Rustic Wainscoting: What It Is and Why It’s Important

  • By Jeremy Thompson
  • 01 Dec, 2015
What is Wainscoting Wainscoting is simply the wood paneling which lines the lower portion of the walls in a room, extending partway up the wall. It’s constructed from a combination of decorative boards and paneling. History The origins of wainscoting purportedly date back to as early as the 1300s. It is thought to have originally […] The post Rustic Wainscoting: What It Is and Why It’s Important appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
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This rustic wainscoting has a milk paint finish; it’s also hand distressed and hand sanded.

What is Wainscoting

Wainscoting is simply the wood paneling which lines the lower portion of the walls in a room, extending partway up the wall. It’s constructed from a combination of decorative boards and paneling.

History

The origins of wainscoting purportedly date back to as early as the 1300s. It is thought to have originally been functional, not decorative, in purpose.
In some homes wainscoting was used to keep out cold and dampness before insulation was invented. It is said that the Dutch used it to protect walls from damage from chairs or the spurs on boots.
Even today wainscoting offers a functional purpose as it protects walls from the dirt and scuffs which are more relevant to our lifestyles now.

Wainscoting vs Beadboard

The terms wainscoting and beadboard are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are actually different.
Wainscoting’s elements are primarily a panel and the frame around the panel. The frame is made up four pieces which are the bottom and top rail, and the side pieces, also called stiles.
Wainscoting types are often termed by the type of panel used. Some wainscoting types include raised-panel, flat-panel and beadboard.
Hence why beadboard is not the same on its own as wainscoting. Beadboard is only a type of wainscoting, characterized by a row of narrow wood planks which run vertically, and have a ridge between each plank, which is called the “bead.”

Why Wainscoting Is Important

Wainscoting plays more of a decorative function today. But it’s just as important as it ever was. A well designed house has attractive lines on its outside as well as on the inside. Wainscoting offers a well-built look to any home’s walls, and can amplify the design of even the tiniest room.
Rustic wainscoting takes the decorative details’ appeal to another level. Reclaimed boards, a common product used in rustic wainscoting, remind of us elements which have stood the test of time. It brings us back to a simpler time and offers a peacefulness not found in more contemporary styles. Because rustic style often mimics nature and outdoor surroundings, using rustic wainscoting in conjunction with contemporary design elements can also create harmony between the surroundings and the interior of the home, creating a simple, but sophisticated look.
In our home décor packages , as well as in the work we do for custom homes and for the hospitality industry , we use rustic styles often including in our wainscoting, which in many instances comes from reclaimed barn boards.
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