Remove Chair Rail?

lovlilynneMay 8, 2009

Hi - I searched for threads on chair rails, and I did find one that had some advice about chair rails, but some of it was conflicting. I was wondering if you all wouldn't mind giving me some advice on whether to keep or get rid of my dining room chair rail? The link to shutterfly pictures is below.

There is a picture of what the DR has looked like for the last ~14 years or so - the rest are more recent with all the wall paper removed. I am renovating my kitchen - removing the wall between the kitchen and DR (in the first picture - with wallpaper- it is the wall on the left). It will also be open to the living room. I have chosen a light steel blue paint (SW Milk Pail - from the no-longer available line of Martha Stuart colors). I will have that color in the kitchen (not much wall space) through to the dining room, and along the wall that the dining room will share with the living room.

I was thinking that by removing it, it would make the room look bigger? But then I thought maybe if I put a lighter color on the bottom (cream) and had the darker color on top, that might make the room look bigger.

If you think I should keep it, should I paint it? Also, would you suggest painting the windows? All these years I have resisted painting all the colonial stained woodwork that I have everywhere - mostly because I didn't want the upkeep of paint - but now I am wondering if I should have the painted look to bring the decor into this decade.



Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of Dining Room

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It's my opinion that, the less you have going on with the walls, the bigger the room will seem. So I would keep the chair rail, because it does protect the wall from being dinged by chairs...but paint it the same color you paint the walls.

I'd even go so far as to suggest that you paint everything the same color as the walls. Use eggshell finish for the walls, eggshell for the chair rail, semi-gloss for the rest of the trim, and paint the ceiling with a paler tone of the blue. That will expand a not-so-big room more than anything else.

Some of the most sophisticated rooms I've ever seen have done allows the shape of the woodwork to add depth and interest just with highlight and shadow, and puts the real focus on your table, your lighting, and your curtains.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 5:49PM
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If it were my room, I would take down the wallpaper border, and repaint the upper wall as needed. Then I would paint the lower wall and all the woodwork either white or a soft creamy neutral, and I would put picture molding faux wainscotting below the chair rail.

Here are some examples...

Or if you prefer, you could use beadboard or beadboard wallpaper:

There are lots of beautiful styles.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 6:20PM
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Ok, so that leads to another question - if I leave the chair rail - how do I end it when it is open to the LR? Brownysmom - same question for you, but about the ceiling - how to you transition to the kitchen ceiling? This is the challenge with these open concepts - but obviously, someone has to have figured out the rules already.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 6:31PM
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I have a dining room open to the living room with a chair rail in the dining room but not the living room. The chair rail ends at the end of a wall on one side and at a window on the other side. The chair rail is painted the same color as the wall, but in semi-gloss.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 7:51PM
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Scroll down to Shee's topic where she asked about a valance and shower curtain. In the thread she posted a picture of someone's dining room with just the chair rail and it's BEAUTIFUL!!! The chair rail was painted cream/white and the wall above and below it in a green color.

My vote is to keep the chair rail. It really adds to a room, IMO.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 8:18PM
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You stop a chair rail by turning it back...your carpenter will understand how to do that. If he doesn't, get another carpenter! :>) That means cutting the last piece on an angle, and then cutting a small piece at a corresponding angle, turning it and tucking it into the end of the last piece, so that the molding pattern "turns back" into the wall.

If your ceiling continues into another room now, then you'll either want to paint the whole thing, or give up the idea of the pale blue...and that's probably the easier choice. Anyone who has read me on the subject before knows I'm dead against plain white ceilings almost all the of course I think an intentional cream color is better...something you can use throughout the open space.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 1:07PM
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It's called a mitred return. Here it is on crown molding

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 7:09PM
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It's going! I don't know what I was thinking, but when we started talking about the returns - I realized that all I'll I'll have for walls left is an upsidedown L with the bottom of the L being along the window wall, then the length of whatever I define to be the DR. I think that would look strange, so I'm going to remove it.

Thanks for the advice!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 2:48PM
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I see you have decided, but I was going to also suggest that you get rid of it, since you would have very little wall space left with the chair rail.

As for the woodwork, I think the stained color would be great with the blue that you are planning - I would leave it alone and not paint. Don't worry about being out of date. Lots of homes have stained woodwork, and it will be back "in style" again - those things are always cyclical.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 8:01PM
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I'm thinking about another of my mother's wonderful remarks..."Sometimes I don't know what I think until I hear what I say."
So just talking it out is often all you need to reveal what you want to do.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 9:36PM
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