Wainscoting love… Why did I wait so long?!?


 I had been looking at high wainscoting as an option for our family room for awhile now.

The term wainscot traditionally meant to line the walls with timber. The definition of it has changed over the centuries and now as a general term it refers to a decorative panel applied to the walls at heights from 3-5′ between the baseboard and chair rail or dado rail. 

 Our Family room is open to our kitchen and although I loved the room it never felt quite finished to me…

I thought a weberized version of high wainscoting would work well…

family room before

You can see from this photo what the room looked like before. It was a relaxing place to sit and watch T.V.

I just wanted to upgrade the look a bit to match the visual weight of the millwork in the kitchen.

The corbels around the fireplace match the ones on the exterior of the house.

I love them but I wanted to bump it up a bit visually and I was confident this treatment would do the trick!

high wainscoting tutorial

I found a fantastic tutorial from Kim over at Sand and Sisal. She had added board and batten style wainscoting in her home and did a wonderful job of it. I asked her if I could link to her post and she agreed so here you go… Wainscoting Tutorial via Sand and Sisal.

Meanwhile… back at the ranch so to speak, we got started on our project.

family room ready for wainscoting

We cleared a path… why do we have so much stuff?

We filled holes and started to measure off the room. I decided to bring the colour from the bead board in the kitchen around the family room above the wainscoting, so we did that painting first. 

family room primed for wainscoting


We also primed the walls to the finished height of the wainscotting.

Now we were ready to add the trim… and then paint…

Interested in seeing how it came out?


family room after


detail of wainscoting  

  family room after 1


family room done 3

Well… what do you think?

The materials for this project were minimal… but the effect is exactly what I was hoping for.

It took Kent and I three days of labour and approx. $250.00 in supplies including paint. I wish we had done it years ago!

 I am sharing this project over at: 


  1. Beautiful!

  2. Beautiful! Would love to know the den paint color (with the navy couch and navy chairs).

    • Hi Meredith,
      The wainscotting and trim are Sheer from C2 Paints and the upper wall colour is Woodpecker also from C2 Paints.

  3. PHENOMINAL RESULT — I want to do this in my den!

  4. Hi Cynthia;
    As someone who has been trying to start a blog I must say I am pretty intimidated by the wonderful websites and blogs I have started to follow! Your blog is amazing..and your projects make me want to try everyone myself! Unfortunately I still haven’t gotten my blog too far off the ground..but I will:)
    I love, love, love, the wainscoting!! My house still has the natural wood trim which, although I LOVE the painted trim, I still can’t pull the trigger on painting. Do you think if I trimmed out the bottom above the baseboards I could get away with it? Or would that be too much? It’s a very small house. Any help or insight would be appreciated! I look forward to following your blog!

    • Hi Wendy,
      Blogging is a whole new world… I am still learning, every month I learn more and feel a bit more on top of things, but it takes time!! Don’t be hard on yourself!
      I am glad you found us and hope you pop over often to see what we are up to.
      The wainscotting was a great project and I am very pleased with how it turned out.
      As for your question… if you are holding back on painting your trim… listen to yourself! If you get to a point that every photo you see with painted trim makes you want to get out a paint brush… that’s when you are ready!
      Have a wonderful day,

  5. Amanda says:

    Wow. That looks amazing. It really made the whole look more…upscale. Beautiful. I think I will do this in my living room (as soon as we move out of this claustrophobic apartment.) Love it!


    • Cynthia says:

      Hi Amanda,

      I wanted to take a minute and tell you that I can totally relate to your claustrophobic apartment comment! It seems like a long time ago now but I remember our first place was the top of an old farmhouse… the kitchen was thrown together from a bedroom, there was a steep knee wall so you had to bend over to take a shower and there was no heat in our bedroom… it was so cold my clothes froze to the walls the first winter!
      Anyway, I hope you can find a place you love and decorate it exactly how you want!
      Thanks for taking me down memory lane today and for stopping over at the blog! I hope you come back often and leave me great comments like you did today!

  6. Marianna says:


    I really love the look and after seeing the tutorial…I am almost ready to tackle this downstairs. We live in a small SMALL Cape Cod and I think it really needs this treatment in the living room and hall. I was also thinking to put it in the downstairs bathroom.

    We are redoing the smallest bedroom upstairs with the plywood flooring I saw on Pinterest..it has been put down and painted white. Today we are doing the faux baseboard that looks really chunky, but is actually a small trim strip 4″ above the tiny baseboard….love how it is looking!!

    I am adding yours to my blogs to follow!

