Wainscoting is a popular way to transform an otherwise naked wall. It’s also an all-encompassing term to describe any sort of paneling used to decorate the lower area of a wall. But did you know that there are actually different types of wainscoting? Are you looking to add some character and style to your walls? Check out these five types of wainscoting styles that are trending right now!

What is Wainscoting?

Wainscoting first gained popularity centuries ago as a way to provide additional insulation to a room while also creating a more sturdy surface than most materials. It was made from a specific type of oak known as wainscot, hence the term that we know today. Now, homeowners are turning to wainscoting more to inject some life into a room with plain walls. Over time, many different types of materials have emerged in wainscoting trends but still act as a great way to enhance a room’s visual appeal.

wainscoting wall décor installation by trim team
wainscoting staircase wall trim

The trend has expanded so significantly that even metal materials have been used as wainscoting. Some newer trends in wainscoting even see the paneling run floor to ceiling rather than the traditional lower third of the wall. If you aren’t quite sure which wainscoting option is best for your home, the following guide will walk you through your options while outlining the benefits.

Parts of Wainscoting

A panel of wainscoting is traditionally composed of five different parts, but depending on the complexity of the style, there could be additional components. That said, all wainscoting has upper and lower rails, top and bottom caps, stiles, and a shoe. If there are any additional components, they would likely be found in the middle where you can have overlays, shiplap boards, beadboard panels, raised panels, or flat panels. These five are the most common types of wainscoting options.

custom basement with Wainscoting wall decor and waffle ceiling
classic hallway with baseboard trim and wainscoting wall decor

Board & Batten Wainscoting

The first type of wainscoting we will explore is a style that was immensely popular in households during the twenty century. Fast forward to today, board and batten wainscoting is once again growing in popularity thanks to its seamless appearance and tidy lines. It’s a style that lends itself well in today’s home designs. Board and batten is a type of wainscoting that uses vertical boards to cover any seams. This style is rather prominent due to its pattern of wide set vertical moldings that are referred to as battens. Typically, they are 4 to 6 inches across and are placed anywhere from 6 to 10 inches apart. The battens are also a great way to cover up any joints between boards.

Raised Panel Wainscoting

If you are a fan of seventeenth-century England, then you’re no stranger to raised panel wainscoting – it’s the oldest and most common type of wainscoting and gained popularity because of its ability to provide adequate insulation. Raised panel wainscoting is often found in colonial-style homes and is typically used in more formal areas like dining and living spaces. This type of wainscoting stands out as its panels are placed in front of the rails and stiles. This is done in a way to create the illusion that the panels are actually raised off the wall.

wainscotting wall decor in custom hallway
classic basement with baseboard trim

Flat Panel Wainscoting

The opposite of raised panel wainscoting is, as you may have guessed, flat panel wainscoting. This type of wainscoting has panels that sit behind the rails and stiles, which creates the flat appearance. This type of wainscoting offers a stylish contemporary appearance, and uses boards that don’t have any signs of beveled edges or molding. This allows the boards to appear deeper than the rails and stiles. The flat panel style is smooth on the front with no grooves or beads. The only discernible feature you will notice are the seams between each board. Some people choose to cover the seams with wood or metal stripping, however you can also opt to leave them exposed.

Overlay Wainscoting

If you’ve thought of combining both the flat panel and raised panel styles of wainscoting, you’ll have what is known as overlay wainscoting. After the first panels are installed, additional panels are added in the center and can even be lined with molding to create a unique appearance. Simply mount the flat wood panel with shaped edges straight on the physical drywall. This type of neoclassical style mimics solid wood-raised panels.

custom hallway with baseboard trim
modern staircase with wainscoting wall decor

Beadboard Wainscoting

Last but not least, we come to beadboard wainscoting. This specific style stands out because of its raised beads – affixed approximately two inches apart – and lengthy vertical grooves. This style of wainscoting is designed with individual thin boards placed one on top of the other. The small boards, which typically measure from 32-48 inches long and just four inches wide – are interlocked and connected to the next board thanks to a groove and tongue system. You can also purchase beadboard panels in large styles – some as much as eight feet in length – and this really expedites the installation process. Manufacturing these types of beadboards is slightly different as the grooves and beads are affixed to the wainscoting during this phase.

Contact the Pros

The best part about wainscoting is its all around versatility. There are many different wainscoting styles and designs, and numerous different colours on top of this. This handy little guide should help you narrow down the options when it comes to wainscoting details. Raised or flat panel could be the way to go, or if you wanted something more neoclassical you could always opt for overlay wainscoting.

There really is no wrong choice! If you need a little more assistance when it comes to settling on a style, need more information on wainscoting ideas, or if you are ready to move forward with the installation, contact the professionals at Trim Team. Our team has over 10 years of industry experience, and we’ll be more than happy to help you choose the right kind of wainscoting for your home. Give us a call today to learn more about our services or to request a free estimate!