Our Dark DIYed Wainscoting Reveal

Our DIYed full-wall wainscoting is done, and on time!  As Chris and I were talking about the entire project, we were so pleasantly surprised with how fast it went.  We dedicated a couple hours to it on Monday and Tuesday night and then yesterday, I sanded and painted and it was done before Chris got home from work. Painting definitely took the longest. Although it could be because Chris was at work, or maybe it was because Greta was “helping” me.  Either way, it’s done and besides loving how quick the project was–the result leaves even more to love.
Here’s where we were a week ago:

Granted, the gallery wall was short-lived and we didn’t even share it with you until after we took it down and moved the majority to the laundry room. And for a real shocker, here’s how the room looked a couple months ago before we decided to embark on this revamp.

We were especially inspired by these two images I pinned months ago (sourced here and here) and were anxious to DIY a similar look in our own home.

Ha! I can’t help but think, after looking at that picture snapped in August, that we have crossed over to the dark side.  Although, I think we prefer “sophisticated.”  Here’s how our living room is lookin’ today, donning its new wainscoting :

The room feels so much larger.  And…taller. And more sophisticated with a casual twist–which is how we like it. When it came to painting the panels, I used a small foam roller for all of the fronts and my handy Wooster shortcut brush to get in the inside edges.

Luckily (and magically) we still had enough in the gallon of paint we purchased when we painted the room to cover the wainscoting–all 2 and a half coats it took.  For reference sake, the color is from Kwal Paints and it is called Crave.  We went with a matte finish which gets bonus points for hiding wall imperfections–we especially love it because it disguises the slight orange peel texture of our walls.

I even remembered to snap a picture last night, so you could see how the paint color and new architectural detail of the wainscoting translates from day to dark. During the day, the paint color is a a deep charcoal navy with green undertones and the wainscoting gets a lot of natural light from our large window–which creates yummy (yummy? who am I!?) shadows because of it.

At night, the paint transforms into a soft black and between our lamps on the fauxdenza and our arc floor lamp, the wainscoting is well lit and the details are still very much present.  We worried about the details getting lost in all of the shadows with such a dark paint color, but maybe (we don’t really have anything to compare it to) the darker paint color accentuates the wainscoting and makes for a bigger contrast?  Who knows.  Point is–it works and we have zero regrets going dark in this room.  In fact, we may just start advocating for dark paint.  Too many white walls in this world (says the girl who painted her studio white this summer)!!!

Budget wise, the project cost us $117.86.  That includes all the lumber and the bottle of liquid nails we used to adhere the boards to the wall before following up with a nail gun.  Everything else, including the nail gun, paint, spackle and caulk we had on hand.

Considering the wainscoting will double as art on this wall–we don’t plan on hanging anything else on this wall–we’re sayin’ $117 is a pretty big bang for our buck.  Don’t you think?
We aren’t calling this room a wrap. But for now, there’s 2 days until our party and we’re happy with where the room is now compared with two months ago. And definitely happy enough to take a rest from projects and start focusing on spider webs and cake balls decorated like eyes.
Has anyone else DIYed wainscoting in their home?
Wanting to do something similar in your own house? You can check out how we DIYed this sucker in  part 1 here and part 2 here.


  • Reply October 26, 2012

    Chris loves Julia

    Thanks dude! :)

  • Reply October 26, 2012

    Chris loves Julia

    Thanks Andi-girl! You little sweetie. That window was a challenge when we first moved in. How do we dress it?! But we have loved making it a valuable part of the room.

  • Reply October 26, 2012

    Chris loves Julia

    Lucky girl!

  • Reply October 26, 2012

    Chris loves Julia

    Can’t wait to see/hear how it turns out!

  • Reply October 26, 2012

    Chris loves Julia

    Yessss! Thanks so much.

  • Reply October 26, 2012

    Chris loves Julia

    So simple. Thanks Melinda!

  • Reply October 26, 2012

    Chris loves Julia

    Thanks Janine. You made my day.

  • Reply October 26, 2012

    Kim @ Yellow Brick Home

    Woweee, looks good, lady!

  • Reply October 27, 2012

    Diana @ Boy + Girl

    Stunning! I love this transformation!

  • Reply October 30, 2012

    Allison @ House of Hepworths

    Oh Em Geee I freaking love this. Fantastic.

    Allison @ houseofhepworths.com

  • Reply October 30, 2012

    Ashli Garbrandt

    Wow I just found you on Younghouselove for the Pinterest Challenge and I am seriously in love with this idea! Beautiful dark color too!

  • Reply October 30, 2012

    Ashli Garbrandt

    I just discovered your blog from Younghouselove’s Pinterest Challenge! I am seriously in love with this idea! Love the beautiful, dark wall color too, it definitely adds sophistication!


  • Reply October 30, 2012


    I love the dark wall. it makes the room feel cozy.

  • Reply October 30, 2012

    Sarah Fogle

    What a dramatic addition to the room. Loving it.

  • Reply October 30, 2012


    WOW! This is one of our next “big” projects around here and I love your finished wall. The dark color looks great! Thanks for some new inspiration and motivation to get on that!

  • Reply October 30, 2012


    Can I say…WOW!!! Really beautiful job. The room is absolutely stunning. Version:1.0

    I would LOVE for you to link this up at my Ginger Jamboree Link Party!!

  • Reply October 30, 2012

    Delightfully Noted

    Stunning!! I agree it adds sophistication to the room. Great job!

  • Reply October 30, 2012

    Dacia @ Lemon Drop Life

    Love this! You guys made the perfect choice!!

  • Reply October 30, 2012

    Tamsyn Riley

    So dark and moody, I love it!! I can’t believe you did it so cheaply too :)

  • Reply November 28, 2012

    London Escorts

    Why are you redoing it…it looks fantastic to me

  • Reply February 8, 2013

    Taylor de Sa

    This is really fabulous! I love that it makes the entire room look dramatic and a little moody.

  • Reply March 1, 2013


    This is so elegant! I love a good dark wall. Mercer by Ralph Lauren is my favorite, we’ve used it several times throughout the house.

  • Reply July 12, 2013


    This is so beautiful. I would like to know about the long white cabinets along the right hand side of the room? Is this a hack of some kind? Almost looks like plain cabinets that you painted and put a top on. Would love to know.

  • Reply June 7, 2014


    Love your dark full wall wainscoting design and featured it on our list of fabulous wainscoting design ideas here:

    Do drop by and let us know what you think. :)

  • […] To see more on their project, click here. […]

  • […] PROJECT #1 – Guest Room Accent Wall (based on Chris Loves Julia’s old living room!) […]

  • Reply December 31, 2014

    Dark Envy

    […] Chris Loves Julia […]

  • Reply February 5, 2015

    Jessica @ Textured Modern

    What a fantastic transformation! I love the added texture it brings to the room and I adore the sophisticated intrigue that the darker colour introduces in the room. You guys did a stellar job.

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