Chair rail ideas

Chair rail ideas DEFAULT

When talking about chair rail ideas, it’s not actually talking about a rail for a chair. It’s the name of a mid-wall molding which actually has less to do. It’s more about scale and proportion. If you know more about chair rail, knowing how and why it would drastically affect the feel and look of your space.

Originally, a chair rail was used to protest the wall from the damage that is made by the chair. Usually, it’s placed in dining rooms that have many chairs in the dining set. But since it adds a nice touch to the wall, the chair rail become the addition to give pleasing visual and architectural interest to the room.

The dimension of the chair rail should hit about 1/3 up the wall. You need to avoid it for being too high because it would make the room to feel squat and off. If you are worried about the high you set, you can go lower, it would be safer.

So, if you decide to have a touch of chair rail ideas in your house. You need to finish reading this article, there will be many inspirations will be provided here. Be ready to give your wall a little functional charm.

Types of Chair Rail

Before we move on to the chair rail design ideas, you may need to know some types of the chair rail. Each type has its own charm and adds a different character to your room. Here are three popular chair rail molding designs and styles available for your house.


1. Simple and Plain Styles of Chair Rail

below chair rail ideas

This is the styles that are very common, you will be easy to find this style in many houses. The plain chair rail would allow you to add color to the space to meet the design you plan.

For example, you can get the chair rail to be suitable for Art Decor style, Victorian theme, or Natural Rustic design.

As you can see in that picture, it looks really simple. It won’t bother or blur out your current style. So, it’s so ideal to be the addition for your remodeling project. This plain chair rail has a basic color combination between gray and white.


Playing with basic color would always be safe and clean. It would get people more comfortable to be around. The sense of clean and light seems to be the highlight of this room. Going with simple plain style for chair rail would be an ideal idea to play safe.


Some designers wouldn’t recommend the homeowners to play safe. Well, you need to be creative to play with colors. Add a little accent won’t change anything to your room, says those designers.

2. Two-Toned Wall of Chair Rail

chair rail designs photos

Splitting up the color on the wall with chair rail is quite popular. You can choose the color or style that support the two-toned paint concept. It would get the separation between the wall and the chair rail more obvious.

Take a look at the photo, there’s a big difference between plain and two-tone. The contrast of the color combination is very obvious.

You have two level of walls, one above the rail, another one below the rail. You can choose to have either the bottom or the upper part of the wall has the darker shade.


This room looks alive and fresh. The contrast of the color is very brave. The bold red color plays really well with the white rail. The cream color below the white rail is also a great way to match the wooden elements in the room.


Two paints would cost more than one paint. So, you may need more budget comparing to the plain one. If you still choose white or another similar neutral color to be combined with the main color of the wall, it would be useless because all the rail is painted in white, mostly.

3. Ornate Style of Chair Rail

chair rail ideas hallway

The ornate chair rail with a thickness dimension at eye level height would add a surprising and dramatic design element to the room. This would look like a typical wallpaper border in order to bring detail with a new and updated form.

This is a great idea for you who want to go with the luxurious style of the chair rail. The more ornaments that it gets, the more luxurious it would be.

As you can see, this dining room looks glorious with that molding wall. The antique texture and design let the atmosphere spread the feel of luxury.


The gorgeous looking luxury on your wall would take your room design and atmosphere to the next level


Sometimes, it gets too over.

Recommended Chair Rail Ideas to Apply

easy chair rail ideas

Check out this amazing dining room. The playing chair rail design feels on track with the room design. The soft blue color of the wall let the other dark wooden elements speak for themselves. This picture is taken from Hanson Fine Building website.

Usually, the simple chair rail would be pleased to be set as the background of the room. However, it still plays a big part in the whole atmosphere.


The soft wall color blends well with dark woods. Adding chair rail into the wall design would support the classic style you apply in the room.


Its charm is only getting a small portion in this room.

2. Chair Rail Ideas in Sarah’s House

installing chair rail molding ideas

Designing by applying a picture design makes your work even simpler. You can just simply select the design you like from the pictures and let the designer imitate the picture.

