Determine the functionality of your room. The traditional color of wainscoting is white. For a small space, white is a great way to open up the space and allow you to paint the wall a darker color. However, that might be a bad choice for a mudroom since there is a lot of traffic going through the room. The type of paint is also important. If it is a high-traffic area, you'll want to use an eggshell or semi-gloss finish on the wainscoting since it is easy to clean.