If you have a room that is too drab and boring, a simple way to brighten things up and add a classical touch is to install chair rail molding around the room. It’s easy to do yourself, but you must be careful to install it correctly or the room’s proportions will be out of balance.

What is the purpose of chair rail? It’s a common belief that chair rail molding came about as a practical way to protect walls from damage by the back of chairs as they are scooted out from the dinner table. This explains why it is often used in dining rooms. In actuality, it was developed by architects to bring attention to the scale of a room by dividing it into eye-catching and pleasing proportions.

What is the correct height to install chair rail molding? While some people suggest that 36 inches is the ideal height to install chair rail molding, this is really too high. Molding installed at this height will leave your room looking off-balance and out of proportion. Ideally molding should be placed between 28 and 32 inches off the floor. An easy way to figure out the correct height for your room is to position it one-quarter of the way up your wall. For a 10-foot ceiling, this would put the chair rail molding 30 inches from the floor.

What is the best width for chair rail? The standard width used for this type of molding is two to three inches. The width of the molding, type of material used, and intricacy of the detailing all work together to determine pricing, which can vary greatly. An eight-foot section can range from a couple dollars to as much as $100, depending on these details.

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