'W' for Wallpaper Dining Room Painting

Painting Walls with Picture Rail?

How do you paint a wall with picture rail? Do you paint the same wall color above and below? Or do you paint the wall color up to the picture rail and then paint the area above the same color as the ceiling?

And what about wallpaper? Only up to the picture rail?

I know… the Photoshopped wallpaper looks ridiculous (also – that’s NOT our dragon on the buffet). Which version looks better though?

picture rail question

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  • Anonymous
    January 29, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    I def. like the second one better – painting over the chair rail, wallpaper under.

    *and FYI, i posted last week that i couldn’t see the pictures — they were all squished, but on this last post, i can see them! (just them – still not the others)

  • Nicole
    January 29, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    I’m looking into fixing the photos…

  • Amber
    January 29, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    Sweet dragon, you don’t have to be embarrassed! Haha.

  • kim.
    January 29, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    I agree about the second pic – looks much better painted right above the picture rail.

  • Del4yo
    January 29, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    We had the same problem in our new house a week ago!
    Luckily our neighboor is an archictect and explained to me that in the Victorian era they used to paint the area above the molding the same color as the ceiling.

    The last owner didn’t do it and painted up to the ceiling. When we came back to the original way really the room looked bigger and more comfortable. It’s an illusion but it does add optic space to the room!

    Hope it will help you!

  • Andi
    January 30, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Painting above and wallpaper below looks better, but it could make your ceiling appear lower. If you just paint, I think the same color on both sides would be best. Good luck!

  • sarah
    January 30, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    I definitely prefer the 2nd one!

  • Anonymous
    January 30, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    the second one.

  • lsaspacey
    January 30, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    The second one for sure and I LOVE the wallpaper.

  • Claire
    January 31, 2007 at 9:36 am

    I like the second one too. Nice weblog!

  • Anonymous
    January 31, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    love the wallpaper….but not in that room.

  • becky
    February 6, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    Oops, sorry, I just saw the wallpaper source below.

  • Alison
    April 30, 2008 at 10:35 am


    I’m new here because i have been looking for an answer to a similar question. In fact, almost the exact question, except that i am planning to only do one wall in wallpaper, I am almost considering removing the picture rail on that wall only . Although without doing that, what do you think is the best solution for above the picture rail on the feature wall?

    Thanks, nice site

  • Tim
    October 20, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I realize I’m joining this conversation VERY late but here’s my belated two bits. Hopefully someone will find it helpful.

    From the woodwork in the picture it looks like an Arts and Crafts style house in which case a frieze would be entirely appropriate above the picture rail. This can be stenciled, hand painted, or you can use paper if you can find a frieze paper that fits the space. However, in the spirit of the style the frieze should depict something more or less natural (though not necessarily realistic). We’re in the process of restoring our 1920 Craftsman style bungalow in incorporating an appropriately stylized (locally oriented) nature scene around our front/dining rooms. Another option we considered was a stenciled tulip pattern based on a embroidered pillow we own from the era. If nature isn’t your thing look at some of Frank Loyd Wright’s stained glass designs. A simplification of that style would also look stunning.

    If the home is built in the Arts & Crafts style try to incorporate some sort of frieze (just not one of the Gothic/Greek/Colonial Revival Victorianesque paper patterns available in all the big box stores – those are way not appropriate for the style of home and will look cheap and silly in the end). Do a little research and do something that fits the style of the house as well as your tastes and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

    Happy decorating,