Quick & Easy DIY Chair Rail

Quick & Easy DIY Chair Rail

As the saying goes, a little goes a long way! If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ll have seen the journey my husband and I took in deciding to add a small, yet delightful stretch of trim work to our dining room walls.

Our dining room has always felt unfinished. After being inspired by many historically restored farmhouses, where the dining rooms are a combination of formality and comfort, I knew that what our room was need was a moment of old world charm. It’s the running theme of our home after all!

So off to the local hardware store we went! Well not at first. I waited gingerly for a William Morris wallpaper sample to arrive, and once it did I knew instantly that it's heritage pattern would be the missing link for our home. Knowing that we also didn’t want floor to ceiling wallpaper in the room, we took some measurements and selected a simple, modest trim work which would act as the perfect divide between our traditional wallpaper, and the white painted walls beneath.

Adding trim work, or in our case a chair rail, is much easier than you'd think. It takes a little patience, some careful cuts and level measurements to complete the task. All up, the cost of our solid pine trim was $85- which for any solid timber materials nowadays is a great price! We made sure that we only used the straightest of pieces, and once we bought them home, we began the process of putting everything together.

As I always say, I am the dreamer and my husband is the careful planner of all our DIY tasks. So he took to measuring, cutting and ensuring all the trim work was level before I helped with the tacking nails. Before each piece was adhered to our walls, we made sure that any corner pieces adjoined perfectly with the coinciding one. Then, we slithered on an application of ‘no more nails’- a wood to plaster adhesive that works great for any vertical joinery. We spaced out our nails, and made sure to tack them into the timber so that once the caulking and fillers were applied, the railing was at a smooth finish.

The measuring, cutting and application of the trim work is the hardest part of the process. Once you have this complete, you can enjoy the satisfaction of a few days priming and painting, till the rails are set.

It’s surprising how a subtle piece of timber can add such depth to a space. Though it will take a while yet for all our wallpaper to arrive, we will enjoy the first finished stage of our modern farmhouse dining room project.

What height did you install your chair rail?

The standard height is around 80cm (32inches) from your floor up, however the beauty of trim work is you can adjust it accordingly to where it looks and works best in your space. We raised ours to 130cm (51inches) off the ground, which works more practically for our high traffic area.

How long did the project take to complete?

4 days in total. The first being the application of the trim work to the walls. Followed by a day of caulking and prep work for painting. A morning of priming, superseded by two coats of oil based paint.

What was the total cost?

I’d put our budget for this project at $150. This is inclusive to the timber trim, nails, caulking and paint- assuming you didn’t already have some of these these handy. A chair rail is an inexpensive but highly effective way to achieve a chic, craftsman look for less!

Back to blog