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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Board And Batton Header

There are a lot of homes, both old and new which lack innate architectural character and charm. These could be McMansions, tract homes or even “just too-quickly-built” new-builds. Our fixer upper is one of these. Sure the living room has big windows and wood on the ceiling but besides that it’s pretty basic, with nothing really ‘special’ about it. No built-ins, no interesting mouldings, and it’s filled with basic, cheap windows and doors. Every finish is generic and it needs some architectural help, beyond just decorative furniture and accessories.  Nothing is special about most of the rooms and I don’t want to fill it full of “stuff” just to mask the fact that it was cheaply built with generic hardware store finishes. And I know I’m not alone. All of us want houses full of charm and character, but often we buy based on other things – location, size, school district or budget. Tiny adorable vintage bungalows don’t fit a lot of our lives/families and often what does – the more spacious, cheaper, mass-produced houses are the ones that lack the character which gives a house some innate charm. It’s the Basic B of housing problems and we are here to help. Listen, just because your house was built “basic”, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.

Today we are kicking off this series, ‘How to add character and charm to your “basic” home’, starting with Wall Paneling.

Wall paneling has proven to be so impactful, immediately. It’s insta-charm, but does more for a room than just baseboard (which we’ll get to). We’ll cover most of the many options, with links to the best DIYs out there, and links to purchase the supplies to ‘get the look’ if applicable. We are hoping this can be a resource to anyone, with any style of house, because applying paneling to the walls can instantly transform it from being basic to interesting. Investing in upgrading the architectural elements in your home is a good place to put your money. As someone who’s job it often is to focus on the “stuff” in a room, I will tell you that if you take some time to elevate the architecture of the room itself, then you don’t need as much “stuff” to make it beautiful.

So let’s get into the many different ways that we can bring character to a home through Wall Paneling.

Applied Box Moulding:

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This is one of the most simple and easiest of the options that we have in this category. It consists of adding strips of wood to your already existing walls (either with glue or nails) and then painting the entire wall to match. You can customize not only the size of the boxes, to be squares rectangles or a combo of each, but also the thickness of the boards that you add to the wall to achieve just about any look.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Applied Box Moulding 01
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Jenna of Jenna Sue Design pulled together this very easy to follow DIY with a step by step guide to help you get through the process. You’ll notice that before adding the strips of moulding she did face her walls in plywood which is something you will need to do if you have textured orange peel walls like she did. Her wall width was around 156″ wide and approximately 9ft tall, which brought her total cost for the project materials to $95 – pretty darn affordable for a drastic transformation. If you aren’t looking to DIY then this is something that you could easily have a contractor or handyman do in a weekend.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Applied Box Molding Diy

Here are a few options of the materials that can get you started – unfinished pine, painted trim board which could save you some time if you already have white painted walls, and then an entire wall panel that is precut and finished so that you don’t have to do any of the measuring and cutting yourself.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Applied Box Moulding Diy Supplies 01

1.  4″ x 8′ Pine Board | 2. Painted 4″ x 8′ Trim Board | 3. Recessed Wall Panel 

Applied Moulding:

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Up next we have applied moulding, which leans a bit more formal and decorative than the previous option but can be just as easy to install on your own to achieve the look. Again, you have the option to customize the size of moulding as well as the size of the rectangle, square or shape that you install it in.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Applied Moulding Final
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Addicted to Decorating pulled together this very easy DIY for adding this type of moulding to your walls and the last picture is really selling it you guys – gone are the boring white walls in trade for something filled with character. Her wall was around 152″ wide and the project supplies totaled around $160.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Applied Moulding Diy

For the supplies below we found some that are completely finished so that you don’t have to do any cutting or nailing together like in the DIY. Just pick out how many you want for your wall, nail or glue them up, give them a coat of paint and you are good to go.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Applied Moulding Diy Supplies1

1. 6 Piece Applied Moulding Kit | 2. Moulded Wall Panel | 3. Moulded Scalloped Wall Panel

But if you have more of a budget or want to go custom then head to a moulding store (we love Imperial moulding in the valley) and choose the profile or profiles you love. Bring in a photo and they can help lead you in the right direction. There are so many options – both modern and more traditional. We recently did this in a bathroom (that we have yet to reveal) and we taped it out on the wall, measured obsessively, did a meticulous drawing and our contractor installed it.

Vertical Paneling:

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When you hear the words vertical paneling uttered together in the same sentence it conjurs up bad 70’s shiny fake wood basement memories. But vertical paneling, when done the modern way, can bring a lot of character to a room, through texture. For this post we are focusing on the painted version, but will address a wood grain version in a follow up post.

With this one you can customize the size of the plank which drastically gives you a different look. You can see in the first example that the boards are fairly narrow (probably around 4″) where as in the last example they are much wider which gives it a more modern look. Traditionally you will see vertical paneling around 6″ – 8″ like you see in the second and third pictures which is a great width to add some character into your space.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Modern Vertical Paneling Final
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In My Own Style used this type of paneling to cover up and refresh her fireplace wall (bye bye brick) and the results are pretty amazing. For her DIY she used 3 sheets of 4’x8′ 1/4″ plywood which brought the project supplies total to $60 for the lumber.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Vertical Paneling Diy

For the supplies you have a few options. You can buy large sheets of plywood or bender board (#1 and #2) and have them cut down to any size you want which works well if you plan to do wide strips of paneling or an irregular pattern. Or you can buy 6″ or 8″ common board (which basically is the cheapest type of board) at that width that you can then butt end to end on your wall and paint.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Vertical Paneling Diy Supplies 02

1. Plywood Underlayment | 2. Bender Board | 3. Vertical Panel Sheet | 4. 6″ x 12′ Common Board

We linked up #3 for the easiest/cheapest DIY option, but you will definitely need to paint it. Although, I personally think that you don’t need to sweat it too much if you have that 70’s paneling in your house – if you don’t have the budget to remove it, I think that painting it will look great. Go for a modern color – either a bright white, gray or something saturated or dark. AKA stay away from anything too 70’s or 80’s in color (beiges, browns, powder blues …. ).

Board and Batten:

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Board and Batten is one of the oldest and most traditional types of wall paneling which you often see on the exterior of homes. The construction typically consists of a wide “board” and then a smaller more narrow “batten” that is installed over each of the seams creating a stronger and more energy efficient structure. When used on interior walls like the example below you don’t need to have the larger “board” but instead can fake the look with small strips installed vertically.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Board And Batten Moulding
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Remodelaholic used the method for a room in her house by installing 1″x3″ boards vertically from floor to ceiling and then painting them. Her wall was around 136″ wide and to get the look she used a total of 8 boards bringing her approximate cost for the wall to $40 in supplies.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Modern Vertical Strip Moulding Diy

We did a wider version of this (in a wainscot version) at Sylvia’s house because it was desperate for some character and I can personally tell you that it worked wonders in the space.

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We used 4″ pine, but since she had a textured wall we applied sheets of plywood underneath. We documented it here.

