DIY faux wainscoting

We’ve been in the new house for two months now and I’m finally ready to share a project!
When we moved in, the house was a complete blank slate, which was nice,
but also very intimidating. Our first priority was Kenley’s room,
because we wanted her to feel comfortable and help the transition.

This is how it looked the day we closed on the house.



We knew we wanted to do this room very similar to her old room,
but with the chair rail already there, we weren’t sure how to go about it.
I really love wainscoting, but that would have required us to take off the chair rail,
and the base board, and it was going to be a pretty penny,  not to mention, time consuming.
We didn’t have energy to tackle that project, in the midst of moving & running after a one year old.

Instead, I came across this tutorial from The Idea Room and thought we could definitely pull it off.

We purchased the 5/8 x 1-1/4 x 8 edging at Lowe’s and went with the poplar & red oak finish because it was cheaper.
We were planning on painting it the same color as the wall, so it didn’t matter either way.


We liked how the boxes looked in the tutorial we found and decided to stick with their dimensions.
The boxes have 4 inches all the way around them; from the chair rail, the base board, the wall, and the next box.
Once we knew how much space, we measured each wall to determine how many boxes we will need.


I’m a visual learner, so I had to draw it out to get the gist of what we were doing.
Don’t look too closely, I’m sure there are some mistakes; and yes, I had to write out what 31 minus 8 was…
measure twice and cut once, right?

Once we started cutting the 8 foot long pieces of edging,
we realized we probably could have done it more efficiently,
to get the most out of each piece, but we didn’t so we just kept going.


As Greg was cutting the pieces, and Kenley was napping,
I thought it would be a good idea to start spray painting each piece.
At this point, Greg had already painted Kenley’s room white below the chair rail,
so my big idea was to just spray paint each piece and put them on the white wall.
That didn’t last very long.
I quickly became annoyed and decided to paint them once they were on the wall,
with actual paint and a paintbrush. It was so much easier.


Once they were all cut and half of them were painted, Greg started nailing them to the wall with a nail gun.
After he was done, I started painting them. Just for good measure, we did two coats of paint the whole way around.
We left it “almost done” for a while, so let’s fast forward through the holidays…
Once we came back to it, Greg caulked any of the open spaces around the wood and the nail holes.
It probably would have been best if we reversed the process and caulked before we painted,
but we started this project on Thanksgiving, the day after we moved in, so we really didn’t think about it.



Overall, I love how it looks!
It’s so much better than just a plain white wall below the chair rail.