If you love the look of wainscoting panels but can’t afford the cost, this post is for you. Using budget-friendly materials can create a look you’ll love until you’re ready for the real thing. This faux wainscoting wall gave this laundry room a much needed facelift. If you like it, read on for step by step instructions on how to create a similar look in your home.

A faux wainscoting wall is easy to create. No need for expensive wainscoting panels!

This little laundry room/mudroom has been getting some improvements for the past two years. After finishing my powder room (for $100!) I decided it was time to do something about the wall that for many years held my children’s back packs and coats.

Now that my kids are grown, they get to keep their college backpacks in their bedrooms. Since the hooks weren’t used, they became a catch-all place where we  piled many unused items.

I was in such a hurry to get it cleaned up that I forgot to take a photo of the madness! However here’s a photo of the wall after I removed the hooks and before I created the faux wainscoting panels. A little blurry, but it’s the only one I took 🙂


A plain and boring wall got some faux wainscoting panels and it looks awesome!


Faux wainscoting panels for a small laundry room. You will be surprised at how EASY it is to create this look.

Not bad, eh? Do you have a space in mind where you can do this too?

How to Get the Look of Wainscoting Panels without breaking the bank

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Materials Needed


Step 1: Remove the Baseboards (optional)

Ugh. You have no idea how much I did NOT want to remove my baseboards. Mostly because I didn’t know how (ha, keepin’ it real!) and also because I’m impatient and wanted to get to the fun part. But, I realized that it would look much better if I removed them. Click here for a detailed tutorial on how to remove baseboards.

If you would like to leave your baseboards in place, you will need to use very thin boards (1/4″ thick or less) for your wainscoting treatment. Initially I considered this option but it’s hard to find inexpensive treated boards that are thin enough.

I also considered ripping plywood like I did in my entry way, but the risk of having frayed edges might have ruined the clean look. 

Ultimately, I bit the bullet and  removed the baseboards. Meh.

The good news is I only removed the base trim on one wall and left the rest of the room with the existing baseboards. It still looks really good.

If you are lucky enough to have thicker baseboards (at least 1/2″ thick) then proceed without removal.

Step 2: Paint and Install Base

Once the baseboards were out, I painted the wall half way up (about 5 feet) then began nailing the baseboard into the studs using my favorite nail gun.

Faux Wainscoting Panels on a Budget!

I found it worked better to start with the shorter pieces followed by longer board pieces. It’s important to make sure the boards are level as you go.

To keep your seams tight, cut the 45 bevel angles first, then measure for length and proceed to make a straight cut on the opposite end of the board, to match the width of the wall.

Step 3: Nail in the Vertical Boards

Now it’s time to mark the spacing of the vertical pieces. I cut all of my vertical boards the exact same length first. Then I placed them evenly and marked. I nailed the boards on every stud. For me, the space between each board was 12-14″. If you want to spend less, you could leave a wider gap and nail a board on every other stud.

I had an electrical outlet on the wall as well, so I made sure to place the board in a way to avoid having to cut around it. I actually placed that board on first and worked my way out, making sure I kept the spacing even.

Then it was time to finish it off with the top horizontal piece. Notice that I did not remove my door casing. That is another reason I chose this type of trim. The boards I was working with were the exact same width of the door casing (1/2″).

Also, I did not use glue on this project, only nails. That way the boards can be easily removed without major drywall damage.

Step 4: Caulk, Fill Holes, and Paint again

After all of my boards where in place, I filled in the seams with white caulk and filled the nail holes with wood filler. Once everything was dry I lightly sanded the areas where I’d filled the nail holes and gave the wall another coat of paint to finish it off.

Faux wainscoting panels. Why pay so much when you can create the look with paint!

Side Note: The door you see in the above photo leads to my kitchen, and it’s always open, which means it’s always in my way when I am in the laundry room. I feel like a sliding barn door would look great in the space given that I have enough room on the right to slide it! Do you agree?

Update: Check out the sliding barn door I built for this room!

Faux Wainscoting in the Laundry Room. Love this!

What a difference a little trim and paint can make!

If you like the ironing board holder, you can find the tutorial by clicking here! I also need a rug but haven’t shopped for one yet :).

The cabinets are going to be painted soon and I am SO excited to show you that. Be sure to get on my email list to receive updates once the posts are up.

Until then, I would love it if you’d pin this project and share it with your friends!

If you are in love with wainscoting but can’t afford the cost of wainscoting panels, this post is for you. Using budget-friendly materials can create a look you’ll love until you’re ready for the real thing. This faux wainscoting wall gave this laundry room a much needed facelift. If you like it, click for step by step instructions on how to create a similar look in your home.

If you like budget-friendly makeovers you may enjoy the following posts:

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Janice| Sawdust Sisters

Novice woodworker and serial Popcorn eater, Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials that motivate others to "dare to try". Originally from Puerto Rico, Janice is fluent in Spanish and dreams of owning a beach house on the island someday! Janice currently lives in Utah with her husband and children, where she works as a university professor.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Jessica

    This really turned out sooo good! It’s something that I really want to try. Thanks for the pointers!!

  2. Sarah

    Yes yes yes! To the barn door! You did a fantastic job on the wainscoting.

    1. Janice

      Thank you so much! Barn door is happening for sure!

  3. Sandra turriago

    Very nicely done! i do have a small entry closet that i’d like to turn into a mud room, so this tutorial comes handy as I’d like to do this look in the wall. and YES!!!! looking forward to the barn door, it would look gorgeous!
    Thanks for your tips,

    1. Janice

      Thanks Sandra! So glad you liked it!

  4. Mollyy

    This is beautiful!! What color of gray paint did you use?? Thanks!!

    1. Janice

      Hi Molly! Thanks for stopping by! The color is Mindful Grey by Sherwin Williams.

  5. Kate

    Hi Janice, nice job! Was the wall orange peel texture? If so, did you have the same texture and just put the mouldings on top of it or did you have to sand or anything like that?

    1. Hi Kate!
      I didn’t make any changes to the texture. The molding went right on the wall as is. Nonsanding. I hope this helps!

  6. Robin

    What type of paint did you use? Was it semi-gloss or a high gloss???

  7. Lilly

    Hi Janice! What was the width of the horizontal and vertical boards? Thanks!

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