60 Wainscoting Ideas – Unique Millwork Wall Covering And Paneling Designs
The art of wainscoting dates back centuries, but that doesn’t mean your home can’t benefit from a bit of updated wainscoting sophistication.
Perfect for sprucing up walls on the plainer side, as well as protecting them from undesired scuffing and overall wear & tear, the wainscoting models of today are designed to add some utilitarian elegance to your space.
Comprised of trim, chair rail, and molding detail, and running the horizontal length of your wall unit, wainscoting is ideal for entryways, stairs, and hallways, as well as dining rooms, bathrooms, and social areas.
With an endless assortment of millwork designs and wall covering finishes to choose from, there is truly no limit to the ways you can individualize and add value to your cherished abode. From simple panel molding (evident in its recessed frame piecework) to more elaborate shadow boxes (featuring painted or stained trim pieces topped with a chair rail and reinforced with a baseboard bottom), today’s wainscoting motifs are designed to act as your wall’s second skin, complimenting rather than deterring from your home’s overall aesthetic.
These wainscoting ideas and designs lend a warm but high-end appeal to your household’s rooms and corridors, adding value and an extra layer of protection to your home for years to come. With surprisingly easy installation options and twice as many styles to choose from, your house can be transformed into an estate in no time, and garner much-deserved use and admiration for years to come.
If you’re not a DIY expert or don’t have time to do your wainscoting project yourself, I’d recommend finding a professional on Thumbtack. They have loads of home remodelling contractors across the US, and you can compare their prices and reviews before contacting them. Check it out!
1. Bathroom Wainscoting Ideas
While it might seem strange to put this much work into the smallest room in most homes, bathroom wainscot projects are a great traditional touch and look amazing. Instead of common, run-of-the-mill tiling, wainscoting gives a far more luxurious touch to your washroom. Check out the following images to see how much of an impact well-planned wainscot makes in these small rooms.
Wainscoting is constructed using several pieces of molding and trim, but there are basics that nearly all wainscot projects use. The top and bottom boards that stretch from corner to corner are referred to as rails. The vertical pieces that run between the rails are known as styles. Inside of the rails and styles are panels. If those names sound familiar to you, it’s probably because they’re the same terms used to describe cabinet door components.
For an interesting look at how wainscoting is built by a true craftsman, check out the following video. There are different methods and moldings described, as well as some really impressive tools on display. You should get a good idea of what goes into the process and we’ll further explain some of the finer points of wainscot design as the article progresses.
2. Formal Dining Room Wainscoting Ideas
Installing wainscot in your dining room can be one of the most impactful upgrades you can complete. Wainscoting will add a luxurious and premium feel to the most formal room in your home. You may not have a room dedicated solely for dinner-party purposes, but you can take a few cues from the following images to improve the feel in the dining space that you do have.
When you’re considering what direction you’d like your dining room’s wainscoting to head in, you can’t go wrong with something traditional. This is the one room or area of your home that will see the most formal entertaining and it’s best to keep the molding and trim work as classical as possible.
One rule of thumb to remember in traditional wainscot is that it should take up one-third of your wall’s height. In other words, if you have a 9-foot ceiling, the top rail of your wainscot should come to three feet. This is the simplest and most visually-appealing design rule to keep in mind, but if you were to go ahead and break this rule, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
3. Stairway Wainscoting Ideas
Formal stairway wainscoting has been a staple in Colonial and early-American style homes since, well, early America. They make an amazing impression and will draw your guests’ eyes upward, creating a design feature out of a utilitarian set of stairs. The following images are some great examples of how to pull this off, whether it be a grand staircase from your main entryway or a basic set of steps that could use a little extra touch.
There are several ways to make wainscoting work for your staircase, from covering an entire wall with beautiful frame-and-panel moldings to an installation that covers only from the railing down. Regardless of which style you choose to go with, this takes careful planning and quite a bit of know-how to get right. You want your rails and styles to be straight and consistent, which rarely means level and plumb.
While we encourage you to get creative here, the added angles can make it a challenge when it comes to the actual work. You’ll need a pretty comprehensive set of hand tools to take measurements and scribe accurately, while also needing a decent complement of power tools to cut the components. It’s a little more advanced than a standard wainscoting installation, so don’t be afraid to sub this one out if it’s above your skillset.
4. Floor-to-Ceiling Wainscoting Ideas
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. In the images that follow, you’ll see different rooms with a number of different functions that have benefited from floor-to-ceiling coverage. While it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, the end result is completely worth it.
Dining room and entryways are the most commonly thought of rooms when wainscoting comes to mind, but as you can see there are a number of different uses for the classic trim-style. By creating an entire wall of wainscoting, you can buck the trend slightly and create a beautiful backdrop for any room.
