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16 Reasons to Love Painted Wainscoting

by Grace Bonney

I’ve always been a little clueless when it comes to wainscoting. I love it, but didn’t really know much about it. For years I used the terms wainscoting, beadboard and chair rail interchangeably until, thankfully, Max decided to do a quick 101 post on them to help me get up to speed. I love the structure and definition that wainscoting gives to a space, whether it’s used part-way up the wall or in a floor-to-ceiling application. That small bit of architectural detailing can greatly enhance the presence of a room, making it feel more stately or even a little bit taller. So today I’m sharing 16 of my favorite painted wainscoting moments, from traditional white panels to bold, deep grey walls and shiny blue hues. xo, grace


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Images above: (Top) A cheerful hallway at Hogan Inc, (Middle) This North London home uses colorful wainscoting to accent a whimsical Trustworth wallpaper design, (Bottom) This incredible bathroom is the work of designer Jenny Komenda, who paired blue wainscoting with one of Eskayel’s watercolor-inspired wallpaper designs. 


A full wall of grey wainscoting was part of this dramatic bedroom makeover.


Pink wainscoting acts as a de facto headboard in this Swedish home.


This spooky-cool all-black bathroom in Toronto uses shiny black wainscoting to contrast the white interior of the clawfoot tub.


This Hudson Valley home has a dramatic black-and-white theme, carried through to the room’s wainscoting and doors.


I used to live right around the corner from Bakeri in Brooklyn, and their painted/aged wainscoting is a wonderful complement to this dramatic floral wallpaper (which might be one of the most Instagrammed spaces in Brooklyn now).


This historic Kingston, New York home has incredible original details, like this wainscoting and chair molding painted in “Revere Pewter” by Benjamin Moore.


I love the way this all-white wainscoting is dramatically contrasted by black painted ceilings and walls. The rich terra cotta rug makes it all feel warm and inviting.


Wainscoting became a creative decorating tool in this Seattle restaurant.


Accents of pink and peach play nicely off of this classic white wainscoting in this Illinois family home.


Megan Pflug’s Brooklyn home got a strong black-and-grey makeover, including black painted wainscoting that continues the two-tone feel across doors and stairs.


I love the way the grey painted wainscoting is continued on the ceiling of this Portland home that Jessica Helgerson designed.


When painted wainscoting is coordinated with the ceiling and window trim, like in this Providence home, it helps enhance a room’s architectural feel.


One last soft grey wainscoting (with color coordinated sink!) from Jessica Helgerson.

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