Similar to the previous examples you have a few different options for width depending on the look that you are going for. #1 and #2 could be installed directly after being purchased for a slimmer “batten”, where as #3 could be installed for a wider look or could be cut down to any width based on what look you are going for.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Modern Vertical Strip Moulding Diy Supplies 01

1. 1/4″ x 1 1/2″ Primed Board | 2. 1/4″ x 1 5/16″ Pine Moulding | 3. 1/4″ x 3 3/4″ Bender Board

Wainscot Paneling:

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We referenced wainscoting in the previous example but we wanted to call it out as a stand alone option as well. The term wainscoting refers to any type of wall treatment that goes a portion of the length of the wall. So while some people think wainscoting only involves beadboard or v-groove, the “half way method” can be used for any wall treatment and boy does it look good with this pink tub.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Wainscot Paneling Infographic

To help you out we created this little cheat sheet to give you an idea of the traditional heights of wainscoting as well as a few of the different options for capping it off. We used both v-groove and beadboard wainscoting in our house and I love how much character it added to the spaces. When it comes to finishing off the top of the wainscoting you have SO many different options and what we represented above in the graphic is just to give you a jumping off point – a standard cap leans more modern and simple, a standard + decorative moulding which can help the look lean more traditional, a picture ledge which is a lip that comes out 2″-3″, or a cove shelf which could come out as far as 8″-10″ and would allow you to lean or stack items on it.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Wainscoting Paneling
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We sourced a variety of samples for you to really illustrate how many options you have with this, although these 4 pictures only touch the surface of how custom you can get with it. I love #3 where they used a v-groove wainscoting and then finished the cap with pegs for storage and decor, but how cool is #4? You could do a version of that, with a thin block moulding, only on the bottom half to really give the room instant style – especially if you have a new build.

Our friends over at Young House Love did a very simple board and batten wainscoting which only cost them $57 total for the lumber materials in their hallway which was around 256″ long. The before and after pictures are pretty amazing and I love the simple detail that it adds to a typically drab space.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Half Wall Paneling Board And Batten Diy

As mentioned, you can use just about any of the treatments in a wainscot height but we pulled together a few options to get the board and batten look that Young House Love did (#1), a tongue and groove panel which is what we did in Charlie’s room (#2), or you can purchase a completely finished panel that just needs painting and adhering to the wall (#3).

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Wainscot Paneling Diy Supplies

1. 1″ x 3″ Primed Trim Board | 2. 8′ Tongue and Groove Panel | 3. 1/4″ MDF Pre-Primed Wainscot Panel

Horizontal Paneling:

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Next up we take the vertical paneling concept and turn it horizontal. And before you all comment below and ask, “Why aren’t you calling it shiplap? “I watch fixer upper and I know that is shiplap”. Shiplap, while it is technically horizontal paneling, is only one type of horizontal paneling. Shiplap traditionally has a space in between the boards (and is designed to easily fit together) where as horizontal paneling (like vertical) can be installed butt to butt without a space based on the look that you are going for.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Horizontal Paneling
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Jenny from Little Green Notebook showed the world how easy and simple it can be to get the “shiplap” look by using bender board in her approximately 5’x7′ bathroom which in total cost her under $100.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Horizontal Paneling Diy

As far the supplies for this one, you can go for a plywood panel like #1, which you have cut down to whatever size board you want, use #2 like Jenny Komenda did above, or for the more rustic shiplap look #3 which is pre-finished and ready to install is a great option.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Horizontal Paneling Diy Supplies 01

1. Plywood Underlayment | 2. Bender Board | 3. 1″ Pre-Finished White Shiplap

V-Groove Paneling:

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V-Groove paneling which falls under the vertical paneling family is a type of paneling where the edges of the boards have been shaved so that when it butts up to another board it forms a “V” shape in the groove. We used it in our master bathroom above as well as around our kitchen island and I love the look of it. It’s traditional with a twist and gives you more of a defined line than just butting two boards up against each other.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses V Groove Paneling Final
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Although all of the examples above show it installed vertically you can install it horizontally like Homestories A to Z did in her bedroom. In full disclosure we aren’t 100% sure that what she used is v-groove but it does have that look and the step by step guide is a great tutorial for the look. The entire wall was around 162″ wide and the project supplies came in at around $175.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses V Groove Paneling Diy

Just like with the other options, v-groove comes in a variety of widths. When it comes to installation you can either purchase it in individual planks which you interlock like #1 and #2, or you can buy an entire panel that is precut with “V” shapes in it to give you a similar look once it is painted.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses V Groove Paneling Diy Supplies

1. V-Groove Wall Plank | 2. Painted V-Groove Wall Plank | 3. V-Groove Wall Panel

Beadboard Paneling:

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Beadboard paneling which is what we used above in Charlie’s room is a very traditional wall treatment but one that will always be timeless. It consists of a strips of wood with small “beads” in between each board. Beadboard which comes in a variety of widths as well as styles is often popular in bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways as it serves as a very durable option for your walls and you can accent above it with a different paint color if you decide to do it as wainscoting like we did above.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Beadboard Paneling Final
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House Updated gave a major re-haul to her closet with some prefab beadboard panels and trim moulding and now the space looks brand new. The panels which are painted and sealed in white come as a solid monolithic sheet and cost her about $190 for materials.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Beadboard Paneling Diy

Like the other options you can buy either a pre-finished slab (#2), or in individual planks (#3), or if you want the look for a rental or small space (like a backsplash) they even make textured beadboard wallpaper that can be painted and looks just about as real as the wood versions. For those of you wondering, we used the plank version in Charlie’s bedroom, which ran us about $350 in materials (we purchased from Imperial in the valley and it is real wood, but the sheets may have given the same look).

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Beadboard Paneling Diy Supplies

1. Paintable Beadboard Wallpaper | 2. Beadboard Wall Panel | 3. Beadboard Planks

Modern Abstract Paneling:

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Our last inspirational example which we get might be completely not to some peoples tastes is what we have dubbed “modern abstract paneling”. Yes, it might be a little bit crazy, but these out of the box patterns definitely bring some character into a room without a lot of work. Most of these are a version of the “board and batten” concept but have just been installed in more intricate patterns and designs.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Modern Abstract Paneling
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Essentially with all of these you are adding a simple tonal texture to your walls. Texture adds character and while some of these wouldn’t work in every style of home, there are versions that could work in yours. You play with the width, pattern, orientation and height. If you are a ‘save time, spend money’ person then you can easily hire a handyman for this (You don’t need an expensive contractor), but if you are a ‘save money, spend time’ person, then hopefully those DIY options and links have helped.

In case we lost you somewhere in between 1 and 8 here is a little cheat sheet of “8 Ways to Add Character to Your Walls”. Print it out, frame it, give it to your handyman, take it to the hardware store, and give your walls some character.

How To Add Character And Charm To Boring Architecture And Houses Wall Treatment 8ways

So, I am sure you have some questions for us – leave them below and we will try to get them all answered.

I have three questions for you:

  1. Can any of you give a rough labor price of these types of treatments? I realized as we were pulling this post together that every time we’ve done one of these treatments it was packaged in with a larger contractor job so I can’t even give a ballpark of how much just paneling one room would be. I think that all the readers would love to hear how long and how much the labor costs, in addition to the pricing of the materials.
  2. What is your favorite? Are you a more traditional bead board person or would you consider box moulding?
  3. Lastly, we aren’t moulding or paneling experts so if there is something that you can share – either advice, resources, other DIY posts, secrets, etc that you think could be helpful please leave them in the comments and we can try to update the post where applicable. Essentially we’d love to crowdsource as much helpful information as possible so that this post can be a reference for all of us.

Oh and let us know if you are into this series because if so, we have a lot ideas to share.

  1. Wow! You’ve really outdone yourself this time (again). This is the most comprehensive review I’ve seen on paneling ideas. Saved and pinned and ready to use on my snoring room rehab.

    Eric @ http://www.EricEstate.com

  2. As a very general rule I have found labor for wood work costs the price of materials, so $350 worth of materials would cost $350 to install, but that does not include detail finish work, like prepping, priming, painting, and finishing.

