Chair Rail Ideas

Chair rails are horizontal moldings attached to the walls along the perimeter of the room at a certain height. With this article, you will find 18 gorgeous ideas of including them in your home.
DecorDezine Staff
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2018
"Their purpose is to establish the scale and proportion of a space. And no molding does this job better than chair rail because it visually divides the room and instantly allows you to read the size and scale of the space."
― Brent Hull, Author and Molding Expert
For a quick, yet elegant transformation for any room in the house, a chair rail is always a go-to idea for a lot of homeowners. Often called either dado or chair rail, these are a types of molding that are installed horizontally to the wall(s) around the perimeter of any room.

But what is its purpose? Fore purely aesthetic reasons, the chair rail are often chosen of a specific height so that chairs and other furniture won't come in contact with the walls behind it. Apart from homes, these are often used in commercial buildings as well.

So, if you too are searching for some elegant, yet cost-effective ways to include such a rail in your home―dining room, living room, or entry hall―here are some wonderful ideas that will definitely motivate you.
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The width, color, and design of the molding can be determined according to the rest of the décor of that particular room. The only detail, or essential factor, you need to consider is that it should look appropriate to be installed in the middle of the room's walls.
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When it comes to choose a color for the walls above and below the rail, basically, anything goes―no colors are off-limits. However, for a no-fail approach, conside using light and dark tones from the same paint-chip strip. Here, your goal is to create a contrast between the walls, furniture, and rail.
The Installation Process
 First of all, take measurements of the walls where you want to install the rail. This is important because it will give you an idea about the length of the molding for each wall. Take the measurements properly as any mistake will leave behind gaps in between two rails which looks ugly.

 The materials commonly used for making rails are fiberboard, wood, vinyl, or metal.

 Cut the moldings of the rails with the help of a coping saw according to the measurements taken. While trimming, keep it in mind that the length of the rail should be equal to the length of the wall. Thus, you can ensure minimum number of joints on the walls.

 However, if the stretch of the room is too long, then it cannot be covered by a single railing and you have to join two pieces together.

 The edges of both the ends should be angled at 90°.

 Then, those ends where two railings are joined, should be cut at 45° to create a smooth miter joint. The molding also require mitered edges.

 Mark on the wall the height at which you wish to mount the moldings. The standard height is in the range of 28 to 36 inches from the floor. However, this rule can be changed depending upon your choice and the height of the wall.

 Now, install the railings on the wall. Place each molding along the marked line and secure it with the help of nails.

 Finally, use the nail set to sink all the nails that you have fixed on the rails.
Tips to Remember
 Chair rails add an extraordinary effect to the walls and the interiors of a room. Some unique ideas can be created by using paint colors in the right way. When you have a bold wall color, a neutral-colored rail looks nice on it. As the wall gets divided, paint its two sections with two different shades from the same color family, or paint one part and put up wallpaper on the other. The strip in between these colors helps to make the changeover look beautiful. It is good particularly when the railing is installed at one-third height of the wall.

 The multi-level rails can be painted with multiple paint colors to get a Victorian style. For this, the choice of colors should be of darker shades with more emphasis on shades of golden brown. When you want a rustic look, earth tones combined with natural wood finish will work the best. If the wall has a lot of intricacies and curves on it, attention can be drawn towards them by painting the rails with the right color. Apply one color on the entire background wall and paint the strip with a contrast color. In this case, you can just stain the rails. This style is also suitable where the wall decorations include a number of art objects.

 Chair rails blend well with wall frames and other moldings. Therefore, in a small room, it can serve as a border of the picture frames. In this way, the wall surface get highlighted. Another interesting idea is to install it at a height slightly above the usual one, say at the height of the eye level. In this case, keep the width slightly more than usual so that it can act as a shelf to put different pictures for decoration.

Just remember, the rail you choose for your home should be such that it merges well with the interior designing of the house. It is not at all essential to install them only inside a living room or dining room. Instead of hand rails, you can put it up on the wall of your staircase too. If you are installing the railings on the kitchen wall, then put them up at the top of the countertop.
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