Ideas to Paint a Kitchen With Chair Rails


Chair rails add distinction and elegance to a kitchen and provide an opportunity to personalize a space. From subtle monochromatic walls to dramatic stripes, chair rails are the ideal accent for a more creative paint combination. Finding the right combination of paint and chair rail can also add visual interest in any type of décor.

Harmonious Colors

  • Using the chair rail as a divider; paint two shades from the same color family, both of which can usually be found on the same paint chip card. Paint the darker shade on the bottom half of the wall and the lighter shade on the top portion for best results. By using two closely related shades, you create a harmonious and peaceful environment. For a more vibrant color combination, add a punch of contrasting color with a few well-placed accents. Similarly, two colors that are next to each other on the color wheel will usually work well together, such as blue and green, provided the paint colors are not overly saturated or bright.


  • To add a little more drama to your kitchen, you can use a rich, deep paint color below the chair rail for a more formal, striking effect, with a lighter neutral painted above. For the more adventurous among us, you can paint tone-on-tone vertical stripes below the chair rail in two complementary shades, such as cream and taupe or sage and hunter green. Paint the top portion of the wall with the lighter of the two paint colors. The stripes direct your eye upward, making the ceiling feel higher and the room feel larger.


  • Continue ceiling color down onto the top half of the wall. This approach will blur the distinction between ceiling and wall and make the ceilings appear higher. However, to achieve this effect, the top paint color should be considerably lighter than the bottom paint color. Dark colors on the bottom half of the wall will prevent the room from looking top-heavy; darker paint on the top half of the wall and ceiling would make the room feel smaller and oppressive.

Chair Rails

  • Give chair rails a classic look and feel with a crisp white coat of paint. This sets off the other colors beautifully and coordinates with any color scheme. Conversely, if you paint the chair rail the same color as one of the wall colors, you minimize the transition between the two wall colors and give it a more contemporary feel. A third option is to paint the chair rail the same color as the wall, but in a different sheen. The slight glossy finish sets off the chair rail for a subtle transition between the two paint colors.

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  • Photo Credit Modern kitchen image by MAXFX from
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