Published July 19, 2012

It seems that the majority of home decorating magazine these days are featuring modern, clean line, spacious homes. The fact that these homes are beautiful is indisputable however, sometimes trendy can be expensive and not always comfortable. I’ve always admired the modern look but have wondered if they were practical for busy lifestyles. If you have dogs, kids and like to be messy once in awhile the modern look may not be for you.

Wainscoting has been around for many years. Sometimes I get asked what is the difference between wainscoting and bead board? Essentially bead board is a type of wainscoting. Any paneling that comes part way up the wall is defined as wainscoting and bead board is the paneling with the distinctive grooves that give visual interest to the wall. It has traditionally been associated with farmhouse and more casual interior design however modern versions are making their way into the market.

If you prefer a more cozy and traditional look to a room then bead board may be for you. There are many bead board choices on the retail market these days so here are a few for you to ponder.


Classic Bead board

Classic bead board is the traditional tongue-and-groove boards available from home centers and millwork suppliers. Typically these boards are milled with distinct deep grooves and are 3 to 5 inches in width. These grooves fit precisely together by their tongue-and-groove design. They are definitely more costly than their alternative counterparts however they are the real McCoy and are worth it. Cost ranges from $2-4 a linear foot.


MDF Sheets

Another popular choice, MDF boards (medium-density fiberboard sheets) are made with the bead board pattern and are typically half the price of the solid wood products. The fact that this is a recycled-wood product makes it an environmentally friendly choice. It is durable and resistant to warping and has a nice, consistent finish that can be easily painted to match any décor. Cost ranges from $18-25 per sheet.


Real Wood Panel Boards

These boards are actually sheets of real wood with the bead board pattern that come 4 feet wide by 8 or 10 feet tall. Much easier to install over the 3-5inch tongue-and-groove boards, the wood panels can be cut to custom sizes and secured to the wall in no time at all. These boards can also be painted to blend in with any décor scheme. Cost ranges from $30-40 per sheet.



Embossed wallpaper is another inexpensive and easy option if you prefer to avoid the mess and time involved with the wood option. This wallpaper has the bead board look for a fraction of the cost. Just measure the paper, cut and and paste it to the wall. Voila! The look for less. Cost is $25-40 range for a double roll.