What is Wainscoting?

While at one time wainscoting was necessary, it has more recently become a more of style than a function.
Wainscoting can lend an antique look and help it appear more formal. It can be a great accent for a historical house, helping to restore it to its original appearance.
Wainscoting is wood slats placed on the bottom half of a wall, providing a contrasting appearance from the top of the wall, which is generally wallpapered or painted.

In addition to looks, wainscoting also can provide protection. Originally it kept out drafts and cold in wood homes. Nowadays, it can help protect walls from furniture scratches (careless guests backing out their chairs) and children’s toys.
photo: Steve Burt

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Timothy Dahl

Timothy Dahl

Founder/EIC at Charles & Hudson
Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.