Summer is a great time to take on a DIY project. One way to spruce up your home is to add instant architectural detail to otherwise bland rooms. Architectural detail can come in various forms, from the more ornate, such as columns and stone fireplaces, to the more basic, such as installing bead board or a simple chair railing.

Installing bead board with the right tools can be an easy and affordable upgrade to any home, as with chair railing, which typically comes in long, inexpensive strips.

Bead board and chair railing can be delivered to your home primed or unprimed and can easily be painted any color to blend with your decor.

If you want to consider other ways to add architectural detail, some ideas include installing decorative tiles on a plain wall of a room, installing ceiling molding and handmade woodworking pieces such as doors.

tips for installing bead board

• Select a bead board made from a species of wood with as few knots as possible. Pine and poplar are good choices.

• Prime the front and the back of the bead board to help stabilize the wood. Bead board with a lot of knots may need to be primed more than once.

• Using a level, install the bead board in interlocking strips.


Chair rail tips

• Select a piece of molding that fits the aesthetic of your space.

• Determine the proper height of your chair railing, then score a line around the room to mark.

• Prime the front and back of the wood.

• Paint the front of the wood the desired color.

• Nail in place.


Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an interior design and home-staging expert.