    1. Oh interesting! Thank you. xx

    2. Sorry, but this makes no sence to me… every time someone suggests this I try to understand it (really!) but there’s no way I can wrap my head around it.
      The thing is, for the exact same finish, and the same type of materials, you can have all kinds of brands and prices… why should it matter if the wood plank costs $10 or $100 if the work to apply it will be the same?
      I believe labor costs should only be related to the amount of work, the type of work (specialized labor) and time involved. Neither you should expect to pay less because you bought cheap material, nor the opposite.

  3. This is one of the best articles I have come across. Keep up the good work. https://www.cinemaboxappdownload.co/cinema-box-for-pc/

  4. OMG! I love this post so much! Thank you Emily and team! I have bad 70’s paneling in the bathroom and laundry room of my new to me civil war era brick house. Don’t have the budget right now to rip it all out so for now I’ve painted it bright white. It’s much better, but I’ve still been unhappy with it. Because of this post I think I’ll install thin boards over all the paneling lines to make it look like the wall in the first image. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

    1. What a great idea!! Hope it goes well, Shelly!

    2. Such a good idea it will probably transform the space!

  5. Thanks, Emily, this post has so much good information. There are many of us who do (or want to try) DIY projects but sometimes just don’t know where to start and it can be a little overwhelming. And for those of us who don’t have the skills or tools to make everything from scratch, it’s good to know that there are some ready made options that make these projects doable and affordable. Small projects can be frustrating because if you need to get a handyman or contractor, it’s not always easy to find someone available. After reading through this I realized that there are a few smaller projects that I can try, using some of these ideas!

  6. Thanks to all the articles that you serve. I must recommend your website to friends. Good Luck

  7. We added moulding to many rooms of our 1920s Tudor and found this article on moulding proportions to be incredibly helpful: http://www.thisiscarpentry.com/2010/12/03/misused-confused-chair-rail/. It discusses the classical rules of architecture proportions and how this relates to choosing the most aesthetically pleasing mouldings (size and scale) for your individual home. By this I mean the size of the mouldings you should use as well as the height of wainscotting or applied moulding panels. We are so happy with the results!

    1. Yep, Brent Hull is a true master! https://hullhistorical.com

    2. Thanks for the that link, Emma A! So interesting!

    3. Great link! Sometimes classic details added after-the-fact look . . . off. It’s so helpful to understand some principles behind what looks correct and what doesn’t.

  8. I love posts like this! We have vertical panelling in our living room. It was the bad 70s tahoe cabin wood style which we painted and it looks so good now.

  9. Thanks for the roundup of tutorials and materials! I’ve been toying with the idea of board and batten in our living room. We currently have a chairrail with the two tone look going on – darker color below the chairrail, lighter color above, and I don’t love the blah tan colors that were there when we moved in 3 years ago. At first, I considered just repainting with a bolder color on the bottom and a fresh pale grey or white on top, but it still seemed like it was a dated design to have the two tone. I’ve seen a few tutorials where people just added board and batten between the existing chairrail and baseboards, and it seems like that might be just the right solution for my design dilemma. Adding some extra character to our millennial suburban home (built 2001) would be an added bonus! Fingers crossed that this is as DIY-able of a project as I think it is!

  10. VERY into this series!

  11. I love the Modern Abstract Paneling! It looks so interesting, and yet subtle. I’m already plotting an easy and removable way to make some MAP happening in my flat!

    Also: I welcome and support your international spelling! 😀

  12. THANK YOU for this series. This is the current issue in my house. My boyfriend and I recently bought our first house; it’s in the right neighbourhood (Canadians also spell with ous!), it’s the right size, and the backyard is private (check, check, check!), BUT it’s lacking serious character. And all we need are great ideas like these to make it happen! We were thinking of installing large v-groove planks to hide our popcorn ceilings and tall (yet simple) baseboards, among other things… trying to go modern, not country. 😉 All in all, keep up the good work, and I’d love to see more of this!

  13. Sylvia’s bedroom is my favorite in the world, and I constantly reference that photo for inspiration!

    1. ah, thank you 🙂

  14. Box moulding is my absolute favorite, but you know what stops me? The thought of dusting it and keeping it clean.

    1. I feel the same EXACT way!!
      I would love to hear from someone who actually has it, as to how bad it actually is!

      1. i have it in a powder room! and haven’t really noticed that it is attracting dust. it’s been about 2 years since installed so I would think I would notice something by now. but i never noticed that room being particularly dusty before the box molding. also it’s a small enough room that if I needed to dust all the molding it would be pretty quick.

        i have had the same thought when I see pictures of rooms in fancy houses that are completely covered in lattice!

  15. This series is everything I always wanted but didn’t know I needed. We just bought a condo in Chicago that is straight up “meh”, and have been stuck trying to figure out how to make it more interesting. Thank you for all the work that you do to make your readers’ lives easier (and less #buildergradebasicblah)

    1. YAY!!! That makes us very happy. You are not alone. xx

  16. LOVED this post! I’ve been thinking of adding some sort of wainscoting or molding to my 1939 built house in the areas that have been renovated over years and lost their character. This posted has saved me a LOT of time researching. So helpful! Yes, more of these!! I especially love the idea that these can be stand-alone small projects. As lovely as it would be to gut and reno an entire house… a weekend project here or there is more realistic. Thanks so much for all the ideas, the DIY links to people who have successfully completely projects, the rough material costs and links to those materials. I tend to feel like a deer in headlights at home improvement stores if I don’t have the EXACT name or SKU number of what I’m looking for. This made me excited and confident that these really can be in my home’s future! THANKS

  17. Definitely a fan of this series! My husband and I are in this great old bungalow that was flipped before we purchased, and we’re trying to figure out how to get some character back into our home (no more builders-grade-grey, please). My imagination is running rampant with beadboard wainscotting EVERYWHERE, but I may just limit myself to the bathrooms with their penny tile floors and subway showers that beg for old-school character.

  18. I have strong opinions about “molding” vs “moulding” and “gray” vs “grey”.
    Gray is a color. I swear the frequency of people using “Grey” as a color dramatically increased after “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” were hits. Both of those are NAMES.
    Molding doesn’t have anything to do with mold, but every time I read it written that way, that’s what I think of. So I prefer the British moulding to differentiate.

    Love this post! I think one of these might be my answer to what’s missing in my bedroom. Probably applied box moulding.

    1. Grey is the more common spelling for the color in the UK. It’s use as the color term in the US is equally appropriate, like how it is correct to write theatre or theater.

      1. I get that. I was stating a preferrence.

        1. *preference. 😉

          1. Why is it that when I actually write what I want, my phone auto-“corrects” it, but if I actually misspell something, it doesn’t help me out:)

  19. Fantastic! Thank you for such a comprehensive post! Working with a client and doing a lot of this to move her house into Farmhouse mode but want to keep it from being a generic “farmhouse”. This is great! Thanks so much for your great blog! Can’t use exclamation points enough with you!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Love this post ,very informative thank you so much for all this work

  21. I’ve been looking for a tutorial on paneling! Didn’t realize they came in sheets. Thanks for sharing, looking forward to the series. http://www.allieseidel.com

  22. I really like how you’ve pulled together all the resources here- so helpful! And THANK YOU for clarifying about “shiplap”! It’s a huge pet peeve of mine when all horizontal paneling is referred to that way (gosh, I sound like a ton of fun)

    Also, I am SUPER CRAZY about the modern abstract paneling examples, and now I’m getting several wild hairs about adding some funk up in my house. Thank you for the inspiration!

  23. YES! So into this series, and can’t wait for the baseboard post!!!
    Can you do a post on different architectural styles? Sometimes it’s hard to know whether something fits with the style of a house or not. We have an 80’s suburban house but our style is more modern and it can be hard to tell if projects will start to look too out of place or not.

  24. You’ve missed one. Adding baseboards and/or moulding. Some homes have very small boards that doesn’t do anything for the room. Replacing them or adding can elevate the space immediately.

