Wainscoting Designs: Find the Right Style for Your Home

With so many wainscoting design ideas, we are free to choose what we like for each room in the house. The truth is that the differences between wall panels are found in the detail. Apart from the beadboard wainscoting with its characteristic vertical (or horizontal depending on how you install it) boards, the rest of the designs are similar. They are brothers and sisters. So why should we bother finding the right style for our home? Simply put, because the devil is in the details. And because the style you choose in combination with the size of the wainscoting panels and the rest of the interior trims will create the desired visual architectural effects in the room.

Which are the main wainscoting styles

A classic wainscoting comes with more components than a simple wood panel. There are a bottom rail and a molding, which comes to cap the panel. There is often a baseboard and vertical boards, which separate the panels and are called the stiles. In regard to the stiles, the panels will either be recessed or raised. These are the main details, which distinguish the wainscoting styles. But whether or not the panels will also define their design. Model-Home Makeover offered so many wainscoting patterns that can be used for any home renovation.


  • Beadboard styles come out in two different versions. Distinguished for their strips, they are either sold in the traditional tongue-and-groove style or as whole sheets for even easier wainscoting installation. The panels can be striped as if there are no stiles or might allow for wider stiles and recessed panels with narrow strips.
  • A flat panel will come in variations too. It can be completely plain and thus a minimal and modern wainscoting design. The panel is recessed and embraced by shoe and top moldings while the panels are separated by the stiles. A variation would be to have a beaded panel. This is when the edges are ornamental making the design a bit more traditional.
  • The raised panel is the one which slightly protrudes in regard to the recessed frame around it. Just like in the case of flat panels, the edges can be ornate for a more elegant look. As an overall, this is a classic wainscoting design.
  • Overlay panels have a protruding molding in ogee shape to give emphasis on the height of the panel and create a more appealing effect. So this is simply an exaggeration of a raised panel wainscoting.
  • Board and batten or else shaker is the simplest design and thus ideal for minimal homes or when you want simplicity to prevail. Distinguished for its plain design, this wainscoting style consists mainly of vertical battens and flat panels, which are crowned with the cap and end on the floor with the baseboard and possibly with a shoe molding. Due to their simplicity, they can cover the full wall and make a bold but still subtle statement.

Get the expected visual effects by focusing on more than the wainscoting designs

Since you aim for the best possible wall decorations, remember that it’s not enough to choose a beautiful wainscoting style. As a matter of fact, they are all beautiful. But what you should consider includes the following:

  • What’s the style of your room? Do you need a classic or modern wainscoting design? Remember that the options with beaded edges are more traditional. A minimal home will beg for a minimal style, like a shaker.
  • And then, it’s vital to concentrate on the main interior design rules about proportion and scale. Sometimes, the need to keep the wainscoting low leads you to choose a more distinguished design to let it stand out.
  • Don’t forget that the combination of interior trim and wainscoting ideas will create the final visual effects. More often than not, you are driven by the existing trims in the room as an effort to match the styles and thus¬†have a coherent result at the end.


The good news is that there are as many wainscoting designs as there are stylish ideas. And you can also mix the styles and blend the designs for unique results. For example, you can install a bead board panel and place a flat panel above it. Or just go for a faux wainscoting by using molding to place large or small boxes on the wall to enhance its style. The actual panels come in many variations and so you can choose a different style for each room without losing the cohesiveness you seek in the house. With so many solutions, you will definitely find a design that represents and enhances your style.

Kate Sanders

Kate Sanders

Kate is an author and admin at, writing useful articles and HOW TOs on various topics. Particularly interested in topics such as Interior design, lifestyle, health, beauty, fashion, technology, and more.

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