Does wainscoting make a room look smaller?

rooms after wainscoting

We, human beings are never happy with what we have.  Even more particularly with our homes and their interiors. We always try to blend our homes with a lifestyle statement.  

Does Wainscoting make a room look smaller? Usually, wainscoting does make the room look smaller. It is either due to the height of the wainscoting or low-level ceiling. The other reasons are obviously painting. Light colors make the room look bright and open.

Dark colors tend to make the room look smaller than it actually is. The height of wainscoting does affect the way the room looks. It does look smaller with higher wainscoting.

It also depends on the type of wainscoting to make the room look comfortable.

The design and pattern of the wainscoting give special effects to the room.

You need to install wainscoting with an ideal height to suit the room to make it look larger.

There are many reasons why the room looks smaller due to wainscoting. One of them is higher wainscoting with a low ceiling. This will have the effect of making the room look smaller.

Avoid using dark colors for wainscoting that may give the room a smaller look. The best way to make the room look bigger is going for shorter height wainscoting with light colors.

Why Wainscoting?

Wainscoting is particularly done to make the rooms look elegant. Yet, it is originally meant for protecting the lower area of the wall. Now, its use is to decorate the room to make it elegant.

Wainscoting is in use for many centuries and its purpose is defining. Its purpose is more pronounced. It is a wall treatment for the protection of the house from moisture damage and also provides insulation to the room.

Wainscoting means designer wooden paneling of the lower part of the wall. Usually, wainscoting beautifies the room but the height plays an important part in this. It is always better to determine the ideal height of wainscoting and the size of the room.

Ideal Height of Wainscoting

The ideal height of wainscoting may vary from 3 feet to 5 feet, however, it also depends on the size of the room.

If you need to make a small room look larger, install lower height wainscoting. For an 8-foot height ceiling, 32 inches’ height wainscoting is ideally suitable.

For a 9-foot ceiling, 36 inches is ideal. For higher height ceilings, one can use up to 5 feet height wainscoting.  

Always, the height of the wainscoting will make the ceiling look shorter. The more the height of wainscoting, the lower the ceiling looks.

For a dining room, higher height wainscoting is ideal. This provided the dining room to have lots of space.

The ceiling looks lower here where you can opt for a chandelier over the dining table. This will make the room elegant and beautiful.

Hence, the height of wainscoting is very important to make the rooms look larger. One has to determine the ideal height of wainscoting according to the height of the ceiling.

According to the latest trends, a wainscoting height up to two-thirds of the wall area gives a different look and feel.

This is possible provided your room has sufficient space. This will further enhance the look with a pattern of colors.

Wainscoting Styles

This is a very important aspect of interior design. Wainscoting has the power of enhancing the look and elegance of a room. It all depends on the wainscoting styles you opt for the interiors of your home.

Wainscoting is nothing but a pattern of design. It comes in different designs and different patterns.

The style of wainscoting decides the way your home looks. Painting the wainscoting too plays an important part.

You can enhance the look and feel of the wainscoting with painting. You can paint the wainscoting with two or three different colors to achieve a superb interior look.

Wood Wainscoting

You can follow some of the wood wainscoting styles that are trending:

  1. Flat Panels
  2. Raised Panels
  3. Board & Batten
  4. Overlay Panels
  5. Bead Board

Non-Wood Wainscoting

Generally and traditionally, a lot of people use wood for wainscoting. However, nowadays other types of wainscoting too are in vogue for long-lasting use.

  1. PVC Plastic
  2. Ceramic Tiles
  3. Embossed Metal
  4. Embossed MDF
  5. Shaped MDF

Giving a Perfect Finish to Wainscoting

If at all if your chair rail is wider than the door casing, use wedges as returns to finish exposed ends. Cut the chair rails at a 45-degree angle to end the outside corners.

Make a wedge with a 90-degree cut where the miter starts.  Remember to avoid dark colors; otherwise, it will make the room look smaller.


It is better to use a white raised board wainscoting for installation. Moreover, use black color to paint the framed grooves. It will give a framed get-up.

I suggest it is better to go with white colors or light colors to make your room look larger. The white color wainscoting compliments well with dark color furniture.

To give a paneled appearance you need to double up the wainscoting, one on the other. This type of wainscoting gives an immensely elegant look if you have a large space in the room.

Otherwise, in smaller rooms, that do not have enough space; the room tends to look smaller. This paneled look would not work here.

Hence, it is very important that you concentrate on a pattern of wainscoting that will make your room look larger. It is better to fit shorter height wainscoting in smaller rooms to create the ambiance of a larger room.

You have to take into consideration the height of the ceiling too.

I have also written a post on the cost you would have to bear for painting wainscoting to help you take a better decision depending on what’s your budget is!

The lower the ceiling, the shorter the wainscoting. You can use higher wainscoting for higher height ceilings.

Keep these things that you have read in mind, while you carry out your installation of wainscoting.


This is the site where I share all of the information about home security. I have been working in this industry from last 10 years and therefore, sharing all my experiences and learnings.

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