Barn Style Wainscoting

You may have realized by now that we like our house to be unique.  Wood headboards can be beautiful, but why not make a wood wall?  When we were ready to upgrade our kitchen, we went with some DIY concrete counters with lots of  personality.  Rather than buying a mirror frame or some molding to spruce up our builder-grade mirror, we grabbed wood out of a dumpster and framed it out ourselves.  You get my drift.  So when it came time to makeover our dining room and we were looking at different styles of wainscoting, none of them seemed fun enough to quite fit us.  I love the classic look of traditional wainscoting…

but we aren’t quite that sophisticated:)  And a board and batten style can be beautiful…

But we already have that in our entry, which is adjacent to the dining room.  I love this fun, modern design…

But modern doesn’t fit us either so it was time to come up with our own style of wainscoting.

Enter: Pinterest {of course}.  I went on a barn door pinning spree and came up with the perfect solution: barn door style wainscoting!  We drew out some pictures, took lots of measurements, and came up with this design:

Fun, right?  And it fits so well with the rustic theme we have running through our house.  Just because you live in a builder grade home doesn’t mean your home should look like everyone else’s on the inside.  So here’s what you’ll need for this project:

  • 12′ pre-primed mdf boards {we needed 11}
  • nail gun
  • saw
  • caulk to fill the holes and seams
  • paint

We decided we wanted our wainscoting about 3′ from our baseboards so we measured up,

leveled the boards,

and nailed away.

Once all the top rail was done, we started on our vertical slats.  Now this will take a little math.  Because our dining room is such an awkward shape and none of the walls are the same size, we could not make all the boxes the same size.  We played around with numbers and ratios until we figured out two sizes that were as close as we could get.  The barn door shelf wall has 22″ boxes and the opposite wall as 19″ boxes.  Since they are not next to each other, you can’t tell the difference in size and it was the best we could do to make the boxes fit evenly across the walls.  The window wall is also 22″, but since it is behind the curtains for the most part, you can’t really tell how large it is.  The buffet wall is also 22″.  After all of our calculations {this was the most time-consuming part of the whole shebang} we nailed up our vertical slats 22″ apart or 19″ apart, depending on the wall.

Then it was time for the angle.  This came in for a close second on time-consumingness {yep, I’m pretending that’s a word}.  Mike grabbed a scrap piece of mdf and cut it at an angle.  Then we played around the angle using a piece of masking tape.  We’re very professional and highly trained in this stuff if you can’t tell.  Mike would cut an angle, then we would run a piece of masking tape along it down to the opposite corner.  He adjusted a few times until we got the angle right and the tape hit the corner perfectly. Once we had the angle down, we cut each board for the 22″ walls because the same angle fit for each one.  Then we used the same method for the 19″ wall. I apologize for the awful picture but hopefully you can see what I mean:

Painting is the last step.  We took some white semi-gloss paint we had one hand and used a mini-roller and brush to finish the look off.


Total cost:  about $55 for the boards.  Pretty good, huh?

So what do you think?  Would you take a random design and create your own wainscoting?  Anyone have any fun wainscoting of your own to share?  I’d love to see it!

UPDATE:  See the whole dining room reveal here.


I’m linking this up to Young House Love’s and Bower Power’s Pinterest Challenge!

I’ll also be linking up to my regulars:

DIY Showoff: DIY Project Parade

I Heart Naptime: Sundae Scoop

Skip to My Lou: Made By You Mondays

Today’s Creative Blog: Get Your Craft On

Tip Junkie: Tip Me Tuesday

Home Stories A to Z: Tutorials and Tips Tuesdays

Not Just a Housewife: Shoe Me What Ya Got

Blue Cricket Design: Show and Tell

Shabby Chic Cottage: Transformation Thursday

Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday

CSI Project: Challenge

Remodelaholic: Blog Link Up

Serenity Now

Tatertots and Jello: Weekend Wrap-Up


  1. Love this molding! I have become obsessed with moldings. My husband is super pumped about that. :P

  2. What a fun twist on wainscoting! Love your curtains and that rustic wall hanging.

  3. Wow! I have never seen this before and I love it. Can you come do mine please? Great job.

  4. What a fun twist on the board and batten look! You guys did an amazing job, it looks wonderful!

  5. Angela Jones says:

    What a perfect design for your dining room! It is awesome and very unique and fits it beautifully with your decor. I love it!!

  6. That is so amazing! I love it! I love how you can take any type of design to make it fit your home!

  7. Love it!
    How original! You did a great job.

  8. I LOVE this! I would love if you would share this at the Crazy Cute link party happening at Between U & Me right now! I’ve got a totally awesome giveaway this week, too!
    OOH! AND, I’m your newest follower! ;)

  9. I love how the wood transformed your whole room! so great!

  10. This is really awesome!! Great work!!

  11. This is so unique and different. I love that it mixes the traditional with something more rustic. Great job! I’m a new follower! I’d love it if you followed me back, but no pressure :-)

  12. What a fabulous idea! It looks amazing. You and your husband did a great job.

  13. I haven’t ever seen it like that and I think you did a fantastic job! It looks terrific – thanks for sharing!

  14. Wow! What an inexpensive addition that looks really expensive! It turned out fantastic.

  15. Wow! This looks great! I am hoping to do something similar this winter! The head board looks awesome :) visiting from tatertots & Jello

  16. This is simply to-die-for! I adore it. And the whole room! Are those burlap placemats I see? Darling! How do you clean them? And the reclaimed wood as art – perfect.

    Dropping by from Addicted2Dec. Have a great weekend!

  17. I love your style and this is just so beautiful! Great job! The dining room (your entire home) is lovely!

  18. It looks beautiful! So glad you linked up with us at and can’t wait to see what you link up this week!


  19. Wow, now that looks gorgeous – really!

  20. WOW!!! Absolutely love it!!! New follower from Tip Junkie :)

    Please come visit me @

  21. one word….gorgeous!!!!!

    • Aw, thank you, Jessica! By the way, I popped over to your site and your puppies are adorable! We have a goldendoodle too and love him:)

  22. Love your paneling. Really. What a smart solution to finding YOUR style.

  23. Looks awesome!! I love the fresh idea and you guys did a great job!!

  24. you rocked this room! love it!

  25. Oh my!! I L-♥-V-E, love, love your barn style wainscoting!!

  26. I love it! Yay for non-traditional!!
    Thanks for sharing at Show & Share!

  27. I am so in love with the shabby chic rustic look that room is. And the beautiful barndoor weinscoating is amazing. Great job. Thank you for linking up to our party show and share. I am stopping by to let you know that I featured you on my so make sure to stop by see what I wrote and grab a feature button from my side bar. Thank you

    A mommy’s life…with a touch of yellow

  28. Where did you find this:
    I absolutely love that modern circular one.

  29. Love this , looks fantastic! I’m a big fan of “barn” anything :) Saw on TipJunkie

  30. Awesome! I love the barn style design. I’m a new follower.

    Have a great weekend!


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    […] rustic look that room is. And the beautiful barndoor weinscoating is amazing. Gr […]

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