    1. i meant just the basic moulding at the joint between wall and ceiling

    2. Emily addresses baseboards in the intro saying they will get to those. Guessing that means it’s own post. Yay!

      1. Yep! We’ll do a whole post about base and crown. stay tuned …

  25. Excellent post! Would love more of this series. I’m partial to board and batten but I live in a 1964 side split. Would that look weird?

  26. Wow, this is such a helpful series! I’ve been trying to think of a way to energize my small and boring bedroom walls and I think a fun abstract moulding could do it! Love the 3rd example.

  27. I’m very intrigued by these ideas and thinking about adding character to our ‘lego-land’ home has gotten my imagination going, but I’d like to see how these details would apply to smaller spaces.

    1) Would these treatments be best suited in larger rooms and make smaller ones only seem smaller?
    2) How can we use these techniques to change the perception of the size of the room?
    3) Can any of these make a room seem taller or wider or larger?

    As always…great post! Looking forward to tomorrow’s!

    1. We applied box molding to our 5×8 mudroom and it makes it feel bigger. The molding is all white, runs to about 5’-0”, with a painted wall above it. I think if you run your paneling above the halfway point it raises your oerception of the height of the room.

      1. Such good specific questions, Stacey. I think that adding texture to your wall (via paneling) always gives your room more depth which makes it appear bigger. I think they are equally good in large or small rooms – but perhaps think about the width of the boards in, say, the vertical paneling, to make sure that its not CRAZY wide, for instance. If you keep the colors light and tonal (not high contrast) I think it will make the room appear bigger. good luck!

  28. What a fantastic post!

  29. I love this series! But shiplap! Noooooooooo! 😉 While I like this look, I worry that this look is trendy and, except for the most classic, will be dated soon.

    I’d love to make our house more special and custom looking by adding trim, but we’ve got great built-ins that I’ll never paint. I’d consider a stained and varnished version of these I’m not sure I’ve seen many that are modern and cool. Any non-painted trim ideas would be great!

    1. I know this is tricky, which is why we kinda did this post. We wanted to give options to shiplap that aren’t exactly shiplap. We all want simple texture … but I think unless you have a mountain cabin or a modern farmhouse, or something you coastal …. you might be heading into a dangerous territory (but could also totally be fine).

  30. I used beadboard tile in a bathroom. Obviously costs more, but it looks great and is easier to clean. Just another option.

  31. i think this will be a good series! i love the box moulding and the board and batten looks. inspired to possibly try some of these in areas of my home.

  32. I am so grateful for this series. I’m currently in escrow on a square box of a house!
    But in would fund this very interesting rven if I wasn’t.

  33. This post is perfect timing as I’m toying with adding bead board or other wood paneling to my foyer, stairwell and upper landing in my 1903 house. If anyone wants to weigh in with what I should do, check out the space I’m talking about here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BQQTL_kgwa9/?taken-by=reginelaboss.

    Anyway, thank you for always posting such beautiful and helpful content. I love love love your blog. It is my design bible.

    1. That window is so pretty! I could see the “applied moulding” options being really gorgeous in that space (and maybe easier to DIY than beadboard/panelling considering the angles of the stairs? Maybe that’s just me being a lazy DIY’er, haha).

      1. Thank you! And that angle on those stairs is what has me hesitating!! The reason I was thinking beadboard in the first place is because there is some really old beadboard in two spots in the foyer and the upper landing so I thought I’d continue that but it *does* seem like a rather difficult DIY.

  34. Love this series. We just built a new house and could only do “character” walls in certain areas to keep in budget, but now I want to keep going and going and going!!!

  35. I love this series!! So much information and thoughtful details. Oh and your hair came out awesome!

    My home’s only character is that it is a small cottage/bungalow from the 1940’s (the best thing being it’s in a beach town!), but with no character inside or out; think asbestos siding, which does look cute, but that’s it. I try to decorate to add character but really it just adds some charm and modernizes it a little. I’ve always wondered how to add more character. Question is how much character for such a small house? Thanks!

    1. I’m also wondering how much “character” to add to a 1940’s beach bungalow. I love these small classic beach bungalows but they are pretty simple in nature. Does it take away from the original character of the house to add in too much detail?

  36. What an amazing round-up!! Thank you so much for putting this together. It’s so great to see everything in one place.

  37. This is insanely inspiring and helpful! Love the variety of DIY/prefinished options. Please keep these types of posts coming!

    1. It would be great to see a post like this about how to add architecture to ceilings slash… cover up popcorn ceilings? Asking for a friend 😉

      1. +1 to this. I love wood ceilings like the one in Emily’s fixer cabin and her old house. Is there a way to add one of those with the large beams and all??

  38. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! One question…

    It seems to me like the most natural application of any of these options is throughout an entire room. However, I have seen them done on only a single accent wall – any guidelines on when a single accent wall of moulding looks good? or how to apply these ideas to rooms in a more open-concept floor layout?

  39. Amazing! Thank you! I knew some of this from DIYs around the internet/Pinterest, but this is so comprehensive and helpful!

  40. Love this post! Do you have any AFTER photos of the fireplace project? There is a before photo
    and a during but it would be helpful to see the completed look. Thank You!

    1. Here is Diane’s full post on her fireplace makeover. It’s pretty incredible!

  41. Terrific post.

  42. I’m already in love with this series! I would love to see ideas for built-in bookshelves!

      1. Another +1!

  43. I love this posting and would be thrilled to see more like it. One of my favorite things about your blog is that you really break it down and enable someone like me (virtually no design skills) to create a designer look. Your posts are not only inspirtational and aspirational, they are tutorials which is awesome. Plus, I love that you write in detail and included lots of photos, links and examples. Big thumbs up. Keep them coming,

  44. This is so helpful! We’re buying a house that is pretty dated/generic (built mid 90s) so I’m looking forward to this series.

  45. Wow! So much packed into this post! I love it; thank you!

  46. LOVE this post! More, more, more! Great resources — man, I just got lost in several new-to-me blogs. And I really like the long form discussion with lots of pictures of all the different ways you can go with moulding. Yes, MORE of these!

  47. Thank you thank you thank you for this post! I live in a new build that is lacking character – and have been itching to add paneling. This is a great round up of (doable) options! I have a couple of questions, though… how much paneling is too much? I love it and want to add it everywhere – the hallway, half bath, bedroom (and more)! Is it possible to go overboard? Also – how do you feel about mixing styles? So – what if I did board and batten in the hallway, beadboard in the bathroom, and box moulding in the bedroom… would that feel too hodge podge? Should the types of moulding match? Any thoughts are much appreciated!

  48. I am SO into this series. I own a modular ranch that my husband and I got for an amazing deal and a great school district in a great neighborhood but it certainly isn’t much to look at. I have long admiredThe wall treatment you did and Sylvia’s bedroom and actually completed it in our bedroom as well. Excited to see what else you have!

    1. Ugh sorry for all the typos – text-to-speak doesn’t like my voice !

  49. LOVE THIS!!

  50. Great post! Very comprehensive and I love the DIY links. We are moving into a DIY reno in a couple weeks and the main living spaces will be done by then but not the bedrooms and bathrooms. Everything is basic and everything is wallpapered… I am so sick of wallpaper removal hell that in the (papered) hall bathroom I am totally planning to do some 56″ applied box wainscotting just to halve the amount of wallpaper I have to remove. I still want a clean, simple look that’s not too traditional and not too dust catching adn I’m not a fan of the vertical paneling options so this seems like the next most modern option.

    1. Oh, my thoughts are with you, wallpaper removal is the worst. If I could outsource one area of the DIY home updates, it would be the wallpaper removal. Good luck!

