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Dining Room Wainscoting (Design Styles)  

Here we share our dining room wainscoting design gallery including the different styles, materials, colors, paneling height, and best wainscoting paint ideas.
Dining room with wainscoting, table, chairs, coffered ceiling, and windowsImproving the aesthetics of your home can come in different forms and methods, from painting to accessorizing. And one of these forms you can apply is wainscoting – a decorative wall covering that serves as an additional architectural element in the interior space of your home.

It extends all the way up a certain portion of the wall’s face. It is a combination of panels and moldings, and boards that can be made from solid wood or other construction materials that can fulfill its purpose. 

In the past, the main purpose of using wainscoting was to insulate the stone walls and protect them from moisture. In the 1300s, the Dutch installed wainscoting in the bottom half of the wall as a protection against damages from riding boots to swung scabbards, and even jostled chairs.

Today, it’s leaning more towards the aesthetic function, hiding wall imperfections, as well as cables and wires. Wainscoting is pretty flexible, both in materials and colors.

While the most common is white, you can paint the panels in whatever color you choose. You can use them for additional decor or change the existing vibe of a room, from giving it more warmth and brightening the room up to adding a modern twist to it.

Wainscoting Styles for the Dining Room 

The dining room is a common space you don’t just share with your family but also with visiting guests. This is why it is necessary for the room to be stylish yet have this comfortable and welcoming vibe at the same time. And wainscoting is an excellent element to make this possible. 

Wainscoting in the dining room adds value to the common area, especially since the space usually has limited furniture with a dining table and chairs at the front and center.

You can throw in a cabinet or bookcase in the mix but the dining room is mostly bare. With wainscoting, you can add texture to the room. 

Room with wood table, wainscoting, window, and chandelierThe white wainscoting in this dining room is classic in style, matching perfectly with the rustic dining table set and cabinet and light-colored carpet floor and walls. The wainscoting adds another layer of texture to the almost bare dining room, with only a chandelier and mirror on the wall as decor. 

There are many types of wainscoting you can apply to your dining space, considering its flexibility and how easy it is to customize it. You can match the wainscoting to the walls, ceiling, and furniture, as well as your window’s pattern. You may even add a fireplace in the room for more elements.  

Wainscoting Panels 

Wooden panels were the popular materials for wainscoting in the 18th century and this continues even today.  Wainscoting panels can tighten the common space giving it a more welcoming ambiance. And these panels can also come in different forms. 

Flat Panels: Flat panels are used to create more uniformed-looking wainscoting. When organized side-by-side, they form a classic pattern you can apply to the lower part of your walls. These flat panels are separated by moldings, dividing the panels into individual framed squares. 

The individual thin strips are made of either beveled MDF molding or wood molding, which can form either a square or rectangle depending on your preference.

Room with tile flooring, yellow walls, wainscoting, and windowThis refreshing dining room offers clean wainscoting consisting of flat panels bordered with picture frame molding. The white wainscoting stands out amidst the cream-colored walls and granite tile flooring. 

Raised Panels: Raised panels can also be used for wainscoting, perfect for a dining room’s formal look. With white raised paneling, you can add elegance and depth to the common space.

The panel is raised by creating clean and thin sunken strips forming a frame in the individual panel. These sunken strips allow the panels to be raised in their appearance. 

Dining space with table, chairs with green seating and two bookshelvesThis dining room has a classic style of wainscoting with flat panels of similar sizes and shapes installed. The borders in the panel come in the form of hollow gaps between the white panels, giving these panels a “raised” look.

Board and Batten Wainscoting 

Board and batten are considered one of the simplest and most common wainscoting you can apply in your dining room. Compatible with a wide variety of styles, this specific look of wainscoting has crisp clean lines that offer an easily refreshing aesthetic. 

Board and batten wainscoting panels were first used in barns and are now being used for the interior of homes. The style is accomplished by using wide wood and narrow wooden strips, which can combine traditional and modern styles in these elements.

It is inspired by the old-world look but can be coupled with modern art or patterns that you can use for your wall or flooring. 

