Create a Wainscot

Here are two methods you can use to create a wainscot or chair rail:

The Building Block Method

  • About the Building Block Method
  • Create a Basic Wainscot Using Building Blocks
  • Create a Detailed Wainscot Using Building Blocks

The Divider Line Method

  • About the Divider Line Method
  • Create a Wainscot Using the Divider Line Method
 

About the Building Block Method

Building blocks are great furniture items to know about! You’ll find them in Furniture mode by searching for “building block”. Here are some cool things to know about them:

  • You can change the dimensions of building blocks to be any basic rectangular shape you’d like.
  • Use them to create moldings, wainscoting, wall panels, custom built-ins and more!
  • Building blocks are available in multiple finishes such as wood, stone and metal.
  • If you are a VIP or Pro subscriber you can use the Replace Materials feature to change the color or material of the building block.

Create a Basic Wainscot Using Building Blocks

You can create a quick and basic wainscot by creating a single panel that is the length of each wall, as shown in this example:

The wainscot in the image above was created using building blocks

To Create a Basic Wainscot

  1. First, paint the room. (In Materials mode, open a category such as Interior & Exterior Paint, or Wallpaper, click to select a material and click to place it on the walls of the room.)
  2. Open Furniture mode and click the magnifying glass in the top right to search for “building block”. The building block library appears. VIP and Pro subscribers can use the Replace Materials feature to change the color and/or materials on these items.



  3. Click to select a building block and click to place it in your project. You don’t have to place it precisely at this point – just put it anywhere.



  4. With the building block selected, its Properties appear on the right. Change the dimensions of the building block:
    • Length: Set this to be the length of the wall you will place it on.
    • Width: This is the depth of the wainscot. A typical wainscot is about .8” or 20 mm.
    • Height: A typical wainscot is 36”-48” (900-1200 mm) high.



  5. If you are a VIP or Pro subscriber, you can Replace Materials on the block. If you plan to change materials, in the Properties area under Replace Materials, change them now.
  6. Drag the building block/wainscot to your wall.
  7. With the wainscot selected, click the Copy button and then Paste. This creates additional identical pieces to drag to other walls. If you need a wainscot to be a different length, select it and drag the blue arrow to change its length, or change its Properties.
  8. Use the Camera tool on your floor plan to take a Snapshot to confirm that your wainscot panels are placed correctly the wall.



Create a Detailed Wainscot Using Building Blocks

You can create a detailed wainscot by using building blocks to create the various parts of the wainscot: Base Trim, Panel, Vertical Rails and a Cap Trim.

The wainscot in the image above was created using building blocks
to 
create the various parts of the wainscot

To Create a Detailed Wainscot

Step 1 – Create the Base Trim

The base trim is the panel along the bottom. It has slightly MORE depth than the middle panel section so that it stands out from the wall more.

  1. Open Furniture mode, search for "building block", and place one in your project.
  2. With the building block selected, the Properties appear on the right.
    • For Length: Enter the same length as your wall.
    • For Width: This is the depth of the base trim. A typical base trim is 2” (50 mm).
    • For Height: A typical base trim is 4”-6” (100-150 mm) high.
  3. Press the checkbox to the right of Lock Height Above Floor, in order to lock the height (of 0) into place.
  4. If you are a VIP or Pro subscriber, you can Replace Materials on the block. If you plan to change materials, click Replace Materials and change them now.
  5. Now drag the base trim into place along the wall.
  6. With the base trim selected, click the Copy button and then Paste. This creates additional identical pieces to drag to other walls. If you need a different length, select it and drag to change its length, or change its Properties.
  7. Use the camera to take a snapshot to check your work.



Step 2 – Create the Middle Panel

The middle panel has slightly LESS depth than the base trim or cap trim.

  1. Add a new building block to the room. In its Properties on the right side:
    • For Length: If you will not have vertical rails, set length to the same length as the wall. If you will have vertical rails, set the length to the distance between the rails (see how to create vertical rails below).
    • For Width: This is the depth of the middle panel. A typical middle panel is 1” thick (25 mm).
    • For Height: A typical middle panel is 24”-30" (600-800 mm) high.
    • For the Height Above Floor: Enter the height of your base trim, typically 4”-6” (100-150 mm) high (so that this middle panel sits on the top the base trim).
    • Press the checkbox to the right of Lock Height Above Floor, in order to lock the height into place.
  2. If you are a VIP or Pro subscriber, you can Replace Materials on the block. If you plan to change materials, click Replace Materials and change them now.
  3. Copy and paste to create any other needed middle panels.
  4. Now drag the middle panel into place, on top of the base trim.
    • Tip 1: To better see the placement of a middle panel, you may need to pull a base trim away from the wall temporarily, like this:



      Then drag the base trim back into place once you have placed the middle panels.
    • Tip 2: If needed, press the Ctrl key while moving a middle panel, to turn off snapping.
  5. Use the camera to take a snapshot to check your work.

Example wainscot in progress - with base trim and middle panels.

Step 3 – Create Vertical Rails

In this scenario, you will now create several tall, narrow blocks to place between the middle panels (created above).

