Install half-wall paneling, aka wainscoting, to add architectural detail and a layer of protection to any room. Check out some of our favorite styles.

Stylish Interior Design Of Living Room With Modern Furniture, Decoration And Elegant Accessories In Home DecorFOLLOWTHEFLOW/GETTY IMAGES

Why Half-Wall Paneling Works

Half-wall paneling, or wainscoting, is an easy way to add character to any room in your house. We spoke to interior designer Kristen Conner, who offered her top benefits to designing a space with wainscoting.

Creates contrast

“Using wainscoting on the lower portion of any room’s walls creates an opportunity for contrast,” says Conner.

“In cases where paint or wallpaper from floor to ceiling might feel a bit one-note, wainscoting creates a second field of color and texture on the lower walls. This contrast adds visual interest and sophistication.”

Protects your walls

“From a practical standpoint, lower wall paneling might be used to add an extra layer of protection that can be easily wiped clean,” Conner says.

“The walls in an entryway might benefit from a casual style of wainscoting [like bead board] to protect against shoes being tossed. Sometimes in a dining room, there’s paneling below a chair rail, which by definition helps protect walls from chairs that might bang into them.”

Adds elegance

“Traditional wainscoting typically adds a bit of formality to any room,” says Conner. “In my opinion, it works best in spaces where extra elegance is desired — a sophisticated primary bedroom, a glamorous dining room or a moody whiskey lounge.”

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A living room with a white rug and wooden furniture

Courtesy @hotpinkpineapples/Instagram

Fluted

This fluted wainscoting by @hotpinkpineapples gives a modern twist to an often more traditional element. She made it by attaching wooden half-round dowels to a piece of plywood and attaching it to the wall.

The whole thing is removable and renter-friendly! Leaving the wood tone exposed warms up the space and provides nice contrast against the white walls.

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A room with Picture Ledge and photo frames

Courtesy @marlie.design.co/Instagram

Picture Ledge

Adding a ledge to your half-wall paneling provides a great space to display framed art, as seen here in this beautiful hallway from @marlie.design.co.

The clean lines and calm color choice for the board-and-batten wainscoting work perfectly as a complementary backdrop for art and accessories. And because the art simply leans against the wall, it’s easy to switch out when you need a change.


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