Words by: Greg Fahey
Go beyond a coat of paint and give your dining room a complete change of character by adding lining boards around the walls.
Called wainscoting, it dates from the 1700’s but has come back into fashion with the popularity of the Hamptons style, of which it is a feature.
All the materials are readily available at your local hardware warehouse so you can easily cut, nail and paint your way to a whole new look.
Gather your supplies
- Corner beads 18 x 18mm primed pine
- Lining boards 133 x 13mm primed pine shiplap boards
- Chair rail 42 x 19mm primed pine.
You’ll also need
Hammer; chisel; pinch bar; masking tape; spirit level; circular saw with fence attachment; nail gun and nails; carpenter’s pencil or a spacing block; wood filler; fine sandpaper; acrylic gap filler; painting equipment; undercoat; low sheen interior paint in white; Dulux low sheen interior paint in Palmerin.
Using a hammer, chisel and pinch bar, carefully pry off existing skirtings from the walls and retain. Remove any nails remaining in the walls.
Place masking tape on the floor where the nails that were holding the skirting went through the wall. This is the location of the timber studs in the walls.
Place a spirit level against the wall where the masking tape is. Make plumb then draw line of stud on the wall. Repeat for all studs.
Cut corner beads to 781mm long. Place vertically against walls in corners of room and nail into studs. To frame wainscoting at doors, first cut a length of chair rail timber 850mm long. Temporarily place on edge against the wall butting into the side of the architrave.
Cut first lining board to suit distance between corner bead and timber against architrave. Press the board against the wall sitting on blocks placed on the floor. At one end of board, nail through it at the line on the wall marking the centre of a stud (see Step 3). Check board for level, adjust if necessary then nail to a stud at the other end. Nail in the centre then at all other studs using two nails per stud.
Cut second lining board to length and sit on top of the first. At one end of the board use a spacer (we used a carpenter’s pencil) between the boards to create an even gap. Nail through board into studs. Repeat at other end of board, in the centre, then at all other studs using the pencil to check that the gap is even.
Repeat step 6 to continue laying boards up the wall. Use your circular saw with the fence attachment to cut the last board along its length so top edge of board is flush with top of corner bead. Nail to wall.
Where boards meet the architrave around a window cut a section out of the boards so they butt into the edges of the architrave.
Mark timber against the door architrave (see Step 4) where the top edge of the last board meets it. Remove and cut through timber on a 45 degree angle, using the marked point as the short side of the angled cut. Reposition timber so angled cut is facing the boards and nail.
Cut chair rail along top of boards to length. At end near door, cut on a 45 degree angle to create a mitred join with the timber against the architrave. In the corner, cut on a 45 degree angle across the timber to create a mitred join with the chair rail on the adjacent wall. Place on top of boards. Nail through chair rail into boards and on an angle into studs in wall.
Where the chair rail meets a window architrave, cut the corner off the chair rail on a 45 degree angle so there is no hard edge.
Cut skirting to suit new work. At corners, notch ends of so it sits over the bead and flat against the boards. Nail in place.
Fill all nail holes; let dry then lightly sand lining boards and chair rail. Remove dust. Fill all gaps using acrylic gap filler.
Apply undercoat to boards and chair rails. Let dry. Follow with two coats of white interior paint allowing to dry between coats.
Paint walls above chair rail in two coats of interior paint that contrast with the wainscoting. We used Dulux Palmerin.
Photography – Chris Jones, Greg Fahey
Project – John Rae, Scott Marvell
Styling – Jo Greenwood, Vanessa Tidy.