The wainscot, or “wainscoting” is a type of panelling that can be used in homes and offices to create an interesting decorative effect. It is also one of the most common ways to cover up imperfect walls.

It does seem counter-intuitive that adding a wainscoting to your room would make it look smaller, but does it? In this blog post, we will explore the history of wainscoting and see if they do in fact make your room look smaller.

What is Wainscoting?

Historically, wainscoting is said to have originated in ancient Greece and Rome. Wainscoting (sometimes spelled as wainscoting) is a process in which the decorative baseboard or boards are applied to the wall, about an inch to three inches from the surface. The term, wainscoting, is derived from the Latin word for “wine press.”

The boards are usually made of oak or pine. This technique does not involve any drywall at all, and it does a great job in making your room feel cosier as well as adding character to the space without taking up too much floor space.

One of the major benefits of wainscoting is it does not show dirt, dust or other debris like paint does on bare walls. It also does a better job at sound insulation than bare wall and can help with noise reduction in high traffic areas such as an office space.

Types of Wainscoting: There are two types of wainscoting that can be installed in your home. The first is the box-style, which does not feature any vertical lines on the front face and typically has a skirt board at its base.

The second type features panels with decorative profiles. These boards have raised panels or ribs that run along the front face.

Does Wainscoting Make the Room Look Smaller?

The first question you might have is does wainscoting make a room look smaller? Historically, wainscoting is said to have originated in ancient Greece and Rome.

It was used as an architectural detail to help protect the lower part of the walls from wear and tear. It does make the room look smaller.

You might be surprised to find that this does not-in fact-affect the perception of the size of a room. There are many other tricks you can use to help make your small space seem larger, such as painting a white border around the edge of your walls or using large mirrors to create vertical space.

The way in which you arrange furniture is also important; for instance, if you position two chairs back-to-back, they will boost the sense of width.

The next question might be does wainscoting help a small space feel more open? When it comes to emotions, there is no right or wrong answer when deciding whether you like something aesthetically pleasing or not.

You can decide for yourself if the look of wainscoting makes your living area feel less cramped.

Why Wainscoting?

Why Wainscoting

Wainscoting is a popular way to decorate a room to create the appearance of more space. It does not really make a room look smaller but does help people feel more open. Decorating with wainscoting does not have an emotional impact on people.

People have been using wainscoting for centuries to protect the lower part of the walls from wear and tear.

There are many other tricks you can use to make your small space feel larger, such as painting a white border around the edge of your walls or using large mirrors to create vertical space.

The way in which you arrange furniture is also important; for instance, if you position two chairs back-to-back, they will boost the sense of width.

Ideal Height of Wainscoting

There does not need to be a specific height of wainscoting. It is usually around five or six inches high but does not need to be precise. You can measure the height at your home with a tape measure and then decide what looks best for you.

You might want to paint the bottom part of your walls white to create a border. It does not need to be an exact measurement but does make the room feel larger when you paint it a lighter color and add white trim around the bottom of your wall for an extra wide appeal.

Wainscoting Styles

Wainscoting is a decorative wooden panelling that is nailed to the wall (typically on the upper portion of the walls) as a traditional design element.

There are many different wainscoting styles and selecting one that fits your room’s design can save you from inadvertently making it look smaller.

  • A straight wainscot does not break up the wall into segments, which can make a small room look even smaller.
  • Dutch Wainscoting is one of the best ways to create an illusion of depth in a space because it has receding shadow lines and horizontal panels that visually expand your walls.

Wood Wainscoting

You can follow some of the wood wainscoting styles that are trending:

  1. Flat Panels
  2. Raised Panels
  3. Board & Batten
  4. Overlay Panels
  5. Bead Board

Some of the drawbacks to wood wainscot as a design option are the expense, weight and the installation does not come off easily if you want to remove it for some reason.

Non-Wood Wainscoting

Generally, and traditionally, a lot of people use wood for wainscoting. However, nowadays other types of wainscoting too are in vogue for long-lasting use.

  1. PVC Plastic
  2. Ceramic Tiles
  3. Embossed Metal
  4. Embossed MDF
  5. Shaped MDF

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Wainscoting Make a Room Look Bigger?

No, does wainscoting make a room look bigger does not change the size of the room. It does, however, help to make a small space feel less cramped and claustrophobic.

Does Wainscoting Add Value to Your Home?

Whether you are looking for a way to freshen up your home, add unique style to your home, or add value to your home, a great way to do so is with wainscoting. Wainscoting is timeless and classic, but it can be used in a myriad of ways, regardless of architectural style or interior decor aesthetic.

Is Wainscoting Expensive?

Wainscoting does not have to be expensive. Like anything else, there are cheap ways and more expensive versions.

For instance, you might want to try recreating a DIY modern wainscot with some inexpensive panelling from Home Depot and painting it a different color for the bottom (also in an inexpensive acrylic from Walmart).

You’ll save money if you do this on your own without hiring someone else like a carpenter or painter.

What Colours Make a Bathroom Look Bigger?

Light colors, like white and light blue, make a bathroom look bigger. Dark colors will make the room feel smaller.

How Far Up Should Wainscoting Go?

In most cases, wainscoting does not extend to the ceiling. This feature typically stops between 2-3′ from the floor.

What Is the Difference Between Wainscoting and Beadboard?

Beadboard is usually a wider panel that does not project from the surface, while wainscoting does stick out and will cover either about half or more of the wall.

Wainscoting refers to vertical wood panels installed as trim around interior walls above chest height, designed to protect walls from damage by chair backs or couches. Beadboard consists of thin wooden boards, laid horizontally and then painted with patterns often in blue or beige colors.

Conclusion

Wainscoting creates a sense of depth in a room, which can make the space feel larger. It also helps create an aesthetic that is reminiscent of historic architecture.

If you’re considering adding wainscoting to your home decor, we recommend consulting with professionals for advice on how best to use this element as part of your design plan.

You’ll be surprised at what they have to say!

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