How To Make Wainscoting Look Modern – A Comprehensive Guide

Are you looking to add some character and visual interest to your walls?

Wainscoting may be just the solution you need. Originally designed to protect walls from damage, wainscoting has evolved into a popular decorative element that can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any room.

But how do you make wainscoting look modern?

In this article, we’ll explore different ways to update this classic trim style and give your home the extra style points it needs. From bold colors to floor-to-ceiling coverage, we’ve got you covered.

So let’s dive in and discover how to make wainscoting look modern!

How To Make Wainscoting Look Modern

1. Choose a Minimalist Look

Modern wainscoting comes in a variety of beautiful and minimalist looks that do not skimp on style. Board and batten is a popular choice for modern homes because of its clean lines. The paneling can be painted in different colors, such as pink, beige, black, or gray to give the wainscoting extra oomph. It can also be painted white and paired with a colorful wall for a contemporary look.

2. Add a Punch of Color

If you’re afraid to paint the wainscoting itself, the wall color above the wainscoting can be a great place to add a punch of color. A bold color can make a statement and give your room a modern edge.

3. Floor-to-Ceiling Coverage

If you have an empty wall that you’d like to accent or you have an entire room that you’d like to make as formal as possible, floor-to-ceiling wainscot can be a great idea that makes a huge difference. By creating an entire wall of wainscoting, you can buck the trend slightly and create a beautiful backdrop for any room.

4. Match or Complement the Original Style

In period properties, wainscoting ideas that match or complement the original style and architecture of the property are a wonderful way of marrying old with new. Alternatively, in a plain room that is lacking decorative details or any original architecture of its own, adding wainscoting is a clever way of bringing character to a featureless space.

5. Use Wainscoting as a Frame

Painting or staining your wainscoting in a solid color works like an anchor for even wildly patterned wallpaper ideas, while the millwork acts like a frame, highlighting or contrasting existing colors from the print itself. This technique can add depth and dimension to your walls and give your room a modern touch.

Choose A Bold Color

One way to make wainscoting look modern is by choosing a bold color. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider painting the wainscoting in a bright and bold color, like electric blue or fiery red. This can add a pop of color to your room and make a bold statement.

Another option is to paint the oversized trim in a bold color, while leaving the wainscoting itself a neutral shade. This can create a modern and dramatic effect with minimal effort.

For a more subtle approach, consider using a monochromatic color scheme. Painting the wainscoting in the same color as the walls can tone down its traditional feel and make it look more contemporary. You can choose a shade that’s a few shades lighter or darker than the walls or use the exact same shade to create a seamless look.

If you’re worried about the wainscoting overpowering your room, you can match the paint of the molding with a color in the wallpaper, especially a neutral background color. This will give the two halves of the wall a point of connection and keep the look from being too busy.

Remember to consider the overall style and architecture of your home when choosing a bold color for your wainscoting. A bright and bold color might not work well in a traditional or period property, but could be perfect for a modern or contemporary space.

Mix And Match Materials

6. Experiment with Different Materials

Gone are the days when wainscoting only came in wood. Today, you can mix and match materials to create a unique and modern look. Consider using metal, tile, or even fabric to add texture and visual interest to your walls.

7. Combine Different Colors and Textures

Mixing and matching different colors and textures is a great way to make your wainscoting look modern. For example, you could use a combination of wood and metal paneling, or mix painted and natural wood finishes.

8. Play with Patterns

Wainscoting doesn’t have to be boring. You can create a modern look by playing with patterns. Consider using geometric shapes or intricate designs to add visual interest to your walls.

9. Use Contrasting Materials

Using contrasting materials is a great way to make your wainscoting stand out. For example, you could pair a dark wood paneling with a light-colored wall, or use a glossy tile paneling with a matte painted wall.

10. Think Outside the Box

Finally, don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to wainscoting materials. Consider using unexpected materials like cork or concrete to create a unique and modern look that will set your home apart from the rest.

Go Floor-to-Ceiling

One way to make wainscoting look modern is to go floor-to-ceiling. This approach creates a dramatic effect that can transform any room. By extending the paneling from the floor to the ceiling, you can create a cohesive look that adds depth and texture to your walls.

Floor-to-ceiling wainscoting is especially effective in rooms with high ceilings, as it draws the eye upward and creates a sense of grandeur. It can also be used to accentuate architectural features such as windows or doors.