      1. Tell me about it! We just bought our first home (yay) and eagerly ripped out terrible, cheap 70’s wood paneling in one room to find that it had previously been wallpapered with the wallpaper applied directly to unpainted sheet rock. 30 hours of intensive labor (by me!) later, the walls were scraped, sanded, re-plastered and ready for paint! The best advice I received is mixing water with fabric softener to spray or rub on the walls before scraping. It is still a tedious task but it is pretty effective. Now moving on to the bathroom with silver butterfly wallpaper. Sigh.

      2. Seriously. I already conquered one room and I have two more to go. Uuuugghhhh.

  51. I’m so excited for this series! It is so helpful to see all these different options explained and contrasted next to one another. So many inspirational images as well! I was surprised how much I loved the modern abstract molding at the end.

    Could you speak to taking cues from the exterior of your house or at least making a cohesive interior molding plan in future posts? I love some of these looks individually, but worry about pulling it together in a non-crazy way. For instance, we have white shaker cabinetry throughout our home, subway tile, and a board and batten exterior. Are there certain options I really should or shouldn’t do?

  52. Loved this post! What an excellent resource, and I love how practical it is. I don’t own a home, yet I like stuff like this. Please share more along these lines! 🙂

  53. This is awesome! We have a basement level “rec room” with that classic 60’s paneling. While it is painted, the paint is starting to get dingy in the panel grooves… bleh. Anyways, Maybe I’ll just panel over it!
    I would love more articles to follow in this series, and I have some topic ideas: How can you dress up a boring fireplace? What kinds of baseboards are appropriate for what style homes? How to fit in a pantry to a kitchen remodel (if there’s no space for an actual closet)?

  54. Quick question. I have a long entryway that has an existing chair rail with drywall. The dining room, which opens up to the entry is only dryway…no elements like the chair rail, etc.. I’d love to apply a board and batten to the entry and the dining. However, the rest of the house has paneling (70’s style…but its painted a modern grey color). can you mix these up? would this look awful? Everything is connected and open to each other. Thanks so much for any advice!

  55. Very into this series!


  57. Absolutely love the concept of this series of posts. Please do many more like this! Thanks so much!

  58. Subscribing! We are currently building a house. We used an architect but I still feel like it is just blah. I guess I needed a designer, not just an architect. We are considering shiplap because our greatroom has 16 foot ceilings and I think it will look so plain, but the husband had to have atrium windows. Another design dilemma… upper kitchen cabinets with high ceilings. 😳

  59. Very nicely done – so informative, aspirational and inspirational!
    Looking forward to this seties 😊

  60. Love love love this post. Can’t wait for the rest of the series.

  61. Thank you for this summary – I wish I had that 2 years ago when I needed inspiration to cover a kitchen wall that had 80s glimmer wallpaper on it, which I could not steam off, because it had been glued directly to the drywall … I ended up using sheets of bead board and painted them white, and it looks amazing now. Changes the entire kitchen, even though the rest of the room needs an update very badly. It was a weekend’s work, all in all, nailing the bead board sheets to the wall and painting them. I got the instructions from “House Updated”, link is above.

  62. You saved my favorite for last! I hope to talk my hubs into abstract moulding for our front entry and laundry room. I usually convince him he’ll love it and it will be cool. Now I have plenty of pics to aid in my ploy!

  63. Great info and ideas. Any suggestions on how to make this work with bullnose corners? I hate them, but that’s what you get in a ca. 2005 house and I’m not up for redoing them all at this point. I worry that adding very square/angular shapes to the walls will look off, but I would really like to add some pizzazz to me very boring architecture somehow.

  64. Very into this series! I am currently adding horizontal paneling to my basement bathroom and have been wanting to add some character to other boring walls around the house. So much inspiration here!

  65. Wow, thank you (and team!) for sucha a comprehensive post.
    Definitely a resource to be stashed away for future reference.
    And stunning photos too!

  66. Wainscotting…wainscotting…wainscotting… sounds like a little Dorset village, doesn’t it? Wainscotting.

  67. This series might be my favorite one yet! Generic/basic homes are a reality for many of us, unfortunately. Many if you could also guide us on how to implement these…such as certain (yet to be released) topics shouldn’t really be mixed with others. How to keep a consistent style…cottage, farmhouse, modern, etc,

  68. We passed on an adorable 1920’s A-frame short sale that was cramped and in a bad school district for our boxy, suburban tract home (I think. I actually am not 100% sure what a tract home is. Google time!) in an excellent school district. I’m so happy with our decision since we love have family come stay with us and we have multiple play areas for the kids, which is so important for those Midwestern winters. But man, oh man, could this house use some charm. I am SOOOOOOOO excited for this series. Like the most I’ve ever been excited about any home design blog. Yay!!!!!!!

  69. Emily,
    This post is in my Top 5 favs of yours and it is VERY timely. We have a 2 story foyer that is the next room I want to tackle. Although I like the Applied Molding / Moulding 🙂 I would really like to do Recessed Panel Molding and would love a great DIY post on it. We have 7 doorways in the foyer so I need help with what type of molding to do around the doors. I have been searching Pinterest but still haven’t found a post that gives me all the detail that I want. PS- a foyer post would be awesome… chandeliers – and help with sizing depending on your height and size room, entry furniture, etc.
    Thank you- love your blog and can’t wait to see all you do with the vacation house!

  70. Love this post. So helpful. We have been planning to do some of these in our 100+ year old but gut rehabbed house to restore some character to some of the spaces that now lack it. Would love a post on crown mouldings too!

  71. LOVE this post. My husband has done box moulding and trim in our last 2 apartments and currently our new house. I’ll ask him
    For estimated costs but he talks about how we have saved thousands in labor costs by doing it ourselves. It adds soooo much character. Thanks for the content!!

  72. This is so helpful! Really looking forward to this series

  73. thank you so much Emily! I was asking you about if you can do a review on this and here it is. It’s SO helpful!

  74. I have a few question– we have a classic ‘L’ shaped 60’s California suburban ranch home. The ones they cheaply built at rapid speeds. We’re remodeling and it is in desperate need of character. The house definitely leans more on the mid-centry modern vibe.Would all of, or most of these, work for standard 8ft celings? And obviously you don’t want to go crazy and do a different types of wall treatment in each room, but is there a rule of thumb of how much different types of treatments in a house. for ex. We have a 1600
    Sqft home and the outside of our home has board and batten exterior (classic 1960s newborn poop brown/green btws) but I want to do a horizontal paneling accent wall in our living room, groove and board in my daughter’s room and wainscoting in our entry way/hallway (though, I think our hallway is to narrow and it may overwhelme the space..) Also! Would it be to much if different wall treatments are near one another?? Where I want to do our accent wall is where our hallway and entry way meet. Maybe that doesn’t make sense… haha. I’ll have to do a Photoshop rendition i guess to see if it works

  75. I can tell that I am going to love this series!

  76. BEST POST EVER! Seriously, this is so helpful and hopeful. Even those of us with tiny budgets can give our builder grade homes some custom character (affordably). Thank you SO MUCH for putting this post together. I bet it was a lot of work, so thank you. Now, to pick which look for my bedroom…

  77. I have a question specifically about the v-groove wall plank you linked to (or other similar pine boards). I would like to install that treatment (horizontally) in our entryway, but my husband thinks that paint (I was thinking white) wouldn’t fully cover the wood – As in, knots would soak up the paint and I would still see those and other imperfections, which I wouldn’t like if I were going for a more perfectly smooth type look. Does anyone know this to be the case? Or know of a remedy? Maybe a specific kind of paint that should be used? Thank you in advance!

