My decorating business is named Ocean Interiors and I am totally influenced by the sea, sailing and coastal styles. I live by the ocean in Nova Scotia, Canada where I bought a 40 year old Cape Cod which badly needed updating out of the 1970’s – perfect for an interior decorator since I seem to need to rip out things and make the place over with my vision no matter how perfectly ‘fine’ everything is inside.
This particular house I decided to do in the most traditional East Coast Cape Cod style, but instead of making it look like the 21st century I went a little backwards in time for the 1920’s beach cottage feel, add to that my love of sailing and the house has beadboard!
The thin strips each hand installed, then primed and painted in hi-gloss white many many coats over and over. Yes it was a great deal of extra work, but beadboard became the underlying design element which unified the whole house. There’s a beadboard ceiling in the breezeway/mudroom which bounces soooo much light into the room it’s wonderful clean sparkly – not bad for a space named a mudroom! There’s beadboard in the hallway, wainscotting around the bathtub alcove – well I could go on…….
below ‘mudroom with beadboard ceiling’
‘bathroom with beadboard alcove for the tub’
The beadboard adds texture and subtle graphics, it give you a perfect break to change paint colours, either on the remaining drywall (in my house plaster) or on the beadboard itself. Beadboard wainscoting can be plate rail high (2/3 height of the ceiling) leaving only a small strip around the top of the wall, it can be to chair rail height (1/3 height of the ceiling), it can be on the ceiling, it can be used as the center panel in a shaker style cupboard door, and in my house I have board and batten doors which resemble large beadboard.
As discussed below beadboard comes in strips or in sheets made out of MDF, personally I’m not a fan of MDF however contractors love it because it doesn’t bleed knots, it doesn’t warp in humidity and it takes paint ‘perfectly’ – somehow it’s missing the handmade craftsman touch of the olden days and if it should get wet – watch out! it swells up and goes mushy – yuck.
The compilation below of other wonderful beadboard example photos came to me via the Houzz update:
The Timeless Elegance of Beadboard compiled by
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
Classic Wall Paneling Adds Instant Beach Cottage Charm
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.
by HARDROCK CONSTRUCTION
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.
by Witt Construction
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.
by Jeanette Lunde
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.
by Witt Construction
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.
by Design Savvy
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.
by Jenny Campbell
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.
by DONNA DU FRESNE INTERIOR DESIGN
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.
by David Lauer Photography
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.
by John Lum Architecture, Inc. AIA
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.
by Stonebreaker Builders & Remodelers
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.
by Tricia Rose
Painted a light aqua, wider paneled beadboard makes for a unique accent wall in a living room.
by Jeanette Lunde
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.
by Elliott Kaufman
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.
by AMI Designs