When choosing the color for your floor-to-ceiling wainscoting, consider using a bold hue that contrasts with the wall color. This will create a striking visual effect that will make your room stand out. Alternatively, you can opt for a more subdued color that complements the wall color for a more subtle look.

Floor-to-ceiling wainscoting can be used in any room of the house, from the dining room to the bedroom. It works particularly well in entryways and hallways, where it can create a sense of grandeur and elegance.

When installing floor-to-ceiling wainscoting, it’s important to choose high-quality materials and hire an experienced professional to ensure a flawless finish. With the right design and installation, floor-to-ceiling wainscoting can transform any room into a modern masterpiece.

Play With Patterns

Wainscoting doesn’t have to be boring or traditional. You can play with patterns to make it look modern and stylish. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Geometric Patterns

Geometric patterns are a great way to add a modern touch to your wainscoting. You can use wallpaper with geometric patterns or paint the wainscoting in a geometric pattern of your own design. This can create a bold and eye-catching look that is perfect for modern homes.

2. Stripes

Stripes are another great pattern to use for wainscoting. You can paint the wainscoting in stripes of different colors or use wallpaper with striped patterns. This can create a fun and playful look that is perfect for kids’ rooms or other informal spaces.

3. Floral Patterns

Floral patterns are not just for traditional homes. You can use floral wallpaper or stencils to create a modern and fresh look for your wainscoting. Choose bold and bright colors for a contemporary twist on this classic pattern.

4. Textured Patterns

Textured patterns can add depth and dimension to your walls. You can use wallpaper with textured patterns or create your own textured look by using different types of wood or molding. This can create a unique and stylish look that is perfect for modern homes.

5. Mix and Match

Don’t be afraid to mix and match different patterns and textures for your wainscoting. You can use different types of wood, molding, wallpaper, and paint to create a one-of-a-kind look that is both modern and stylish. Just make sure to keep the overall color scheme cohesive to avoid a chaotic appearance.

Create A Modern Twist With Lighting

Lighting is an essential element in making wainscoting look modern. By using the right lighting, you can accentuate the paneling and create a dramatic effect that will make your room stand out. Here are some tips on how to use lighting to create a modern twist with wainscoting:

1. Use Wall Sconces

Wall sconces are a great way to add modern lighting to your wainscoting. They can be mounted directly onto the paneling or on the wall above it, creating a warm and inviting glow. Choose sleek and minimalist designs that complement the style of your wainscoting for a cohesive look.

2. Highlight with Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is an excellent way to highlight your wainscoting and create a modern ambiance. By placing the lights above or below the paneling, you can create a subtle and sophisticated effect that will make your room feel cozy and inviting.

3. Go Bold with Pendant Lighting

Pendant lighting is a bold and modern option that can be used to draw attention to your wainscoting. Choose pendant lights with clean lines and minimalist designs to complement the style of your paneling. Hang them above your wainscoting for a dramatic effect that will make your room feel stylish and contemporary.

4. Use Dimmer Switches

Dimmer switches are an excellent way to control the intensity of your lighting and create different moods in your room. By adjusting the brightness of your lights, you can highlight different aspects of your wainscoting and create a dynamic ambiance that will make your room feel modern and inviting.

5. Consider Natural Light

Natural light is an essential element in making wainscoting look modern. By allowing natural light to flow into your room, you can create a bright and airy atmosphere that will complement the style of your paneling. Consider installing large windows or skylights to maximize natural light in your space and make your room feel open and inviting.

Keep It Simple With Minimalist Wainscoting

Minimalist wainscoting is a great way to add texture and charm to clean-lined interiors without overwhelming the space. The key is to keep it simple and understated. Choose a paneling design with clean lines and minimal details, such as board and batten, to achieve a modern look. The paneling can be painted in a neutral color or left in its natural wood finish for a subtle touch of elegance.

When it comes to minimalist wainscoting, less is more. Avoid adding too many decorative elements or intricate designs that can make the space feel cluttered. Instead, focus on creating a clean and streamlined look that complements the overall aesthetic of the room.

Another way to keep it simple with minimalist wainscoting is to limit the coverage area. Instead of covering the entire wall, consider installing wainscoting on just one section of the wall, such as the lower half or a small accent wall. This will create a focal point in the room without overwhelming the space.

Overall, minimalist wainscoting can add just the right amount of texture and charm to modern interiors. By keeping it simple and understated, you can achieve a sleek and sophisticated look that will stand the test of time.