While basic wainscoting can be created by building frames and panels, building an entire wall worth of paneling in one shot is a recipe for disaster. You can make this project more manageable by building separate, open-ended frames that will butt-up to each other, creating the effect you’re looking for. Another option may be cutting and fitting individual boards one at a time, and foregoing the panels. The end result will be similar as long as you maintain consistent spacing and alignment of all your rails and styles.
5. Shadow Box Wainscoting Ideas
If the whole frame-and-panel construction idea is starting to concern you, there are other easier options that are closer to being in your wheelhouse. By using chair rail molding and shadow boxes, you can mimic the look and idea of wainscoting with not even a quarter of the investment of money or time. The images below are easily replicated with shadow boxes and molding.
To set yourself up for a successful faux-wainscot application, you should follow the same design ideas as you would for the real thing. For example, you should use an odd number of boxes as they’re the most visually appealing, as well as using the one-third rule. Also, choose moldings with enough size to stand out from the wall appropriately but not so heavy-looking that it appears out of place or chunky. You should be thinking delicate elegance, not framing lumber obtrusiveness.
If you’re unsure if the layout you have in mind will work, pick up a few rolls of painters’ tape in one and 2-inch widths. Use the tape to create the layout on the wall before you start punching nails through it. You’ll have an idea if your design will work, while also being able to play with the number of boxes you’ll use and their width and height.
6. Non-Traditional Wainscoting Ideas
Since you’ve probably had your fill of formal, classic, and perfectly-designed wainscot walls and all the rules that go along with them, we’d like to introduce you to something completely different: No rules at all.
There are endless choices for wainscoting and the design behind it. This is your home, of course, no one should hold their rules for style over your head if you don’t want them to. An interesting use of trim, paneling, boards, and other materials can make for a truly impressive alternative to overly formal wainscot trim and moldings.
Since you’re now deciding what the rules will be, we’ll let go of the reins and simply suggest a few things. For one, you should still try to work in odd numbers. Odd numbers divide spaces awkwardly and can draw your attention to the center instead of allowing you to enjoy the project as a whole. Also, if you’re mixing textures or widths, the heavier materials should be lower on the wall, while thinner and lighter appearing moldings or boards are placed above. This design will help the wall to feel anchored and not like it is going to topple in on you.
7. Wainscoting Ideas for the Rest of the Home
Wainscot can find itself in other, less trafficked and more casual places than stairways and dining rooms. It can make an incredible addition to a bedroom, a hallway, or any other space that requires a little extra flair.
Don’t just assume that you can’t make use of a formal style in a casual room. Giving a master bedroom a wainscoting treatment can make the space feel more luxurious and relaxing, helping you to wind down and relax before bed.
If you decide to use wainscot in your bedroom, consider using some other touches that normally blend well with it. Built-in bookshelves and cabinets look amazing when combined with wainscot walls and crown molding, so don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and treat yourself to a fancy, five-star hotel-inspired room.
8. Fireplace Wainscoting Ideas
Fireplaces are often the most formal, visually stunning pieces in any home. They may be stone or brick-faced with simple mantles, or they can be clad with intricate, multi-layered moldings and trim work to incorporate them perfectly into the room they occupy. Not only can you appreciate these fireplaces for their impressive overall presence but also for their attention to the smallest of details.
We saved this category for last because these fireplaces are the pinnacle of possibility when a skilled craftsman tackles a wainscot project. They’re also difficult to categorize as they are so carefully constructed that they land somewhere between finish carpentry and fine furniture.
If you don’t have the tools and attention to detail that these fireplaces would require, it’s worth calling in a pro if this is the look you want. The value-added will far outweigh the cost expended and those are the types of projects homeowners should be focused on.
Will wainscoting make my room feel smaller?
Yes, wainscoting does tend to make a space feel smaller. The higher the wainscoting, the smaller the room will feel. It may not always have the perceived shrinking-effect, but it rarely makes a room feel larger. The best way to combat this is to use light-colored wainscoting or to match the wainscoting to your wall color.
Will adding wainscoting increase my home’s value?
This is a case-by-case basis, but wainscoting will not directly affect your home’s market value. However, wainscoting used in conjunction with other high-end touches will give your home a more luxurious feel, which may have a positive effect on your home’s value. More importantly, if a buyer is looking for a home with luxurious touches, they may be inclined to scoop your home up off of the market before anyone else can. This can save you money on further mortgage payments and taxes.
Can you install wainscoting over drywall?
In older homes, wainscoting was used for the lower part of the wall because it was less affected by moisture and damp conditions than plaster and lathe were. In those cases, wainscoting was often installed in place of those materials. Today, when this is less of an issue, you easily improve the look and style of your home by installing wainscoting over top of your drywall.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather WatchCheck Price
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.