  1. Drag in a building block and press Properties.
    • For Length: Enter about 4” (100 mm). This is the horizontal width of the rail.
    • For Width: This is the depth of the rail. Since you want it to have more depth than the middle panel, add an extra 1/2” (12 mm) width so that your vertical rail is 1 ½” (40 mm) deep.  
    • For Height: Set this the same as the middle panel 24-30” (600-800 mm) high.
    • For the Height Above Floor: Enter the height of your base trim, typically 4”-6” (100-150 mm) high, and press the checkbox to the right of Lock Height Above Floor, in order to lock the height into place.
  2. If you are a VIP or Pro subscriber, you can Replace Materials on the block. If you plan to change materials, click Replace Materials and change them now.
  3. Use Copy and Paste to create additional vertical rails with the same dimensions.
  4. Now drag the vertical rails into place, on top of the base trim, and between the middle panels.
    • Tip: If needed, pull the base trim forward while you place the vertical rails, like this.



  5. Use the camera to take a snapshot to check your work.


Wainscot with vertical rails added

Step 4 – Create the Cap Trim

  1. To add a cap trim, click on your base trim (it may help to drag it a bit forward first) and click Copy, then click Paste to make a copy of your base trim.
  2. Click the cap trim to select it and change the Height and Height Above Floor dimensions.
    • For Height: Enter 2”- 3” (50-75 mm ) high. Your cap trim typically is half the height of your base trim.
    • For the Height Above Floor, clear Lock Height Above Floor and then in Height Above Floor, enter the sum of the base trim height plus the middle panel height.
    • Now re-select the checkbox to the right of Lock Height Above Floor, in order to lock the height into place.
  3. Now drag the cap trim into place, on top of the middle panel.
  4. Repeat for the other walls in the room.
  5. Take a snapshot to check your work.

Final wainscot

 

About the Divider Line Method

The Divider Line method is slightly more advanced, but the results are stunning. It’s a great method to learn and it has lots of fun applications.

The wainscot in the image above was created using Divider Lines

Create a Wainscot using the Divider Line Method

Step 1 - Draw the Wainscot

The first step is to draw a border around the room with a divider line.

  1. In Walls mode, select the Divider and draw a border around the room following the walls that you want to have a wainscot on. This will create a new zone around the perimeter of your room. Tip: Draw your divider line about 12” (200 mm) out from the wall so that it’s easier to select your perimeter zone. You will adjust the depth once you create the wainscot.
  2. At door openings, you need to create a break so that the wainscot does not go over the door opening. Draw a divider line from your border to the wall on each side of any door openings.


    Step_2.2___Draw_the_Wainscot_using_a_Divider_Line.JPG

  3. Using the Select tool, select the perimeter zone (not the middle of the room). It will appear highlighted in blue. Tip: If you find it hard to select it, zoom in.

    2.6_Select_Perimeter_-_with_circles.jpg

  4. On the right, click Advanced Properties.
  5. Set the Floor Height to the height you want for the wainscot. A typical wainscot height is between 36”- 48” (900-1200 mm) high.
  6. On the right, click Wall Material and choose a paint or wallpaper you want to show above the wainscot. In the above example, we used a blue wallpaper pattern.
  7. Select the zone in front of the door and choose the same wall material there. 

    2.7_Divider_Zones_-_Add_color_to_door_space.JPG

  8. Using the Camera, take a snapshot to see how it looks. You now have a thick "half wall" that runs around the perimeter of your room - this will eventually be your beautiful wainscot.

    4.5Take_a_snapshot_to_see_how_it_looks..JPG2.8_Snapshot_circles.JPG

Step 2 – Adjust the Wainscot Depth

Now you will move the divider lines closer to the walls to narrow the depth of the wainscot.

  1. Zoom way in so that it is easier to see what you are doing.
  2. As you move the divider line, press the Ctrl key (or Command key on a MAC) to disable the wall snap function (so that you can move your divider line close to the wall without it snapping to the wall).
  3. Drag the divider line until you reach a typical wainscot depth of about 1 ½”-2” (40-50 mm) off the wall.



Step 3 – Add Material to the Wainscot

Next, you’ll choose the material for the wainscot.

  1. In Walls mode, click in the middle of the room. This will highlight the wainscot – it will appear blue.
  2. Click Wall Material.



  3. Search for a material. Tip: For a wainscot, a common material is “Panel”.



  4. Click on the material you would like to use and click Apply.
  5. Take a snapshot to see how it looks. Here’s mine right now:



Tip: If you see a line on the wall above the wainscot, and you want to remove it, turn off your Floor Strips setting.

  1. Click Menu, and under Level, click Properties.
  2. On the right, deactivate Floor Strips.



Here’s my wainscot with the floor strips removed:



 



Step 4 – Optional: Add a Cap and Base Trim 

To Add a Cap Trim

For the best results, use the building block method (see above) to create a cap trim and place it on top of your half-wall for a finished look.

Quick steps:

  1. Furniture mode > search on a Building Block > drag to middle of room.
  2. Set Length to length of wall, set Width to the depth of the cap trim.
  3. Use Replace Materials (available to VIP and Pro subscriptions) to change the color to match the panel. For the blue paneling above, we used a hex code of #c5ddec.
  4. Drag the building block ON TOP of the half-wall you created with the divider. This will place it on top of the ½ wall.
  5. Take a snapshot to check your work.

To Add a Base Trim or Baseboard

Quick steps:

  1. Furniture mode > search on a Building Block > drag to middle of room.
  2. Set Length to length of wall, set Width to the depth of the cap trim, set Height to the height of the cap trim.
  3. Use Replace Materials to change the color to match the panel.
  4. Drag the building block IN FRONT OF the half-wall you created with the divider. This will place it on the floor, in front of the ½ wall.
  5. Take a snapshot to check your work.

A detailed wainscot using the Divider Line method

 

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