Room with board and batten wainscoting with dining set and bowl chandelierThis well-lit dining room offers a board and batten wooden brown wainscoting that matches its dark wood dining set and wooden flooring. The dark brown wainscoting stands out in the cream walls and white ceiling. And the large glass windows brighten the room and an illusion of space.

Room with round table, walnut finish and wood columns with blue baseThis rustic dining room showcases a board and batten wainscoting that covers the lower half of the wall. The white wainscoting blends well with the white walls and ceiling and matches the wooden dining set, flooring, and doors. 

Room with large glass window, area rug and tufted back chairsThe white board and batten wainscoting used in this modern dining room covers a quarter of the room’s wall, giving way to the large glass windows.

The entire room looks spacious because of the large windows and the wainscoting and chandelier add texture to the space. The light-colored walls and white wainscoting also contrast the dark brown wooden flooring and black dining set. 

Farmhouse Style Wainscoting 

A farmhouse dining room wainscoting has an old-fashioned look made possible with clean lines and a uniform appearance. On-and-off trend, this type of wainscoting delivers a classic look that features and accents the beauty of the material used.  

The wainscoting panels used in a farmhouse style are usually in medium size and shape of a square. Colors also vary from stained wood to painted in the color of your choice.

When farmhouse wainscoting is paired with grand chandeliers and loud decor, you will feel like you’ve been somehow transported to the past and to another era. 

Room with farmhouse wainscoting, vaulted ceiling, and china cabinetThis luxurious dining room showcases an elegant interior with a vintage dining set and cabinet, as well as light brown walls and white farmhouse wainscoting. Its stunning chandelier is the cherry on top of this dining room.

Wide wainscoting in white, panel door and wall clockThe farmhouse wainscoting used in this dining room covers almost half of the lower part of the walls. The white wainscot stands out in a room with bright beige walls and cherry hardwood flooring

White wainscoting, table with white mantle and curtains with red draperiesThis inviting design showcases farmhouse wainscoting with clean and clear lines. The white wainscot matches the white cloth on the dining table and the curtains give the room additional character.

DIY Wainscoting 

Can wainscoting be a DIY project? Yes, that’s definitely possible! Just like any other DIY project, it helps you save money since you won’t have to pay for labor.

Of course, you would still have to pay for the materials you need for the wainscoting but the good news is that you also get to increase the value of your home in the process. 

Room with wood wainscoting, counter and view of staircaseThis spacious dining room showcases DIY wooden wainscoting surrounding the space and is attached to the lower part of the wall (Almost the same height as the dining table!).

The beige walls and white ceiling and wainscoting are a perfect backdrop for the hardwood flooring and upholstered wood dining set. 

Craftsman stule room with white chandelier and four slatback chairsThis clean white wainscoting is installed in this craftsman-style dining room, matching its color perfectly with the neutral elements in the space. Decor elements include a sisal rug, bentwood chairs, and oval dining table. The simplicity of style in the room is enhanced by the white coffered ceiling over the dining set. Visit this guide for choosing dining room rug sizes.

Modern Wainscoting 

A dining room modern wainscoting comes in a quirky shape or style that’s way different from the classic look. While traditional-looking wainscoting involves square panels, modern wainscoting uses rectangular and other quirky shapes and materials.  

Room with white molding, wainscoting and brown carpetThis dining room showcases large wainscoting panels that cover more than half of the lower part of the walls, complete with white molding. The walls and wainscoting are simplistic in style but the dining table, furniture, and carpet all have quirky styles that may be considered modern in nature. 

Room near white staircase, pewter chandelier and wall mirrorThis dining room that’s viewed from the foyer uses white wainscoting installed on the cream walls. The molding comes in different sizes, most having rectangular shapes.  

Beadboard wainscoting, gray chairs and table with white baseWhile this dining room wainscoting may also be grouped together with beadboard wainscoting, the trendy blue chairs and unique style of wainscoting can automatically be considered modern. There’s also this rustic ambiance that comes with the use of materials, especially with the dining set. 

Arched entruway with white trimming, windows with shutters and table with green bown on topThis colorful dining room has orange peach walls, a classic wood dining set, a rustic chandelier, and a large oriental rug under the dining set.

