Home Improvement

Have a Seat: What’s the Purpose of a Chair Rail?

Half of everyone preparing for a DIY project plans to do it themselves, according to a 2021 survey. Perhaps you’re one of them — and you’re weighing up the finishing touches you could use to polish off your kitchen, living room, or dining room.

One option you may have heard of is the addition of a chair rail. This wooden piece of architectural interest wraps around a room and at about midway up the wall. It’s most often made of wood, measures 2 to 3 inches wide, and adds some serious sophistication to any space. 

Still, you’re wondering, why would anyone install chair rails? Is there a point to them? Here’s everything you need to know.

What’s the Point of Having a Chair Rail? 

The name “chair rail” gives you a hint as to why people started installing this bit of mid-wall moulding. Chair rails would quite literally protect the wall from damage in areas where people would be pushing chairs in and out from tables, for example. If you’d like to learn more about how it can protect your call, click here.

On top of that, some households would install pegs onto their chair rails, too. That way, they could hang chairs on the pegs to make it easy for them to sweep and mop floors after a meal. 

How Long Have Chair Rails Existed? 

You might be surprised to find out just how long that chair rail has been a desired architectural feature. You would have found chair rails in Ancient Greek and Roman homes, although they used the feature as an aesthetically pleasing one; they liked how the lines created visual interest in their spaces. 

In the 16th century, though, chair rails started to be used for a more practical purpose. At that time, homeowners often added chair rails and wainscoting to their walls not only to protect them but to keep rooms warmer and less damp. 

Chair Rail vs. Wainscoting

As we know already, chair rail moulding wraps around the middle of the wall. Often, it will come with wainscotting, wooden panels that stretch from the bottom of the wall up to the chair rail border. 

Like a chair rail, wainscotting adds visual interest and richness to a space. It’s often a feature in older homes, but more modern ones may opt to add wainscotting, too — it adds a timeless touch to any space. 

If you have wainscotting, then you will probably have a chair rail, too. It serves as a border on top of the wooden paneling to add finish and polish. 

Add Your Own Chair Rail

Now you know the reason why so many people choose to install a chair rail. Not only does it look beautiful, but it protects walls from scuffs and dents. All there’s left to do is learn how to add your chair rail — and get started on this project. 

After you’ve installed your chair rail and need a new DIY project, don’t forget to check back with us for more home improvement news and advice

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