How To Do Wainscoting In A Bedroom – A Step-By-Step Guide

Are you looking to add some character and charm to your bedroom?

Wainscoting is a great way to achieve that classic, elegant look. Not only does it add visual interest to your walls, but it also protects them from scuffs and scratches.

And the best part? You can do it yourself! With a few tools and some pre-finished molding, you can transform your bedroom into a cozy retreat.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of how to do wainscoting in your bedroom, including tips on installation height, finishing touches, and more.

So grab your brad nailer and let’s get started!

How To Do Wainscoting In Bedroom

Step 1: Measure and Plan

Before you start, measure the height of your walls and decide on the height you want your wainscoting to be. The rule of thumb is to install it at 1/3 of the height between the floor and ceiling, but this can vary depending on personal preference and room size.

Once you have your measurements, plan out the layout of your wainscoting. You can use pre-finished molding for an easy and quick installation, or choose to install woodgrain molding directly onto drywall for a more custom look.

Step 2: Install Chair Rail Molding

Start by installing chair rail molding along the top of your wainscoting. This will create a visual break between the upper and lower portions of the wall. Use a level to ensure that it is straight and secure it with finish nails.

Step 3: Add Base Cap Molding

Next, add base cap molding to create the picture frame shapes of your wainscoting pattern. Cut each piece to length on your miter saw and use a brad nailer to secure it in place. Again, use a level to ensure that each piece is straight and flush with the others.

Step 4: Fill in Gaps and Holes

Once your wainscoting is installed, fill in any gaps between the frames and the wall with acrylic caulk. Add putty to any nail holes and sand them smooth.

Step 5: Paint

Finally, paint the lower portion of your wall the same color as the molding to unify the parts. You can also add detail trim to each square for an extra touch of elegance.

What Is Wainscoting And Why Is It A Great Choice For Bedrooms?

Wainscoting is a decorative wall paneling that has been used for centuries to add texture and interest to walls. It is typically installed on the lower portion of a wall, with a chair rail molding separating it from the upper portion. Wainscoting can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, MDF, or vinyl.

In bedrooms, wainscoting can be a great choice for several reasons. First, it adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to the space. It can also help protect the walls from damage caused by furniture or foot traffic. Additionally, wainscoting can create a cozy and intimate feel in the bedroom, making it the perfect retreat from the rest of the house.

When choosing wainscoting for your bedroom, consider the height and style of your bedframe. If you have a tall headboard, you may want to install wainscoting that is slightly higher than usual to balance out the space. Similarly, if you have a modern or minimalist bedframe, you may want to choose a simple wainscoting design that complements the style.

When it comes to color, white is a classic choice for wainscoting in any room, including bedrooms. However, you can also choose a color that complements your bedding or other decor in the room. If you want to create a more dramatic look, consider using wallpaper or paint on the upper portion of the wall above the wainscoting.

Materials And Tools You’ll Need To Get Started

To get started with your wainscoting project, you’ll need the following materials and tools:


– Woodgrain molding or pre-finished molding

– Chair rail molding

– Base cap molding

– Acrylic caulk

– Putty

– Paint


– Tape measure

– Level

– Circular or miter saw

– Brad nailer or finish nailer

– Pencil

– Caulking gun

– Clamps

– Laser level (optional)

– Safety glasses

– Sandpaper

If your walls are not completely flat, you may also need a strong wood glue or adhesive to secure the panels to the wall before nailing them in place. Be sure to measure and plan carefully before starting, and take your time during installation to ensure a professional-looking finished product.

Measuring And Planning Your Wainscoting Design

Measuring and planning your wainscoting design is an important step in creating a beautiful and cohesive look for your bedroom. To begin, measure the height of your walls and decide on the height you want your wainscoting to be. While the traditional rule of thumb is to install it at 1/3 of the height between the floor and ceiling, this can vary depending on personal preference and room size.

Once you have your measurements, it’s time to plan out the layout of your wainscoting. Start with a scale drawing of each wall in the room, showing all doors, windows, electrical outlets and switches, air vents, radiators, and other features. The baseboard and door and window casings should also be shown on the drawing. The first step to laying out the paneling is to set the chair rail of the wainscot at the desired height.

Wainscoting is typically between 30 in. and 42 in. tall, but you can adjust it to fit your preferences. Use a molding 11/2 in. to 21/2 in. wide for the chair rail. Draw the rails and end stiles, keeping in mind that the proportions of the rails and stiles should relate to the other trim in the room. The rails should be between one-third and two-thirds the width of the baseboard. Draw an end stile next to the side casings of each window and each door.