In molding design, it would be a lot simpler because simple molding can be installed by professionals and also by yourself.

The level of the chair rail in this photo is higher above the chair height. The purpose to have it that way is to level the windows. The dining room looks so balanced. Sarah is very clever to decide where to put the elements.


That four windows are the focal point in this dining room besides that lighting pendant in the center. The chair rail gets it even better in order to balance the look.


The level of the rail is too high, it wasn’t supposed to be that high.

3. Chair Rail Ideas with Floor Covering

chair rail paint color ideas

This dining room has a floor covering that looks like wood. It’s not actually a wooden flooring, it’s a stone flooring. The chair rail has a neutral combination which is a pretty safe choice for the designer. There’s no dark color on the wall, the dark color is only available for other elements but a wall.

The wall should be in tone. The soft grey color is well combined with white chair rail and bottom wall side. There’s only one white chair at the dining table, it represents a leader or the most dominant seat for the important person at the house. It also matches the white domination on the wall.


The clean dark dining set looks gorgeous when it’s closed with that white chair rail.


There are two big windows in the dining room which are not recommended by professional designers.

4. Chair Rail in Standard Dining Room

unique chair rail ideas

The only elements that really obvious in this room is the large doors. There are two large see-through doors in this dining room.

It might be there to provide enough lighting at day. As you can see, the amount sunlight that enters the interior adds a dramatic touch to the floor.

You may need to control the sunlight that enters the dining room which can be a disturbance. Well, the white curtain over there would be a pretty good solution to that.


That luxurious lighting above the dining table really set a good mood for dinner time.


The style is confusing in this dining room. It’s not contemporary at all, it’s also not classic. Well, I guess according to the elements that this room has got, it’s mixed.

5. Goshen Ridge Design House with Chair Rail

chair rail paint ideas

This house’s interior is designed by Goshen Ridge. He installed the chair rail molding to provide more imperial feel into the room. That antique light pendant in the middle of the living room looks suitable, thanks to the color choice of the furniture.

There’s an elegant dining set above brown rug to manage the similar color in the middle. For the chair rail, it uses ornate chair rail. It seems like the living room has a neutral color as the main combination of this living room.


The antique charm from the light pendant in the middle and the choice of colors shine up the room.


The color choice of the wall is unclear.

6. Chair Rail Used as A-Frame

painting with a chair rail ideas

Chair rail design doesn’t have to be empty with plain color. You can treat the rail like a frame of an art. As you can see, this room has a decorative chair rail that was used to frame wallpaper to be oversized art.

The combination of white and yellow really warm up the room. It will make the room more to feel energetic than before.

The artwork is very important in this chair rail concept. Because, if the artwork doesn’t seem to be supportive, you may need to take down this concept.


The best suggestion for this is to imitate the concept and the artwork of the wallpaper. Yellow and white seem to be a perfect couple.


You can’t call it a chair rail anymore because it’s used as a frame.

7. Chair Rail Trim Over Wallpaper

inexpensive chair rail ideas

You can simply place the trim on walls over the wallpaper of grasscloth. If you have a concept of grasscloth on your wall, this ideas seems to be the best way to treat it. Picking white as the basic color of the chair rail, and the soft gray as the grasscloth wall color.

This kind of concept would bring out the real elegance of the room. Pairing the wall with black furniture like the picture, that would be perfect because black color is from the same family with grey and white.


The super-elegant appearance that you can choose for your interior.


The color combination will be monotonous without those two gold accessories on the wall.

8. Chair Rail with Decorative Patterned Accents

chair rail designs photos

A Flat Geometric Pattern on Wall can be a creative option you could select for the chair rail design. It looks simple and unique.

Homeowners tend to choose a simple pattern for the chair rail. This falt geometric seems a bit more complicated, that’s why it’s not used by many people.

The color has to be white or another bright neutral color because you may need to pair it with bold color. The geometric pattern will have a more dramatic characteristic with bright color.


