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  • Writer's pictureAron Pinto

Guest Post: The Best Wainscoting Ideas for Your Dining Room

We have something a little different for you today, a guest post from a fabulous Ontario remodeler and interior designer, Alex Lewinsky. Experienced with all kinds of home renovations, Alex brings a whole new dimension to interior design and house remodeling. An interior designer himself, Alex doesn’t hesitate to try out new ideas but always in the spirit of making homes functional, friendly, and elegant. If you’d like to get all sorts of house renovation & decorating ideas, as well as see more of his work, visit the Model-Home Makeover Inc. website at

Now, over to Alex…

Does your dining room look a little bare? Is it crying out for a décor update? Then wainscoting panels may be just what you are looking for.

One of the great things about wainscoting panels is that they are so versatile. You can hang high or them keep them low. You can paint them the colour of your choice or choose to paint the wall above the panel a contrasting color. You can let them become the main focus of your wall décor or pair the panels with mirrors, artwork, or shelves. Whatever you chose to do, the room will be warmer and far more interesting. And that’s exactly what you want in the dining room.

Every dining room is different of course. If yours is a more formal room, you most likely want a classic decoration theme without losing that little something which will add an extra flair to the room.

Formal dining rooms also often have limited furniture. Apart from the dining table and chairs, there might be a cabinet or bookcase. Nothing more. These rooms are practically empty, so they can easily be cold and unfriendly.

Even if they are rather formal, you need a striking visual element that will add texture. That can be easily accomplished with a wainscoting installation. ModelHomeMakeover is one such home renovation company in Toronto to depend on for the best interior decorating solutions and makeovers.

Dining Room Wainscoting Styles

Although there are many wainscoting design ideas and each one of them will add architectural interest to the room, there are some decisions that only you can make based on your unique room:

Do you have a minimal dining room and want to keep it this way? A shaker panel wainscoting may be what you are looking for. It’s simple and will make a statement without making the room look ‘heavy’.

Do you like ornamental moulding designs? You can get a raised panel with a beaded frame. And don’t forget that wainscots come along with baseboards and chair rails, which can be ornate too.

Pay attention to the height when you choose your wainscotting. High panels look great in ‘tall’ dining rooms. But they won’t work well in a room with average or rather low ceilings. In such cases, you’ll need to bring the wainscoting down. The lower it stands the higher the room will look though, an added bonus.

Wainscoting and Colour Combinations

Classic wainscoting panels are often painted white. Some prefer a wooden tone to keep the dining room traditional, but the truth is that the lighter the hue the brighter the room. White is definitely not the only option for wainscots though and the colours you choose will depend on your personal preference and the colour of the wall above.

White wainscoting and white walls will work well in minimal dining rooms. Or when you need to put emphasis on the rest of the wall decoration and let the wainscot make the room inviting in a subtle way. White wainscoting works equally well with black walls. Or walls painted any intense color. White will also make a bold statement when the rest of the room’s trims are black.

If you prefer the industrial home design look, paint the flat panel wainscoting black. That’s a step closer to a minimal look and contemporary dining room. In this case, it’s better if you paint the walls white to avoid making the room too dark and depressing.

But it’s not a coincidence that most modern wainscoting panels are white. This gives you the freedom to use any colour for the wall above or hang wallpaper in any pattern without overwhelming the dining room.

Modern Wainscoting Decor Ideas

Install a full wall panel wainscoting. This can easily serve as the sole wall decoration. Or you can hang artwork. It can become the backdrop to your dining table and easily be accentuated with a floor lamp standing in the corner.

If you like the idea of patterned wallpaper over the panel, install a shaker wainscot painted a matching color. This will add uniformity and bring balance. It will be eye-catching without being overkill.

Small windows? They will look bigger with a tall raised panel wainscoting. But that’s only if the room is tall enough. Tall panels work also well when there is a chandelier hanging from the ceiling. When the wainscoting ends where the chandelier begins, the room looks stunning and oh-so-elegant!

I may be biased, but wainscots often create the best dining room wall design effects. They can stand alone and simply tell a visual story with no other wall decorations. Or they can compliment a larger decor scheme. Or change it altogether. There are lots of options and the choice is yours!



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