Chair Rail Molding Adds Beauty and Depth to Your Home

Chair rail molding is a great way to add some extra beauty and depth to your home. It can be used in any room, but it typically looks the best in hallways, dining rooms, baby nursery, and bedrooms. There are many different types of chair rail molding available, so you can choose the one that best suits your style and needs. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of adding chair rail molding to your home and provide tips for choosing the right type.

Chair Rail Molding
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Why was chair rail molding originally installed in homes?

If you’ve ever noticed the thin strip of molding running along the middle of many walls, you might have wondered why it’s there. It turns out that this molding, known as chair rail, served a very practical purpose when it was first introduced centuries ago. Chair rail was originally installed in homes as a way to protect walls from damage caused by chairs.

In early homes, chairs were often quite large and heavy, and they would frequently be moved around the room. Over time, this constant rubbing against the wall would leave marks and scratches. To prevent this damage, homeowners would install chair rail molding along the middle of their walls where the backs of the chairs would go. Today, of course, chairs are much lighter and easier to move, so chair rail is no longer necessary for its original purpose. However, many people still enjoy the look of this classic molding and choose to install it for purely aesthetic reasons.

Choices of Chair Molding Materials

Hardwoods, such as oak, fir, poplar, maple, and ash, as well as softwoods like pine and spruce are commonly used for molding. Hardwoods are more costly than softwoods, but they resist wear better and have a tighter natural grain. Manufactured or composite materials, such as MDF, or medium-density fiberboard, and polyurethane may also be used to make chair railing. MDF is a common material for these kinds of pieces since it’s inexpensive and lightweight. Although manufactured materials are typically less expensive and more durable, they may not accept paint as well as wood. Wood rails, for example, cannot be finished to exhibit natural beauty. In some metals, such as aluminum, lightweight steel, or copper, chair molding is also available. These are highly ornamental but also costly.

Chair Rail Molding Designs

Chair rails are a great way to add visual interest to any room. In addition to serving as a practical way to protect walls from being scuffed by chairs, they can also be used to create a variety of different design features. For example, painting the wall below a chair rail in a contrasting color can help to define the space and make it appear larger. Or, for a more dramatic look, installing chair rail molding in an ornate design can add texture and depth to a room. Whatever your style, there are plenty of ways to use chair rail molding to enhance your home’s décor.

Using multiple layers of chair rail

This is one of our favorite chair rail ideas for bedrooms. Chair rail molding may be layered to give a more regal appearance while also providing texture and intrigue.

Creating a sophisticated trim

With ornamental panel molding combined with beautiful chair rail molding and floor-to-ceiling panels, a wall can be transformed into a breathtaking spectacle.

Chair Rail Molding
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How to put up chair rail


  • 1 sheet of 3/4-inch MDF board
  • Wood glue
  • Wood putty (that matches stain color)
  • 1 1/4-inch long, 18-gauge finish nails
  • Polyurethane – Water-based (MinWax)
  • Gel stain (I would recommend MinWax gel stain)
  • 15-gauge finish nails that are 2 1/2-inch long


  • Rags for the stain
  • Nail gun
  • Table saw (or a skill saw)
  • Paint roller with a small sponge roller pad
  • 24-inch level
  • 12-inch miter saw
  • Putty knife
  • Router with 3/8-inch half-round bit and a 1/4-inch rounded spade bit


1. Using a table saw or a skill saw, cut three-quarter-inch MDF strips to sizes of 1 3/4″ and 5 1/4″.

2. For the smaller components, attach a 3/8-inch half-round bit to the router for a bull nose on one edge. For decorative reasons, create 5/16-inch deep grooves in the larger MDF pieces using a 1/4-inch rounded spade bit and setting it to cut 5/16-inch deep grooves for decorative pieces. The top and bottom will have two equally distant grooves.

3. Attach the smaller pieces to the top and bottom of the larger ones with wood glue and 18-gauge nails to make a cap. The overall item should now resemble a “C” from behind. Keep an eye on the glue not to seep between the top and bottom since it will cause uneven staining.

4. Apply the gel to the components with rags, removing any excess gel stain with rags. Apply two coats of water-based polyurethane using a sponge roller to complete the job.

5. Measure the wall and cut pieces at a 45-degree angle in the corners with a miter saw while using a level.

6. Attach the rail to the wall using paneling adhesive and finish nails, then nail it into place. Fill holes with wood putty to match the color.


Adding chair rail molding is a great way to enhance the look of any room in your home. With so many different design options available, you can easily find a style that fits your taste and décor. And, best of all, it’s a relatively easy project that most homeowners can do themselves with just a few tools and materials.

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