Geometric is a unique option of pattern, that’s the reason number one to have this idea. It looks fun and attractive too.


You may have problems in cleaning it away from dust and keeping it always clean.

9. Boxed Cross Pattern Chair Rail

cool chair rail ideas

Another simple option of the pattern for chair rail, this boxed cross pattern is a bit different with geometric. This time chair rail is beautifully added to the plain door design. This pattern is quite easy to install. So, I guess it would be a perfect option for your remodel project.

If you have a plain boring wall that needs attention. This boxed cross pattern might be very helpful. Just at it with the same white color as the plain wall, it would make a good impact. However, you can also play with color combination with this pattern. Just be creative with it.


Installing this pattern is pretty simple and easy. That’s why this pattern is quite popular not only for the wall but also doors.


As you can see, if you install it on all the space on the wall, the wall design will be more monotonous than before.


Overall, chair rail would add its own charm to the mix of your stylish design. It also makes a good separation to a vast wall expanse to decrease overwhelming. Hopefully, all of those chair rail ideas would inspire each one of you to apply the one you need.


A Chair Rail Gives Your Home a Classic Look


  • Chair rail molding
  • Wood putty (if necessary)
  1. Mark the Wall

    Mark the wall at one end to indicate the top of the chair rail molding. Normally, this will be between 32 and 36 inches above the floor. Make an identical mark at the opposite end of the wall. 

  2. Snap a Chalk Line

    Snap a chalk line between the two marks to make a reference line to indicate where the top of the chair rail molding will fit. 

  3. Check for Studs

    Use an electronic stud finder to find the positions of the vertical wall studs where they intersect the chalk reference line. Mark the line at these points, using a pencil. In most cases, the studs will be spaced 16 inches apart, measured on-center. 

  4. Cut Molding

    Cut a length of chair railing molding to fit across the first wall. If possible, use a single length of molding to cover the entire length of the wall If two pieces are necessary, use a scarf joint—a joint where the ends are angled at 45 degrees—where the two pieces meet in the center. The ends of the molding should be cut square at 90 degrees to fit against tightly against the adjoining walls of the room. 

  5. Attach Molding to Wall

    Nail this first piece of molding to the wall, driving brads or finish nails into the wall at the stud locations. If you are driving finish nails with a hammer, use a nail set to recess the nail heads slightly below the surface of the wood. Thin pieces of chair rail, especially if they are hardwood, may benefit by drilling pilot holes for the nails to avoid splitting the wood. 

  6. Repeat for Opposite Wall

    Repeat steps 1 to 5 on the wall opposite the first wall. 

  7. Repeat on Remaining Walls

    On the remaining two walls, repeat this process, but at the ends, cut the molding at contours to match the profile of the adjoining moldings, using a coping saw. These joints are known as coped joints, and are tighter and provide a more professional look than angled miter joints. 

  8. Fill Nail Holes

    Use wood putty to fill any nail holes in the molding. 

Pairing With Wainscoting

One of the most popular chair rail designs is to use it as a top finishing edge for a wainscot. Traditionally, wainscoting was made from wood panels set within moldings. But in the modern form, it often takes the form of "faux wainscoting," in which vertical lengths of molding are attached to the wall from the chair rail to the baseboard to create the look of panels.

This entire bottom section of the wall can be painted a different color to create the look of a solid wainscot, or the faux panels within the molding outlines can be painted a different color to contrast with the moldings. Any rough edges where the vertical lengths of molding butt against the chair rail and baseboard can be smoothed over with caulk or wood putty. 

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Top 70 Best Chair Rail Ideas – Molding Trim Interior Designs

When building, renovating, or simply updating one’s home, a lot can be overlooked in the details.

After all, we want our homes to make a grand impression, and the sweeping show-stealers are usually first and last on our minds.

However, those aforementioned details can make or break a home’s defining presence, leaving as much to be desired as what initially escaped the eye. Case in point: chair rail molding.

The name alone isn’t exactly an alluring proposition, but chair rail molding has been used for hundreds of years in the finest homes around the world, acting as both protector and refiner. Where the former is concerned, these top 70 best chair rail ideas and molding designs help to prevent scuffing along the walls caused by furniture and careless foot traffic.