    1. He’s right. Buy pre-primed then prime the heck out of them again (and again). You’ll need something that blocks the knots from bleeding through. A good painter (or Google search) should know what to recommend.

  78. Love this post, I’d definitely be interested in reading more in a series 🙂 our house is a gut remodel/half new build, and lacking character is something I’m a little worried about. Not that it had a lot of character to begin with, at least not the good, pretty kind. There was 70s faux wood paneling coming out of every room! But with the state of things, we couldn’t keep it and paint over it. But, it’s something I’m considering replacing in some spots, I’ll just have to decide where. But we at least scored on some turn of the century, solid wood, 5 panel doors on Craigslist! So that’s a win for the character column 🙂

  79. Such a great round up Emily and I’m thrilled to have my beadboard “how to” included in it! I’ve used a bunch of these different wall treatments but the modern/abstract is new to me and of course need it to be next on my list…

    Great inspo – as always!!

    xo, Brit

  80. I love this post! Thank you so much for compiling such a helpful resource. I’m in the market for a larger home and have been so discouraged by how boring everything is. I want to stick to a specific area for the school district and everything is so mass produced with the cheapest stuff. Even if I buy a more higher priced home, I’m still getting contractor grade stuff in just a larger home. I would love to see a post on various ways to update ugly stone/brick fireplaces. As always, I love how your posts includes pricing and sources. Thank you!

  81. OK, dumb question… but I live in a little mid-century tract home in a working-class neighborhood. So, nothing fancy detail-wise, though there are a few good modern elements, like terrazzo on the fireplace hearth and mantel. I’ve been thinking about added a wall treatment to my front room, but I wasn’t sure which styles would be appropriate for the home and era. Is there one in particular you would say goes with a modern home (besides the abstract modern)?

  82. Thank you Emily! My question is how to you know what type of “character” would be appropriate for your style of house? Also, how do you make sure the style is consistent throughout the house? I live in 15 year old Florida semi-Mediterranean stucco and I’m not sure what would be appropriate.

    1. Yes! Maybe a piece about different types of character-less homes, and what are the best fixes/upgrades?

      1. Seconded!

        I would also like to see the same thing extended to window/doorway casings/trim. I am a little stumped about what to choose for my house. Currently, there’s no window trim or windowsills (everything was sheetrocked and orange peel textured, and I hate it), and I would like to add something.

  83. This is so informative! Love this post! Can’t wait to see the rest of the series!

  84. You and your team are really coming through with the content. I have to force myself not to comment every day. So, so good. Thank you.

  85. I am wanting to try the box molding on a large wall. It’s so beautiful!

    Years ago, at another house we used the large sheets of beadbord to cover up a terribly ugly 70’s wallpaper My husband sprayed them with the paint color we wanted and then covered the walls. We added new baseboards and crown molding and it looked fresh and new. Pretty easy and didn’t mess with taking down large walls of wallpaper.

    Loved this post!!

  86. This post is so comprehensive and helpful–definitely bookmarking this one! We had dark wood paneling in our bedroom and I wanted to remove it, but decided just to paint it and see if we could live with it. To my surprise painting it made it one of my favorite features of the room. Now instead of being gross and depressing it gives the room a clean and cozy feel (the before and after is here, if you’d like to see: http://www.redhousewest.com/before-after/meras-house-the-new-master-bedroom/). Thanks EH team!

  87. I am WAY into this series. I love everything about this post…the inspiration, the links to DIYs, resources, etc. Bravo!

  88. I love posts like this! We added box moulding to our mudroom about two years ago. The room is 5×8 but because there are four doorways into it (yes, four) only one of the walls has full panelling. We installed it ourselves and total cost including lumber, high gloss white paint, some wood filler, and a tube of caulking was about $150. Which leads to me to another point – of you have uneven walls (weird texture or just an old house) running a bead of caulk along the edges of the boards where they meet the walls helps everything look much cleaner!

  89. Thank you so much for this post and for including a photo of a room with textured walls. I have been wanting to add paneling to a wall in our office but wasn’t sure whether it would compete with the textured finish. And since design blogs never feature rooms with textured walls ( 🙂 ), I couldn’t envision it until now.

  90. This is SUCH a useful post and i can’t wait to read the rest of the series! However I do think it would be even more helpful if you included which styles of paneling fit with which architectural styles…so many of my clients have tried to add ‘character’ to their homes themselves but it ends up looking out of place.

  91. OMG. I’m so excited for this series. I just moved from the most charming 1930s cottage ever to an amazing-for-our-family but characterless 1990s house. I’ve literally said to my husband, “I wish Emily Henderson would do a series on how to add charm to a house without charm.” These are great ideas – it didn’t occur to me that you could add this to a house where it doesn’t already exist.

  92. Do you have a recommendation for which treatment to use to fool the eye into thinking the ceiling is taller than it really is, or making the room feel more spacious? My house is old, and fairly charming to start, but has seriously low ceilings–shy of 8 feet–and small rooms. I think something like this could really elevate my dining room or living room, just trying to decide which style would be best.

  93. This is an absolutely phenomenal post. Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into this!

  94. Fantastic post! More of this type of post please!!

  95. I just wanted to say that I LOVE THIS ARTICLE! Thanks so much for the roundup. I love the sources you included for the prefab moldings and wainscoting – I honestly had no idea this existed.

  96. Love this! I know I would definitely appreciate a series dedicated to renters/apartments because I find myself adapting a lot of your advice to fit different needs. I will definitely be going back to these posts when I finally get a house!

  97. So so into this series. Tell us ALL the things.

  98. Great post. But please do Not glue anything to your wall. As a designer, I have been contacted many times about bad DIY jobs that home owners want to remove. When anything is glued to the wall, it rips the Sheetrock up when you remove it. So you have the added expense of replacing Sheetrock. My installers recommend nailing only and obviously caulking everything before priming and painting. Also, I am shocked at how many people have a hard time cutting wood to meet up. It can be difficult. Practice, practice, practice. And caulking does hide a multitude of sins.

  99. Totally totally totally into this series ! Thank you so much for this post! Looking forward to the rest of the series .

  100. Really, really love this series. I especially love the explanation you gave at the beginning about the importance of adding architectural interest. That was something I was thinking about but had trouble putting into words. That was great writing right there.

    While I am sure it’s hard to generalize, I am curious if these options are best as statement walls or for entire rooms. In most of the pictures it’s hard to tell if the features are carried out on every wall in the room, especially the bedrooms.

  101. Love this series. Please keep it going.

  102. VERY into this series

  103. Do you think you should keep the mounding in your house consistent? Or can you mix it up, a different application in different rooms?

  104. Anyone interested in this should first buy and read two important books before nailing stuff to a wall:
    (Per Brent Hull of Hull Historical from this link https://hullhistorical.com/brent-hulls-history-future/)

    “Hone your craft. While it’s critically important to learn the principles behind classical design, those guidelines won’t make sense without clear examples. To that end, Hull recommends two books as indispensable for gaining best practices. Get Your House Right: Architectural Elements to Use & Avoid, by Marianne Cusato and Ben Pentreath (Sterling, 2008), offers a wealth of practical advice. The book highlights every element of home design with hundreds of drawings. Especially valuable are illustrations featuring two versions of the same component with an explanation of why one should be used and the other avoided.

    Second on Hull’s must-read list is Traditional Construction Patterns: Design and Detail Rules-of-Thumb, by Steve Mouzon (McGraw-Hill, 2004). As with Cusato and Pentreath’s guide, Mouzon’s book provides clear explanations on the use—and misuse—of traditional elements. “Those two books are very helpful for understanding order, harmony, and building details,” Hull says. “If you just took those two and applied them to your process, [a lot of people in the remodeling industry] would prevent 80 percent of the problems they have.”

