Welcome to week 2 of the One Room Challenge! If you missed week 1 check it out here.
This week we tackled one of the most transformative projects of this whole challenge – adding wainscoting and crown molding. If you are looking for a fairly inexpensive and easy way to transform your boring/builder grade home – look no further than where you are RIGHT NOW! 🙂 Adding molding to your walls takes your space from basic to custom in one single DIY!
The first thing you need to do is determine which kind of molding you want on your walls. This can be the most intimidating part as there are SO MANY OPTIONS! For example – there is wainscoting, board and batten, panel molding, tongue and groove, shiplap to name a few. So to help you out I made a separate blog post detailing the popular styles of molding so you can best choose which one suits you and your home! Check that blog post out here.
I knew that I wanted a very traditional molding as the design vibe I am going for is “Vintage Glam”. I absolutely love the look of a traditional wainscoting but wanted to simplify the work and reduce the overall cost some so decided to go with panel molding. These two types of molding are very similar and to many look exactly the same. The primary difference is that wainscoting uses wood along the entire area to be paneled and panel molding applies the molding directly to the dry wall. Again – a very cost effective way to get essentially the same look!
How to DIY Wainscoting
Here is a visual of the floor plan I am working with for this project:
How To Measure
Step 1: Determine the height of your wainscoting.
A good rule of thumb is to use the “rule of 1/3’s when determining how high you want your molding to go up on the wall. For example – if you have 9 foot ceilings traditional wainscoting would be 1/3 of the height of the walls, which would be 36” (3 feet). If you want more of a statement wainscoting you could apply it to cover the bottom 2/3 of the wall. I think this is a beautiful aesthetic and the one I was going for in my space.
However….rules are meant to be broken. 🙂 The wallpaper that I wanted came in panel lengths of 4′ and 8′ so to avoid having a whole lot of excess wallpaper I opted to bring my wainscoting 5′ high so the remaining 4′ of wall would be a PERFECT fit for the wallpaper panels. (We are installing crown molding to the ceiling so this will help to make sure the 4′ wallpaper panels fit since it is likely we run into things being slightly off due to walls/ceilings and all that not being 100% level.)
Step 2: Determine spacing between boxes
A good rule of thumb is to space your boxes anywhere between 3.5 – 6″ apart. This will depend again on the aesthetic you are going for as well as the size of your walls. You will have to tweak things depending on the length of your walls. I decided to space our boxes 4″ apart. I knew that I wanted to fit 5 boxes total on this back wall (PRO TIP: great design is often done with odd numbers!), so in order to do so I wanted my boxes spaced on the “closer together side”.
Step 3: Determine the size of your boxes
At this point it is more about math to determine the exact size of boxes that you will be making. For example – I had 24″ of empty space total on this back wall (4″ between boxes/walls x 6 gaps).
151″ (total inches of back wall) – 24″ (empty space to account for) = 127″
127″ / 5 (total # of boxes) = 25.4″
This tells me that each box would be approximately 25.5″ wide. However, if I were to follow this the molding would run right into the 2 electrical outlets that I have on the back wall. The simple fix to this was to make the 4 outer boxes slightly slimmer and make the center box slighter wider. This is actually quite a common design theme you will see when looking at various wainscoting examples – so I was happy to follow suite.
**As you can see in the below drawing of my space – we decided to add a “filler/decorative” trim piece below the chair rail and above the box molding. This was a personal design preference. If you decide to do the same – I just kept everything again approximately 3.5 – 4″ spaced apart. If you don’t use this decorative filler trim you would just bring your box molding up to whatever predetermined spacing you are using below the chair rail.
How to Install
Alright – now that (in my opinion) the hardest part is over (not a fan of mathematics) lets get onto installing!!!
I decided to use painters tape to tape out the molding prior to installation. This gave us a guideline to work with as well as I was able to visually see the space prior to permanently adding anything! When in doubt – tape it out! 🙂
**This was obviously before we adjusted the boxes to account for the electrical outlets – but this gives you a nice visual of what I am referring to.
Step 1: Install Chair Rail
You will start by finding your wall studs (typically 16″ apart) and marking them (you will need to know this to nail the chair railing into those studs).
Cut your first piece of molding. It is easiest to start with an inside corner of wall. Use a 90 degree angle cut for the first cut and 45 degree angle cuts for all corners. Cut one piece of molding for each stretch of the wall.
Step 2: Follow the same steps for installing the decorative filler trim piece
This is an optional step. Since we were installing taller wainscoting I wanted to add a little more decorative trim.
Step 3: Install box molding
Some DIY’ers will cut all their box molding at once – however, we decided to go with cut then install, cut then install…Either way works! The sizes of boxes ranged quite a bit in our space due to large windows and working around them so for us was just easier to do one box at a time.
All of your box molding will have 45 degree angle cuts.
What difference, right!? Here is a quick cheat sheet for the materials that we used to accomplish this look. You can easily “pin” it and save it for later.
Week 2 Overall Progress
Here is a sneak peak of where things are currently at for week 2 of the One Room Challenge! Lots done – but so much left to do!
I used a custom color match paint for the wainscoting to match the blue in the wallpaper that will be installed (NEXT WEEK!). Here is the color code for anyone who is interested. The pictures above are with only 1 coat. It truly is a beautiful blue color. Deep and rich without feeling “teen boy” room – ish. LOL! PS- I always use a semi gloss on all trim and molding.
Also, I will most likely be painting the chair rail and baseboards in the same blue – however, since my wallpaper hasn’t arrived yet I wanted to wait to see that with the wainscoting.
Everything in this room is still verrry much a work in progress…hover board and all….and those gray walls above the wainscoting is making it hard to envision the overall design. Soooo….make sure to stay tuned for next week where I will be installing the WALLPAPER!!!
Speaking of what is to come — take a look at the progress I’ve made on my to – do list and my to – source list & see what is yet to come!
Buy trim and molding – DONE
Get custom color match paint – DONE
Install wainscoting – 1/2 DONE
Install crown molding
Trim windows – DONE
Paint walls – 1/2 DONE
Order prints and photos for gallery wall
Hang gallery wall
Pleat & hang curtain panels
Gallery wall frames
Curtain panels with rods
Office chair – DONE
2 accent chairs
Book shelves – DONE
Buffet table – DONE
Desk – DONE
Chandelier – DONE
That’s it for week 2! If you’re on Instagram, follow me @lauramithell.interiordesign to watch my progress in my “ORC – Office” Instagram story highlight! I’ll be sharing a lot more there.
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