Is Chair Rail In or Out?

Should you add chair rail to your rooms? Find out what chair rail is, and whether it's right for your home's style.

Historically, chair rails were used to protect plaster when chairs were backed up against the walls to clear space in the middle of a room. Like many functional inventions, this one became more decorative over the years. It became common to use the rail as a divider strip for paint or wallpaper to create a contrasting look. Chair rails are still used today to create a more formal and traditional design. If that's the look your sister wants, chair rails would be a good choice. But other strategies would be better if she seeks a more contemporary feeling. Decorating Gallery is filled with good ideas.


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