In the language of interior design, wainscoting is the wood paneling that runs along the lower half of a room’s wall. In reality, wainscoting can be made from just about any material and doesn’t have to cover half of the wall. Oftentimes, wainscoting will be made from some kind of laminate or vinyl that is designed to look like wood. It’s also often painted an opaque color. Even if you find wainscoting made of natural wood, it’s very commonly painted white or tan. The paint is often thick enough to hide most of the grain. However, a trend has emerged recently that looks very promising. Homeowners with hardwood floors are actually choosing to use the same hardwood flooring planks for their wainscoting.
Whether you’re buying hardwood floor for your house for the first time or you already have hardwood flooring, you can still make wainscoting from flooring planks. There are a few different ways to go about this. You can choose the same hardwood flooring planks for your walls as you have for your floor. That will allow you to create a seamless image from your floor to your walls. It creates almost the illusion that your floor extends for much longer than it actually does. Many people looking to create the illusion of more space choose this option.
If you don’t want to use the same hardwood or can’t find the same hardwood, you can use a different hardwood for the wainscoting. Choosing planks of the same width as your flooring will still help create a very unified look. If you choose a different hardwood or a different stain for the wainscoting, you have to decide if you want them to look similar or drastically different.
Similar or Different?
There are two competing philosophies about matching your hardwood wainscoting to your hardwood floor. Somee choose similar hardwood flooring planks for the wall, so that they can approximate a seamless look. Others choose something drastically different as a complement. If you choose a stain or a hardwood similar to your flooring hardwood, it needs to be distinct enough that it doesn’t look like an accident that they’re different. However, it shouldn’t be so distinct that they no longer match.
For example, if you have a honey colored white oak floor, you probably shouldn’t choose a similar stain on white oak for the wainscoting. That might look like you just have two woods that don’t match. Alternately, you could choose an espresso stain for a white oak. That could be a very dramatic and dynamic difference. It could also be too drastic. Work with a good contractor and tack up sample wainscoting before making a decision.