Everything is put together and unified by the white wainscoting that surrounds the room, as well as the white linings and the white large glass doors with blinds, giving the room a modern element. 

Gray and white room with gray rug, uphostered chairs and hardwood flooringFilled with gray and white, this minimalist dining room showcases modern white wainscoting on gray walls, large glass windows, a gray rug, gray upholstered chairs, and a dark brown hardwood flooring that round up the look. 

Beadboard Wainscoting 

A beadboard is a series of thin wooden strips with little grooves that connect these panels together. It is a modern element that you can use as wainscoting for your dining room that can add both flair and sleekness to the space. It is also considered one of the most popular wainscoting styles used today. 

Kitchen with wood ceiling, plank floors, bluish gray cabinets and white couchesThis rustic and spacious dining room and kitchen combo is integrated with white thin wooden planks, both in the room’s flooring and for its wainscoting.

The room is dominated by white, making it appear wider and even more spacious. And its wooden ceiling and gray kitchen counters add a rustic feel to the open area room. 

Table with four chairs, cushions and flower vaseThe beadboard wainscoting in this dining room offers a rustic appeal, matching its wooden panel flooring and wooden dining set. 

Room with blue walls, blue couchnh and wood center table The white beadboard wainscoting in this dining/living room fits perfectly and the pastel bluish-gray walls it is installed in. With the limited space, the thin horizontal white panels, the white windows, and the white ceiling make the space look taller. 

Room with white painted floors, wrought iron chandelier and beige range hoodThis dining room offers rustic-looking beadboard wainscoting that covers the lower half of the walls. The entire space is minimalist in style with white wooden flooring, a white dining set, white coaches, and white walls. The light brown beadboard wainscot gives the room added texture it needs. See more beadboard kitchen backsplash designs here.

Gray Wainscoting 

Gray is a neutral color that can match many colors and styles. This is the same way when it comes to wainscoting in dining rooms. 

Room with cream walls, brown curtains, gray wainscoting with partial view of the kitchenThis elegant dining room showcases gray wainscoting matched with cream walls and light brown wooden flooring. This combination of neutral colors allows the focus to be centered on the dining set, carpet, and brown curtain hanging on the window. Compared to other wainscoting, this seems to be painted without any molding to separate the panels. 

Room with window nook, table with runner and chandelierThis classic dining room uses white wainscoting installed on its gray walls. The wainscoting covers more than half of the wall’s lower part and even has this wall-mounted seating built near the large glass window.

The white wainscoting stands out in the medium-tone hardwood flooring. And the striped carpet below the dining set gives the room more texture. 

Wall painting on eggshell walls, oak table, potted plant and jute rugThis simplistic yet welcoming dining room features large square panels for its wainscoting, which also covers the lower half of the walls.

The gray walls and chairs give the room a cooler vibe, while the wooden dining table and hardwood flooring round up the entire look. See more types of dining room chairs on this page.

White wingback chairs, bay windows and geometric style rugThe white wainscoting in this dining room features medium-sized square panels that cover almost half of the gray walls. The bay windows allow natural light to come in, brightening up this common space.

Neutral colors can definitely look bare and this dining room is somehow a testament to that. The dark wooden dining table at the center and the hardwood flooring try to give the room some color. 

Dining area with sliding door, bar ceiling lights and chairsCovering a third of the lower area of the walls, the wainscoting in this dining area is white and has rectangular moldings. A light wooden dining table and grey parsons dining chairs are the centers of attraction in the room. And the glass windows allow natural light to enter the room, making it appear even more spacious. 

Red Room with White Wainscoting 

Red is a bold color that screams for attention but it can also be a trendy color you can match with your white wainscoting for your dining room. The dining room can include red walls, furniture, decor, and additional accessories and these elements will stand out more once matched with white wainscoting. 

This color combination is one of the best matches you can use for your dining room, primarily because the color red increases the energy level in the room that encourages conversation. It is a color that’s also known to promote hunger that makes you want to eat more and improve your eating habits. 

