Liven up your living room

Vintage touch: How to install wainscoting

Looking to freshen up a tired-looking space? Learn how to install wainscoting panels to achieve a cosy, vintage feel for your living room or bedroom. We’ll show you how with this simple guide.

How to do wainscoting: Getting the colour and height right

Did you know that wainscoting was invented before homes had insulation to keep moisture out of the walls? While wainscoting no longer serves that practical purpose, it’s still incredibly popular as a beautiful and decorative upgrade to your home.

Wainscoting was traditionally white, but it now comes in a range of colours and materials to create a cosy, elegant atmosphere in any space. When selecting a colour for your wainscoting project, the rule of thumb is to select the same colour as your room’s skirting board or trim.

In terms of height, wainscoting shouldn’t make up more than one-third of your room’s ceiling height. With the standard ceiling height in Australia being 2.4 metres, that means your wainscoting should extend to around 800mm.

But you don’t have to stick to the rules. Many designers have been breaking wainscoting tradition in recent years, even installing wainscoting panels that cover almost all of the wall. Just keep in mind that lighter colours and shorter wainscoting create the illusion of a bigger room (and vice versa).

How to install wainscoting panels: Step-by-step instructions    

Decided on the colour and style of your wainscoting project and bought the materials you need? You’re ready to get started. Here’s how to do wainscoting in 6 simple steps.

  1. Measure and mark the walls that you’re going to install the wainscoting on. Make sure you take the room’s skirting boards, door frame/s, and power outlets into account.
  2. Cut the wainscoting according to the measurements you’ve made and pre-fit the parts so that everything lines up.
  3. Clean and dry the wall surface.
  4. Apply adhesive in vertical beads every six inches along the perimeter of the panel. Don’t apply glue all around the panel – only apply it in vertical adhesive beads and apply no closer than 2 inches from the edge.
  5. Affix the board along the lines you’ve marked on the wall and repeat the process until all the boards are in place.
  6. Attach skirting boards and dado rails to both the bottom and top of the wainscoting.

It’s best to paint or stain your wainscoting before installing it. This allows you to reach all the edges and corners and prevents painting or staining unwanted areas of the walls or carpet.

Put up wainscoting with the right glue

Since wainscoting can be created with a variety of materials including drywall, tile, wood and plastic, it’s important to choose an adhesive that’s suitable for a range of surfaces. Loctite Extreme Glue No Drip Gel is a great choice when building your wainscoting – the all-purpose adhesive creates strong, long-lasting bonds while its drip-free formula and gap-filling properties make it useful for working on uneven walls.