling doors are. That wall is mostly just a large cased opening, and when the doors are open, almost none of that wall will show. So we’re really just talking about two opposing walls in that room, both of which have uninterrupted space of about 9.5 feet in width.
So it all comes down to a few questions that I haven’t been able to answer.
- How much wainscoting is too much? If I put a full wall of wainscot on the entryway wall, and then do chair rail-height in the dining room and music room, is that overkill? Or would that look nice and make the spaces look unified and cohesive?
- If I do both areas, I’ll do the picture frame style. Is it okay to use the picture frame moulding style since I already have the other style on the pony walls and fireplace? Is it okay to mix styles like that? I’m thinking it’s fine since the pony walls and fireplace are more structural, and the walls will be more decorative. Plus, the white paint will tie everything together. But I’m not 100% convinced just yet.
- If I just do one room, which room should it be? The dining room makes more sense, but the music room would make more of a statement since it has more large expanses of uninterrupted wall space.
- If I do wainscoting on the entryway wall, and then the music room, but not in the dining room, will that look unfinished?
These are the questions I’ve been torturing myself with all weekend. 🙂 I think I’ve almost convinced myself to go ahead and do wainscoting in all three areas, which means that I’ll be doing the picture frame style, but I’m just not quite sure enough to make that a definite plan. Seriously, how much wainscoting is too much?
EDIT: *To clarify, I can’t/won’t add recessed panel wainscoting to the dining room. Any wainscoting in the dining room will have to be picture frame only. The whole style question hinges on whether or not I’ll be adding wainscoting to the dining room. So my options are:
- Wainscoting in all three areas, which means I would have to go with picture frame style,
- Wainscoting just in the entryway and dining room, which means I would have to use the picture frame style, or
- Wainscoting just in the entryway and music room, in which case I can use the recessed panel style.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
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