  105. I live in a rental right now, so I’m filing this away for use in the future. I loved how it breaks down terms that I’ve heard on HGTV, and gave some great DIY starting points. I can’t wait to see the next installation in this series!!!

  106. SO stoked about this as a series! Thank you!

  107. LOVE this –so informative!

  108. We’re currently in the process of adding bead board, coat hooks and built in shoe cubbies in our minuscule “back hall.” I love the look of the applied and box mouldings, and the board and batten, but we bought a 1955 house that has low ceilings (second floor ceilings are lower than 8′) and I feel like most of those options will only visually bring the ceilings even lower 🙁 We opted for the tongue and groove beadboard (7″ widths) instead of the sheets because it fits together nicer and the seams are less visible. Thanks for the roundup!

  109. We put v groove on our master ceiling and I adore it! So so beautiful.

  110. This is a great story to post. Hope you bring more things like this to your blog. You are a great source for styling , round ups/ best of and overall design before and afters. Taking an idea like this and showing the easiest to the most aspirational will be great. Emily congrats on the new house. And Keep doing you. I’m a big fan. Design doesn’t have to be so intimidating !

  111. All of your example photos look stunning and make me want to believe moulding could go anywhere, but I’ve seen some installs where it just looks odd or misplaced. What are some rules of thumb when considering where this sort of molding would NOT work? In really small spaces? On large long walls (like my massive 15 ft by 40 ft living room wall that I do not know what to do with)?

  112. I am planning to add wainscoting or something similar in a very basic bathroom that desperately needs character: what is the best height in a bathroom? 54”? 72”?

  113. I loooooove this series! We have a house just like you describe (built in 2000, builder grade throughout, 4 floorplans in the neighborhood). In our hearts, we dream of a 1920s bungalow, but our house just has the space and storage our family needs with 3 kids. I LOVE ideas to give it more character!!! More more!

  114. Fantastic post! Thank you for all the resources! I hope you do ceilings next. I need to cover 70s swirl plaster ceiling in a sunroom and was thinking of some kind of planking. I’m sure if different rules apply for ceilings vs. walls. Thanks again!

  115. LOVE this. Will be using!!

  116. I LOVE the idea for this series, keep it coming!! I’d also love more info about what scenarios (age/style of house, type of decor, etc) are good or bad for adding different types of character. E.g. what type of home can handle applied moulding vs. what type of home would it clash in?

  117. I love this series already! Thanks, Emily!

  118. Loooove this series! I’ve been dying to add paneling to every awful orange peeled wall in my 70s tract home. This post may convince my husband that it’s not just me who thinks it’s a good idea. 🙂

    Could you PLEASE do a post about wall-to-wall carpeting? I like having carpet in bedrooms, but want to replace the hideous apartment-grade beige carpet we have now with something beautiful. If anyone knows how to find such a thing, I have faith it would be you. 🙂

  119. This is so helpful, thanks! I especially appreciated the standard measurements for molding heights. I am slowly trying to give my fast n’ crappy 70’s build some classic character. Dealing with the super-textured walls & ceilings are definitely an issue, so if anyone has any tips for an affordable solution other than plywood sheets, I’m all ears!

  120. Loved this post! Thank you so much!!

  121. Keep this series coming, I live in an empty shell condo and this fits right up my alley, you’ve inspired me to redo my guest bath, I’m loving the look of #1 and #4

  122. I’m super into it. I just bought a house and it is essentially a clean slate—and has just about as much character if not less. I am DYING over the modern ideas. We have a giant living room with ten foot ceilings so we are going to do a large piece above the mantle that will be modern, but accessible. Can’t wait for more!

  123. Brilliant idea for a series. I can’t wait to see more. Thank you, EHD team!

  124. Thank you thank you!! This post was so informative and I am really excited to see what else you have planned for this series. This is so informative and will definitely be saving it for our move!!

  125. I love this post!! I have been wanting to do some fun wall treatments and this got me excited to get on it. One thing I’m troubled with though is how to add vertical moulding to a wall that has an arched entry and this entry is just rounded off walls with no trim. I don’t want the expense of adding rounded trim to it. Thoughts?

  126. I have no advice to give, other than to say I am super excited about this series, if only to just look at all of the pretty inspiration pictures!

  127. Oh, I am so into this series. I love my house but it’s so basic and I need ALL THE IDEAS.

  128. This is a fantastic article!! Truly the most informative and thorough I’ve read in a long time. Keep this theme coming with the other ideas you have for sprucing up basic/builder grade homes. Super helpful!!! I will be saving all of them for future reference.

  129. GREAT post!!! So useful!!! Thank you!!!!

  130. Emily! I LOVED this post because I desperately want to do wall paneling to update our house.

    Two questions if you see this comment!!

    1. Can you incorporate different types of paneling in one house? Or is it best to keep consistent? Thinking about dining room, up our stairs, upstairs hallway and maybe one of the bedrooms but not sure if that’s strange.

    2. Who is the best person to do this type of work? Would a handyman understand it and be better than a carpenter?

    Thank you!!

  131. really worthy post admin thanks for this happy to visit this site.

  132. This is wonderful. You are wonderful. But you gotta keep all commas and periods “inside the quote.” Always!

  133. Love this post! Keep them coming!

    I have often wondered about adding panelling to the new rooms of our house so they fit in with the older (already panelled) rooms. Now I know where to start 🙂

  134. Can you use the v-groove boards for the ceiling? I have 8ft. textured ceilings that I would like to cover but I am afraid the v-groove paneling will make my ceilings look lower. Advice please.

  135. Loved this post! I’m going to use it to talk my husband into a few projects! 🙂

    Question though, is there such a thing as too much moulding? We have a beautiful home that was built in the 1880’s that has wonderful baseboard and trim details around the windows and built in bookcases. I’ve been thinking about adding wainscotting or board & batten in our dining room and since the house is so formal I think it will work. But how do you know when there is too much details/trim? Do you have any tips on keeping to the age of the house or matching the style? Our existing trim on the windows is wide but very simple (just straight edges) so I’d imagine that adding any curved moulding to the top would be weird. I’d love a post on matching trim to the home type and knowing when to not add anything more.

    1. I meant, adding curved detail to the top of the dining room paneling would look weird not to the windows. I just realized that sentence likely would could be read wrong.

  136. Love this series! Can’t wait for more!

    I live in a 1980s builder grade mock Tudor. We have headboard and paneling in our home. The rooms with these wall treatments feel special. We lived in a builder grade home built in 2008 previously, and it felt so blank and boring in comparison.

  137. This was the most comprehensive primer on this subject I’ve come across. I shared it on Facebook and with my clients. Thank you! http://www.HomeGlowDesign.com

  138. We used cheapie poly trim from Home Depot for the faux paneling in our powder room.
    Lots of masking tape was used to create a pleasing arrangement of squares + rectangles
    + later, to keep the poly pieces in place after applying them with glue. Lots of before ,during + after snapshots here, on my blog:

  139. I am just about to embark on this very thing. Putting ship lap and brick veneer on an accent wall and our peninsula! I agree it adds so much character!! I can’t wait!

  140. Thank you for all the tips! Love this!

  141. I am sooo excited about this series!!! I have a builder basic house that was built early 2000’s and it needs character! Thank you, thank you for posts like this one!!!

  142. Great article! Panels really can give a room an upscale look. Thank you for posting this.

  143. I am OBSESSED with this series already! I get so frustrated and bored with the cookie-cutter home of today but like you said, they tend to be the less expensive option and sometimes they make sense for your family, etc. I just added paneling to my basic build home in my daughter’s nursery and I love it! It did so much for adding character to the space. I love how you give all the supplies as well- so helpful and I will definitely be saving this post for future use. GREAT GREAT GREAT series idea, Emily! Keep these posts coming!!