In the case of the latter, chair rail molding establishes an interior’s proportion and scale, adding space and elegance to otherwise standard straight-up-and-down spaces. Available in a number of designs, from classic to cutting edge, and adaptable to any home’s color palette, chair rail molding is a seemingly minute detail that makes a night and day difference.

Have you ever stepped inside a home and felt a certain je ne sais quoi, an essence or detail you just couldn’t put your finger on that nonetheless left you in awe and eager to return again?

Chair rail molding was likely present, incorporated in such a subtle and refined manner that one would never suspect its effect–until implementing it into their own abode.


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Sitting Area with Gray Walls and Wainscoting

Sitting Area with Gray Walls and Wainscoting

The addition of chair rails adds an interesting design feature to your room, creating a refined feel to your space. Originally used to protect your walls from the movement of chairs, they have now become a primary feature in dining rooms, living rooms and even bathroom remodels. Much like crown molding, chair rails come in various types and sizes, from casual to very elegant. They can be used to make a room look more cohesive and as a separation between painted walls and wainscoting. Although fairly easy to install, in order for chair rails to work in your room it is imperative to have an even, flat surface without bulges or ripples. You may need the help of a sheetrock installation team if you have walls that need to be repaired or replaced before the installation of chair rails.

On this page of, review pictures of chair rail molding installed by other homeowners and contractors. Get ideas for your own project, or share a completed project of your own.

Latest Chair Rail Projects on RenoCompare

Chair Rail Molding Pictures from our Pinterest Board

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14 Chair Rail Moulding Ideas for Your Home

Chair Rail Molding Ideas

Are you interested in chair rail moulding ideas for your home? Chair rail is a type of moulding that is used in the middle of a wall. Originally, chair rail moulding was added to dining rooms to protect plaster walls from getting damaged by dining room chairs.

These days, chair rail moulding isn’t just about adding protection to vulnerable walls. It’s a decorative element that can elevate a room’s design. There’s no shortage of inspiring and modern chair rail ideas for every room of the home.

Here are 14 inspiring chair rail design ideas for your home:  

1. Add Some White Space to Eccentric Wallpaper

Add Some White Space to Eccentric Wallpaper - Chair Rail Ideas

Wallpaper can be tricky to pull off – especially if you choose a bold print. The white chair rail moulding helps break-up this eccentric wallpaper and breathe white space into the room. It creates a unique look that still feels light. 

2. Match Your Chair Rail with a Dark Wall Color

Match Your Chair Rail with a Dark Wall Color - Chair Rail Ideas

The grey chair rail moulding matching the wall color helps create visual interest in this playful living space. The moulding helps merge traditional and modern design and creates a successful marriage of elegance and comfort. Painting the wall and moulding a dark color helps add depth and makes the moulding pop off the wall, creating interesting shadows. 

3. Add Multiple Layers of Chair Rail

Add Multiple Layers of Chair Rail - Chair Rail Ideas for Bedrooms

This is one of our favorite chair rail ideas for bedrooms. Layering chair rail moulding helps create a luxurious feeling while adding textural and design intrigue. The curved chair rails in cream hues help elevate this fashion-forward bedroom. 

4. Add Classic and Sophisticated Trim

Add Classic and Sophisticated Trim

Pairing classic chair rail moulding and baseboards with sophisticated panel moulding provides a terrific backdrop for this art wall. The art and perfectly decorated table bring your focus to the finishings on the lower half of the wall, making the entire wall a swoon-worthy spectacle.  

5. Match Modern Minimalism with a Flat, Angular Design 

Match Modern Minimalism with a Flat, Angular Design

The flat, angular moulding adds a clean line to this minimal design. It helps break up the taupe paint and create subtle interest without pulling too much focus. Sticking with flat and angular styles is a perfect way to nail a modern simplistic motif. It’s also one of the more conventional chair rail ideas for a dining room.  

