Dark Wainscoting


Hello friends! I hope you are all staying home and healthy during the COVID-19 situation. It feels awfully strange, doesn’t it?

Prior to being home bound I did a revamp in this family room.

Remember when it looked like the above photo?

Then I painted the mantel area white. Yeah, in 18 months this room has had another dramatic change.

Our walls are semi-smooth so I started by painting the walls dark, including the base baords up to 76 inches high. Our ceilings are 10 feet tall, the board and batten look I am going for is 2/3 of the wall being in wainscoting.

The slats are cut from a 4 ft x 8 ft thin MDF panel from the hardware store. I cut them to be 3 1/2 inches wide and around 76 inches tall. I used Heavy Duty Liquid Nails and a brad nailer to attach them to the wall.

They are all approximately 12 inches apart but each wall is divided into how many slats I want on them. I applied a center piece first and went approx. 12 inches out to the edges.

It doesn’t matter how they meet up with the next wall.

The top molding is 4 inch square, primed MDF.


Did you notice the fireplace and mantel look different? I painted the wood surround in Urbane Bronze to be part of the wainscoting.

There is a warm wood mantel added too. Let me show a quick behind the scenes of how I made that.

These are common boards attached together by corner brackets. It’s cut to fit over the existing mantel piece.


It fits snug on the mantel but I also used nails to keep in sturdy.

If the sides of the mantel were in more full view I would have taken the time to miter cut them but nobody walks by the sides.


I accented some of the wood grain with dark walnut stain then applied golden oak over the whole thing.

Also, the Sonos speakers were sitting on the old mantel and I wanted them somewhere else. It makes the most sense for them to be in this area of the room so I bought some wood corbels and glued then nailed a flat piece of wood big enough to support each speaker to the top of each. They are stained the same as the mantel.

Here are a few more finished photos of the room.

I love the contrast so much. The new sofa looks even more amazing with the dark walls.

The warm wood compliments the rich color of the wall and goes well with the leather sofa and other rustic woods in the room.

Thinking about putting up the white window panels. We are also considering some wood or white blinds. What do you think?


While we are all stuck at home for the next few weeks we at least have a cozy space to enjoy. This is actually a great time to get those projects done that we’ve been wanting to do.

Next room to get a makeover is my bedroom.

I am in love with this Sherwin Williams color – Urbane Bronze, so much so that I want it in my bedroom too.

Enjoy your time at home and try not to worry.

Until next time…

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[…] it for our mudroom (yet to share), both french doors and for the waincoting in the family room HERE. It is also on the trim around the roof of the exterior of our house so I love that there is a […]

Wow Holly, what a dramatic change! I don’t know if I am that brave, but I also love Urbane Bronze and you have inspired me to repaint my french doors with it! I also love how the warm wood mantel coordinates perfectly with your sofa. Just a note about wood blinds – we have white ones (which I love) but oh the dust they collect :). Thanks for all the fun decorating ideas in all of your posts!