  144. Excellent post! Giving me so many ideas to try and I want to jump in straight away. Thank you

  145. This post is insane. We bow to your prowess.

    Have you ever thought about teaching a video course? Something like a guided one room challenge over 6 weeks? You could design it to have more or less real-time interaction. I would gladly pay for that and maybe it would line up with your focus on blog and digital content.

  146. Great info. Keep the series running!

  147. I love this series!! I want to know what you would do with all the round edged Arch ways that were popular about ten years ago. Also, how do you work around ugly granite? We have a bathroom with floor to ceiling granite in the double shower, and around the jacuzzi tub, and it’s so so ugly! I’m torn because functionally it’s great and if they had just chosen a lighter color it would be perfect but it’s this 70’s brown orange. Tearing it out feels wasteful but it’s so ugly!

  148. This is a great post! I recently added board and batten paneling to the nursery I am doing for the one room challenge and it’s amazing how much it transformed the room. The addiction is in full force and I am already planning on adding different treatments to other rooms in the house. This is such a great roundup and links to some great tutorials. From my experience the finishing details are what will make or break this DIY. Cannot be lazy about filling, sanding, and priming. Here is a sneak peek of the room:

    Beebout Design

  149. Totally into this series! I recently bought my condo, and there are some great architectural updates already done, but only in the main room. I need to do something to the two bedrooms and bathrooms to make it cohesive (and amazing), but on a total budget. One thing I’d love to see is options for vaulted ceiling architecture, and how to possibly do it myself. Totally going to do horizontal paneling on the bottom half of my tub room. Thank you for the inspiration!

  150. I LOVE the concept behind this post and series! Please keep them coming!

  151. Chris Loves Julia did a great box moulding application in their home office here:


    Love the extra little trim detail on the insides of the boxes…

  152. I am totally into this series!! The majority of homes in my area are 50’s/60’s ranchers, with very little personality. I really enjoyed reading this and would love more in this series!!

  153. Loved this post and so excited about this series! THANK YOU!!! and more please 🙂

  154. A really excellent and comprehensive post! Can you do one in this series on ceilings – tray ceilings, vaulted ceilings, beams, etc?

  155. This is a great post and one I will have to reference when it’s time for us.

    What I struggle with is when do you decide to add texture to one wall creating an accent wall and when do you carry it out to all the walls? What about great rooms?

    What happens if you want board and batten on the exterior of the house, are you committed to having it as your only option for texture for the interior of your house as to match? Would adding vertical or horizontal paneling be too crazy? Same question for multiple rooms in the house.

  156. I love adding texture to walls with paneling and would love to do it to almost every room in my house. My question is how much is too much? How many rooms can you add paneling or wainscotting to before it’s overkill?

  157. I’m looking forward to many more posts in this series. So helpful! Thanks for taking the time to put all this info together.

  158. I’m SO into this series!! Would love more posts about adding charm without doing a major renovation!

  159. Way into these series…I am hooked!

  160. I’m so into this series! We bought a brand new house two years ago because we love the area, and a lot of things about the house (huge windows, open-plan, lots of bedrooms), but it does feel very new. So interested to learn more ways to bring some charm and depth to the finishes! Thanks!


  161. I’ve alwayd wanted to add box frame molding to one of our walls but we have knock down texture and I’ve always wondered if we should add plywood so the back is smooth or just leave the texture which I think might look cheap. What do you recommend?

  162. I’m so excited for the post about wood paneling (instead of painted). We have a mid-century ranch that was built at the end of the 1960’s and we have a very original pink and green stone fireplace and a focal faux wood panel wall that was painted white before we bought it. We would love to bring back the wood in a classier way than faux but haven’t found much info on how to go about it. Great post and looking foward to the next one!

  163. Yes, this is a great series!!! Keep ’em coming 🙂

  164. More like this!

  165. I really love the applied moulding and wainscoting style, however I have a weird living room space, not a square nor a rectangular, it’s trapezoidal shaped. My question is, will applied moulding highlight the weird shaped space more or will it improve it? Thanks for your post

  166. Your post is really informative and useful for everyone..

  167. This is appreciable and wonderful post that you have provided for us.Great site and a great topic as well i really get amazed to read this.

  168. Thanks your idea the more spacious, cheaper, mass-produced houses are the ones that lack the character which gives a house – http://www.chevrolethathanh.org/

  169. An incredibly valuable resource, and really appreciate the time it must’ve taken to put together.

  170. I don’t have words to say other than Fantastic designs. Very helpful and i am very glad to choose these design works.

    Loved it .!

  171. Bought at the beach, but the house lacks…charm. Could you talk about these treatments in double height stairwell? Thanks Emily, you make it seem so easy.

  172. I did beadboard in my kitchen, with limited diy know how and limited tools. The hardest thing is corners because each strip of beadboard is reasonably narrow and difficult for a novice to cut vertically to exactly the right dimension. I ended up using a piece of trip to cover the gap. I didn’t see it specifically mentioned, but think you’d likely need to remove your existing baseboards to make any of these options work so you need to take into account the trim in other rooms or abutting walls before trying any of these in a single area.

  173. One of my favorite posts of yours. Thank you! I am certain that I will be referencing this post often. If you have more to share about this topic please do!!! I’m eagerly awaiting more tips on adding character. Another designer that I’ve followed is Jersey Ice Cream co. These are the kinds of tricks that they use and it goes a long way. Love it. Keep it up please!!

  174. I am very excited to see how you transform a ‘basic’ space to a ‘bitchin’ space 🙂 great new series for the blog!

    1. I love this comment!!

  175. Amazing timing for this series! We just bought our first home and some of the rooms have stumped me, but now I have a plethora of ideas!

  176. I looove this series! Keep it coming! What great tips! I’m definately looking to add charm at our home!

  177. Brilliant timing, I’m buying a too quickly built new build with zero character. This is just the kind of series I need right now!! Thank you x

  178. I love all of these! This is perfectly timed, and more options than I’ve seen together anywhere.
    I’ve been wanting to add some architectural interest to my blah 1959 ranch living room.
    My style is bohemian/ neutral/ with a lot of vintage pieces- white walls, white couches, Moroccan pillows, carved screen from India, etc… I’d love to add the formal looking trim, but my kitchen already has beadboard in it, and I don’t want to make the house look too schizophrenic.

  179. I AM SO INSPIRED I CAN BARELY BREATHE. Thank you Emily! <3

  180. I love the idea of the v-groove or beadboard in a bathroom, and we’re currently about to redo ours! However, my husband is asking about water issues – we’re in the northeast, which is damp, and he’s questioning my sanity when I suggested putting “panels of wood” in our steamy bathroom. So what do I do? I notice a lot of the panels are MDF, which is not moisture resistant. What did you do?

  181. This is a fantastic post, and the first time I’ve come across your blog. Adding it to my feed for sure! I’m a brand-new DIY-er, and I feel empowered to try some of these with all of the info you’ve provided.

  182. I am TOTALLY into this series. What you said about buying a quickly built, bland house is going to be my situation exactly and these ideas are killer! (And also cost so much less than I would have thought!)

  183. I can’t seem to find my comment. I was wondering about your thoughts on different moldings in different rooms. I also thought you might want to check out one of my favorite moldings I’ve ever come across. It’s at a restaurant in Indianapolis.


  184. Your post is really informative and useful for everyone..

  185. I quickly scanned the comments… Really, no one else?

    You’re = You are. I think you meant “your” walls are talking. 🙂

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