Craftsman Wainscoting 

Craftsman wainscoting in a dining room comes in the form of bigger and taller panels. And since they are taller, they produce this illusion that the room is also taller with a higher ceiling. 

Mustard painted walls, built in shelves in white and four dining chairsThis dining room features mustard walls and white wainscoting, along with built-in antique white cabinets and drawers, as well as large white windows.

The light brown hardwood floor matches the color of the walls and the coffered ceiling. The dark brown chairs give an accent to the room and the rustic chandelier is the cherry on top. 

Room with staircase with black railing, chandelier, and chairs in grey upholsteryThis craftsman-style dining room features white wainscoting that covers the lower half of the wall when in the dining area while the wainscoting in the hallway falls only a third of the wall. The white coffered ceiling matches the wainscoting.

And the wooden dining table with grey chairs gives the entire room a rustic vibe, as well as the sisal rug below the dining set. And a large potted plant offers a refreshing element in the room. 

Wainscoting for Formal Dining Rooms

A traditionally formal dining room is the perfect venue for holiday feasts and fancy dinner parties, both for business and pleasure. And this is the best area to put all the stops you can to improve the aesthetics of the room.

Adding wainscoting and paneling will help add a more elegant vibe yet at the same time preserve the cozy and welcoming ambiance that a dining room should have. The panels of the wainscoting usually come with moldings. 

Room with decorative mirror on the wall and classic candle style chandelierThis formal dining room features cream wainscoting with white moldings that form rectangular frames. The color of the wainscoting, walls, flooring, and cushioned chairs all match each other.

The dark wooden table and mirror wall accessories deliver this elegant and grand ambiance that formal dining rooms have. The wall sconces and chandelier feature this low lighting that offers a cozy ambiance amidst the elegant setup. 

Room with long table, wainscoting, drum chandelier and picture windowsThis luxurious dining room features a sleek, shiny, and stylish wooden dining table and cushioned chairs. The room showcases white wainscoting surrounding the dining area and the large glass windows allow natural lighting to be used in the room. 

Room with white curtains, wood console table and marble floorsLike most dining rooms, this space only has limited furniture, including a wooden dining set and antique pieces of furniture. The white wainscoting is barely noticeable in the room because it almost has the same color as the walls, ceiling, and flooring. The antique chandelier gives the room an additional rustic vibe you would want your formal dining room to have. 

Tall Wainscoting

Tall wainscoting can also be applied in the dining room, especially if you want to make the room appear taller. While most wainscoting’s measurements are as high as the pieces of furniture in the dining room, you can also increase its height to cover more walls in the process.

The wainscoting can even reach up to two-thirds of the wall and can serve as a backdrop for the furniture in the dining room. 

Tall wainscoting is beneficial as it covers more walls will protect more surfaces from blemishes, dents, and stains. Small windows will appear bigger when paired with tall panel wainscoting.

And normally, a chandelier serves as the measurement for the wainscoting since the lowest part of the chandelier is where the top part of the wainscoting starts.

Room with tan walls, large glass windows, mahogany table This luxury dining room features tall wainscoting that covers more than half of the walls and large glass windows. The tan walls make the white wainscoting stand out, along with the wooden dining set, brown patterned carpet, and formal chandelier. 

Room with white and olive color combination walls, round table with glass top This small olive and white dining room has a portion of the wall that features tall white wainscoting that almost reaches the ceiling and is installed just beside the door. It features a glass table, wooden chairs, and a silver vase with dry branches to accent the dining set. 

Room with tall wainscoting, cream chairs and table with plate settingIn this modern dining room, tall white wainscoting covers two-thirds of the walls complete with a wooden table and cushioned chairs, as well as hardwood flooring and a modern yet minimalist chandelier hanging atop the dining set. 

Dark Wainscoting 

Dark colors can be mysterious and elegant to look at and this can also be applied when it comes to wainscoting. You can either choose a dark-colored paint or stain for wainscoting or for your walls and pair them with white panels to have that exciting pop of color in your dining room. 

Tan wainscoting with accent wall, moldings on the ceiling and light bronw carpetingThis dining room features dark brown wainscoting that’s paired with creamy yellow walls. Both colors allow each other to stand out and they also match the dark brown dining set at the center and the cream ceiling and tan flooring. 

