From Classic to Modern Wainscoting Ideas for Your New Home


Classic wainscoting panels are centuries old. But still so contemporary. And not just style-related. They still serve today some of their prime purposes. Once upon a time, these wooden boards became the means for enhanced insulation and wall protection. But don’t we all want to wainscot our walls for such reasons too? Of course, nowadays wainscoting panels act as decorative elements too. Even if you don’t hang additional wall decors, they make a statement on their own. And although this is a significant difference between yesterday and today, it’s a wonder if there is a lot which separates classic and modern wainscoting.

A short overview of the history of classic wainscoting

The history of wall panel wainscoting goes back to the 17th century. Some forms of moldings go back to even earlier years. The paneling and trims started in Europe, and the material used for their construction was solely wood. People used oak wood to create wall boards. A century later, some peoples used softer wood species – spruce and pine. Wainscoting became a term meaning the lining of walls with wooden boards.

As for the height, the first raised panels covered the entire wall. Eventually, they were lowered to cover part of the wall. Some were actually very short despite the tall walls. As for their construction, they were tongue-and-groove panels.

What changed with modern wainscoting?

The timeless elegance of classic wainscoting designs is still present. But a lot has happened from the 17th century French wainscoted walls to the present day. Technology happened. The interior design was born and expanded. Homes are different. Our needs changed.

  • For starters, modern wainscoting designs are found in abundance. There is a handful of styles, designs, and profiles to choose from.
  • And then wainscoting panels are not solely made of wood. They are also made of PVC and MDF. But even wooden panels are much stronger than in the old days since timber can be processed and painted to withstand moisture.
  • These days, manufacturers can create custom wainscoting styles to match the design, size, and character of the house.
  • Beadboard wainscoting is offered in whole sheets and so it’s not installed plank by plank like in the old days.

So what changed over the centuries is the way wainscoting panels are constructed and installed. The materials became better and more durable and the choices among wainscoting ideas have broadened. AlexMoulding offered so many wainscoting patterns that can be used for any home renovation.

All the same, some of the most modern panels still have vertical stiles, top rails, baseboards and the basic panel. They can cover the entire or part of the wall serving as protection against damage and increased insulation. Hence, although wainscoting installation is made easy and the options are numerous, little has changed compared with the time went by. And that’s a proof that some old wall decoration ideas die hard.

Which wainscoting panels to use for the new home?

When fixing up the new home or remodeling the present one, it won’t be hard to find the right flat or recessed panel for your rooms. In fact, you have a few good reasons for installing wainscoting.

  • Although traditional, they are still trendy and can accentuate any room.
  • Today, you can find any style you want and even paint the board in any color.
  • They are easily installed and can become the best wall decoration. And so you don’t need to worry about additional accessories and decorative elements for the time being.
  • They are the best solution for wall renovation, especially compared with a plain drywall.

The convenience today is that you can find water resistant bead board panels for your bathroom and all kinds of styles & sizes of trims. This abundance in materials and designs will allow you to decorate walls in the home whether it is minimal or not. You can also use the wainscot and trims to create the desired architectural effect – lowering or bringing up the ceiling. 

Modern wainscotings are classic solutions

At the end of the day what we have is classic wainscoting solutions which can transform the home into a very modern place. It might sound like a paradox, but it’s true! An old idea in the hands of new technology works wonders in any house. It’s no wonder why installing wainscoting in rooms where there is most likely wall wear and tear is a must today. The idea is the same as in the old days: to keep the walls protected. What more you get today is choices to enhance the style and make fundamental changes by just repainting a wainscoted wall or installing a new panel.