Chair Rail Ideas for Dining Room

6. Enhance Your Stairwell

This stairwell is covered floor to ceiling with panel moulding, and it’s absolutely awe-inspiring. Who says stairwells and hallways have to be bland? You can use all types of moulding, including chair rail moulding, to add excitement to your stairwells and hallways. Most of our favorite chair rail ideas for a hallway involve layering chair rail moulding and panels to create a regal feeling like this design. 

7. Create a Bold Color Scheme

Create a Bold Color Scheme - Chair Rail Molding Ideas

This bold room designed by Architect João Mansur shows how you can use chair rail moulding to create a bold and unexpected color scheme. He chose to paint the chair rail cherry-red to create a vivid contrast against the green apple walls. It goes to show that you can use chair rail as a method for creating bold color schemes. 

8. Use Chair Rail for an Alternative Project

Use Chair Rail for an Alternative Project

Consider using chair moulding as something other than its intended purpose in order to create a one-of-a-kind fireplace or a hand-painted craft. Don’t be afraid to use chair rail’s interesting shape and texture as a tool or material in other projects. 

The unique combination of floor-to-ceiling trim elements creates something dazzling and truly architecturally interesting in the fireplace example above. For the name sign, it’s a way to prevent putting so many nails in the wall! 

Chair Rail Designs Ideas

9. Add Texture to Your Bedroom 

Add Texture to Your Bedroom - Chair Rail Ideas for Bedrooms

This upscale bedroom features many complex design elements that create a relaxed and classy atmosphere. The chair rail moulding helps add texture to the wall that would otherwise be one-dimensional in color and texture. The chair rail, along with the chandelier and multi-dimensional ceiling, help imbue a cozy and encapsulating feeling. Even if you aren’t aiming for an upscale design, using moulding to create texture is one of those chair rail ideas that always looks good. 

10. Install Chair Rail on Indoor Columns

Install Chair Rail on Indoor Columns

Chair rail moulding isn’t limited to the wall. This spacious living room uses chair rail on its columns and walls to produce a consistent and seamless feeling throughout the entire space. If you’re looking for chair rail ideas for a living room – this is definitely one to try. 

11. Use Chair Rail for Contrasting Panel Moulding

Use Chair Rail for Contrasting Panel Molding

The gold panel moulding takes center stage on these walls. However, without the soft chair rail moulding, it wouldn’t be quite as attention-grabbing. This room’s design does a wonderful job at balancing contrast and minimalism, and it does so mostly with its trim elements and a few thoughtful decorations. 

12. Create an Edge with Angular Chair Rail

Create an Edge with Angular Chair Rail

This recessed panel paired with an angular chair rail helps create a modern look. The dimension of the panel helps make the walls appear to have a small edge. It’s an edgy twist on plain chair rail moulding – figuratively and literally! It helps lift the design from a more traditional space to something a bit more unique.   

13. Cap Off Wainscotting

Cap Off Wainscotting

If you’re looking for chair rail ideas for a bathroom, look no further than this stunning bathroom designed by Emily Henderson. Emily created a fun take on a classic design by using navy shiplap to create a moody wainscotting effect. However, rather than having the visible seam between the shiplap and the wall, she capped it off with chair rail moulding to create a more visually appealing transition. 

14. Create a Dual-Tone Wall Design

Create a Dual-Tone Wall Design

Even with a bold color like yellow, chair rail moulding is a fantastic way to create a dual-toned wall design. As it turns out, the standard chair line guideline of placing the chair moulding one-third of the way up the wall is the perfect proportion for two colors. Painting the upper two-thirds of the wall with the primary color and the bottom one-third with the accent color helps the room look elegantly balanced. The chair rail moulding helps add a definitive break between colors, making it even easier on the eyes.  

Try the Chair Rail Moulding Ideas that Inspire You

If you’re ready to transform your home with chair rail moulding, we’re here to help. We have a complete line of finishing touches that are sure to impress. Find out which chair rail moulding fits your style with Option M today. 

How to Install DIY Chair Rail on Your Walls

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