8 Wainscoting Ideas to Transform Your Dining Area

There’s definitely many ways and means to transform the dining area of your home, but not many come close to the elegant finish of wainscoting. Wood panelling typically covers the lower half of the wall, giving a polished look that instantly draws the eyes. The term originally came about with the use of wainscot oak panels, but there are many other types of wood panels and materials these days in the market that are equally good. Let’s take a look at the different types of wainscoting options available for your dining area:

Flat Panels

This design is typically distinguished with flat recessed panels. Boards usually come without moulding and bevelled edges, creating a deeper look that adds to the depth of your dining area. Simple, clean lines dominate this often overlooked Mission style. There are two usual methods for installation: 1) layer by layer starting from the baseboard or 2) using sheet material topped off with mouldings. 


Raised Panels

As one of the wainscoting designs around (since the colonial era), this design is easily recognisable by the appearance of panels in front of the stiles and rails. The edges of the panels are bevelled, creating a decorative wrap that’s usually applied up to a height of 30 to 40 inches from the floor. Panels are applied individually, ending with a cap moulding just above the top rail.


Using a combination of flat and raised panels, this will give your dining area a polished finish with the option for more elaborate ideas. A typical design incorporates a solid wood overlay in the centre of the flat panels, creating a recessed look on an otherwise plain wall. Fans of Neoclassical designs will definitely appreciate the amount of detail options available with this method.

Board and Batten

For the uninitiated, batten refers to thin vertical strips of wood that were originally created to hide the seams in between placed individual boards. These days though, it’s usually more a choice of aesthetics than the practical idea in which it was created for. If you fancy a Shaker-type simplicity in your design, this is definitely the way to go about. A typical installation usually involves wood panels of about 4 feet wide and usually starts from 6 feet onwards. 



This classic 19th century Victorian design is both simple and informal. For a more elaborate look, a row of flat or raised panels can be added on just above it. Beadboad wainscoting itself involves the application of thin vertical boards place directly next to each other and is interlocked securely with a tongue and groove method. The finish will typically be a trim added to the baseboard.

Picture Frames

The idea is both simple and clean, quickly adding to the character of your dining area. It’s pretty similar to the board and batten type of wainscoting without the addition of extra panelling. The great thing about this design is that it’s entirely up to you to choose the size of your picture frames (e.g. vertical, horizontal, square, etc.) and is finished with a simple trim and baseboard.

Square Centred

For those with a hankering for the contemporary, this method involves the use of smaller squares place as is or diamond-shaped directly on the backing board. Although a pattern is usually derived with a fix set of panels, this design gives you pretty much all the freedom your mind can handle. The top cap and baseboard trim takes a back seat this time round, giving a chance for the squares to shine. 



Although not so much a typical wainscoting design, it is nonetheless aesthetically pleasing with pastel or muted colours. If you’re going for this option, it’s much easier to paint the wall before hand and only then assemble the pieces straight on. Picture frame wainscoting is the most popular choice as it display a larger coloured portion of the wall. The appeal of wainscoting is easily felt in any room and is definitely a popular classic choice for sprucing up the walls. Simply imagine the types of wainscoting you’ll prefer and let your inspiration take flight.

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