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Wainscoting Ideas for Small Rooms

Angelique de la Morreaux

Small rooms can benefit from the application of wainscoting to the walls. Wainscoting brings a sense of elegance and style to a room, as it covers the bottom portion of the wall and has a traditional feel.

Wainscoting gives an elegant look to a room.

As wainscoting comes in several varieties, such as wood, embossed wallpaper or lincrusta, there will be one that coincides with your decorating style.

Dining Room

Wainscoting is frequently used in a small dining room. One type of wainscoting to use includes lincrusta panels, which is a mixture of wood glue, natural products and linseed oil. Lincrusta panels can contain elaborate decorative details, such as those found in Victorian or Edwardian homes. Attach the panels 36 inches from the floor and cap the panels off with a chair rail or a small shelf, scored with a plate line. This gives you an area to display china and decorative plates.


A cozy den benefits from the rich tones of a wood wainscoting. Whether you install it three-fourths of the way to the ceiling or at chair-rail length, treat the wood with the same, or a similar stain, as the other furniture and wood in the room. Wainscoting may be simple panel, wood separated by a raised wood divider, or a more elaborate design containing wood trim accents pieces, such as a sash or swag.


Go for an anaglypta wainscoting in the bedroom, which is an embossed wallpaper made from cotton pulp that can be painted on. When you place it on the bottom third of the room, it makes the wall appear taller and allows for more vertical design options. However, if you prefer a more symmetrical or formal design, bring the wallpaper up to the middle of the wall or even to the windowsill. Add trim above the wallpaper for a more polished appearance.


Bead board works well in the bathroom. Not only does the wood bring a touch of warmth into the room, it also brings in texture that offsets the sleek material of the tub, toilet and sink. Bead board may be purchased in either white or wood tones or as a paintable product. As bead board has an unfinished edge on top, either attach a wood trim, wallpaper or a shelf along the top perimeter of the bead board to give the room a finished appearance.