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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Help !! Need ideas on how to finish bottom half of wall in dining room.

bryanpDecember 30, 2012
Dining room.. measures 13' long and 10' wide. A window on one 10'wall... a entranceway to living room on other 10' wall and a doorway to kitchen on 13' wall. One 13' wall is unbroken.

There is chair rail going around the room.
The top half has been painted Sherwin Williams Soft Iris semi-gloss. Ceiling is white. It is a stepped ceiling...8'high
I'll be putting up crown molding

Floor is Pergo light cherry laminate.

I need something for the lower half of the wall. It had wallpaper which was removed.

Very unsure what to do. Need a second set of eyes.

I like wainscoting, but on a budget. Its a small room

One thought is to paint the wall, and glue those trim boxes to
the wall, then insert textured wall paper into the boxes.... but
not sure what color should be the base, what color should be
the trim moulding and what color to paint the textured wallpaper
in the boxes. Each box would be about 24" high x 16 " wide.

What are those molding boxes called ?? What type of moulding is
used ?? Can they be purchased premade or do I have to mitre
them myself ??

What colors would match a soft iris (lavender) I enjoy soft greens
and earth tones..

Are these good options ?? Are there other designs that would look good ??

Baseboard has not been painted yet... so I could do it white or
in a color to match ??? (something)..

I like the stepped ceiling and the soft iris color and the light cherry laminate floor. Wall decorations will be a gold
mirror and gold framed painting. Furniture is queen anne dark
cherry. My tastes are open and airy, but with earthtones, greens,

The house is a 2 story colonial. Conservative. My tastes are conservative, traditional, a little classical.. i.e I have those plaster urns and plaster stands around the house. I'm a 62 y/o male
who enjoys lavenders, peaches, woodtones and soft greens.. no
blues or vibrant reds. No dark colors as the rooms are relativly
small and I enjoy rooms that are open and light and airy.. No
clutter. No children... Just me in the house... (and a bird).

But really need help with the bottom part... What would make this room look beautiful ??

Your kind help is greatly appreciated...
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I think a "wide board" wainscotting would be lovely. Not too busy, but a feature and easy DIY. oh...you're a bird lover? Please get his chandelier.. I love it! lol
Restyled Home · More Info

Birdcage Chandelier · More Info
3 Likes    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 9:47PM
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You mentioned a dark cherry queen anne dining set but want light and airy. Here is a great sample of that. I love the bird chandy..but for your style, a pretty crystal chandelier would be perfect here.

Quinlan Residence · More Info
3 Likes    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 10:17PM
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I think wainscotting would be great here! Just yesterday I bought wainscotting wallpaper from Home Depot, it's a paintable wallpaper and a double roll is $12,97. It's 20" wide by 33' long, so one double roll will cover a lot of wall in your dining room. You could give it a try! Oh, and it's prepasted, too.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 3:12AM
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Chroma Design
Thank you for being very detailed in describing your question and preferences. I wish everyone was as thorough, it helps immensely.
A classic, traditional look that can be done inexpensively is applied molding. Applied means it is glued and nailed to the wall.The name of the molding is picture frame. Here is an example.
Oakley Home Builders · More Info

The molding is not premade but can easily be cut and done on site by the homeowner.
The way to approach this is not by predetermining the size of the boxes, but to calculate the size of each based on wall length.
Example: first, the space between each box and the space between a box and wall corner should be no more than 4 inches. In your smaller room, it appears 3 inches is best. So for your 13 ft unbroken wall you begin with 156 inches. If you create 6 boxes on that wall you have 7 spaces.
7x3= 21
135 divided by 6 (number of boxes) = 22.5
22.5inches is the outer dimension of the width of each box. This way they are all equal size. Now this is not automatically, the answer to the width of each box for the whole room. Calculate the width of the boxes for each wall as we did for the unbroken wall and compare your results. Hopefully, you are getting a close result. If you are getting significantly different widths, then recalculate based on adding or subtracting the number of boxes per wall until you have achieved a close result. Basically, a happy average that will trick the eye into believing they are all equal. On the wall that has the openning to the living room, you can only fit one box per side of the openning. This will be a predetermined width and therefore will be different than the long walls. So be it.
Calculating the height of the boxes is easy, start with the overall height. This is taken from the underside of the chair rail to the top of the baseboard. Subtract 6 ( a 3 in space from the top and 3 in space from the bottom of the box. Your result is the outter dimension of the height of the box. Always keep your width and height spaces the same (3 in).
I know you like wood tones, but this look would be best served if you painted the chair rail the same as everything below; as in my example photo.
I would paint everything a soft, creamy off white such as Dover white SW 6385. This would be light and airy as you stated you wanted. If you are determined to paint the inside of the boxes you could use the upper wall color soft iris or do a deeper version of the trim (Dover) to accent it slightly. Such as, paper lantern SW 7676.
You can also wallpaper in each box, it is your prerogative. Again, I like everything from the chair rail down to be the same like the example photo.
Good luck!
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 4:29AM
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Carolyn C. Interior Decorator, Brampton, ON.
Hi. I have attached three views for you. One with raised panel moulding on the walls, one with beadboard and one with picture frame mouldings. These should help you see what style you like best.

