Chair-height horizontal trim finishes a wall in traditional style
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A chair rail is the trim applied roughly 3 to 4 feet up the wall that protects the wall from impact. Older homes with plaster walls often have chair rails, but today they can be purely decorative.
Chair rails are common in dining rooms, where pulling back a chair can damage the wall.
The chair rail is placed higher than the backs of these chairs, but drywall is easier to repair than plaster.
Wainscot serves the same purpose as a chair rail, to protect the wall from impact and scuffs.