A piece of chair railing plus pre-made frames add instant character at an affordable price. Add some glue and a few finishing nails and it’s up!
Our house was a big blank, white box when we moved in and I’m on a mission to fix that! Moulding adds so much depth and it doesn’t have to be difficult. I added chair rail and pre-formed frames to the kids’ bathrooms and our hallway and I couldn’t be happier!
I’ll walk you through the before and afters. All three happen to be the three worst places for lighting and photos in the whole house!
Bottom paint color: Pure White – semi-gloss (just as it comes in the can!)
Top paint color: Light French Gray – eggshell
I had to take down the towel rack and toilet paper holder. My patch job was subpar to put it nicely.
I decided to paint the moulding French Gray in this bathroom. I’m not quite done in here, but a room reveal is coming soon!
I showed you Clara’s bathroom a few weeks ago and how I painted the tile ombré coral.
The process is very simple. If you don’t have corners to do, you can do it by yourself in no time! That’s what I loved about the bathrooms. I did just one wall and finished quickly.
- chair rail moulding
- pre-made moulding panels
- Liquid Nails
- caulk gun
- finishing nails nails
- nail setter
- measuring tape
- file (optional)
- If you would like the top a different color than the bottom, go ahead and do that first. I taped off at 40 inches.
- Measure walls.
- Order correct size and amount of needed pre-made frames.
- Chose the chair rail moulding at the hardware store. I actually used crown moulding here.
- Cut the chair rail to size. If there aren’t too many cuts, you can ask to have it cut to size at the store. We used a handsaw for the hallway, but had the bathrooms cut to size because we only need one piece.
- File necessary end pieces. If you don’t have a miter saw, it’s near impossible to create an end cap, so my clever father-in-law filed down ends without an ending point.
- We only had a few angled corners in the hallway and managed to tackle them with a handsaw and wood filler. If you have a saw and 90 degree angles, you’ll do great.
- I measured, leveled, and marked where the rails should go. The halls have high ceilings, so I choose to do my chair rail 40 inches from the ground.
- Then we squirted some glue on the back of each piece, and using a level, used finishing nails to nail them on.
- Use a nail setter to inset the nails. That way when you caulk over them, they’ll be invisible!
- We did the same with the pre-made moulding rectangles. Measure where they should go. Put a small amount of glue on the back, use a few finishing nails to hold it in place.
- I caulked each and every piece and allowed time to dry.
- And finally, I painted the moulding the same color as the wall. Semi-gloss finish is nice for wiping off dust.
13 thoughts on “DIY: The easiest wainscoting”
Such a good way to add this character!!
Thank you! I’m always looking for the easy way out ;)
Omg, you’ve just given me the courage to try this in my breakfast nook & half bath!
I had no idea these pre-made picture frame mouldings exist and I knew I’d never convince my husband to pay someone to install the traditional kind, and we have very low-level DIY skills, so making a bunch of miter cuts is wayyy past my comfort level. But these little pre-made mouldings are about to become my new best friend! Thanks so much for sharing this! :)
Yay!! I’m so happy to hear it! It’s so easy and makes such a big impact!
Hi, Could you please tell me the name of the runner (gray) that you have in the pictures above? Or possibly send me a link to purchase it :)
Thank you and awesome tutorial!
Hi Stephanie! That runner was a Target clearance find and they don’t have it anymore! Too bad they don’t seem to keep the same rug patterns very long.
Were your premade frames all the same size or did you alter based on wall space?
Some are a different size because the walls are so cut up and varied by door frames. I just made sure they were the same height:)
Thank you. Makes perfect sense!!
I really hope putting up crown molding as chair rail doesn’t become a trend….
Well, Vlad, if that’s what we have to worry about, I’d say life is pretty good!
I am so glad that I came across your blog.
I have been trying for awhile to explain to my husband ( who is very patience, loving and Caring). He is a true handyman. He just needed for me to properly explain what I in-fact wanted done.
🙏 Thank you for your inspiring blog and the detailed description and pictures. The hallways that you have completed are the exact Color and style that I have been wanting done in my home.
Thank you for sharing this 😀
I completely get it! It’s hard to get these ideas across without photos or explanation. So excited for your new project!