Chair Rails, Image Rails, and Wainscoting: A Reworking 101 Information

Currently we’ve been doing a deep dive into the great world of moldings. Who knew how a lot there’s to learn about trim—and the way helpful it may be, from concealing barely uneven flooring to hiding the retailers? In today’s installment we’re tackling chair rails, image rails, and wainscoting. Right here’s what that you must know, with assist from architect James Dixon, a member of the Remodelista Architect & Designer Directory.

What are chair rails?

a chair rail (with beadboard wainscoting) is painted a dark green in master mi 9
Above: A chair rail (with beadboard wainscoting) is painted a darkish inexperienced in Master Mix: A Shoppable Apartment in Gothenburg, Sweden.

In the present day’s chair rails are purely ornamental, however that’s not how they began out. “Within the previous days, folks used to push their furnishings up in opposition to the partitions, and the chair rail saved the tops of the chairs from digging up the plaster,” Dixon says. Lately, chair rails are nonetheless being put in in new homes as a method to set up the proportions of a room by making a separate zone.

The place ought to a chair rail be positioned on a wall?

“The chair rail was initially positioned at round a 3rd the peak of the wall, which put it on the top of your common chair again,” says Dixon. Now it relies upon extra on the peak of the room. “If the ceiling is admittedly excessive, as an alternative of utilizing the one-third rule you may need to transfer the chair rail down a bit so it received’t look odd.”

chair rails in moss green at a copenhagen hotel; see behind the curtain: a form 10
Above: Chair rails in moss inexperienced at a Copenhagen resort; see Behind the Curtain: A Former Ballet Dancer’s Romantic Hotel in Copenhagen.

What colour ought to a chair rail be?

“Some folks paint the chair rail and the wall beneath it one colour, after which deal with the wall above in a unique colour,” says Dixon. “A chair rail may also be stained a darkish colour somewhat than painted; you see that quite a bit in Arts & Crafts–model homes.”

However what Dixon prefers is to color the whole lot from flooring to ceiling the identical colour. “Then the chair rail simply creates a refined line, providing you with some shadows across the area.”

What concerning the materials and design for chair rails?

Chair rail molding is usually fabricated from wooden, however it may be a composite materials. “There’s infinite selection on the market, and your alternative depends upon the model of your room,” says Dixon.

As for the design, Dixon feels that every one the trim in a room needs to be a part of the identical household, with related element and proportions. Chair rail does are usually easier than different moldings, although you will get fancy carved shapes. And it’s often pretty flat—“You don’t need it to challenge too far out from the wall, or folks will bump up in opposition to it.”

What’s wainscoting?

cream colored wainscoting at urban sanctuary: the margot house in barcelona. 11
Above: Cream-colored wainscoting at Urban Sanctuary: The Margot House in Barcelona.

Typically extra molding is put in beneath a chair rail to create a wainscot (additionally referred to as wainscoting), or not less than the phantasm of 1. Whereas a standard wainscot is fabricated from framed wood panels, molding can re-create the look with out the panels themselves. The molding will add character to the room and assist shield the partitions from scuffs and dents.

What are image rails?

a great example of   rails put to modern use in sarah’s california  12
Above: A fantastic instance of image rails put to trendy use in Sarah’s California rental. “Molding is a good way for renters to show artwork and to hold luggage and garments with out having to hammer nails right into a wall,” she writes. “I used S hooks and a brass ring hung from rope for suspending a white-painted canvas bag the place I retailer low season scarves.” Learn extra in Sarah’s Refined Rental in St. Helena, CA.

Like chair rails, these had been as soon as put in for useful functions. “There was a time when folks had been consistently altering the photographs on their partitions,” says Dixon. “As an alternative of pounding in a nail to hold great-grandmother’s portrait, you can cling it on a wire or twine connected to the image rail, and swap it out later with out leaving any holes within the plaster.” Image rails are nonetheless seen, however much less usually than earlier than. They is probably not used for hanging footage; they’re extra to delineate an area.

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