Wainscotting is any type of wood finish on a wall, usually for the lower half, under a chair-rail. This is a traditional finish that was used to make the lower part of a wall durable, so that when furniture banged against it, the wall remained un-scuffed.
Nowadays most houses have gypsum wall board all the way to the floor, but sometimes in a fancy library or dining room you might see wood paneling as a wainscot; or in a cottage-style home - in lots of magazines these days- you'll see fresh, white bead-board wainscot in a mud room or a bathroom.
Installing white bead-board wainscot in the bathrooms is the way I detailed the NHND and a few other bathrooms I've worked on. It lends a classy feel and looks sharp against the colored wall above. When I went next door to take a photo, my camera battery was dead, so for now I'll post a generic drawing of wainscot styles and show you a photo next time.
|Examples of some traditional wainscot styles|