Chair Rail Wallpaper Treatment

Chair Rail Wallpaper Treatment

Use Designer Nicole Gibbons’ instructions to add some depth to your dining room with a DIY chair rail.

5 col

Add some architectural depth to your dining space with textured wallpaper and a chair rail around the room.

Pre-pasted beadboard wallpaper roll — As many rolls needed to cover the 35-inch lower portion of walls
Drop cloth
1/2 gallon of water
2 Paint rollers
Paint tray
Wallpaper primer
Dry sponge
Chair rail molding — Amount needed will vary depending on your wall length
Paintable caulking and dispenser
Paint — Interior flat, white
Pair of latex gloves
Small box of 1 1/2-inch finishing nails
Tape measure
Craft knife
Stud finder


  1. Measure the width of the wall to see how long you will need your chair rail to be. Take your measurements to your local hardware store for them to pre-cut your chair rail
  2. Lay down a drop cloth on the floor under the walls where the wallpaper will be hung
  3. Measure 35 inches from the floor up the wall and mark with a pencil. Mark it in several places and use a ruler to draw a pencil line connecting the marks. Use a level to check that your pencil line is horizontal. This line will mark the height the chair rail will be placed along the wall
  4. Prime the wall below the pencil line with wallpaper primer and allow to dry. This will help the wallpaper stay securely on the wall. It’s okay if you paint a little over the pencil line, the chair rail in later steps will hide any imperfections
  5. Cut the pre-pasted wallpaper into 35-inch sections using scissors. Use a roller to apply water on the back of the wallpaper and set it aside for a minute to let the paste activate. While you’re waiting, roll water onto a second and third section
  6. Take the first section of activated wallpaper and line its top edge up with the marked pencil line and its side edge with the edge of the wall
  7. Use a dry sponge to smooth down any wrinkles starting at the top and pressing down towards the bottom. The paper will overlap the molding on the bottom and that’s okay for now
  8. Line up the next section of wallpaper flush with the edge of the previous one, and apply as you did in Step 7. The top edge will eventually be covered by the chair rail
  9. Trim the bottom edge of the wallpaper at the baseboard with a craft knife. The wallpaper will be painted afterwards so any little imperfections will be covered up in later steps

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Tip: Use a ruler to press the wallpaper flush with the baseboard and use as a guideline for a straight edge. Start in the center of the baseboard and work your way out to the ends to keep your lines straight.

  1. Repeat Steps 4 to 9 until the wall is covered
  2. Center the chair rail over the pencil line while using a level to make sure it is horizontal. Use a stud finder to locate the occasional stud then hammer the chair rail in place using 11/2-inch finishing nails spaced 4 inches apart
  3. Put on rubber gloves and apply caulking in a thin strip where the chair rail meets the wall to fill in any gaps. Smooth down the caulking by running your finger along the edge. Allow to dry
  4. Use a roller to paint the wallpaper and chair rail with white interior flat paint

If there are window or door frames:
Press the wallpaper up to the window frame as close as it will go. Cut off excess wallpaper with scissors to make it easier to maneuver. Use a craft knife to get in close and cut a clean edge of wallpaper right where it meets the window or door frame.

If there are power outlets:
Remove any power outlet coverings before laying the wallpaper over it. Cover the outlet opening with painter’s tape to protect it.

Working with the wallpaper on a wall section with an outlet, press the wallpaper over the outlet so it’s indent can be seen through the wallpaper. Use scissors to cut through the wallpaper making a hole and exposing the outlet. It doesn’t need to be perfect; the outlet covering will cover any imperfections.

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Would love to know the manufacturer of the dining room table and chairs. Cute set!

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