    • Hi Marianna,
      It sounds like you are in the middle of some wonderful projects at your home! I am thrilled that you like the blog and are adding it to your blogs to follow list!
      Have a wonderful day,

  7. Weberized version of wainscoting = perfection. Love how the height you choose elevates the sight line around the room making the room feel more open / bigger and the integration around the fireplace is fantastic. I have a lot of chair rail and moulding below all at the “traditional” height and I’ve been busy painting my wall all one color to minimize the trim’s presence because it’s height seems to chop the wall in half making the room feel squat and dated … yours on the other hand is worthy of contrasting wall and trim color.

  8. I am looking forward to your next posting about the progressing work on your parents’ kitchen.
    Pete in Sedona AZ

  9. What a difference. You guys work great together. I love the look, and it really adds that architectural detailing. Great job!

  10. That looks great! I live your house. It is beautiful.

  11. That wainscoting is gorgeous and very up to date.

  12. The room is just gorgeous now! You all did a fab job! Thanks for featuring my tutorial too!
    All my Best ~ KIM

    • Hi Kim,
      I am thrilled that you like it! Your tutorial is excellent. Thank you for letting me link to it so we can all benefit from your hard work!

  13. I love the transformation! You must be very pleased you get to enjoy your handiwork everyday.

  14. What a lovely transformation, Cynthia ~ I’m sending the link to my niece for her family room (I love to put other people to work!!!)

  15. SERIOUSLY? That looks amazing! Why DID you wait so long, lol? I’ve been thinking about doing this in my bathroom and might just need to give it a go. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. It’s gorgeous! Lovely job.

  17. Hi Cynthia, I just found your blog via Hometalk and had to stop by. Your makeover is just amazing! I love the look of all the trim and wainscoting and how you have decorated the room. Especially the rug, ottoman and the lanterns above the fireplace…you have such a gorgeous mix of styles and accessories! Now following your blog (and Pinterest).

    Have a great weekend!

    • Hi Angela, Glad you found us!! I will stop by and visit your blog too! Thank you for your kind comments about the wainscoting project… we are plessed with how it turned out!

  18. Question, how did you handle corners? And, where did you start…is it like tile, in the center of the floor or in the corner?

    • Hi Debbie,
      We placed the strips at 16″ centres to line up with the studs. The corners are mitred. The tutorial that I linked to is wonderful… check it out if you are considering doing a project yourself!

  19. That looks fantastic!!!

  20. I love it! The lanterns above your fireplace really stand out now, and the whole room somehow looks more complete and finished (not to say that it didn’t already look pretty great in the before pics!)

    Wainscoting is such a great way to add warmth and character to a room. We installed wainscoting in our living room and dining room about 5 years ago. There was already a chair rail in both rooms, so we used that as the stopping point and created a simple grid pattern with MDF below the chair rail. It’s not fancy, but I find it makes you feel like the room is wrapping you up in a great big hug :-)

  21. Can you please send Kent over to MI? Why did you wait so long??? The before shot blew me away. I remembered liking it before, but then you see the after and it’s amazing. Great work, both of you!

  22. I cannot believe how much that changed the look of your room. It’s gorgeous. I’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time now in ours thanks for giving me that push to move forward! :)

    • Hi Clydia,
      Thank you! I am so glad you like it. I love how easy this project was and am so pleased with the results. It feels complete now. If you do it yourself please post about it, I would love to see!

  23. I absolutely love this transformation! I am inspired to do something similiar in my own space :)

  24. Dianne Gingrich says:


    It looks so beautiful. Love the contrast with the white paint and the darker beige on top.
    You guys have been busy!

  25. Love it! It looks so amazing! What color is that?

    • Hi Kim,
      Glad you love it! The colour on the upper walls is woodpecker from C2 paints and the wainscoting colour is Sheer also from C2 Paints.

  26. Can I make an appointment with you to do my house?:) Absolutely
    stunning and what a great job you did on the details. White is always a great color. I must ask…where are those two cute little chairs that were beside the fireplace? I miss them. I thought I was one of the few that hang chairs on the walls.

    • Hi Brenda,
      Sure you can make an appointment with me to do your house…if you are local! If not, have a look at the e-design packages! We could have fun! As for the little chairs… I miss them too, I think they will go back up. I have been hanging little chairs on the walls for years, in fact I have about 12 of them in the basement right now just waiting for the right place in a client project!

  27. Looks amazing Cynthia! Great work – looks perfect! I love the architectural and style element it brings to a room – adding it to a few rooms in our home is on our to do list too! 😀

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