How to Install Inexpensive wainscoting using picture frame moulding with these wainscoting ideas to glam up any space. Determine wainscoting height and width with these simple guidelines.
Thinking about freshening up a boring mundane space. Consider this inexpensive wainscoting solution. What is wainscoting you ask? Well it’s wooden paneling that lines the lower part of the walls of a room like in the dining room, bathroom, hallway or along a staircase. It’s a super easy way to add depth and character to a space.
However, it can easily run a person anywhere from $1,200 to $3,900 to purchase the materials and have it installed. BUT I’m going to show you how to achieve this look for under $200 in this unique wainscoting style.
Items Needed to complete the look.
- Trim – Moulding, picked to taste. The amount needed will depend on the size of the space or room. In my case my dining room already had a chair rail installed.
- DAP alex flex premium molding & trim sealant
- Dap StrongStik Instant Grab Adhesive
- Plastic Wood-X Stainable Wood Filler
- DAP Rapid Fuse Fast Curing Wood Adhesive
- 2″ Brad nails
- Scrap pieces of wood (1×3 and 1×4)
- Sand paper
- Brad Nailer
- Stud Finder
- Carpenter’s square
- Miter Saw or Miter box
- Caulk gun
- Hyde Caulk-Away and Caulk Rite Combo Pack
- Japanese Double Edge Razor Saw (Optional)
Prime and paint the walls.
- I’m using BEHR Premium Plus Legendary Gray matte finish for the top and Ultra Pure White Semi-Gloss Zero VOC Interior Paint at the bottom of the wall. Prime the trim as well or purchase trim that is already primed.
Attach the upper trim.
- For my wainscoting style I am adding an additional decorative trim above my picture frame moulding. Prior to marking out the wall I first marked the spot for this piece of moulding using a 1×3 scrap piece of wood. The actual thickness of a 1×3 board is 2.5″. So 2.5″ below the chair rail is where this trim will sit. Using the 1×3 to trace out the line is an easy and more practical solution to tracing a “straight” line for the piece of moulding. Also it ensures that it is exactly parallel to the chair rail. I then attached the trim with adhesive and a brad nailer.
Next I mapped out the positions for the picture frames.
- Marking the placements on the wall will help determine size of frames. I am making my frames. However, you can purchase pre-made frames from your local hardware store. The keys to determining the of the frames is select a consistent spacing. I am spacing my frames out 3.5″. Typically picture frame moulding frames are spaced out 3″ to 4″. Using a scrap piece of 1×4 I traced out the spacings and placement for the frames. While the height [H] of each frame will be the same for each wall, the width will differ depending on the length of the wall and the number of picture frames you intend on using. First I traced along the two sides and the bottom using the 1×4. Within the two outer spacing “A” is the width I have to work with in determining the width of the frames. Take the distance of A – subtract the spacing (width) between each frame (For example, with two frames I will have 1 spacing of 3.5in. If I have 3 frames I will have 2 – 3.5in spacings between the frames.). Then divide this number by the total number of frames you with to have. This will be the width of each frame. To create an example: A = 60in. I want to place 2 frames here. Which means I will have 1 3.5 in. of space between the frames. So 60-3.5=56.5in. Then I divide 56.5 by the number of frames. So 56.5/2=28.25in. So each frame for this wall will be 28.25in W x 25 H. And remember the height is fixed.
Finally mark the stud locations.
- You can totally do all the cuts for this with a basic miter box. I do recommend a Japanese Double Edge Razor Saw if you are going that route. Its super sharp and quick.
- I created a jig to make my frames to ensure I had uniform corners using scrap wood and a carpenter’s square.
- Cut the trim to size.
- You can use wood glue and 1″ brad nails or staples to put the frames together.
- Allow time for the frames to dry.
Attach frames to wall lining with adhesive then nailing with 2” brad nails into the studs where possible.
- Once it’s dry you are now ready to paint with a semi-gloss paint. Now enjoy the labors of your work because you just saved thousands by doing this yourself.
Stay tuned as I transform my dining room. ~T.