The Timeless Elegance of Beadboard
Classic Wall Paneling Adds Instant Beach Cottage Charm
Houzz Contributor. I am an interior designer with a passion for modern clean spaces and timeless vintage decor which makes for a unique eye. I work in Los Angeles but offer e-design services nationally. Visit my website and my blog at http://www.veneerdesigns.com
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Beadboard is a traditional style of wall paneling that is made of evenly spaced interlocking tongue and groove wood elements. Historically, it was installed to provide insulation to rooms. Today, it is installed as a decorative feature to walls, ceiling, cabinetry and even furniture to add an antique cottage look. It's also available in premade sheets or even wallpaper. The humble elegance of the beadboard detailing can instantly add an antique country feel to any room in your home.
This beachy cottage's back entry shows off the quintessential appeal of beadboard. It's neat, functional and nostalgic for a classic New England coast home, Cape Cod or Nantucket comes to mind. White and clean on the walls and even the ceiling, it plays well with the calming shades of ocean blues. The starfishes on display are just the right detail to finish off the look.
Another mudroom application shows how beadboard is traditionally applied as wainscotting on the lower portion of the wall. This can become challenging with windows, especially if they're round or oddly shaped. Precise creative detailing is required to frame the window and connect with the crown molding. Bring this example to your woodworker and demand detailed drawings before he or she gets to work.
Beadboard is not a cookie cutter affair; there are numerous variations of panel widths and heights and surface applications. Seen as both a wall application and cabinetry, note that the different widths look cheerful and cottage-like when painted white and accented with colorful decorative touches.
Many people like to use beadboard panels not just on walls, but as backsplashes and even as kitchen cabinet doors. Not only does it provide a classic country touch when combined with traditional hardware, such as oiled bronze cup pulls and a wood countertop, it also allows for easy clean up. When liquids spill, they'll run down the grooves of the beadboard to the floor and can easily be wiped off.
Here's another traditional kitchen with an apron front farmhouse sink to complete the country look. The beige painted walls and stained wood floor provide a warm, hearthy glow, very different from beachy aquas.
Leave the beadboard as unpainted wood for a rustic flair to the tidy beadboard kitchen cabinets.
How cool is this craft room? Besides the fact that it is a dedicated craft room for one lucky homeowner, the beadboard island is painted a neutral Paris Grey, paired with shaker style cabinets. To finish the look, metallic light fixtures and engineered stone counters accent the design. Old forms are modernized with new colors and materials. This design would also work very well as a kitchen.
A way to bring beadboards from the 17th century into the 21st is to paint them a trendy color and pair the cabinets with modern backsplash materials. In this laundry room, the olive gray and earthy stone mosaic backsplash tile feel contemporary.
Cheerful cottage-style beadboard wainscotting surrounds the tub and the ceiling to make a dramatic juxtaposition with the moody charcoal gray painted walls. A crystal chandelier and orchids accent the space for a luxe touch. This bathroom successfully marries antique with edgy, and cheerful with dark.
Beadboard is an easy way to add decorative appeal to bathrooms, which are usually small, and lacking in personality. An all white bathroom reads as clean and spartan, yet the beadboard wainscotting adds just enough dimension to add visual interest.
An example of beadboard modernized in the bathroom. The wainscotting was kept a traditional white, but above it the walls are painted a contemporary cool gray with a light blue band of paint continued from the wall to the ceiling to finish the space.
The designer found a way to incorporate beadboard in this tiny updated bathroom by using it in the vanity cabinet. Painted a steely gray, it adds a nice pop to the otherwise generic space.
Beadboard is known to be installed vertically, but some people choose to install it horizontally for a different look. The texture of the weathered wood mirror and furniture works well with the texture that beadboard provides on the wall. Painted a driftwood gray, the vignette creates a relaxing feel to the space.
Painted a light aqua, wider paneled beadboard makes for a unique accent wall in a living room.
Some people actually detest the existing beadboard in their homes but can't justify ripping it out. Instead, they can make it disappear by painting wainscotting, walls, and ceiling the same color to make it visually recede in the background. Bright and colorful modern furniture grabs all the attention and sets the tone of the room.
If you love beadboard but are in a rental situation, or can't afford the cost of installing it on the walls and ceilings, it can be found in furniture motifs too.
A cute apple green hamper bench with beadboard detailing.
Ideabook published on Aug. 14, 2011.
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