I would recommend that you change the upper portion to flat paint, as opposed to a semi gloss. It will look richer and show less wall imperfections.

Also, I would go with full length drapery panels on either side of the window mounted on a decorative rod 3 - 4 inches below the crown moulding, either in the white or a couple of shades deeper than the wall.

To keep the room looking a bit wider, go with a thinner crown moulding that comes down longer on the wall. You could also do the ceiling with some of the wall colour

Good luck
4 Likes    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 5:06AM
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Piotr Matynia
The easiest solution would be to reduce the contrast here between the lower and upper part of the wall. This procedure will allow the visibility of furniture that will be added to the room. When you add furniture worth ornaments on the walls add color furniture
1 Like    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 5:12AM
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Sue Ann Stevens
I would paint the top half a warm neutral and do the picture frame moulding on the bottom half. I would paint the chair rail and bottom half in a creamy neutral. I would not put wallpaper in the picture frames. With an already traditional furniture but an inclination toward light and airy, it would be too Victorian or feminine in my opinion. You can lighten up the formality with a stripe or plaid on the chair pads. Add some color there using whatever artwork you choose for the walls. Greens or blues would cool things down for the airy factor.

Wainscoting would be a little too country for the cherry furniture I think.
    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 6:31AM
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Sue Ann Stevens
Since you chose the lavender, i would use the paint strip and choose the top (lightest) color for the bottom half of the room.

I would reconsider the color and go for something more like Benjamin Moore Manchester tab or a cooler tab like Ben Moore elephant tail. Then choose the creamy ivory counterpart from the paint strip for the bottom half. IMHO. :-)
    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 6:47AM
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Sue Ann Stevens
*manchester tan. (stupid iPhone)
1 Like    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 6:48AM
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Thanking you all for your comments and suggestions !! I can't figure out how to use houzz to send an individual thank you to each, but want you to know every one of your suggestions was appreciated. and many will be used.

The picture frame moulding is a def !! It makes the room appear larger whereas... Bobbi I love the wainscoting and might try the wainscoting wall paper to see how it looks, but the picture
frame moulding has more bang. I definitely need to check out the textured wallpaper aisle at
Home Depot.

Dazy... your picture of light and airy with the queen anne furniture is really spot on to how it
should look...

Chroma Paint... your picture is great... same concept.. some type of moulding structure on the
bottom. Thanks for including the layout details. That pins down the perspective and ratio
for the moulding design as all the walls have different measurements.
When the moulding gets up...I can play with the different colors and box inserts to see what
is attractive. Thank goodness for paper and colored crayons !!

Ohhh, I hate to paint over stained woodwork, but you're right... keeping the same color from
the chair rail down would look more integrated and holistic. Perhaps I can use a strippable
wallpaper to cover the stained woodwork and paint over that. Might be easier to remove paste
from the woodwork rather than primer / paint.

Carolyn... I'll spend the extra couple of hours repainting in Flat... it's a good point the
walls will look smoother especially when using a high quality paint. And the draperies are
a hit with a sheer over the window for privacy. The window used to have heavy full window
drapes ( nice), but the panels opens up the room Thank you for pointing that out.

Piotr - good point... reduce the contrast and use furniture, paints and ornaments to
provide the color and personality. Time to take another look at the paint strips !!

hmschoolmom- more good points... a neutral cream on the bottom. Chroma Paint and
Carolyn showed similar concepts so I'll work with those paint strips to get a complement
to the soft iris. The Manchester Tan / Elephant Tail with creamy Ivory will work well with
another room and ties everything together !!

Wallpaper in the frames is just a thought being considered... it might work.. or as you pointed
out might be too victorian or too formal. You and Piotr brought out some good points... use ornaments for decoration.. I have plaster columns so why not add color with a mildly swirled or patterned vase or glass wear. Or use something similar on the sideboard ( candy dish) to break up the formality.

Thank you for all the great ideas.... I can see them working... and would never have thought of them myself....

You girls and guys are GREAT !!!
3 Likes    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 7:42AM
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Prime Walls
Check out Primewalls for a huge selection of textured wallpaper. No matter what colour, patters or style you are going for we have something to fall in love with. Here are a few samples that would look great with the upper colour of your walls.


Going with either a grey or white bottom half, with white chair rail and white boxes (or what ever colour you choose both the boxes and chair rail should be the same to maintain unity in the space)

These are only a few of the MANY options Prime walls has to offer. Take a look you will be stunned at the variety. All the papers are easy up and easy down, strippable wall paper too.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 8:04AM
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