Room with teal walls, wainscoting, and teak wood furniture piecesThis classic-looking dining room features a green wall that pops out because of the white wainscoting and the wooden elements in the room. The vintage wooden cupboard and hardwood flooring add a more natural element to the space, along with the vase of fresh roses on the dining table.

Navyu blue room with pink lucite benches and chair and paired with pink chandelierFeaturing tall white wainscoting, this dining room has dark navy blue walls that offer a bold look to the space. Its distressed country wood dining table and lucite bench and chairs are fascinating elements added to the room. The pink chandelier and cushion on the bench somehow soften the edgy look of this dining room.

Wainscoting Height 

When considering the height of the wainscoting in the dining room, the general rule is to cover the lower 1/3 area of the wall so as to protect it from dents and stains, which can come in the form of footprints or even splashed food.

But one of the main reasons why it’s installed in the lower part of the wall is to protect the plaster from moisture problems that can come from underneath. This doesn’t mean you can’t extend the wainscoting in the higher part of the wall though. 

The height of the wainscoting you choose will depend primarily on the total height of your walls. However, 36″ to 48″ is the common size range. Read more about dining room dimensions here.

How Tall Should Wainscoting Be?

While most wainscoting covers the lower portion of the walls as they have been used centuries ago due to its function, it can now extend higher towards the ceiling for aesthetic appeal. 

The most common height for wainscoting is a third of the wall. So depending on how tall your wall is, your wainscoting will have to consider that ratio. A 9-foot wall will normally have 3-foot wainscoting. 

Tall wainscoting on the other hand can come up to half of the wall to two-thirds the way up. The higher the wainscoting, the more it may feel unbalanced when you are in the room.

And yes, this may mean eye-level or lower if you need it to be. And don’t forget to include the cap and moldings in your measurements.  

Wainscoting Paint Ideas 

Is white the only option for wainscoting? Definitely not! You can paint your wainscoting in other colors you feel will fit the style of your home. Consider the color palette of your home and match your wainscoting with it.

Here’s some wainscoting ideas to consider:

Soft Neutrals: Consider cream and light yellow as a substitute for white, since these colors might not be the traditional color but can offer the same light and warm vibe to the room. The brighter the color of the wainscoting is, the brighter the room will be. 

• Bold Colors: Choose the entire opposite of white and go for popping colors for something dramatic like fire-engine red to electric blue for your wainscoting

Paint Colors to Pair with White Wainscoting 

White wainscoting is a classic look for a reason and more than just its compatibility with all colors, it also looks clean and offers more room for customization and designing.

If you want a bold popping red color for your walls, you can do that without thinking about the color clashing with your wainscoting. It even accentuates the color you choose and lets it pop even more. And yes, this even works with patterned walls so if you have a quirky wallpaper, it won’t be a problem either. 

White wainscoting also allows you to put more attention to the style and other elements and accents in the room. Besides accentuating the color of your walls, it can also emphasize the size of your room or the height of your ceiling. 

Some of the variants of white you can choose are muted white, cream white, light beige, and even light gray and light blue. 

Curtains with grommets, runner of console table and chairs with printed fabric backsThis dining room uses the classic white wainscoting paired with beige walls and wooden pieces of furniture, from the dining set to the cabinet and small bench.

The lovely pattern on the chair cushions and on top of the cabinet can be fully appreciated because of how muted the colors of the walls, flooring, and wainscoting are. 

What Rooms Should Have Wainscoting?

Wainscoting is perfect in the rooms in your home that are considered common areas for the element to be fully appreciated. It can transform a room from a boring and bare one to an elegant and historical piece of art. 

Besides the dining room, you can apply wainscoting to your foyer and create an excellent first impression on guests. The kitchen is also an excellent area for wainscoting, elevating the workspace to a more stylish room, which like the dining room can be an area you casually entertain guests.

The living room is the area where guests would likely spend a lot of time and sprucing it up for them with wainscoting is a good idea to consider. 

See more related content in our article about the best bathroom wainscoting ideas on this page.