Expert AdviceWalls & Ceilings


Q: I am interested in finding out how I can do a cottage looking wainscoting

in a small bedroom (12 x 9). Can I get something in sheets or tongue and grove? Would it be applied like paneling?

A: Because we hear from people all over the country, we sometimes run into

terminology or names we don’t recognize. “Cottage looking” wainscoting is one of those terms, but we’ll address two different wainscoting approaches and hope one hits the mark!

For a more traditional, old-fashioned looking wainscoting, use an authentic 1/2″x 4″ wide Tongue and Groove Beaded Douglas Fir and paint it antique white. It is installed like T&G flooring but on the wall. It is applied on top of a square edge base and capped with a board with a 1/2″ round detail and an ogee detail to cover the underside of the cap.

A less expensive approach would be to buy regular sheet paneling in the color or your choice, cut and glue it to the bottom 1/3 or 2/3 of your wall as desired (never half-way up—it looks odd) and finish with a piece of matching moulding as your chair rail. You could also paint the paneling and chair rail.

If you ever need someone to handle any job for you (like putting up the wainscoting), please visit us at and join as a member (it’s free) and let us help you find the perfect service professional in your area!

Good luck!

Kathy Maynard

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