Wainscot Wall With a Picture Ledge

5 Materials
8 Hours

If you have an open floor plan or if you're like me and have a smaller home without a lot of wall space this is great project for you. I decided to add some architectural interest in my dining room nook with a picture ledge for my collection of vintage oils, and I love the result. With or without the art work.

Before shot: plain white wall.

I'm a visual person and when I'm looking at a lot of DIY measurements and instructions I find it intimidating. Show me some pictures! I especially like to see the wood pieces of a project before they're assembled. Maybe this will help you too. Here's what I used:

I found the panels on the same aisle as the beadboard sheets. Here's a close-up look at the thickness of the panel--after I had cut the height down.

I decided to use common boards (inexpensive) since I would be painting them, also I had the 1X4s leftover from another project, so why not use them?

This is the close up of the thickness of the plywood panel. I only needed one 1/4" panel for this wall. I had the guy at Home Depot rip it for me, but I forgot about my baseboard, so I had to get out my table saw anyway. Learn from me. If you're keeping your baseboards, add the baseboard width to your calculations for the desired height of your picture ledge.

As you can see (in the top picture) my panel was not long enough, but since I was adding two 1X4s at each end, it made up for the gaps.

I also added two more vertical pieces ( 1X4s) in the middle, using my trusted level for everything. Before I nailed anything, I decided to add three coats of paint to the panel so all I would need to worry about was the touch ups.

Another important step. The cut-out for the electrical outlet. I needed to switch blades on my jigsaw but once I did it went smoothly.

Painting the panel before I added any vertical pieces made everything go so much quicker!

I planned on using wood glue on this panel before I shot the nails in, but I totally forgot. One of the problems with working by yourself. Oh well, luckily it was a small area and the thin panel adhered easily to the wall.

I also gave the 1X4s a couple coats of white paint prior to nailing them on the wall.

the ledge before i added a "lip" to it

Here's another close-up of the finished picture rail after the lip was added. It still needed another coat of paint and caulking but you get the idea. I decided to keep the ledge at 2 1/2" wide and it works perfectly.

Cottage dining room with a picture ledge

If you would like to see more pretty pictures of the finished project just go to my blog, you'll find the link below. I hope this was helpful, I'm a novice DIYer so if I can do this, you can too! Good luck.

Leslie aka Gwen Moss blog

Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

21 Ways to Have More Polka Dots in Your Life
20 Easy Concrete Projects You Absolutely CAN Do!
30 Unusual & Helpful Gardening Tips You'll Want To Know
16 Ways to Maximize Storage And Organization In Your Home
15 Genius Curtain Ideas To Instantly Upgrade Your Space
17 DIY-Inspiring Kitchen Backsplashes
The Easiest Ways to Grow a Bumper Crop of Tomatoes
30 Creative Ways To Repurpose Baking Pans
16 Creative Ways To Upcycle Pallets
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home
23 DIY Wall Clocks That'll Transform Your Whole Room
18 Fun Ways To Add Glitter To Your Home Decor
30 Reasons We Can’t Stop Buying Michaels Storage Crates
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
Leslie H

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 35 questions
  • Nancy
    on Sep 18, 2019

    How did you attach ththe ledge to the wall? Is it attached to the molding or just setting on it?

  • Ren
    on Mar 12, 2020

    Looks great. I was wondering, why not leave the wood panels off entirely? Then, you can simply paint the trim and ledger The same color of the wall ( or not) and place them on the wall in the same configuration. Would you not have accomplished the same look without the glue, panel, and nails to hold the panels up?

    • Demetra Mete
      on Mar 12, 2020

      Wainscoting generally has a different texture from the top portion of the wall, whether it’s wood, tile, or some other material.

      I always said you can do what you want to do in your own house, so what you said would work!😁

  • Adele Basilisco
    on Mar 12, 2020

    lm not getting the answers. Why?

Join the conversation

2 of 299 comments
  • Nancy Henkle
    on Mar 12, 2020

    Pass on this...ok for others..

    Thanks for the post.

  • McQueen
    on Mar 13, 2020

     this is a much better way to correcting the outlet being behind the new finished surface. It does require removing and reinstalling the outlet. If the power is shut off it can be done easily and safely without removing any of the wiring, only the outlet mounting screws

Your comment...