As its name implies, the practical purpose of chair rail is to protect walls from damage from the backs of chairs. However, most people who add chair rail to a room do it not for practical purposes, but for aesthetics. Installing chair rail in your home can add an instant touch of class, and it also provides you with more opportunities for crafting a pleasing interior environment.
WHAT DOES CHAIR RAIL ADD TO A ROOM?
Elegance! We are used to seeing baseboards in most rooms, and many rooms also have crown molding. However, these are always below or above our normal viewing height. Chair rail is much closer to eye level, and thus more often in our line of sight. It provides visual interest to a wall, adding more sense of balance and movement than an open, blank surface would have.
Proportion! Chair rail provides a visual division to a room, which is not something we usually notice consciously. However, this kind of design detail can create harmony and stability in a space, making it a more pleasant place to spend your time.
Design options! A typical wall can only consist of one color or pattern from the baseboard to the crown molding. Installing chair rail will divide the wall into two sections, allowing you to use a different color or pattern on the lower area. Often a darker color looks good on the bottom, with a lighter color above. Alternatively, you can use beadboard or wainscoting below (usually white), and a contrasting color above. Another option is to put wallpaper below the chair rail, and paint the upper portion of the wall.
Value! Of all the home improvements you can make, chair rail is one of the least demanding in terms of cost and labor. However, the difference it makes in your home’s marketability is impressive! Studies have shown that installing moldings (like crown or chair rail) can have a positive impact on the selling price of a home.