A lovely way to enhance the walls of your home is by adding wainscoting along your baseboards and walls. Wainscoting is a simple and long-lasting improvement that can breathe new life into just about any room of your home, on any wall, and in practically any style and design.
Wainscoting was originally used as a functional component in homes. Today, we see them as an element of elegant interior decoration that infuses color, size, and shape in a wide array of environments. Due to its widespread utilization in modern architecture, some might find a home without at least some wainscoting on the wall somewhat of an anomaly. In fact, in many homes, wainscoting seems to exist in just about every room. The same is true even in many apartment buildings and condos.
This doesn’t mean that wainscoting is always used well or incorporated into interior design in an effective or aesthetically pleasing way. For that reason, we’ve put together the 34 most inspired wainscoting ideas that you’ll love to use in your own home on any wall. You’ll see wainscoting used on the walls of dining rooms, living room, bathrooms, bedrooms, and more.
Take a look at my curated list of Wainscoting Designs and Wainscoting Styles to give you ideas for your next DIY home improvement project! Let me know which photos you like best. You’ll find many room-specific wall ideas to fit any home design style!
Read also: We have an article about the different Wainscoting styles, to help you get a grasp on all the options available: 3 Best Wainscoting Styles for your Walls
Classic White Cottage Wainscoting Style
Create a timeless look with simple white wainscoting around the walls of your dining room or kitchen nook. This effortless paneling style easily complements nearly any style you want to achieve. Add additional wall covering, like wallpaper, above the wainscoting installation or chair rail for even more style in your room design.
Tall Panel Board and Batten Wainscoting
If your room has high or lofted ceilings, extra-tall board and batten wainscoting panels can dress the walls and bring attention to the beauty of vaulted ceilings with clarity and life, no matter what room you decide to highlight. Board and Batten goes great on dining rooms, bathroom, living room, or home office. As you can see below, you can paint it in various colors like white, black, or gray. Add wallpaper or accent color on the wall above it to create an eye-catching room.
Rustic Green Beadboard
Nothing quite says rustic or provincial like a perfectly weathered green beadboard wainscoting adorning your wall. Try this style in your bathroom to give the area a homely and comforting appearance.
Industrial Chic Tin-Roof Wainscoting
Keep in mind that not all wainscoting needs to be made of wood. One particular replacement wall covering material comes by way of metal, especially in the form of repurposed or distressed aluminum. Check to this bathroom design below with rusty metal panels along the wall.
Oblique Lines in Relief
To bring the walls into focus without calling too much attention to them, you can craft plain white crisscrossing lines that intersect in a repeating pattern. This design element works incredibly well in long hallways or along stairs that need a bit of panache.
Chevron Panel Wainscoting
If the look you’re after calls for simplicity, but you also want to achieve a bit of intrigue, employ a simple chevron pattern (with or without a bifurcating line). While seemingly straightforward, this design creates movement while simultaneously drawing the eye around the room. Add a contrasting color above the wood paneling. For example in the photo below, a dark wall color contrasts nicely with the white wainscoting installation.
Art Deco Inspired Wainscoting
While many homeowners opt for white, other colors can be just as striking, if not more so in the right circumstances. In an art deco-inspired space, install wainscoting with raised geometric molding patterns on the wall to complement any environment, be it a bathroom or unfinished basement. As you can see, any color goes, from black to blue.
Faded Rustic Chic Paneling on the Wall and Ceiling
In some instances, you can match the ceiling with the wainscoting to tie the whole room together and build a cohesive appearance throughout. This works particularly well for looks specific to a certain design aesthetic, such as a mix of rustic and chic wooden elements.
Mahogany Wood Wainscoting
If, like Ron Burgundy, you’re the type to have a library filled with many leather-bound books, then consider adding to the sense of sophistication with mahogany wood wainscoting. Use curves instead of right-angles to really drive home the look and feel you want.
Nursery Room Wainscoting with Wallpaper Print
Some people might think that a room can either have wallpaper or wainscoting, but not both. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In any room that needs a little extra pizzazz on the wall, craft rectangular shapes with picture frame molding and install wallpaper within the frames. While this idea goes for nurseries, it can bring life to virtually any space.
Regal Powder Room Paneling
Wainscoting is remarkably versatile, as is evidenced by its use in practically any style, including more opulent looks like this one. Shapes, spirals, and other patterns create mystique and intrigue throughout the room, especially in smaller spaces like bathrooms or vanity closets.
Gorgeous White Marble Wainscoting
Clear the way for modern luxury! Few things shout elegance quite like marble. To gift your bathroom (or other space) a little more richness, use marble or quartz wainscoting instead of traditional wood. You won’t regret it.
Contemporary Coffee Colored Beadboard Paneling
If contemporary is more your speed, don’t feel the need to force something extravagant. Instead, use simple, traditional, vertical lines with a bit of beige or coffee color to elevate this classic beadboard look.
