Chair rails were originally designed with the purpose of protecting delicate plaster walls from damage by the backs of dining room chairs. While they can serve the same function today, chair rails are typically used to add a decorative aspect to a room.
Chair rails are a strip of moulding applied along the wall at about the height of a chair back. Although there is no set rule for their height, most chair rails are set between 30 to 32 inches from the floor. Standard chair rails are usually between 2-1/2 to 3 inches wide.
An aesthetic function of a chair rail is visually breaking up the wall into two sections. This can easily allow for a contrast between paint colors or wallpaper patterns above and below the rail.
If you don’t want to change the wall color, the chair rail itself can be the accent. Paint or stain the chair rail to match the colors of other stained woods. Or decorate a chair rail with rope and seashells for a nautical themed room.A strip of wallpaper can also serve the same visual function as a chair rail.
Chair rails add architectural interest to your walls, and they’re not only for the formal dining room. Try adding chair rails in the living room or bedroom for a fresh, new look.