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Different Types of Wood Wall Treatments

Timeless Midnight Black Shiplap Mudroom

There are many ways to add style to a flat, plain wall by using different types of wood wall treatments. You might’ve heard of terms like panel molding, bead board, wainscoting, shiplap, board and batten, and chair rail, but what do they mean and how are they all different? We’ll explain each wall treatment and where they are most commonly used. 

 Panel Molding

Panel molding is a wood trim that goes over preexisting walls. It is usually raised and decorative to accentuate flat walls. Panel molding is designed in different profiles and styles and is commonly used on doors, walls, mantels, and cornices.

Types of panel moulding diagram 2   Types of panel moulding diagram

Rambling Renovators

Chair rail 

Chair rail is a decorative interior wood wall molding that is attached horizontally around the perimeter of a room. It is typically installed 32” above the floor (with a standard 8 ft ceiling) in order to add more character to the wall.

It is a popular myth that chair railing got its name from the damage caused by the backs of chairs. The truth is that ancient architects of Rome and Greece used chair railing for visual aesthetics, but the term didn’t really originate until the time of the Shakers when they would install pegs into their moldings in order to hang chairs while they swept and mopped. Chair rail can be used with or without wainscoting.

Chair rail in dining room with gray wall

Kylie M. Interiors


Wainscoting is a type of panel molding that lines a room for decorative purposes, typically the lower portion of a wall. Originally it was created to keep out dampness and cold in the 16th century before modern insulation techniques were invented. This ornamental wood treatment is applied at chair rail height (32” above the floor) or below.

Wainscoting can be purchased in premanufactured lengths or created from scratch, but it consists of three components: baseboard molding, wall panels, and a chair rail or top molding. You might see the wainscoting wall panels made up of shiplap, beadboard, board and batten or a raised or flat paneling.

White wainscoting board and batten in dining room with floral wallpaper  

Rambling Renovators

Timeless light pink shiplap under as wainscoting under chair rail with pink board and batten wall

Here we have moulding paired with Timeless Primed White shiplap painted in light pink for a bold, eclectic look. 


Shiplap is a wooden board with a groove (a rabbet) cut into the top and bottom, allowing the pieces of shiplap to fit together snugly forming a tight seal with a natural gap the size of a nickel. Shiplap is incredibly versatile in application, ranging from accent walls, ceiling inlays, wainscoting (in between the chair rail and baseboard), kitchen islands, shelving backdrops, and more. We offer shiplap in a variety of styles because we know every home has a different personality. See what shiplap style would best fit your home. 

Timeless Midnight Black Shiplap Mudroom

This mudroom area was created with Timeless Midnight Black shiplap.

Rustic Charcoal Shiplap Barnwood Fireplace

This fireplace and wainscoting features Rustic Charcoal shiplap.

Native Woods ESLP shiplap Whiskey Barrel gray sofa

This accent wall showcases Native Woods shiplap.

Board and Batten 

Board and Batten is a type of wainscoting that has alternating wide boards and narrow wooden strips called “battens.” Board and batten may be installed vertically or horizontally on interiors or exteriors. It offers a really nice modern look and adds value to a plain wall.

You can create a variety of board and batten looks depending on the width of the batten boards and the spacing between them. It can be added to the entire wall or just part of it. See examples of board and batten looks below. 

White board and batten entryway 

Jordan and Jean

Emerald green board and batten full wall entryway with round mirror and bench

White Picket Farmhouse


Beadboard consists of narrow planks in rows lined up against each other. In between the wood planks there is a ridge or indentation called a “bead.” Beadboard is commonly used as wainscoting, installed vertically with a baseboard and is capped by a molding. Beadboard can also be found as a ceiling application.

Beadboard wainscoting in bathroom 

The Destiny Formula

Mix and Match Wall Treatments For Added Value  

Whether you are building a home or looking to remodel, it’s helpful to know the difference between each of the different wood wall applications and how you can use them in your home.  Mix and match different wall treatments for added value and visual interest. Interested in using shiplap as a wall treatment in your interior? Check out 15 Ways To Use Shiplap In Your Home for inspiration. 

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