Wainscoting with Backsplash
Another misconception about wall paneling comes in the form of mixed materials use (again!). Here, we can see that wainscoting and backsplash can be utilized in the same space without one overpowering the other. On the contrary, they complement each another perfectly.
French Colonial Wainscoting with Picture Frame Molding
Take a page out of the French colonial handbook and bring a feeling of elevated and classic elegance to any entryway, dining room, or parlor with soft white or charcoal color wainscoting with simple rectangles in relief. I love the use of wallpaper above the chair rail.
Urban Industrial Opulence
To bring out the fullest sense of your personality and style, allow the color, furniture, and materials in your space to speak for themselves. Give your walls a low seated wainscoting with dark paint and let the walls and leather and leopard print do the real talking.
Lumber Cabin Walls
This is my favorite on the whole list! Take wooden lumber from the nearby forest and turn it into the uppermost bar of your arboretum-inspired bathroom space. Trees aren’t just for outside anymore, they can be the chair rail!
Comfy Traditional Wooden Paneling
Don’t overthink it. With vertical wood paneling, you can infuse an otherwise dull space with a lot of life, without a lot of effort.
Classy Gloss Finish Wainscotting
The same shapes and patterns can be utilized over and over again with new and surprising results. Here, take a simple rectangular motif and apply a glossy finish to make the wood pop and shine.
Reclaimed Board Wall Paneling
You just have to know that I love this photo. What appears complex on the surface is actually nothing more than multiple styles of unfinished reclaimed board laid side-by-side. It’s rustic and fun from start to finish.
Mountain Lodge Wainscoting
Here, we can see the use of deep brown wood color reminiscent of dark chocolate lining the entryway. You don’t need anything more than this to recall the mountains and the forests in a cabin or lodge atmosphere.
Mirrored Board and Batten Reliefs
Sometimes, one shape just isn’t enough. When that’s the case, utilize two or more geometric figures — something simple like a square or rectangle — beside and atop one another. It’s classic and traditional and elegant all at once, whether in white, black, or another color altogether. You can use this board and batten style to enhance your hallways, entryway, or dining space.
Geometric Stone Pattern Paneling
To really strike a bold impression on your walls, use a stone-like material as the wainscoting base and have a geometric pattern scroll top-to-bottom and side-to-side like beautifully crafted waves.
Traditional Vertical Panels
If simplicity is your thing, consider straightforward vertically oriented dark cutout panels in your wainscoting. And if you want to jazz it up a little bit, go with a bright pop of wall color like teal.
Colonial Relief Wainscoting Shadow Boxes
The colonial facade typically composes itself of primary elements like brick or wood. You can add to these shadow boxes into your interior design by adding components such as plain picture frame molding rectangles in relief.
Alternating Shapes Pattern
Though these may appear similar to some we’ve shown you above, the patterns here holds a unique distinction. The board and batten rectangles vary in size around the wall, creating a more distinctive (and modern) composition.
Vertical Pinstripe Beadboard Wainscoting
Stripes function as a mark of simplicity and authenticity in fashion, and the same holds true in interior design. Use these wainscoting panels on your walls of your bathroom or living room to strike consistent visual notes without a lot of work.
Full Wall Board and Batten Wainscoting
I know I keep saying this (sorry not sorry), but this one is another of my absolute, all-time favorites. These blue cubes in this full wall board and batten wainscoting are set in relief throughout the entire wall, making it less wainscoting and more of a wallpaper that’s come to life. How great is that?! Notice how the artwork contrasts, enhancing the interior design.
Solid Black Wainscoting
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Sometimes black is the most striking color you can use in interior design. Give your wainscoting the LBD treatment. It never fails to impress.
Elegant Colonial Dining Room
At first blush, this dining room might appear like the earlier colonial ideas, but this one has an intricate design hiding in the corner, as well as a “rope” line along the top of the wainscoting in this somewhat pastoral inspired idea. Dining rooms are usually the most popular rooms in the home to use wainscoting.
Traditional Wainscoting with Paint Coat or Wallpaper
Take a simple, traditional wainscoting and give it a coat of paint it completely changes the feel of the interior design. In one instance below, we’ve used a hunter or forest green on the wall to give it a feeling of deep, rich elegance and sophistication, as well as a very modern sensibility. In the other case, black paint does the trick all on its own. Add wallpaper above the panels to give the room an even more dramatic feel.
Multidimensional Tile Siding
Ground control to Major Tom… Your bathroom wainscoting is calling. This wall design is worthy of rock stars and anybody that wants to live like one. If you use this wainscoting, please invite me over ASAP. Because it’s incredible, and so are you.
Ski Chalet Wood Paneling
Long wooden horizontal boards extend along the wall from one side of the living room to the other, creating a clean lodge look in any space that calls for it.
Rustic Distressed Wall Panels
Take traditional wainscoting, give it an eggshell or beige coat of paint, then distress the bevel. This is all it takes to make a contemporary room uniquely your own.