How to: Fake Wainscoting


Wainscoting is an expensive but attractive addition to the decor of any home. It imparts a classic- or country-inspired look depending on what style of wainscoting is used. Faking the appearance of wainscoting is accomplished by using contrasting color paint between the baseboard trim and the chair rail trim. While the effect isn't quite as attractive as stained wood wainscoting, it is still very attractive.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Chair rail trim
  • Hammer
  • Finishing nails
  • Masking tape
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Masking paper
  • Paint
  • Paint roller
  • Paint tray
  • Measure up from the baseboard trim along the wall and make a mark at three feet using a pencil. Do this around the room wherever the chair rail is needed. Chair rail installation is accomplished by holding the chair rail trim board against the wall and hammering finishing nails through it into the wall behind.

  • Mask off the baseboard trim and the chair rail trim to protect it from paint overruns. Next, remove the faceplate of any power outlets, using a small flat screwdriver. Finally, place masking paper on the floor beside the baseboard trim to avoid paint drips on the floor.

  • Pour the paint into the paint tray, then load the paint roller up. Apply the paint evenly, using at least two coats to ensure good coverage.

  • Remove the masking paper and tape and then clean out the roller and paint tray. Allow the paint to dry according to the package instructions before reinstalling the power outlet trim covers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use wallpaper instead of paint to create a patterned wainscoting effect.

Related Searches


  • "Wall to Wall: 100 Great Treatments for Vertical Surfaces"; Linda Barker; 2005
  • "Architectural Trim: Ideas, Inspiration and Practical Advice for Adding Wainscoting"; Nancy Berry; 2007
  • "1001 Ideas for Trimwork"; Wayne Kalyn; 2005
  • Photo Credit James Woodson/Photodisc/Getty Images
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