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Daily Archives: January 4, 2023

How to Install Wainscoting

If you’re looking for an easy way to add interest and texture to a plain wall this is it! Wainscoting and shiplap are my favorite ways to add interest and charm to a room. Shiplap is an easy install, but wainscoting is even easier and quicker than shiplap! (If you’re looking for a shiplap tutorial check out this post!)

If you’ve followed any of my projects you may know that since we moved into our house a couple of years ago I’ve decided to re-do just about every room in the house. I probably should have started with my daughter’s room, because since we moved in she added almost a hundred stickers to the wall and let me tell you, those suckers are hard to get off! If I had a do-over I probably would have just sanded the wall down.

There were more. It was nuts.

Her entire bedroom makeover started with her bedspread. I love those Beddy’s covers. They’re great for helping kids make their own beds while they’re little. My son has one on his bed and we love it! But they can get pretty pricey and I just couldn’t justify it for each bed. I found a pattern on Etsy to make your own and thought we could try it out. And by we I mean my incredibly talented mom. (Sorry Mom!)

Instead of finding fabric to use for the top I decided to use a coverlet. It gave the bedding a little more weight and durability without being too expensive. So off to Ross we went. I let my daughter pick out a coverlet that she liked and that was the starting point for the color scheme of her room.

With most of the room painted gray I really wanted to add a pop of color to one of the walls. I also didn’t want the whole wall to be a bubblegum pink. I had images of Pepto Bismal swimming in my head and that was the last thing I wanted. Breaking up the wall with some wainscoting and choosing more of a dusty rose color was the perfect solution for her room.

Supplies

4×8 MDF sheet (primed mdf casing would work too if you don’t have access to a table saw)

Table Saw (If you use the MDF sheet)

Miter Saw

Brad Nailer and Nails.

Spackle and sanding block

Caulk

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Cut sheet into strips

I bought a 4×8 sheet of MDF to cut into strips. I knew I’d use the extras I had left for another project. If you don’t have access to a table saw or you won’t be using that many boards you can use primed MDF boards instead. I cut my MDF sheet into 2 1/2 inch strips. You could go as wide or this as you want.

Install the wainscoting

I cut my vertical boards 66″. I used the full 8 foot length and then measured and cut the remaining length for the horizontal board. Before I started installing the wainscoting I decided to paint the line where the top board would be so that I wouldn’t have to cut in later and worry about getting the wrong color paint everywhere. I also painted the outer boards pink before I installed them for the same reason.

I started out the wainscoting by installing the outer edges and the top and then adding the vertical middle boards. To figure out the distance between each vertical board I measured the distance between the two outer vertical boards and divided it by 6. (Check out the video at the top if you’re more of a visual person.) As you add the boards check each one to make sure it is level. To install each board I used 1 1/2 inch brad nails. A lot of people will add some type of glue to the back of the board. I don’t use glue in case I ever want to remove the boards. I’ve never had trouble with boards coming off. And if you caulk the edges it will be extra secure. Still, it’s a personal decision and if adding glue to the back makes you feel better then go for it!

First create a “box”
Add your middle vertical boards, making sure each is plum (straight up and down)

Caulk, spackle and paint

The last thing you need to do is caulk, fill in the holes and seams with spackle and then paint! Now if I’m being 100% honest I still haven’t caulked or filled in the seams and holes. I needed to get the bedroom put back together and I’m lazy so that will have to wait for a little bit. But for a totally finished look you’ll definitely want to take care of that.

How easy and quick was that project? And no, we will not be adding any more stickers to the wall! Haha. If you’re looking for a little more decorative accent wall check out my herringbone accent wall!