Wainscoting (What, What!): Pinterest Challenge!

Other than painting around the house, this basement entry redo is the first “real” project we have tackled since moving into our house in October. We’ve been using the finished basement a lot since we moved in, so every time I tromped down the steps I cringed hardcore at the faux finished green paint on the walls. In addition to green paint on the baseboard area, the ceiling and walls were painted a light blue color. Not my up o’ tea.

I had visions of a clean and simple basement entry – and the previous look just wasn’t fitting the bill. I started scouring pinterest for ideas and came across the look below and I figured – heck – we could do that! Sans the bookcase – even though I totally LOVE the look, a bit more than we were looking to bite off at the moment.

Basement Inspiration
Basement Inspiration

Par for the course, the first stop was hitting up Home Depot for some lumber and supplies. We settled on the 4th one over, which was $1.26 per linear foot. After looking around the aisle, we found this one to be the closest to our desired dimensions, and the hubby thought it would be pretty easy to work with.

Lumber for Wainscoting Stairs
Lumber for Wainscoting Stairs

Here is the before shot, for your reference, ugly – I’m telling ya!

Basement Entry: Before
Basement Entry: Before

Initially I wanted to have the molding follow the line of the stairs, but after realizing that there was actually two different walls, with a seam where the trim was – we realized that there would be a really visible bump on the wall, so we opted to maintain the current division.

Here is how the finished product looks close up, pretty swanky, right?!

Wainscoting Trim Stairway
Wainscoting Trim Stairway

I got to say, I’m pretty pleased with how the project came out, and overall, I found it to be a pretty manageable process. It took us about 3-days, of work, mainly because we estimated wrong on wood quantities (hence additional trips to the Depot), and the white took a few coats before the faux finish green stopped peaking through. This is how the stairway looks from the bottom of the steps. The carpet is in dire need of some attention. Someday I would love to put in a runner like the inspiration picture above from pinterest.

Wainscoting Stairs
Wainscoting Stairs

The project cost $122.60, which included a gallon of paint and lots of 2 1/2 by quarter inch wood 🙂 Our supplies list can be referenced below:

  • Paint Color Benjamin Moore, Simply White (Colored matched in Behr Premium Plus)
  • 60 square feet of wood @ $1.46 per sq ft. (this will vary, depending on your staircase dimensions)
  • Wood glue
  • Caulk
  • Nails

As far as tools, a miter saw is a definite must for this project (we have this one), to cut all the angles. Other than that – just grab your hammer and your ready to go! Hammer time – da na na na.

We started out by laying the bottom piece of wood, closest to the existing base trim that was already there. Some of the wood got a bit messed up when we were taking out the trim from before – so this piece helped cover some of those imperfections, and provided more detail along the edge. Then after playing around with different dimensions, we decided to arrange the grid with 18″ spacing across, which created about (5) vertical rows and (4) horizontal rows. From there, we just got to cutting! Our vertical pieces are one long piece, and the horizontal pieces were fit in.

Stair Wainscoting Trim
Stair Wainscoting Trim

A few notes on how to get the best results:

  • In addition to nailing your piece down on the wall – you may want to glue it somehow onto the wall as well. Since there were not beams the entire way across, we noticed some buckling, which was fixed with some wood glue.
  • Caulk after your done – makes a world of difference! You may want to paint over the caulk as well – as sometimes it has a yellowish hue to it
  • We decided to roll the square part – since it gave a more even coat
  • Oh – and cut once – measure twice 😉 It may help you avoid said extra trips to the home improvement store 🙂

While we were at it, we also painted the side doors to the bathroom and laundry area and add some oil rubbed bronze hardware to update the corner.

Side Doors Basement
Side Basement Doors

Man – I seriously wish I had some before pictures of this area. The doors were green, with gold hardware, you can kind of see them peaking through on the before picture of the basement below.

Basement - Before (2)
Basement – Before

Now we just need a nice runner for the steps, updated lighting and some art work to get this space done!

10 thoughts on “Wainscoting (What, What!): Pinterest Challenge!

  1. that looks great.
    question – does your wainscoting carry out throughout the rooms or is it just in the staircase?
    I have a staircase that may need some pizzaz but I don’t think I want to carry the wainscoting throughout the rooms that the stairs lead into/outof….

    1. Hey Stephanie! Ours is just on the stairs – although I do think it would look really nice to add it throughout that hall, we opted not to at this point. BUT – now you got me thinking! 😉

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