The final step is to add the intermediate stiles that create the frames for the panels. Paneling will be most pleasing if you establish a regular module that repeats as it wraps around the room. Sometimes this is easier to accomplish with wide, horizontal panels. Other times, narrow vertical panels look best. In sizing panels, aim to create rectangles with a 3:5 ratio. It’s smart to begin in the center of the wall or in the center between two windows or doors, and to work toward the corners.

Whether you place stiles in the corners depends on the circumstances of each room, but be consistent. Either each inside corner should have two stiles (larger end panels), or none of the corners should have any (smaller end panels). Generally, it is best to use stiles on each side of all outside corners.

Once you have a panel module, take that width to the other walls and chase it around the room. You might find that you need to adjust panel widths as you lay out the room. It could take a few trials before you find the standard panel width that creates the most-pleasing corner panels, but remember that it is better to work through these issues on paper than in wood.

Installing The Wainscoting Panels And Molding

After you have installed the chair rail and base cap molding, it’s time to install the wainscoting panels. Start by attaching a horizontal rail to the wall at the height where you want to install the panels. This rail will serve as a guide for installing the panels evenly. Use a level to ensure that the rail is straight and secure it with finish nails.

Next, attach the wainscoting panels to the rail using panel adhesive. Make sure that each panel is spaced evenly apart and level before allowing the adhesive to dry. You can use a nail gun or driver to secure each panel in place.

Once all of the panels are installed, it’s time to add cap molding. Cut each piece of cap molding to length on your miter saw and attach it to the wall with panel adhesive. Make sure that each piece is flush with the top of each panel and level before allowing the adhesive to dry.

After all of the molding is installed, fill in any gaps between the panels and molding with acrylic caulk. Use wood filler to fill in any holes created by your nail gun or driver. Let everything dry completely before sanding and touching up any paint where needed.

Congratulations! You have successfully installed wainscoting in your bedroom, adding character and charm to your walls.

Adding Finishing Touches And Paint Or Stain

After completing the installation of your wainscoting, it’s time to add the finishing touches. This step is crucial as it will determine the overall look of your wainscoting.

First, take a moment to inspect your wainscoting for any gaps or imperfections that may have been missed during the installation process. Fill in any gaps or holes with acrylic caulk and use putty to cover nail holes. Sand the putty smooth with sandpaper.

Once you have filled in all gaps and sanded down any rough spots, it’s time to paint or stain your wainscoting. Choose a color that complements the existing color scheme of your bedroom. You can paint the wainscoting in any hue of your choosing, or let it go bare to reveal its natural beauty.

Stained wainscoting is particularly desirable in traditional bedrooms with a vintage look, which the natural patina of the wainscoting only enhances. Paired with ornate mirrors and grand chandeliers, dark and dramatic woodgrain makes entering this Victorian-style bedroom feel like stepping into another era.

When painting or staining your wainscoting, be sure to use a high-quality paint or stain that will provide a durable and long-lasting finish. Apply multiple coats if necessary and allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one.

In addition to painting or staining, you can also add decorative trim molding or a combination of a few to give your wainscoting an extra touch of elegance. Finish the base edge with quarter-round molding for a craftsman’s touch.

Maintenance And Care For Your Wainscoting

Wainscoting is a beautiful and timeless addition to any bedroom, but it requires regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. Here are some tips for maintaining and caring for your wainscoting:

1. Dusting and Vacuuming: Frequent dusting or vacuuming of your wainscoting will help keep dirt from adhering to the surface. Use a soft brush or duster to wipe down the wainscoting, or vacuum it with a brush attachment. This will allow you to remove dust and debris without damaging the wood.

2. Cleaning Unfinished Wood: If you have unfinished wood paneling, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down soiled areas, applying pressure to scrub away dirt marks before using a second cloth to dry. Avoid liquid-based cleaning if possible, as your wood can absorb the liquid and eventually become prone to sticky buildup.

3. Cleaning Sealed or Painted Wainscoting: If you have sealed or painted wainscoting, clean it with a solution of vinegar and water. Fill a sealable jar two thirds of the way with vinegar, leaving the remaining third for your water. Dip your microfiber cloth into the vinegar/water mixture, making sure you’ve wrung out any excess liquid. Wipe down the wainscoting a section at a time, drying with a second cloth as you go. Note that frequent cleaning will help keep dirt from building up on the surface.

4. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on your wainscoting, as these can damage the wood and finish.

5. Protect From Moisture: Wainscoting is susceptible to moisture damage, so be sure to protect it from excessive moisture. Avoid hanging wet towels or clothing on the wainscoting, and use a dehumidifier in humid climates.

By following these simple maintenance tips, you can keep your wainscoting looking beautiful for years to come.