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How To Make a Recessed Wainscoting Wall From Scratch

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Recessed Wainscoting Wall

I’m excited to say we’ve finished the recessed wainscoting wall. The last part of this project I shared was the DIY Transom Window Entryway Before and After.

We started this last project for the wall in much the same way as when we built the entryway. There are certainly many ways to make a wainscoting wall. A lot of techniques are complicated and can get expensive. The wall we built is simple and inexpensive. Total price: $83.00 plus paint that we already had.

Before and after. Ignore the front door that sticks out like a sore thumb now. I’ve known from the start that we’d need a new door. Pretty soon the door will be white with a beautiful decorative glass window.

Wainscoting wall Before and After - Housekaboodle

Jump straight to the wainscoting photos by clicking the below links. Watch the 3 How-To Videos.

Here’s a list of how we did the wainscoting project:

Drew pattern for DIY wainscoting wall - Housekaboodle

DRAW PATTERN ON THE WALL Humor me because I know it may be hard to see the pencil drawings on the wall and plywood below.

Drew pattern on birch plywood DIY waincot wall- Housekaboodle

DRAW THE SAME PATTERN ON THE BIRCH PLYWOOD We used a 1/2 inch 4×8 sheet of birch plywood. 

How to make a wainscot wall out of plywood - Housekaboodle

After making all the cuts we laid out on the driveway and placed the molding pieces to make sure they fit.

Miter Cuts

Numbered moulding pieces for wainscot wall - Housekaboodle

An easy way to organize the miter cuts is to number each group. Here we’ve numbered them 1-4 to correlate with the openings. This made it super easy to grab and install, as you will see in the video below.

Make a half wall with moulding from scratch - Housekaboodle

Wainscot WallNailed and glued the recessed panel to the wall.

DIY Recessed Wainscoting Wall - Housekaboodle

NEW WAINSCOT WALL The fun part after painting was standing back and admiring our new white wall.

Wainscoting walls - Housekaboodle
Entryway After wall color is Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore- Housekaboodle wainscoting wall

We are really pleased with how it all turned out and happy to finally be done. The wall color is Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore.

Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore - Housekaboodle

The next project is the front door.

A new fiberglass door with decorative glass is around $1200. Our DIY idea is to order just the glass window that is about $327.00, saving at least $800 dollars. I think I’m more excited about the door now than the entryway. The idea is to cut out the opening in the door and insert the decorative glass window and then paint the door white. So stay tuned.

That’s what is on our list. What’s on your list of to-dos?

It all started here:

Gray Paint Colors with Wood Trim

Dining Room Step One

Paint the Dining Room and Build an Entryway

DIY Transom Window Entryway Idea 

Build an Entryway

Entryway Before and After

Sue - Housekaboodle

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28 Comments

  1. Why did you delete my comment instead of responding?
    Can you post a picture of the baseboard moulding and how it meets the right hallway door trim.
    It’s cropped out of all your pictures and I’d like to see how it looks.

  2. Hello. It looks very nice. What did you use to cut the opening in the birch plywood? Thanks.

  3. Hi! I stumbled upon your website in a Google search. I’ve enjoyed touring your posts and seeing you lovely projects come to fruition.

    Thanks for some great ideas!

  4. Thank you so very much Drew, you just made our day with such a nice compliment. You have an eye for detail with noticing the glass.

  5. The decorative glass is a nice touch. It really just adds that extra ambiance to the rest of the woodwork. Great work!

  6. Thank you Sue….so fast on the reply!. I know there is no norm but I feel the wider stiles with thick interior molding make it look so much better. Have a great day and thanks again!

  7. Hi Steve, it is nice to hear from you today. The height floor to rail is 34 1/2 inches. You have a very good eye as the width of the stiles without the shoe moulding is 4-1/2 inches. Hope this helps and let us know if you have any other questions.

  8. Hi Sue,
    Just stumbled across your site today looking for wainscoting ideas. I just started mapping out a lot of it in my own home but want a thick appearance almost exactly like you have here. I was wondering how wide your stiles were without the shoe molding please? Just looking at it, seems to be about 5 inches? Also what is the overall height floor to rail please? Thank you! Loving the rest of your site!

  9. Hi Brian, the moulding is from Menards, a store like Home Depot, and is 11/16 inch x 1-3/8 inch pine base cap moulding that comes in 8 foot lengths. Available in Pine or Oak.

  10. Hi there,

    Can you please share what type of moulding you used for the miter cuts?

  11. Well thank you so very, very much Chrissy. The color of the walls are even more beautiful in person and is kind of dreamy. I will be painting the bow window white soon too believe it or not.

  12. So beautiful! You guys did a fantastic job. Love the color of the walls too. Thank you for this tutorial Sue. I look forward to all your future projects.

  13. Hi Sue, Just to let you know your comment on my post came as a no-reply blogger . That happens to me every couple of weeks…. Have wonderful afternoon.

  14. Happy Easter to you too! Can’t wait to come see the bunny table. Thank you for the compliments Candy, it means a lot to us. I’m happy to hear the photos are of good use for you as it is hard explaining as well I’d like. I hope you’ll share your room with us when it is done or it can be featured here for sure if you don’t share it on your page.

  15. Sue, The wainscoting came out beautifully! Hubby did a phenomenal job on cutting and installing the panels. The white paint against the blue is lovely. Bravo lady, I hope you take a bow for a job well done! I really want to thank you for all of the detailed how to pictures that I can use for reference when I start my project. Thank you so much….. Candy

    PS: Happy Easter!

  16. Since you’re a design expert Jenny Lynn, I am honored you think it is amazing. I can’t wait to tell him about your comparison to Norm Abram- you rock!

  17. Thank you Suzie! We plan to do the hallway sort of like this too. It all takes too long and I am impatient and want it done yesterday.

  18. Thank you Cyndi, we are loving it. We could get a steel door for a song, but he wants fiberglass. The door project is exciting, but makes me nervous as one wrong cut and we don’t have a door.

  19. Now that’s a transformation! What a great job your hubby did! As I said before, he needs to go into business he will have endless work! I just love the thing! Awesome vids too!

  20. Sue, it looks great! I like your money saving idea for the door too – it’s amazing how pricey front doors can get!

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