Master Ensuite- Paneling

When designing our bathroom, one of the things we really wanted to try and incorporate was a little bit of architectural detail somehow.

We had seen paneling done in a varitey of different forms, and knew we wanted to incorporate it somehow into our house. Since the bathroom wasn't very large we figured this might be a good place to try it out.

The first thing we needed to determine was the style of paneling that we wanted to incorporate. There are actually a lot of different ways you can do paneling, but we chose our style based on the style of our home and our tastes in decorating. We didn't want anything too modern, and wanted more of a classic look- something that would still look good years from now (or maybe come back in style again many years down the road!).

One of the first styles we debated on was beadboard. We felt it has more of a casual/relaxed look to it and a bit of a country feel. We liked the look, but weren't sure if it was the right style for the for us, based on the other elements we had already chosen for the room. There are tons of different styles of beadboard, but these were some rooms with beadboard that inspired us:

If you are planning on installing beadboard, make sure you determine your desired height of the beadboard, the surface area to cover and get familiar with how to install it. HGTV.com provides some great instructions on installing beadboard here.

You could also do some really substantial paneling, like Rambling Renovators did (read the rest of their post on how they did it here), to their stunning master bedroom:

However, we had some obstacles with the walls in our bathroom, and felt that the bathroom didn't really need that much work done to it.

We ended up choosing picture frame style wainscotting. Here's a picture of our bathroom twins over at Life Begins at Thirty and their bathroom wall paneling (I feel we should have shared notes on this while we were doing it...probably simultaneously!)

and here's our finished product:

Here's how we did it.

Step 1: Ensure your walls are straight. At the beginning of the process, we discovered that one of our walls had a bowed stud behind the wall, and the chair rail would NOT lie flat:

Ya. See that wobble? We tried nailing the chair rail to the wall, but there was no way we could leave it like that. We actually had to rip down the entire wall, re-drywall and replace the stud behind the wall. So make sure you look into that before beginning a project like this- it might not be worth it, if you need to rip down walls!

Step 2: Measure the walls, and determine how much space you want between each box (we felt 4 inches between each box was a good amount of space). You may have more or fewer boxes on each wall, depending on how long the wall is.

Step 3: Figure out (based on the length of your walls) how many boxes can fit on each wall (keeping in mind that you will need space between each box, and it will look best if the boxes are all approximately the same size).

Step 4: We drew all of this out on a piece of paper first (scalled down to size) so we could see how it visually looked.

Step 5: Measure out how big each box would be and calculate the amount of wood you will need for the boxes, plus the wood required for the chair rail.

Step 6: Purchase your chair rail and wood required for the boxes themselves (we went with a style we liked in 1 inch wide pieces of wood trim).

Step 7: Put up your chair rail as a starting point, we measured up 42 inches from the floor (which gave us enough space between the top of the chair rail and the counter top).

Step 8: Start in one corner and measure and mark out ONE box to begin with.  Measure 4 inches to the edge of the box to the wall, and also measure 4 inches from the top of the box to the bottom of the chair rail (basically 4 inches all the way around is what we did). We then measured out the box on the other end of the wall (so the boxes on either ends of the walls were done first, and we could space out the middle boxes easier). **Keep in mind that if you are working around windows, or other obstacles, you might need to change the height or width of your boxes depending. We ended up doing that, as you can see, under the windows in our bathroom.

Step 9: Once you have one box marked out onto your wall, cut your trim pieces to fit the measurements. We actually figured out how many pieces we needed and cut them all the same size, but we did have to make multiple re-cuts throughout the process.

Step 10: Begin to nail your pieces one by one onto the wall, forming the box. Nail the side piece first (to make sure you have your 4 inch space between it and the wall, or it and the next box) and then do the top and bottom, and lastly the other side piece. Then you can measure 4 inches over and start your next box.

Step 11: Once your boxes are finished use caulking to fill in the edges of the boxes- around the outside and inside.  Use spackle to fill in the corners. Once it is all dry, sand everything smooth.

Step 12: Now the boxes are ready for painting!

Overall, this process wasn't as difficult as it sounds. Once you have the boxes measured out and your pieces cut, its just nailing them into place. We had to make a few re-cuts here and there but overall, its a pretty easy project you can do yourself to add interest to a room.

We love this feature in our bathroom and think it goes really well with the style of the room.

Goodluck with your paneling!!


  1. Hey! Thanks for the link love. I really love the style of panelling you chose. It suits your bathroom perfectly.

  2. Your bathroom is so gorgeous and the paneling is just perfect for it. Love it!

  3. yes great job Melissa, and wow dedication is evident when you're ripping down a wall and re-drywalling! LOVE the Bethe linen fabric choice, can't wait for the reveal!

  4. I love the fabric you chose for the curtains! They will really add some punch to the room :)
    I am so impressed with your bravery and enthusiasm in taking on such an intimidating project. It really looks wonderful and works well in the room. Great job!

  5. love that fabric -- and wow, i have major tub envy :)


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